Wednesday, May 11, 2005

DC Giving me yet another reason to stop buying their books.

For those of you not in regular conversation with me, I have been highly disappointed with DC Comics over the past year. First, they do unspeakable things to Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis (though the series overall was pretty good). Second, they kill Blue Beetle in Countdown to Crisis (though with them incinerating his body in Project OMAC the likelihood he will return has skyrocketed).

What do I find upsetting about these things? Do I hold Silver and Bronze age characters to be sacred? Am I some kind of comics prude who hates to see realistic portrayals of heroism/villainy in my books?

I like realistic stories and I like updating characters (Marvel does it every five years), so those aren't why I am upset. I am upset not merely because DC has decided to write "dark" stories (I like dark stories), I am upset because they have chosen to destroy lighthearted and comical heroes in the telling of these stories. DC is filled with brooding and dark heroes (Batman is the king of them), but what is truly rare is the well written and entertaining lighthearted hero. Blue Beetle was the king of these and Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny, Sue's husband) was a prince. So DC isn't just telling dark stories, they are killing off the lighthearted. They appear to be saying, if you want to read humorous and fun comics...Fuck you! I use the profanity because that is how harsh they have been. Greg Rucka at last year's comic con essentially told a fan who asked if he could write a few short arcs (rather than the 16 month arc he was writing on Wonder Woman) and Rucka told the fan "you don't know anything about comics." Comics are about the audience not the writers and artists. Blue Beetle and the Dibny's have a fanbase, a fanbase that DC seems to be telling to go away. This is all too bad, especially since a good selling comic sells 100,000 copies today. Compare that to the 2 million plus Superman was selling in the 40s and you can see the problem with telling a part of your audience to go away.

All of which would be okay, if they were seeking a new audience. But what new audience? Adults who don't buy comics have already written them off, except as a random purchase. Youth are the future of comics, your audience should be the living and not the dying, but I don't know many parents who want to give their children Identity Crisis #2. Which is not to say IC was bad, just that most young people won't be exposed to it.

The latest in their neverending attack on the comic book tradition is the replacement of their classic logo.

Though to be honest the new logo is kinda badass.

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