Read This Book- Thoughts on the Upcoming DC Movie Slate

My life is too easy some times, so I thought I would talk about how I’m excited about some of the James Gunn announced DC projects in the work.

I look forward to your comments.

So I want to be very upfront here: I’m not a huge fan of most of what the DCU has put out in the last decade, which is a shame because I have been reading DC pretty steadily for 20+ years. My favorite comic characters are The Flash, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, and the Green Lantern Corps. The first comics I ever collected were Flash comics. DC is in my blood, and while I went through a pretty heavy X-Men and Wolverine phase in the ‘90’s, there has never really been a week in my life where my pull list didn’t have at least 5 DC books on it.

So when the original DCU finally got up and running with Zack Snyder and Man of Steel I was all onboard. Finally, DC was going to throw it’s hat in the ring and start to compete, and they had to win, because if Marvel could become an unstoppable juggernaut with what was essentially a handful of C and D list characters, then DC bringing the entire Justice League with them had to be fantastic, right?


The results were, mixed at best. I didn’t hate Man of Steel, but it also was not my Superman. I grew up watching the Christopher Reeves Superman on the small screen, and later shows like Lois and Clark, Superboy, and a handful of episodes of Smallville here and there. I also read Action Comics pretty regularly for a long time and had an affinity for Superman and a pretty solid idea of what worked about the character.

The dark, gritty, moody, bitter man we got was, well, he wasn’t my Superman.

And that’s OK, because he was for a lot of other people. That’s what’s great about comics: characters have been around so long that no matter what you’re into, there is an era of any character that can be yours. I like bright, hopeful Superman, showing us a better way through his actions and beliefs. And many people like Superman as a murderous hobo that allowed for the destruction of the city he lived in because he was raised to be a monster by emotionally dead psychopaths, and that’s OK too.

I’m kidding. Please don’t @ me 🙂

But anyways, the point I’m making is that while the SnyderVerse was not for me, it was for a lot of people, and they got a lot of what they wanted over the last decade. Heck, they got a lot more than anyone thought they would! For many of Snyder’s fans they got to see their favourite director produce his version of their favourite characters, and honestly, that’s better than a lot of us can ever dream of.

What I’m saying is I’ll never get to see Adam West as a live action Grey Ghost, and that will haunt me.

But the thing is, if you’re a comic fan you know that characters and stories are a lot like Michigan weather. If you don’t like it, just wait, it’ll change sooner than you think.

In 2018 I was reading Superman and Action Comics, and I was loving every minute of it. Peter J. Tomasi’s run on the character was one of the best I had seen in a long, long time, and the results were stories that I felt finally got who Superman was, and showed what he could really be.

Now when Rebirth happened, a lot of Superman fans were upset, because they had been reading, and loving the New 52 run, a radical redesign of the characters that took some serious liberties with the IPs, but also found a really solid fan base that was upset to see the changes that Rebirth brought. They dropped off the book, and new and old fans alike jumped on board (or back onboard like I did) and got very invested in the Rebirth storyline.

And then Brian Michael Bendis blundered in like a bull in a china shop and destroyed everything. (Yeah, I’m still bitter.)

As soon as that happened, and I read a few issues of Man of Steel, I dropped Superman and I have not been back. I hear it got better, but that radical tone shift really made me angry, and while I have no doubt that the new team is taking the book in an exciting and new direction, what I see just isn’t for me right now, and that’s OK.

(Also, what is it about the name Man of Steel that leads to the destruction of the version of Superman I like? There has to be something to that…)

I know, what does any of this have to do with James Gunn? I’m getting there. Hang on one minute.

See, as I said, I grew up on Christopher Reeves, Lynda Carter, Adam West, and the Batman: The Animated Series universe. Those were my characters, and when the SnyderVerse burst onto the scene it wasn’t for me. It was dark, gritty, and hopeless in a way that reminded me of a lot of the New 52 and I just was not here for it. I felt like my version of the characters were betrayed by this new DCU, and even though there were a handful of bright spots (Seriously, let’s all go see Shazam so that series has a chance in hell of getting another. We need that part of the DCU so badly) overall it wasn’t for me.

So when the fans of that universe saw James Gunn come in and wipe away a very large chunk of what they loved, I got it. I mean, some of the Snyder fans were toxic jerks, but there were also an overwhelmingly silent majority of them that were decent people who just really liked his interpretation. I get it, I really do. It sucks when you have a version of the character you like get wiped away and replaced. You want everyone to love and respect the character the way that you do, and when that get’s taken away it can legitimately hurt.

But, like I said, that’s also the nature of comics, especially from the Big 2. Creators come and go, and so do readers. James Gunn is not the be-all-end-all of the DCU. He is a new chapter, but he is far from the final one.

And there is a lot to be excited about in the new slate. Fans of lesser known characters finally have an ally in Gunn, a man well known for his interest in playing with the more obscure parts of comic lore. I didn’t know anything about the Guardians of the Galaxy before his film series came out, and now I freely admit that the first film is easily my favorite standalone Marvel movie of all time, and is on the very short list of go to comic book films of mine that I can rewatch endlessly without getting bored.

I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with Superman. How is he going to tell the story of a young Superman using the framework of All-Star Superman, a story that ostensibly tells the “last” story of a Superman at the end of his career?

And I’m excited to see his The Brave and the Bold film, which will not only be a completely new kind of Batman story, a father and son tale with him and Robin, but it will also be the first time we see a live action version of Damian Wayne, a character that I know many love, and just as many seem to hate. Either way, it’s going to be something.

In fact, there’s a lot on the slate that I really love and am excited for, and some of the stuff I am not as thrilled about I know other people are. There’s more buzz around DC movies and projects now that there has been in a long time, and while you might hate everything he’s doing, you have to admit that James Gunn and his co-CEO Peter Safran have done a great job of getting eyes on DC Studios, and has built a lot of hype in the community. (It also helps that Marvel’s current slate of films is, well, depressingly average at best right now.)

So, how do I wrap this up?

If you loved Zack Snyder’s run of films, that’s great. Those movies exist and you will always be able to go back and rewatch them again and again. You can live in that’s universe forever and no one can take that away from you.

But at the same time, if you know anything about comics, they cycle. The goofy excesses of the ‘90’s lead to the grim-dark New 52. The grim-dark New 52 lead to the hopeful and bright Rebirth era. The Rebirth Era lead to, well, whatever this current mess is, but it’s OK, because it’ll cycle back around again in a few years. And it will happen with the movies as well.

James Gunn isn’t going to “destroy” the DC Universe. He can’t. He’s not powerful enough. Heck, no one is. He’s going to helm a bunch of movies that might be great, and might be awful, but until I see them I’m going to try to keep my spirts up. I’m going to trust a man that has made some of my favourite comic book films to do right by the fans, and help bring in new fans along the way. I’m going to go in expecting the best, and while I might be let down in the end, I’m still going to go in with hope.

Because that’s what Superman would do.

Alright, if you made it to the end of this indulgent ramble I appreciate it. Next week I’ll be back talking about my normal bevy of tiny indie titles for you to grab, but this week there was just so much I felt like I had to get it off my chest. No hate to anyone, love what you love!

Until next time, Stay Safe.

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