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DC Comics Revamp and its Cultural Potential

On Tuesday, DC dropped a bombshell, a total revamp of all of their flagship titles complete with an issue restart to number 1 in September. This includes long running titles such as Action Comics. I caught wind of the change from Jill Pantozzi’s (The Nerdy Bird), the writer of Has Boobs Reads Comics, twitter feed. I then saw the uproar that ensued after the announcement.

A lot of fans are up in arms at the change, some even swearing off reading the tales of their favorite heroes. Some fans tend to be more moderate, seeing that this is not the first ret-con experience. However, this is a definite change from previous efforts with not only the restart of issue numbering but also the advent of same day access to electronic copies of new issues.

This change means so many things to our culture. First of all, a chance to bring the characters to a new generation of readers without feeling bogged down in decades of mythology and ret-cons. It gives new readers a level playing field and may even make the DC world that much more accessible. I will admit, back when I was in high school at the peak of my comic book consumption I did not actively collect DC comics. The history was harder for me to jump right into as opposed to Marvel’s take on character history and time progression. Now maybe I was just lazy and did not feel like delving that much into the rich culture of DC heroes. It is possible, I was a teenager. The electronic issues also show willingness for an industry giant to start adapting and evolving to the new trends in culture. It is a fact that electronic distribution of media is something that is not going away. The fact that DC is making the move now stands as a sign that as a culture we are in for some big changes, good ones, in how we communicate and share ideas.

I think another important factor is the types of stories Geoff Johns and Jim Lee want to tell focus on character driven stories that deal with the personal interactions between characters in the Justice League book. This methodology sounds like it will resonate across the other titles as well by focusing on the character within their mythology but “also reflect today’s real-world themes and events.”

By choosing to focus on the human element behind the Capes and Cowls, Johns and Jim Lee are creating a world that readers, new and old, can relate easily to. This would go beyond the usual hero worship and escapist fantasies by placing our heroes in situations that mirror what is happening in the real world. By putting reality up to the mirror of imagination, perhaps our media can begin to have a greater influence on the cultures outside of our own. This change could very well be the turning point our culture needs to move from simple consumption of art and stories to a proactive force that can really change things.

You may laugh, but some of the greatest minds found similar inspiration to think beyond the world as it is and chose to see it as it should be.

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3 thoughts on “DC Comics Revamp and its Cultural Potential

  1. I agree that there is potential and I would like to say that I trust Jim Lee to be on board because he believes in what he is doing but this seems like nothing more than a huge gimmick. 52 new issue number 1’s? I admit that I’m a sucker for a new book inf I can grab the first issue and sometimes it pays off (Sweet Tooth, Chew, Unknown Soldier, and The Boys) but most times it turns out to be more disapointing, especially with the big two (Green Arrow, Batman and Robin, The Flash, X Force). I look at this with optimistic pessimism.

    Posted by ZombieMouth | June 2, 2011, 5:16 pm
  2. The major downside to this is the impact dual releases of physical and electronic copies will have on already struggling comic book shops. If the pricing is similar, I’m guessing most people will opt for physical copies since the experience of going to a shop is so much more satisfying than downloading it on your computer. But I could see this weening away just enough fans to tip over some shops. Reboots are healthy, though doing every title all at once might be risky if you find out too late you’ve just alienated your die-hards.

    Posted by Charles Martin | June 3, 2011, 11:21 am

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