DC NEW 52: THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
It’s been awhile since I’ve commented on the DC NEW 52 books, but not for lack of interest. There are plenty of places to read reviews of the new titles, including right here where Jeff has been doing a fine job of keeping pace - - and because of that I haven’t felt a sense of urgency. But I remain interested, intrigued, and delighted by the results so far and have to give DC an A grade for effort. It’s a formidable task they set before themselves and they’re pulling it off for the most part. Book orders are up. There is renewed interest in these classic characters. Some older readers are returning and even brand new faces are showing up in comics stores and becoming regulars who return for more. For me, what DC has done is understand an essential component of why we follow comic books in the first place - - - the sense of wonder, the escapism, the simple joy of reading. They have grasped it at the very root, and are tapping the vein.
However, as far as being able to partake of all this nectar that is being offered to us (a whopping 52 new titles) many of us do not have unlimited funds (or stomach) available. That is where the careful selection process has to occur - - - and that is where comics bloggers like myself and Jeff can perform a valuable service by helping to point out the books most worthy of your attention. It would be absolutely amazing if all 52 of these new titles continued into the following year and beyond. I expect several of them will be cancelled due to low sales numbers and/or deserved lack of interest. It would be an absolute shame if a worthy book was canceled simply because it was just part of this massive flood of new titles and was simply over-looked.
I’ve got to go back more than 10 years to a point where I previously devoted this high a percentage of my monthly comics budget to super-hero titles. I’ve earned somewhat of a reputation here for focusing on the “alternative” titles or genres of comics and not so much on the super-hero books. There’s a valid reason for that = what I write about directly reflects my current comics tastes and preferences. I’ve become somewhat jaded after reading comics for five decades and it takes a really unique direction or writing so good that I just can’t ignore it to get me to follow a super-hero book every month. It’s still too early to tell - - but DC may get me to make more room for them in my monthly budget.
DC was very wise to put out the free DC COMICS THE NEW 52 #1 sampler back in August, as it served to announce all the new titles and also introduce the writer/artist teams for each book. It just enhanced the excitement and started the wave of fan buzz churning. For me, it helped to narrow down my initial selections, and I wrote about those decisions here.
I decided to follow 9 books and commit to each title for a 3 issue trial. My selection was based on two considerations: 1) Did I think this was a book that seemed to have a greater chance of surviving beyond Year One? and, 2) Was it a book that appealed to my interests either because of the concept, characters, and writer and/or artist?
I choose these nine books for my 3 issue commitment: ACTION COMICS, ANIMAL MAN, AQUAMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, BATMAN AND ROBIN, BATWOMAN, FRANKENSTEIN – AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E., and JUSTICE LEAGUE.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from picking up and sampling some of the other offerings, and as a result of that I decided to make an additional 3 issue commitment to these titles as well: ALL STAR WESTERN, FLASH, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, MEN OF WAR, SWAMP THING, and WONDER WOMAN.
In summary, I read 20 total #1 issues of the DC NEW 52 (38.5%) and increased my initial list from 9 books to 15 books that I plan to follow for 3 issues before deciding thumbs up or thumbs down.
I’ve already reviewed many of those first issues here, and from this point will hold off until I’ve finished all three issues. I’m also planning to write about those books that I tried and decided to abandon. I won’t rant about them. I’ll just be as kind as possible and explain why they don’t work for me. My goal is to draw attention to what I think deserves it and hopefully help selective readers make informed choices. I sure hope you are having as much fun with the DC NEW 52 as I am.
NEXT: ACTION COMICS #1 – 3 plus one of my cast-offs.