Thursday, April 30, 2015

Holy Stupidity, Batman!

Back in 2011, DC Comics scrapped 70 years of continuity or thereabouts in an attempt to create more sales. They said a bunch of other things, but that's what they meant. They called this new continuity, which had attitude and realism and all kinds of things other than more than a handful of good stories, the "New 52."

It was, in my opinion, one of the dumber things my nostalgically-favorite narrative format has done in recent years, and there is quite a lot of competition for that title. A new entry in the race has arisen, as DC will once again remove the cape and cowl from Bruce Wayne and slap the ears and winged symbol on someone else. You can see who's supposed to be getting the new outfit at the link if you want; I'll keep this post spoiler-free. But trust me, even if you don't look. It's just stupid.

Bruce has been sidelined before. His back was broken by Bane back in 1993 and he sat out for a year recovering while Jean-Paul Valley, the mentally unstable Azrael, took on the role. Jean-Paul switched out the gray and the blue for armor and found the stress too much to be the obsessed yet controlled Caped Crusader that Gotham City needed. Dick Grayson, the first Robin, filled in as Batman after Bruce defeated Jean-Paul, and then again when Bruce was supposed to have been killed by Darkseid in 2009.

Although series writer Scott Snyder talks like the new Batman and the new-look manga-style armor will be a permanent change, that can be taken as seriously as any pro wrestling feud. Sales may take a curiosity jump for awhile, but eventually they'll settle back down to the current level or lower, and DC will be forced to acknowledge what we've seen in movies, comic books and elsewhere for years. Bottom line, only one person can say, "I'm Batman" and have it be true: Bruce Wayne.

(H/T Jonathan Last)


Todd Bergman said...

I have to agree. This could only have happened because DC needed a short term financial boost.

After watching Avengers last night, I was struck with the reality that DC is losing ground in the Marvel-DC back and forth they have always enjoyed. But while Marvel has the cinematic universe to offer them some freedom to explore themes, DC is just hoping that something will catch the public's interest.

The trailer for Superman Batman looks dorky. Wonder Woman has changed the director. The DC cinematic universe won't use the television universe (which is the only GREAT thing DC has going right now) in future movies. DC is struggling.

I hope they can get some new leadership. They have a legacy. All comics and their glowing screen offspring owe their existence to DC.

fillyjonk said...

Why am I thinking, "New Coke" all of a sudden?

Friar said...

DC used to be able to lay claim to their "Animated Universe" titles as their ruled roost, but they ended the TV series and the DVD features have been hit-or-miss. And as they've opened up more and more "New 52"- era titles, a lot more miss than hit.

Marvel's model seems to kind of parallel the modern music industry. Bands release albums as a hook for tours, and tours are what makes the majority of the money. The comics hook folks into the movies, and the movies make the money. But DC is pairing lame comics with what has been so far an uneven slate of movies. "DC" stood for "Detective Comics" in the beginning, but if someone doesn't hire and/or fire the right people, the moniker is going to re-aquire its use as initials, only it's going to stand for "Death Corkscrew."

Oh well. I only buy Astro City anymore anyway

Friar said...

I'm not sure this isn't dumber than New Coke.