DC Universe Will Reboot This August; Digital Issues Available at Time of Physical Release

by     Posted 3 years, 205 days ago

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At the conclusion of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert’s 5-issue miniseries Flashpoint, DC Comics has announced it will reboot its universe and re-number each of its titles to begin at issue #1. In a letter from DC Senior Sales VP Bob Wayne to comic retailers, Wayne explains that the publisher will perform some character alterations with regards to “appearance, origin, and age” in an attempt to bring DC’s classic group of characters into a “more modern, diverse DC Universe.” The reboot will officially be underway on Wednesday, August 31st when DC will only release two titles: Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 to be written by Johns with art from Jim Lee.

In addition to the reboot, DC announced that the August 31st release will also be a landmark date for the digital distribution of comics as it will be the first time that either of the two major comic publishers (DC and Marvel) will release new titles digitally on the same day as their physical release. For more on the reboot and what it could mean for DC’s classic cast of characters, hit the jump.

dc-comics-heroes-imageMy knee-jerk reaction to the news of the DC Universe reboot is that the publisher is making a bold move in an attempt to ensure the relevancy and sustainability of the comic book industry for a younger, more digitally-minded audience. This thought is supported by the news of DC’s same-day digital comic releases and further evidenced by the aesthetic alterations pointed out by USA Today which reports that artist Jim Lee has led the initiative to redesign more than 50 costumes for the purpose of “making characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old” (some of the new designs can be seen in the above image).

While I understand the need to ensure story accessibility for the sake of growing your readership, DC has to be careful not to abandon its current readers, especially the ones who are satisfied with much of the Universe’s current state. That in mind, statements such as this one made by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio tend to scare me:

“We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

dc-comics-character-imageNevertheless, although DC is currently light on the specifics in regards to how individual stories and characters will be “told for today’s audience,” I can’t imagine that its iconic characters will undergo any sort of extreme modification that changes their core traits. Even though characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, etc. have undergone alterations over their lifespan (some even going so far as having new people assume the role of particular superheroes), the truth is that the timeless qualities of these characters is what has ensured their survival within an ever-changing world for decades.

Finally, I see DC’s reboot less as a way of making Batman seem cooler to 8-year-olds (although this could be an area of concern for the “Big, Blue, Boy Scout” that is Clark Kent) and more of an attempt to catapult the medium into a digital age whose page-turn will not be achieved in a literal sense but by swiping your finger across some sort of space-age tablet.

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  • Alex H

    God damn… this reboot fad is now extending to comic books??

    Why are people so afraid to come up with original material???

  • A.

    Originality has flown out the window my dear friend…nothing is original anymore.

  • Matt

    Comic book companies are always coming up with new heroes, and killing off others to make room, so I don’t find Hollywood’s “reboot fad” relevant to comics.

    I think this is a great thing. Comic book story lines have become so difficult and convoluted, it’s not worth a prospective reader’s time to learn it all… starting fresh with all these popular characters will give people like me a chance to get invested, where I never would have before.

  • Rick

    This is a bad, bad, BAD idea! You’re going to snub the very people that keep you in business! We like things just exactly as they are, and we dont want “younger, hipper” heroes! Ever hear the term, “if it aint broke, dont fix it”? I currently spend between $60-$100 every two weeks on DC and Marvel comics. That amount will be lowered drastically if I do not like the re-boot, and I have a feeling that I will not like it at all! I think that DC is going to find that new and improved is not always a good thing!

  • Stevie

    lol I’m reading this article on an iPad.
    I agree that the ongoing stories have become so convoluted that it’s barely possible to follow what’s going on anymore, unless you’ve been reading regularly since the 80′s. I mean, you hear and read about how fans want and appreciate a more realistic take on Batman as portrayed in Nolan’s films, however, in my opinion at least, Comic-Batman and his adventures of late seems more akin to Batman and Robin than Begins or The Dark Kight, what with him traveling through time, crossing universes, having each and every convenient gadget in whatever new zany situation, etc. I look at the current story arcs and wonder why Batman even needs to fight crime anymore given the other 8,000 stupidly themed heroes traipsing around Gotham doing the same thing.

    • TedTheodoreLogan

      “lol I’m reading this article on an iPad.”

      Sorry, couldn’t keep going after that sentence.

      • wtff

        I had no idea the means with which I had access to and read the article invalidated my opinion. Shame you’re too stupid to both give my humble opinion any credence due to your own juvenile prejudice, or actually offer any thought of any value whatsoever to the discussion. Bravo, you’re an idiot.

  • Elitist Prick

    This kind of thing happens fairly regularly, at least I think it does, though it might take different forms. DC had the various Crisis series, Marvel had its big Civil War, Superman’s continuity was sorted out (or changed, I guess) before he had his epic battle with Doomsday, etc. Hell, look at the characters that have been around for decades; you can’t read a Batman comic from the 40s, the 60s, and today and tell me they feel like the same character. Sure, they have the same name and dress in similar costumes, but the comics are drastically different. These companies are around because they’ve been able to stay marketable and relevant for decades, whether that’s for artistic good or ill is another matter. Sure, sometimes they’ve suffered on both the profit and artistic ends, but at least they’ve survived.

  • Masked Ray

    I don’t think it will be as bad as many think. After all, the article quoted just “appearance, origin, and age.” Hopefully it will just tie up some loose ends or modernize some origins. I personally don’t see why a reboot would be required for costume changes, though.

    Let’s just see how it goes.

  • Edward Lee

    Note to DC: this is WHY I stopped reading DC. As someone who used to read regularly (and did so for almost 30 yrs), it grew exceedingly difficult to muddle thru “which version of Superman am I now dealing with.” While I can certainly understand the creative need to occasionally alter a character’s costume or needs or location, I’ve never understood the desire to either (a) rehash or (b) discard part of a character’s origins.

  • Bob

    It isn’t a bad idea.
    Hope they take the opportunity to get characters to their original roots, like powering down Superman, Wonder Woman and the other god like heroes, to something closer to their original strengths of leaping tall buildings and being more powerful than locomotives, rather than being able to blow stars out and lift planets. It would give them more challenging fights from enemies who aren’t gods and increase the drama.
    Also they might find a way to explain and not simply destroy the classic costumes, how they were based off of circus performers.
    Done right it should increase the storytelling possibilities, but it probably won’t and we’ll probably wind up with an openly lesbian Wonder Woman in a black cat suit who is fighting last year’s most popular new villain and then reintroducing her classic enemies in a rote manner.

  • Photo226

    So modernizing their costumes means giving the male characters mock turtlenecks and the female characters more jewelry?

    So if this helps revamp some origins and the such, does that mean recent story lines will cease to be or altered? I thought the recent couple years of GL writing were among the best DC had to offer. The Sinestro wars, the other Corps, and Blackest Night I felt added a lot to the brand. Brightest day, not so much.

    I’ve been looking for a reason to drop out of reading comics for a while. I think I’ll take this “revamp” as my time to bow out.

  • gator

    I used to collect in the 80′s and early 90s.Comic Collecting died then. Too bad it was something i used to love. I still have the comics my dad gave me and look fondly on those days. Fitting Lee is the one doing the rebooting here.
    Long gone are the days a number one comic ment something.
    Too bad i like comics alot-in an effort to keep the stories new for a younger and younger crowd they reboot and will continue to do so.
    meanwhile the fans gets screwed over-less pages per issue higher prices etc.
    my old collection which I lovingly still have at one time had more than enough value to buy me a house.Now most are wotrthless and worth less then i bought them for.
    Ahh progress
    for like 20 bucks you can right now have access to all marvel comics.
    whats the point of buying hard copies any more?
    between the movies and the books comics have died to me kinda.
    i keep up with many of my old favorites and many of the newer publishing companies but i dont pay anymore.they have gotten their flesh from me
    I cant be the only one thqat feels a lil betrayed by them
    I give them the middle finger and move on
    To Rick above and others i reccommend you stop giving them money for bad books and movies
    how many titles is wolverine and ironman and spiderman in again ive lost count….lol

  • Jason

    I wonder if that is Superboy or Superman in that pic… Jim sure is making WW look like a round-faced teeny bopper.

    The one thing I’d like more of is Bruce Wayne’s humanity. Surly Batman has become boring. Bruce Wayne’s guilt, loss, loneliness and sadness should make for a vulnerable character striving to right all the wrongs in the world to find peace. Yes, we’ve seen it drive him mad and cold, but can we now have writers brave enough to actually explore his emotions? The Arkham Asylum game was on the right track!

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  • Aurora Vampiris

    I’m so confused. I’m not a regular reader of DC Comics, but doesn’t this happen fairly often at DC with all those “Crisis” storylines. Don’t character histories often get rebooted. So why is everyone treating it like something that is “new” and “bold”?

    And I don’t think Marvel has “rebooted” their entire history. “Civil War” was not a reboot. However, Marvel has released alternate history titles in the past, such as the Ultimate line of comics.

  • JLC

    Wow, this story is really, really old. Wait, what? We’re not talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths? Wasn’t that supposed to wipe out the DC multiverse and reboot the brand? I guess 25 years of additional continuity have a way of undoing all that.

    It’s too bad that comics have to have continuity at all. I know it’s what keeps them going, but stand-alone stories, untethered from all the baggage, tend to work the best.

  • Sparky

    I think as far as reboots go, I think they are only talking about the Issue count. For example I think it’s hard to get new readers to jump into the latest Batman story when the issue says “705″ on it. New readers are going to be thrown off and not want to jump in. Having all the series start at 1 just makes things a bit more welcoming.

    I will say I’m looking forward to the Johns/Lee team up for JLA; that’s going to be fun.

    As for the digital distribution thing, my position is the same as it is for games and movies; as long as the original format is still there(paperbacks and so forth) I don’t care. If they want to make a few people with iPhones happy then cool, I’m all for expanding your horizons just don’t leave everyone else behind.

    Last little thing, this is nothing new. The comic book industry has been doing this for years, if they didn’t we’d still have a Robin going:

    “Golly gee-wiz Batman, the Joker has the mayor tied to a giant type writer!”

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  • Reginald Prime

    I mostly dont like what they did making Dick Grayson Nightwing again, if anyone ever earned to be Batman it would be him. He is Bruce Wayne’s greatest success. With Jason Todd being Bruce Wayne’s greatest failure seeing the former Robins battle over Gotham would have been biblical. They could have had a rivalry that could match The Joker and Batman.
    To me Dick Grayson is the finest Dc character of them all. Certainly the most popular of the Robins, greatest acrobatic of all time. The most beloved of the Teen Titans, his command of aero movements was most magnificent. He transformed the… pain of his tormented life into ecstatic justice. To use your passion and pain to protect the mantle and legacy of your mentor, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that oprhan little boy who roamed the roofs of Gotham and step out of the shadow of Batman was not only one of the world’s greatest heroes, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.

  • huhuhu

    If you look at Superman with your eyes blurred… huhu you’ll see what I mean.

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