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Lifelike

Dara Naraghi's graphic novel Lifelike is now available in both digital and print editions. Click here for more info.

Books – Dara
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Image of Moonstone Monsters Volume 1

OK, so if you follow any amount of superhero coverage, by now you’re probably sick and tired of reading about DC’s plan to reboot their universe and relaunch 52 new titles at issue #1 in September. Oh, and as part of the same event, they’re going to be releasing digital versions of the individual comics day-and-date, meaning you can choose to download the book on the same day it hits shops. This latter piece has been getting less press than “ZOMG they’re renumbering Action Comics back to #1!!!!,” but as Dave Uzumeri astutely points out over at Comics Alliance:

“Make no mistake, this entire endeavor is focused on the digital market. DC isn’t dumb. They know print is dying. They know they have no chance at beating Marvel in the print market, as years and years of examples have proven. Rejuvenating the characters (literally) and providing a fresh start all across the line isn’t about a quick sales bump in the direct market; it isn’t about the direct market at all. It’s so that people logging into comiXology to check out these digital DC comics they’ve heard about don’t see an issue number in the 900s after Action Comics and throw up their hands.”


Of course, anyone who has half a brain knows that all media is moving towards digital, and as much as you or I may love print books, there’s no stopping technology and progress. But then there’s Brian Michael Bendis, who tweeted this gem:

“@simps you’re also fucking the struggling retail community in the ass.”

With all due respect to Bendis, his writing skills, his successful career, and his gig as head writer and corporate cheerleader for Marvel, that’s about as unprofessional and dick-ish a thing you could say on the topic. You know, because the right thing to do is forgo new technologies and market direction, and cling to a rapidly deteriorating business model so you’ll be a nice guy in the eyes of comic retailers. Believe me, I love my comic shop and I’d be heartbroken if it went out of business (and put some good folks out of a job) but it’s not DC (or for that matter, Marvel or any other publisher) who is driving this. It’s business and technology. They change. And they change rapidly. And like any other business, you either change and adapt, or you go under.

And please, such righteous indignation from Bendis, as if Marvel doesn’t already have a digital business model as well, with plans to expand it. Grow up.

OK, but enough with the politics and inter-company mudslinging. As far as the 52 new titles go, I have to say I’m neither breathlessly excited, nor spitting mad. This stuff isn’t new, the Big Two have been doing it for a while now. Granted, this particular iteration is pretty ballsy, but for me, it’ll come down to which books have creators and/or characters and directions I like. I’ll buy the ones that appeal to me, and the fact that costumes are changing or books are being renumbered doesn’t really bother me (although, there is a part of me that feels a slight sense of loss at a book like Action Comics, which has been in continuous monthly publication for 75+ years and had just surpassed issue #900 is going to be renumbered. That’s a nice chunk of comics history gone).

Anyway, as of this writing, DC has officially revealed 11 of the 52 books. Plus, there’s plenty of rumors circulating on the others. So I thought it would be fun to come up with my guess as to what all the titles will be. When they’re all announced, I’ll go back and see how well I guessed. I’m hoping to do better than 70%, but we’ll see. So, let’s start with the known books:

JLA
Wonder Woman (surprised to see Brian Azzarello as the writer, but Cliff Chiang is a perfect artist for it, very classy style)
Aquaman
Flash (written by artist Francis Manapul)
Fury of Firestorm (co-written by artist Ethan Van Sciver)
The Savage Hawkman (written by artist Tony Daniel…detect a trend here?)
Green Arrow
Justice League International
Mister Terrific
Captain Atom
DC Universe Presents (an anthology book, cool)

OK, moving on, here are more titles that I’m guessing are pretty safe bets:

Teen Titans
Legion of Superheroes
(in one incarnation or another)
JSA
Jonah Hex
Birds of Prey
Superman
Action Comics
Batman
Detective Comics
Batman Incorporated
(or at least some sort of Grant Morrison Batman book)
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps

…previously announced books which will probably debut as part of this initiative:

Static
Batwoman
(co-written by artist J.H. Williams…ok, ok, I’ll stop)
Red Lantern Corps (Peter Milligan writing)

…and rumored ones that seem pretty likely:

OMAC
My Greatest Adventure
(anthology, continuing 2 of the features from the recently concluded Weird Worlds)
Edge (?)
Dark (?)
Batgirl (supposedly Barbara Gordon)
Nightwing
a Green Lantern spin-off with all the color lanterns
Grifter
(a revived Wildstorm book)

So that’s 34 books, leaving me with 18 more to guess. Let’s see, how about:

Superboy
Swamp Thing (I mean, they did just bring him back into the DCU)
Steel
Blue Beetle (possibly team-up w/ Booster Gold)
Ambush Bug (or some kind of humor book)
Sgt. Rock (or some kind of war book)
Shazam
Hawk & Dove (see: Brightest Day)
another Batman book (probably the hideously-delayed but still high selling Davind Finch one)
Trinity: Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman (replacing the current Batman/Superman book)
Batman Beyond (it was doing decent sales-wise, so odds are it’ll be back)
Dr. Fate
Xombi (not a sales powerhouse, but it’s been getting rave reviews)
The Question (because one book starring a lesbian isn’t enough)
WildCATS (If the Grifter rumor is true, I’m guessing this Wildstorm book created by Jim Lee book is probably slated for a return as well)
Deathstroke the Terminator (either this, or another “villain” book, maybe Deadshot?)
Shade the Changing Man (see: Flashpoint)
Viking Prince (a wild ass guess; I’m thinking they’ll want a fantasy series for diversity of genre, but they already tried Warlord recently and it didn’t take)

So there you have it, my list of DC’s 52 titles debuting in September. I think for the most part I played it safe, although I did throw in a couple of long shots (Viking Prince? What the hell am I thinking?) By the way, feel free to play along in the comments section with your own guesses as to what the 52 titles will be.

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    16 Responses to “The great 21st century DC Comics reboot 52 title Guess-a-palooza”

    • Craig B says:

      I’m of two minds on this. If they quit worrying about what longtime readers think (these are addicts who will buy comics no matter what) and aggressively tailor their stories to a broad new (all-ages) audience, which on the surface seems to be the point, we may have a winner. On the other hand, the creative types on the new books are the same ones that were on the old books that I loathed. I’ll take wagers on when the first “New DCU” rape occurs. My money’s on three months in.

      Count me among those who wish they wouldn’t renumber Action or Detective; only fan-men give a shit about high issue numbers and assume they have to read a complete series to understand what’s going on.

      I might actually check out enough of these to give them a chance to deal me another crushing disappointment. Here’s hoping Firestorm goes back to his Gerry Conway roots and we get a Swamp Thing that gets back to Wein/Wrightson gothic horror type stories.

      Here’s hoping they also don’t make the mistake Ultimate Spider-Man did: tout a reboot then spend 100 issues referencing all the old stories they were supposedly seperating themselves from. New story ideas, please.

    • Dara says:

      OK, that Hitler rant was hilarious (if a bit inconsistent in its point of view…but then again, it’s Hitler).

      I think the idea behind renumbering everything, as the Comics Alliance article posited, is for the supposed non-comics readers who want to check out the new digital comics to not be intimidated with an issue #886 or whatever. Whether they’ll attract enough of these new readers remains to be seen, and as you said, depends on the editorial directions of the books. Are they going to continue in the ultra-violent, nihilistic manner of recent DC material, or really make a break and start something different? Unfortunately, I’m not quite convinced it’ll be the latter. But we’ll see.

    • Torsten Adair says:

      Booster Gold is in the JLI book.

      Since there’s no “canon” in this relaunch, there’s no need to have him time travelling through the DCU, meeting old characters and storylines.

      I do hope Blue Beetle III continues. Make him a Peter Parker character, independent, but interacting with various characters.

      I want to see a done-in-one team-up book. Maybe get Gail Simone to write it. Or use it as a try-out book.

      Nightwing? Depends on the Batman reorganization. Seeing how Red Robin failed, I doubt we’ll see something like this. I’d rather see a Team Batman series, with Batgirl et al. Maybe fold it into Batman Incorporated, which now has a former Batgirl on the payroll.

      I want “future” series. Batman Beyond, maybe a Flash anthology which posits that Speedsters have been around as long as Tricksters (ooh… there’s a mythological clash… Flash and Trickster’s contretemps goes back millennia!) and long into the future, as far as XS (and DC One Million… John Fox). It’s a big continuity hole to play around with, just like DC has a line of outer-space comics (REBELS/LEGION).

      The big farting elephant in the corner? What happens with DC’s 52 universes? Will these relaunches occur under a new number, while DC holds Earth-Zero in reserve in case it doesn’t work?

    • Craig says:

      FOUR Green Lantern titles? Not looking good…

    • Dara says:

      Re: the Green Lantern books…that’s not surprising. They already had 3 before this reboot, with the 4th one (the Peter Milligan written Red Lantern already announced). And since they were some of DC’s best selling books, it stands to reason they wouldn’t mess much with the formula. I’ll bet you it”l be the same with the Batman books.

      Torsten: A done-in-one team up book, ala the previous Brave and the Bold, would be cool. Alas, as the sales on that title showed, there doesn’t seem to be much demand for done i one books from the hardcore nerds…er, fans.

    • Ray Tomczak says:

      I certainly hope Xombi continues. It would be a shame to cancel it so soon after bringing it out of limbo after 15 years, and I’d like to see John Rozum get the chance to finish telling the story he began in the first Xombi series in the 90′s.
      One book missing from your list is Secret Six. Like Xombi, it’s getting great reviews. But from what I gather, its actually selling in pretty decent numbers.
      These are also the only two comics I’m currently buying on a monthly basis, so I hope they continue/
      I understand that Gail Simone, writer of Secret Six, is writing (or co-writing) the new Firestorm, so that might be worth checking out.

    • Craig B says:

      Any judgement of what will/should sell or be offered that depends on what the present readership has supported in the past should be jettisoned out the window. If this isn’t an attempt to bring in new readers who have already decided they aren’t interested in what’s been in the comic shops for the past decade, it’s a wasted effort.

      Publishers shouls have been going after casual readers all along, rather than trying to create new pull-account holding compulsive collectors. If these new series’ aren’t something a non-fanatic can drop in to visit every now and then without feeling they’re missing out on something, I don’t see the point.

    • Tom says:

      So 52 titles… does that mean 2/3′rds of it has Bat, Super or Green in the title? I have yet to see a readable reboot of Adam Strange or Kamandi. Really I’d like to see something new as opposed to retreads of all their licenced stuff.

    • Craig B says:

      Current Green Lantern continuity being carried over; Jason Todd is still around, Nightwing and Damian Wayne still exist. Hardly a continuity-free reboot. Count me out. New readers will still need a scorecard– or six– to keep track of this nonsense. The electronic version will fail because they are still pandering to the crowd that wants something to bag and board.

    • Craig B says:

      It’s a shame, because as I keep saying, the people that are currently buying comics will buy their new boooks NO MATTER WHAT.

    • Craig B says:

      …now I see they’re bringing back Andrew Bennett: Vampire. Let the jokes commence!

    • Dara says:

      “…the people that are currently buying comics will buy their new boooks NO MATTER WHAT.”

      Well, that’s not exactly true. At least, not in sustainable numbers. Just look at the sales figures for both Marvel & DC over the past several years. They’re going down, or at best holding steady. And that’s with multiple variant covers, more frequent “vent” comics, etc.

      Yes, the folks buying comics will continue to buy them, but as the drop out (or die) they’re not being replaced. The whole digital push, I think, is a last gasp attempt at pulling in new readers. But like you mentioned, in this respect DC is hobbling themselves by trying to also please the existing die-hard, rabid fanboys. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, it’s a tough business call.

    • Craig B says:

      If, as you say, the current readership is not buying books in sustainable numbers, and their numbers are diminishing, then deciding whether or not to cater to them isn’t a tough business call at all. Done right, this wouldn’t be a last-gasp attempt to draw in new readers– it would be a breath of fresh air and a great friggin’ idea. But with everything from clinging to convoluted old continuity for the Fan-men’s sake, to pricing them high out of the gate to appease the direct market, they’re f*cking it up before they even get started.

      I was ready and eager to jump into a rebooted Firestorm, but the artwork I’ve seen shows three different versions of the character, implying it carries a bunch of backstory I’m not familiar with in issue #1. No thanks.

    • tom says:

      They released their ‘dark’ hero line. The new Animal Man and Swamp Thing retreads are completely unnecessary. I can’t see anybody topping Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing.

      The Vertigo style Justice League might be fun but they still might fuck it up. I’d probably check that out along with Deadman, Frankenstein and the new Demon comic.

    • tom says:

      …and now I’ve just read their plans for the Batman line. The only good thing is they fixed everything that I hated about the Nightwing costume.
      Batman Inc. goes on hiatus till next year but what does that matter when Bruce is back as Batman. Finally one fresh idea in Batlore and it’s shelved. An even worse idea, get Barbara out of the wheelchair and back as Batgirl??? What’s the point when they already have a title called Batwoman?

      I think they just lost me on the one title I was following at DC.

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