A New Era For Comic Books And The DC Universe

JL“…a whole new era for the DC Universe…”

That’s what it’s being called, the upcoming summer changes to the comic book line that DC Comics is publishing, as well as the way they will go about creating them. And while that statement may turn out to be true, and while it’s great for comic book readers to get excited over the announcement, the truth is that readers have heard it all before.

One thing is for certain: The bold New52 initiative that DC Comics started almost four years ago, has gotten old and tired.

The only question that remains is: will the stories be any better with the upcoming comic book products?

Yesterday morning, DC Comics issued a press release announcing a slew of new books and a stable of new creators with a broader, more inclusive and accessible focus on the DC Universe group of characters. You can read that release here.

Although it got press, it didn’t have as much fanfare as the New52 initiative did in 2011, when long-standing series’ like Action Comics and Batman ended in favour of all-new first issues with the characters sporting new costumes and new status quos. In the New52, there was little to no history. The characters were younger, many starting their heroic adventuring careers for the first time. This site covered it in many ways, including a review of Justice League #1, the first comic to be published under the New52 banner, as well as an interesting webcast that looked back on that launch a year later (as well as focusing in on Marvel Comics’ publishing answer, Marvel NOW!).

OmegaMenThe New52 was successful, initially, with great sales for each comic. Some went so far as to say that it actually “saved” the industry. But as time wore on and DC editorial become more and more influential in story direction, the general product suffered, sales lagged, and industry advancements at competitors such as Marvel Comics and Image Comics made the New52 an afterthought.

Notwithstanding the popular influence of the Marvel/Disney series of films that have brought eyeballs to their set of comics, or the fact that many popular creators that once worked for DC have now shifted their efforts to other publishers like Image Comics and Valiant Entertainment, story is, ultimately, always at the heart of comic book success.

And that’s what DC Comics promises to bring back with this summer’s changes.

BatMiteBeginning in June, there will be 24 brand-new series’ that will begin with issue one, as well as 25 on-going bestselling series’ that will continue with current numbering. “Story will trump continuity,” says Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment’s Co-Publisher, a directive that DC had somewhat abandoned over the last four years.

One of the most interesting elements of this summer changes is that DC is bringing in a bunch of new voices to work on their characters: writers and artists that haven’t had much work in the more mainstream comic book realm. As well, more titles will be geared towards a younger audience, which is always a great thing.

At a cursory glance, some of the new titles to look forward to include:

Bat-Mite: Dan Jurgens and Corlin Howell

Dark Universe: James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle

Dr. Fate: Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew

Mystic U: Alisa Kwitney

Omega Men: Tom King and Alec Morgan

Section Eight: Garth Ennis and John McCrea

FCBD DIVERGENCEFor Free Comic Book Day on May 2, DC will release a comic called DC Comics: Divergence, which will introduce new and old readers to teasers of the various upcoming books. It’s definitely a piece of (free) candy to look forward to.

Over the coming months, this site will continue to keep a close eye at the upcoming changes to DC’s publishing schedule. It’s an exciting time for comic book readers in anticipation of new stories by new creative, while also looking back on the successes and failures of DC’s New52.

What are your thoughts on the new summer comic book line-up from DC? What might you looking forward to most ?

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