Sep 30, 2011

DC's The New 52- One Month Later

2:01 PM

DC's the New 52 event kicked off at the end of August with the finale of Flashpoint #5 and the jumping on point for all of the #1s to come in Justice League.  As of yesterday all 52 issues of DC's first wave of books have hit the shelves so why not take some time in evaluating what has gone down in true DC fashion with an appropriately named One Month Later (clever play on the One Year Later event that DC rocked prior).

I will attempt to breakdown what we have experienced in the last 30 days through all of the elements that make up the comics industry.  Yeah, yeah I know that you might label things differently or have a few more components as to what "the industry" is-- just play along, for now.

Media: Being a proud member of the comics press community for the last 3 years I can say without question-- we have never seen anything quite as massive as The New 52.  Let's speak purely from how much DC has attacked the various media outlets be it traditional- store merchandising, TV, radio, print-newspapers/mags or via the interwebs and social media.  Every damn day whether it was on your morning news, a commercial during the football game, FB / twitter-- from your granny to the 13 yr old wannabe hipster on your block (we all have a few in the hood) #thenew52 was blasted into our realities, whether you were a comics reader or not.

DC has virtually owned the comics airwaves despite efforts from Marvel, Dark Horse, Image and other publishers looking to jump on the New 52 media circus.   Sadly, any noise that the rest of the market makes is less than newsworthy if it doesn't correspond to what the next #1 will be.

Poor Bucky Barnes (who has been Captain America for the last 2 years) got axed in Marvel's "big" event and nobody hardly took notice.  Along with visiting most of the major comics/film/entertainment sites/blogs (15-20 of em) on the daily-- I spent a good amount of time reading what was being picked up and reported by the New York Times, Forbes and other old-school Wasp(y) reads.  DC The New 52 owned em all.  I couldn't have been more excited to see how comicbooks were jamming the press feeds, not just the films (adapted from comics).

A shot from my LCS- Comics Conspiracy's DC New52 Midnight Party! 
Retail:  As a daily commuter across the Bay Area from home to work, I make efforts to hit up at least 5 to 6 of my fave shops during the week so that I can truly experience what stores in different areas are going through.  Only two of the comics shops I regular are DC vs Marvel shops so though I am quite biased as a DC reader-- what I saw take place in the last month at the shops is pretty damn objective.

Marvel stores that had low subscribers of DC books went with their business instincts and ordered conservatively on most new #1s.  On the regular these stores sold out of all DC books and regularly had to tell customers (many of which were new walk-ins) to try again when they get the 2nd or 3rd print.  The shops that stuck to their guns ended up flexing over Marvel and other indie books so that their DC section wasn't just completely bare or plastered with sold out shelf cards.  Most stores have informed me that they have adjusted orders but are still conservative being that the #1 "hype" and excitement usually dies out around issue 3 to 4.

The DC shops that went balls out on ordering-- I am talking 100 to 200 per book-- sold out on most titles, minus of course the few not so great reads (Batwing, OMAC, Mister Terrific).  There are some days where I spend over 2 to 3 hours in one shop and on the real, there are hordes of new readers popping in on the regular simply being that they have books to sell. 

Another aspect that DC may or may have not intended is the additional biz they have thrown towards retail with the digital books being avail on the same day as print.  Stores that have connected with Comixology for the digital store front program are making some nice coin as affiliates.  $$$

I am not the biggest supporter of variants but if there is an artist I enjoy that rocks an ill cover I will pick it up.  Again, the variants are usually issued on a ratio basis, ie- 1:25 -- I have enjoyed walking in on Wednesday and picking up the ones I liked at cover price-- while other shops are selling the variants for $15 and up.  Most shops with that MO say that market price is Ebay...don't believe the hype!!!  One other funny thing is many shop owners/staff that you would think read regularly--actually don't (someone has to order and organize the store!)-- have started to keep current so that they can umm...know whats up with this whole New52 and evangelize the ones they like.

Creators:  DC Comics executive team (Big5 pictured below) along with colorists, inkers, editors and everyone else that contribute to the medium have good reason to be shining their pearly whites.  Never before have creators been practically handed Geoff Johns/Grant Morrison level autonomy of dissecting and rejiggering (for you Brock) characters that in some cases have been protected from such change for over 50-75 years.  This was more than a shake up or reboot.  Didio went as far as saying this was about survival of the industry itself. With higher risk also comes the reward.

EVP John Rood, CCO Geoff Johns, Prez Diane Nelson, Co-Pubs Dan Didio & Jim Lee
We are all sharing in a complete revitalization of
the whole of the DC Universe.

The long rumored fusion of DCE properties- Wildstorm and Vertigo (most but not all for now at least) are now ingrained and woven into the DCU as if it has always been such.  Lee, Mark Chiarello, Cully Hamner and other creative teams helped to celebrate this by delivering books with fresh, newly minted, modernized logos (minus a few like Superman). And they didn't stop there.  Not only do heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman (The Big 3) have new duds but in most cases their history and characterizations are all new.

Obviously this has generated excitement with creators as they are all looking at eachother, meshing the worlds of Swamp Thing, Stormwatch, Madame Xanadu, Grifter and the Justice League for the first time ever-- while cheering eachother on (loved following tweets from Scott Snyder and Paul Cornell) and forming this kind of synergy that is bringing the best out of eachother.  Tony Daniel and Francis Manapul are showing that you can handle art/scribe duties and give us top-notch stories.  The long-held power center of the Big 3 is garnering less attention from us because of inventive, fabulous reads like Animal Man, Batwoman and Demon Knights.  Who woulda thought?  

Readers: Yes, that pertains to you and me, saving the best part for last of course.  There would be no industry if we didn't shell out our hard earned skrill.  It sure does make it easier to digest investing in the 33 books I started with of The New 52 being only $2.99.  That is for those that don't know one to three dollars less than many other price tags for books on the shelves.  Sweet! 

The buzz and excitement has driven many of my friends back into comics, those that never really picked up DC titles onboard and peeps like me with a nice entry point to books that I was always curious about.  Every Wednesday you can feel the love for comics with more and more shop talk centered on what was your fave #1, which was the surprise read and super fun to play Wheres Walda? (the name that some of us have called the shadowy, hooded-troll chick thats in every ish).

One of the regular Wednesday guys at the LCS- Scott, even admitted that he is talking/texting so much more than before with homies on the regular to see what others thoughts and impressions were on various titles.  You just gotta love it!

Here are my Top 10 of the #1s that I have read from the New 52:
10. Aquaman
9.   Fury of Firestorms
8.   Wonder Woman
7.   Green Lantern
6.   Detective Comics
5.   Action Comics
4.   Catwoman
3.   Batwoman
2.   Animal Man
1.   Justice League

And my bottom 5:
52.  Mister Terrific
51.  Voodoo
50.  Green Arrow
49.  Men of War
48.  Blue Beetle

Thank you to Diane Nelson and the rest of the DCE that have helped to create one of the best months in comics in my 20+ years of reading!  Can't wait for October!

PS.  Marvel please step up your game and make better comics not just films.  Kthxbai!

This post was written by:
big O
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