DC recently conducted their Retailer Roadshow to introduce their new 52 titles and get retailers reactions to the bold new direction of DC. As a result of these meetings we’ve got a very informative Q&A supplied by Bob Wayne, SVP of sales at DC Comics in an effort to explain the launching of the 52 titles in September. Read on!
* Why do it? There is a lot of speculation out there, are you “rebooting” the titles?
This is an epic and ambitious initiative that ushers in a new generation of comics for DC Comics and will set the tone for storylines and characters for years to come. With all of the titles starting at #1, our creative teams have the ability to take a more modern approach – not only with each character, but with how the characters interact with one another and the universe as a whole, and focus on the earlier part of the careers of each of our iconic characters. A time when they didn’t have as much experience defeating all their nemeses. A time when they weren’t as sure of their abilities. A time when they haven’t saved the world countless times. It’s this period that is rich with creative opportunity as we show why these characters are so amazing, so iconic and so special.
We think fans will be excited by this approach and The New 52 will provide DC Entertainment an opportunity to aggressively reach the widest possible audience worldwide, through captivating stories and an accessible entry point. We see great opportunities to tell new, contemporary, cutting edge stories building off the best known, classic stories that make up each of the title’s back histories.
* DC Comics has had a number of reboots, what makes this one different?
This is not a reboot, it’s a launch. This is a historic initiative for DC Entertainment and the DC Comics characters – and a first in the company’s publishing history. This next era of DC Comics characters will see 52 all-new #1 issues of its super hero titles at the same time AND same-day digital across the board. In addition to the number changes, our talented creative teams are working behind the scenes to create compelling storylines and new costume designs for many of our iconic DC Comics characters.
* Why not call it a reboot?
It’s not a reboot. A reboot is typically a restart of the story or character that jettisons away everything that happened previously.
This is a new beginning which builds off the best of the past. For the stories launching as new #1s in September, we have carefully hand-selected the most powerful and pertinent moments in these characters’ lives and stories to remain in the mythology and lore. And then we’ve asked the best creators in the industry to modernize, update and enhance the books with new and exciting tales. The result is that we retained the good stuff, and then make it better.
* Does The New 52 undo events or continuity that I’ve been reading?
Some yes, some no. But many of the great stories remain. For example – Batgirl. The Killing Joke still happened and she was Oracle. Now she will go through physical rehabilitation and become a more seasoned and nuanced character because she had these incredible and diverse experiences.
* So will all titles be entry points or will you need to know back-story for some?
Each title will read as a #1 issue that will make jumping into the story extremely accessible for all types of readers. The stories are designed in a way that new fans will be able to pick up a book and immediately be drawn into the story, while at the same time existing fans will be engrossed by the new and epic moments that take place.
* Do the new #1s mean that the previous stories didn’t take place?
Our creative teams have a firm understanding of the storied heritage of characters and titles. The new #1 issues will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse universe of DC Comics characters, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will map to real world situations, interactions, tragedies and triumphs.
Overall, DC Entertainment is focused on putting out the most innovative storylines, featuring the most iconic characters, created by the most creative minds within the industry.
* Might you just introduce a new DC “Ultimate” line and give it the spotlight for a few months, then have the opportunity to bring back the other continuity? Will this all be put back to “normal” after a few months?
No – this is the new universe of DC Comics characters. This is an epic and ambitious initiative that ushers in the next era of the DC Comics characters and will set the tone for storylines and characters for years to come. This is not an “event,” because events expire.
* Why are you changing the costumes?
DC Entertainment is led by some of the biggest fans of comics out there. We know that if Geoff and Jim are excited about the stories and artwork, we’re on to something big. While there may be some naysayers, when we thought about starting the entire DC Comics universe line of comics with #1/first issues we looked at the benefits for the long haul, not just a year or two. Our goal is to create a watershed moment for DC Entertainment – and the industry as a whole – where fans will remember this as a time of innovation while maintaining DC Entertainment’s commitment to creating entertaining and masterfully created stories.
* Do you not care about your company’s history? If you do this right, what do you want your legacy to be 75 years from now?
The legacy of DC Entertainment, and DC Comics before it, is based on the creativity of our editors and our creative talent, and our commitment to the best storytelling possible. DC has always been about character development and growth.
Take Batman for example. In the early days he was a vigilante who brandished a gun. Then he morphed into a whimsical character and then in the 1960′s he became more of the gritty, grim avenger of the night. We can all agree that we are glad Batman evolved.
Our goal is to create a watershed moment for DC Entertainment – and the industry as a whole – where fans will remember this as a time of innovation while maintaining DC Entertainment’s commitment to creating entertaining and masterfully created stories.
* Specifically why end Action and Detective before they reach their 1,000th issues? Action Comics is the longest running American comic book, followed closely by Detective Comics, the company’s namesake. Isn’t renumbering these series actually a retreat from the love of “comics as comics”?
Our Co-Publishers and editors thought long and hard about this. It was an extremely important decision that was not taken lightly. But executing this unprecedented event meant taking creative risks on every level and pushing forward with big, new ideas. A partial renumbering would not have had the impact we needed to showcase the amazing changes and direction we have planned for the new DC Comics universe of characters. Counting issue numbers is focusing on the past, not the future.
* Can this event fix/undo an event I don’t like from the past?/ Can this event bring back a character from the past that I miss?/ Does this event change the status of (insert pretty much any character here)? What would you say to someone whose favorite superhero no longer exists?
Characters are always evolving in the DC universe and part of the evolution means that characters come and go. While not all current characters will be part of the new DC Comics line of books, we are confident the ambitious plan we are creating will introduce a new generation of protagonists and antagonists that will captivate readers.
We are kicking things off with our best and brightest characters and what makes them so compelling and great. Simply because you don’t see a personal favorite in the September launches doesn’t mean your favorites are gone. This is just the beginning.
For variants, we chose our core iconic titles with the most compelling visuals. These variants will continue for September, October, and November at least. We will be offering variants on five different titles, effectively one each week. Some specifics so far:
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 VARIANT EDITIONS
Cover by David Finch
BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT EDITION by Jim Lee
ACTION COMICS #1 VARIANT EDITION
Cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT EDITION by Rags Morales
BATMAN #1 VARIANT EDITION
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT EDITION by Greg Capullo
GREEN LANTERN #1 VARIANT EDITION
Cover by Greg Capullo
BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT EDITIONby Ivan Reis
THE FLASH #1 VARIANT EDITION
Cover by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend
BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT EDITION by Francis Manapul