Saturday, October 8, 2011

New DC 52

Read the other 26 #1 New DC's.

There has been some controversy about the sexual content of Catwoman, and of Star Fire in Red Hood, but the thing you notice is how much of that slightly naughty tone pervades the entire line of comics. Obviously, some of the titles have none of that, but others have quite a bit.

Doesn't bother me, nor does it bother most comic readers. (As I often try to point out: Thank goodness there is none of that slightly naughty tone to books, games, T.V. or movies....! Eh?)

I didn't gain any new young readers, here at the store. (What's strange is that I didn't even notice, because I've given up looking for that -- just like I've given up looking for bumps from superhero movies -- it's been years now that such an effect should have and could have happened and it has totally sunk in that it won't. Unless there is some sort of unusual tipping point event, and those you simply can't predict.)

It's mostly returning readers, and existing readers trying new things. And some adventurous adults.

As I mentioned before, it's like a cross between old line DC superheroes, and the more mature and interesting Vertigo line. Vertigo are some of my favorite comics, so it's right up my alley. Which may be a bad thing, I don't know. I tend to like titles no one else likes....

For instance, in this latest batch, I think I enjoyed All-Star Western best, which was a kind of cyberpunk/western combination.

Most of the rest had intriguing starts, which were mostly easy to follow. Some seemed very very slight -- like Supergirl, and some more dense like Superman.

It is a good trick to introduce teams like Teen Titans and Legion of Superheroes and Blackhawks and not confuse me or lose me. (I think I stand here as a representative of new readers.)

I haven't been a Green Lantern reader over the last several years as they have become more important -- but I sort of meant to take them on sometime. This new start was the perfect time to start, and I'm impressed by how fleshed out the G.L. universe is.

Turns out, I like a writer named Kyle Higgins and liked Nightwing, just as I liked Deathstroke earlier. (Turns out, nobody else much like Deathstroke...)

The writer Paul Jenkins shows a pretty strong story sense; I was a little confused by Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman. It showed part of the iconic reach of Wonder Woman in the middle of a very confusing storyline.

I see why people like Geoff John's writing -- he did a very good job on Aquaman, though I thought the meta aspects a little off-putting. (Referring to Saturday Night Live skits about what a lame hero he was -- cute but distancing.)

I've been most disappointed with Scott Snyder's writing -- I love his American Vampire series, but I have felt his writing for Batman and Justice League Dark were muddled and unfocused.

Finally, I like the straight out genre naughtiness of I, Vampire (war between humans and vampires) and Voodoo (sexy alien.)

I also like the straight-on Noir and mystery aspects of titles like Deadman and Birds of Prey.

You can see how they are trying to take some stand-alone superhero types, like Firestorm and Captain Atom, and radically rethinking them. Which I'm not sure is going to help or hurt them. They will have to find readers, just like they always have.

It's hard to mess up Batman, and all the Batman titles have been competent. But Batman could have been a home run -- he's by far the strongest character in the DC universe, in my opinion -- and they didn't really manage to write a completely outstanding story. Good, but not great. Too bad.

The whole effort has been very well done, and I think they were probably wise not to try to hire superstar writers -- who might have written that great Batman story I wanted -- but who are terribly unreliable.

Same with Superman, basically.

My advice to DC would be to keep them coming out on a timely basis, not be in a hurry to cancel any titles too soon. (I think that would be breaking an implicit understanding between publisher and new readers. We oldtime comic readers understand that titles come and go -- but new readers need that sense of continuity to be reassured enough to continue.)

This week, we got the first cycle of the second issues, which I'm going to let pile up for the first two weeks before reading. I ordered tons of the second issues, and reprints of the first issues, so I should have a copy of everything by the end of the month for anyone who wants to give them a try.

Like the first half of the New 52, I intend to read all the second issues, after which I'll probably do some winnowing down.

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