Thursday, September 01, 2011

DC Comics Reboots The Universe

Today's a big day in the DC Universe. For people wondering what DC Comics is - DC Comics Inc. is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. and is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the comic books industry. It introduced a majority of the popular superheroes we have grown up with like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Catwoman, etc.

Effective this month, their entire comic series has taken a major overhaul and all DC Universe titles being cancelled or restarted at #1. Titles which have been around for more than 70 years like Action Comics and Detective Comics, each having around 900 issues credited to them are also being rebooted making it a very big thing in the comic world.

The DC Comics Reboot (AKA The New 52) has been termed as the biggest thing to happen to comic books since Crisis On Infinite Earths (which happened 25 years ago, before I was born :P). This revamp is going to affect not only the storylines but also the way books are being marketed.

Things are changing a lot in the comic world - print is dying, comic book sales are going down year after year and the revenue streams for comic book writers are going dry. With movies like The Dark Knight, X-Men, Superman, etc. making big impressions at the box office, their sources of inspiration going down would be seem very strange but it's true.

I personally would attribute to two major reasons -

  • Complex Story Lines - Movies aren't driving comic sales since movies are far far behind the comic series. Today a newbie can understand The Dark Knight or play Batman - Arkham Asylum but when they grab a copy of Batman comic off the shelf they seem out of sync
  • Digital Media - Complex Story Lines are a problem but a far bigger problem is the influence of digital media on the world. People today are far more addicted to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. and are hooked to devices like iPads, Nooks, Kindles, etc. than reading a physical book. Gone are the good old days when we visited a store to grab a book; we today either download an ebook or wait the movie to come out ;). I don't blame anyone but this is price which we have to pay for embracing technology. The bigger point is that organizations have to understand this and adapt to it

The DC Reboot primarily addresses both these issues; a reboot means that things start from beginning and today's generation can understand the storyline from scratch without having to dig back for older books. On the darker side, this will certainly have a mixed reaction from the existing collector base which has to be dealt carefully.

Also every DC Comics book from here on out will be digitally distributed "day and date". This means that on the same day individual issues hit the shelves of the comic stores, they will also be available to read digitally. The digital distribution of the comic books is something which I liked a lot but I can foresee a major problem of piracy :(. But still it's a great move and if the pricing is maintained properly for people around the globe, it can create a huge impact for the comic world.

For those of you wondering about character origins and histories, it's still unclear what's going to happen - a few of them may be left untouched while the others may see a major change. For instance I didn't see the Martian Manhunter in the Justice League #1.

This move will definitely stir up some hype and I can't wait to see how Marvel responds to this :). Either way, this year's Comic Cons are going to have a lot to talk about and this move will surely have an impact on the future of the comic book industry.

Check out the trailer of DC 52 below -

Check out these cool articles on the DC Reboot -