Note To Self: Stop Hating

We like him when he's angry.

My LCS owner and I were doing our regular news-of-the-week chat when I started griping about the Earth One projects DC has planned for Superman and Batman. Gripe is probably too strong a word, because I’m a big fan of Gary Frank, who’ll be illustrating the Batman arc. However, I said something about being annoyed with the repetition of two very well-worn origin stories, and that as much as I love Batman, I don’t need to see him crouched over his dead parents’ bodies ever again. That’s when the owner pointed out the obvious: “Well, you’re not the target audience for these books.”

Oh.

When I got back into comics in a serious way three years ago, I promised myself that I wouldn’t become the kind of fan who considers a reboot or revision as an affront to his or her childhood. And since I write for a living, I can appreciate the difficulty of keeping a beloved character fresh while being confined by lore and editorial dictates. But there I was, throwing shade on books that aren’t even out yet. God forbid a publisher try to bring newer, younger readers into the fold! While I’d much rather see a great writer breathe new life into a less familiar character, I’m already reading comics. Someone who isn’t in that world is more likely to enter (or re-enter) through a familiar door. And it doesn’t get more familiar than Batman and Superman.

That comic shop exchange reminded me of a Dragon*Con panel about the future of comics that I attended back in September. Panelist Darwyn Cooke, one of my favorite writers, kept it extremely real, referring to modern comic book culture as “an over-35 club.” He pointed out that comic books were never meant to be read by the same audience for 20-plus years. But because the average reader today is more likely to have a mortgage than a homeroom teacher, the demand for continuity, among other things, hangs over many titles. So naturally, someone like me — as opposed to, say, my 9-year-old son — is over Superman’s origin story because they’ve been paying attention to superhero titles for decades. As Frank himself put it, the Earth One project “is a blank slate.”

It’s nice to be reminded that there’s room under the tent for everyone — and that if it doesn’t move me, I don’t have to read it. Besides; despite my grouchy old geek act, they had me at “Gary Frank.”

4 thoughts on “Note To Self: Stop Hating

  1. I have been a fan of comics off and on for maybe 10 years, but you want to know what got me buying issues every week? Superman: Birthright. By far, one of my favorite story arcs.

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  2. I sort of have two minds about this. I think it’s cool that DC is trying to experiment with different distribution methods of comics – graphic novels instead of monthly mags. However, I also think that trying to use this new format is counter-intuitive to their end goal of enticing new readers.

    I don’t know all of the details of how this is going to be done (how much it will cost; how often it will come out; etc.), but I’ve got to believe that these graphic novels will be about the cost of a trade paperback ($19.99 ballpark) and that they’ll come out quarterly.

    So now instead of a new reader having to pony up $2.99 for an unknown product, they’ll have to pay $19.99 for something they don’t know if they’ll enjoy. Seems a little steep to me.

    Not trying to hate here, but I just don’t see this as logical.

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  3. E.Petermen you were right in the first place. Earth One is another tired attempt to keep franchises afloat that have seen their day and need to be replaced with new and original characters and concepts.Superman needs to fade away permanently to New Krypton which would be a fitting sendoff for him.Batman and Captain America just need to stay dead. When I think of all the talent wasted on the three Battle of the Cowl mini’s and the 6 to 8 one shots, talent that should have been working on their own stuff, it just leaves me wondering what DC corporate is thinking. Follow that with the ridiculously over extended Blackest Night featuring a character that may still have some life left, but who could care at this point? Basically J.Michael and Johns are doing the right thing by continuing to get paid top dollar for whatever brain dead idea DiDio and Quesada throw at them. I would,wouldn’t you?

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  4. Those are very good points. I often wonder if there are any good stories left to tell about A-list comics characters, and given all the competition for kids’ attention these days, I’m not sure how the industry can get them back in significant numbers. I mean, when a top writer tells aspiring comic-book creators that Supes and Bats are dead ends and they’re better off creating something new … wow.

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