DC's Number One(s) (3 comments)
DC's Number One(s)
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 12:00 AM
DC Comic announced yesterday that it would restart several of its core titles at Issue #1 and revamp the characters to reflect Our Changing Times.
As mainstream media tried to wrap its head around the announcement, dyed-in-the-spandex comics geeks knew it for what it was: Another decade / another retcon.
And we knew that they were missing the real news.
The act of a comics publisher wiping the slate clean of all previous storytelling and attempting to start fresh isn't new. DC themselves initiated the grandaddy of all retcons with Crisis on Infinite Earths. In 1985.
Since then, we've seen both Marvel and DC launch of all types and scales. Some of them re-imagined the entire universe -- like Marvel's Ultimates line. Some affected only certain characters, like the controversial Spider-Man arc, One More Day.
Some were mind-boggling, like the return of a group of 70s supers in Secret Invasion. And others were just... boggling... like when Superboy Prime shattered reality with a punch.
A comics publisher announcing a retcon is nothing new. But there -- buried among the glowing quotes from creative powerhouses Jim Lee and Geoff Johns -- was the real news:
JLA #1 will have a "day-and-date" digital download.
And the others will follow. And that, my friends is enough to make you shout "Great Caesar's ghost! Stop the presses!"
"Day and Date" means that the digital download of the comic will be available on the same day that the print comic hits the comic shops. Don't bother to memorize the term. Very shortly, all comics will be released this way.
The Big Two had been avoiding D&D because of a long relationship with comics retailers -- and rightly so. Comics retailers buoyed comics publishers through some awfully tough times. So they'd delay the digital release of their titles until after the printed versions had already been on the shelves for a while.
But times are tougher. And the Big Two are seeing the power of digital distribution. Good business dictates they take their profits where they can, and if that means making sales to iPad-wielding fanboys before they can read the spoilers online, then the decision is clear.
D&D is here to stay. Marvel will announce a D&D title by the middle of summer. Guaranteed.
And while that's great news if you have a digital tablet, it's mighty bad news if you own a comic shop. Or if you, like me, spend a lot of happy hours inside one.
D&D is going to kill monthly printed comics. As tablets become more widespread, D&D digital distribution is going to squeeze out floppies, eventually replacing them completely. Popular titles will finally reach print, in the form of trades, but a significant portion of them will remain forever pixels.
So in a way, maybe the mainstream media got it right. Maybe the big news is the retcon. But it's not a new pair of tights for Wonder Woman or a different origin for Green Lantern. It's the retconning of the comics business as we know it. And, like all retcons, some of us will love it and others will hate it. It's gonna bring about some wonderful opportunities and it's going to leave us nostalgic for the Good Old Days.
But take heart. Like all retcons, it will only last until the next one.
posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 09:17 AM (#59269)
Soon the digital DJ (of which you and this site are one) will soon replace the voice aspect of the physical store. ...which means it is time for me to either find my old Transmetropolitan, or purchase a new copy.
posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 09:34 AM (#59270)
I think you missed the bigger news:
Not that JLA #1 will be D&D, but ALL titles going forward will as well.
Still waiting on a price point, but the big news is much bigger than indicated here.
posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 01:47 PM (#59272)
The timing, for me, was pretty interesting. Just one day earlier, I logged into my Comixology account and deleted all my print subscriptions from my "local" comic shop. The fact that I had to drive 45 minutes to pick up my comics (once a month, with current gas prices) had been bugging me, and this last month's crop of half-told stories nearly pushed me over the edge. DC and Marvel have been working on killing monthlies for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that everything is written for the trade. We can't even get good plot progression in monthlies anymore, just scenes that feel almost random.
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