DC tries to gain new readership
September 8, 2011
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Opinions Editor shares his thoughts on pop culture and media.
It isn’t quite the start of a new year, but September always is a new beginning. A new school year, the beginning of autumn, and fresh episodes of your favorite television shows. This year, September brings another beginning: a brand new DC Comics Universe.
Earlier this year, DC announced that it was going to cancel all of its titles (with some flagship titles such as “Batman” being renewed, of course), and start fresh with 52 brand new issue number ones.
This is clearly a strategy to gain new readers. It’s far easier for someone new to comics, but interested in them, to pick up issue one than issue 800-and-something.
I would guess it’s DC’s way to compete with Marvel Comics’ popular movie franchises as a way to drum up more interest in their comics.
The only movie that DC had that was on the same level of popularity and critical acclaim is Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” and it’s very hard for one movie to compete with “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson.
It seems odd to me that DC would push so hard to gain new readers, when January of this year they launched a campaign where they were dropping the prices of all of their titles to $2.99, which was enticing current readers to keep buying the same amount of titles they were already getting.
It only took nine months before DC decided keeping their old readers wasn’t enough, and as a DC fan who has put a lot of money into their company, I feel a little left by the wayside.
Another part of this announcement that doesn’t sit well with me is the announcement that DC will also be releasing their new 52 titles in a digital format on the same day as the physical copy is released.
At least keeping it the same price as the physical copy is a step in the right direction, but I’m a bit of a purist. I think my music should be on a vinyl, or at least a CD (no digital for me, thanks), and my comics should be in print.
I’ve tried reading digital comics before, and nothing ruins a two-page spread than having to scroll to read it. Print comics are already dying out and flooding the market with digital counterparts will hurt the struggling comic shops and will hurt the medium itself.
If artists end up adapting their styles to fit on a tablet or, even worse, a smart phone, they will lose their flair. I buy titles drawn by J.H. Williams III because his art is so fluid and innovative, and a digital comic just won’t do his work justice.
But the relaunch isn’t all doom and gloom. DC is at least smart enough to keep most of the teams on their various Green Lantern and Batman titles, DC’s highest profile and, in my opinion, better titles, relatively the same.
It was nice to see Scott Snyder get upgrade from Detective Comics to Batman, the more popular title.
Superman and Wonder Woman are getting high profile writers who will shake up the characters, something they tried before over the last year, with poor critical reception.
I think what I’m most excited for is Aquaman getting his own title again. Say what you will about him, but if anyone can write a good Aquaman story, it’s Geoff Johns.