Midtown Bloggerinos! Raph here, I raved about the House of Ideas last time, and I think it’s only fair to share the love with DC Comics. We’re just about a year and a half into the complete relaunch of the DC Universe, and there’s been a lot of changes and upheaval; these are some of the brighter spots!
1. B-List? That’s Baloney!
There’s a universally understood concept that says that certain characters are “top-tier” (your Batmans, Spider-Mans and what have you), and then there’s the next level down: the B-List. For Marvel, that used to be Tony Stark, now look at him: he’s got a multimillion dollar movie franchise and he’s the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… well DC’s done the same for some of their so-called B-List.
What started with Green Lantern and Geoff Johns eight years ago has now continued to the likes of The Flash (in the excellent hands of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato), Swamp Thing (Scott Snyder/Yanick Paquette, now written by Charles Soule and drawn by Kano) and Animal Man (Jeff Lemire/Steve Pugh). These characters have had incredible stories told in the past year or so, and while creative teams rotate, and new storylines start again, you can only hope for more of the same good stuff. That also includes new books like Demon Knights (one of my favorites: a medieval Justice League?!? Count me in!), and reworked ideas like Stormwatch and Team 7.
2. Rising Talent
Speaking of Scott Snyder, and Jeff Lemire, these guys have really had their profiles raised in comics in recent years. Jeff was known more for his independent work like the Essex County Trilogy before doing Sweet Tooth for Vertigo. Animal Man wasn’t that much of a stretch for him, considering the content of Sweet Tooth, but now Lemire is tackling the likes of Green Arrow, Constantine and Justice League Dark, and he’s quickly becoming one of the main creative drivers for DC.
Speaking of creative driving, Scott Snyder has definitely done a great job taking over for Grant Morrison. Morrison’s run on Batman has been going on since 2006, and now he’s wrapping up his run with Batman Inc., but the quality of Batman stories has not dipped at all. Enter Snyder, whose only previous comic work was American Vampire and a handful of Marvel works. Snyder has created some of the most exciting, compelling Batman stories in recent memory; from Black Mirror to Court of the Owls to Death of the Family, Scott has delivered nuggets from the past, as well as dramatically changed the status quo.
On top of Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire joining the likes of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi (who is severely underrated in my opinion: check out his Batman and Robin run!), DC has also sought out new independent talent, which leads me to…
3. The Next Generation
New talent is something any company needs to thrive and continue. DC’s talent pool has received a flush of artists: Mahmud Asrar, Yildiray Cinar, Ardian Syaf and R.B. Silva to name a few. There’s also former Image darlings Greg Capullo and Tyler Kirkham, but the writing roster is also strong as well.
You’ve got Lemire and Snyder already, but also add on Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire), Charles Soule (Swamp Thing), Nathan Edmondson (Grifter) and Robert Venditti (Demon Knights), you have a group of writers who have proven themselves with their own independent work, and it makes sense that the so-called second tier books are doing well. That’s not to say that the established people: the Geoff Johns and Gail Simones, AREN’T doing good work, but it’s good to develop talent, because you never know who’s going to do that definitive run on a character, like Lemire’s Animal Man, or Morrison’s JLA. Giving new guys a chance to leave their creative stamp can only help the company in the future.
A lot’s changed over at DC, but sometimes change is good, sometimes change is necessary. Will the New 52 last, who knows? What we do know, is that there’s some strong storytelling coming out, even if it’s not quite where we’d expect it to be.
UPDATE: 05/20/2013: Scott Snyder is doing a new Vertigo series called Wake, and we’ll be doing a signing for it! Also, Joshua Hale Fialkov may have left he company, along with some DC talent, all of this is unconfirmed, but I just wanted to keep the public informed.
Until Next Time,
“There’s My Boys”