The DCU, Old and New. Part 3 of 3

Doctor Q November 2, 2011 No Comments »

We’ve looked at the past of the DCU and we’ve seen the road map planned for the Relaunch and how it has been perceived.  Now we look to the future of the DCU, and the manner and method this relaunch has taken. It turns out the heritage of the characters was something the creative teams on the various books have certainly honored, as well as the scope, which is truly massive.

The New 52 spans across the whole universe. With titles like The New Guardians and the various Green Lantern books taking you across the reaches of space, to the earth-bound tales of the heroes and villains of the world we live in. What excited me the most is than MANY of the books depart from superheroes. The New 52 has honored the long standing 75-year legacy of their heritage with supernatural, war, science-fiction, and western comics coming back on the stands.

The New 52 books span throughout not only space but time, as the books tell stories from the New 52’s past, present, and future. Books such as Demon Knights tell of the Medieval world, whereas All Star Western shows you Jonah Hex in the frontier town of Gotham City, long before the Bat took to the belfry. And DC’s favorite heroes from the 31st Century continue on their tales of the future in Legion of Superheroes and Legion Lost.

But the core of the New 52 is putting a new, modern spin to superheroes. Its flagship title, Justice League, was the first to hit the stands and takes place five years before “present day” and tells of the dawn of the superheroes. As I am reading them now, I am curious as to how these new heroes have continued from their heritage, but have become public in a world of terrorist attacks, 24-news cycle, and the massive interconnection of the internet age. My hope is these characters whose origins are rooted in the mindset of the 30s or 40s, strike a similar cord for today’s youth and attract a whole new readership.

I had the great privilege to talk with one of the current comic industry’s greats – Jimmy Palmiotti. With his work on titles such as Jonah Hex leading up to, and now entering into, the brave new world of the New 52 with All-Star Western – I just had to ask him about his work with this project.

“Readers can expect the same quality storytelling we bring to each project and an array of amazing artists as well. Moritat is the regular artist and the back-stories have a revolving door of super talent as well, they feature some new characters and reintroduce some classic DCU western characters. You can also expect to see us dealing with the history of Gotham within the title and having a blast doing it. The new series has a lot going for it.”

I’m sold. But then again, you can’t go wrong selling the weird west to a steampunk comic nerd. However, as a fan of playing around with timelines, I simply had to ask if there was any information we could glean from the New 52’s time-spanning collection of books, to which he responded:

“I don’t want to give away too much , but we really are experimenting with the format , which means there will be things you have never seen before in that time period.”

Could this mean more of the old Jonah Hex through time again? Good lord I hope not, but I have the utmost faith that with the creative team DC has put in place, this title is sure to really bring back the western to DC’s lineup in a big way. The simple recasting of Hex within Gotham was a brilliant decision, and all those rabid Bat-fans should be picking this book up to get a feel for the New 52’s history of the character that is Gotham City.

While I had the man’s ear for a bit, I asked him about the new day-to-date publishing format DC has in store for their line. His response surprised me.

“Anything that will get comics in people’s hands is great by me. Take a look at this page alone (Linked) this is super exciting to me that people can now get comics of mine from every publisher and get them the same day as they come out. I was on a panel at Baltimore Con and asked the room how many people didn’t have a comic shop within 40 miles of where they live and half the room raised their hands…I was shocked, but I was told by the people there that a lot download their favorite books now and they love it. I have to think something that helps people get the product is a great thing. I think DC is doing a great job with everything going on.”

Shocked is right. I often forget, living in a large city as I do, and being no more than 10 miles from everything you could possibly need, that others have embraced the internet age much more quickly because of their locale. Perhaps history will look back on this time as the Digital Age of Comics? I mean we have the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, and the “Modern” Age. I’d say this Relaunch could very well be the start of the next big thing.

“My hope is that people continue to embrace some of the new directions, and they spread the word that comics are as fun and exciting as ever,” said Jimmy as a closing thought. And I couldn’t agree more.

I am thrilled to see one of the biggest names in comics take such a huge step in the format, content, and method of one of my most beloved mediums of art. With comics crossing over into cartoons, television, and movies more and more each year – and those other genres have been keeping completely up-to-date with the internet age, it is wonderful to see DC really bring some fresh air into their lineup and make an earnest attempt to attract people into the world of comics that would otherwise have passed it up.

As for its success or failure, time will tell. In the meantime, all 52 of the #1s are now on the newsstands, online, and ready to be purchased, read, and loved. I suggest you check out DC’s Source Blog. It has a breakdown of all 52 titles. Read it, find ones that you think speak to you and pick them up. Because if there was ever a chance to get into comics, now is it. Enjoy!


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

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