Emerald Specter 42: In Charge – DC Edition

This article was spawned by a Newsarama story and is really a different version of what I did with my Marvel take over. Without getting too “into” the press conference portion of things, let’s launch this a little differently because DC has different issues than Marvel.

DC Comics has a history laden with retcons, reboots, and just downright weird decisions. There are characters in this company that have a history like none other, things that make this company far more complicated, and with their direct connection to movie making (Warner Brothers owns DC), it’s baffling why DC didn’t come up with a DCCU before Marvel came up with the MCU… just going to show that movie executives are too stupid to run comic based movies.

But that isn’t what this column is about.

The DC Multiverse is so complicated and convoluted, I’d almost immediately trash the whole lot and start from scratch… but that isn’t what people want. So, the primary DC continuity that has existed (and was retconned in Crisis, Flashpoint, etc) will be hereafter known as DC Legacy, where Bruce Wayne can eternally be Batman and the rest of the crew can continue through their lives as they have without aging (or aging in “comics time”).

DC could have benefitted from a “reimagining” like Marvel’s Ultimate line, and since DC hasn’t done something like this before, we launch DC Absolute… where we start everything from scratch, reimagine all the character origins and have a controlled environment for them all to progress, age, die, be replaced, or whatever needs to happen with the only rule I would impose on DC Absolute: dead means dead.

The DC Absolute line wouldn’t mirror Ultimate Marvel, but retelling their stories with a fresh take in a modern setting would allow the creators to do something different with Absolute that hasn’t been, and couldn’t be, done anywhere else. We wouldn’t be so strangled with a convoluted and complicated history that trying to do something new would cause fanboys everywhere to cry out in anger.

Yes, I can hear some of them crying out in anger at this suggestion, but moving on…

As I stated in the Marvel version of this column, DC has done something well that Marvel hasn’t even attempted (in my opinion): Elseworlds. Batman by Gaslight? Great. Black Superman? Awesome. Aquaman: Lord of Earth? Sure. But why stop at one shots when you can create infinite numbers of series based on someone reimagining a character and not needing to tie anything in to either the Legacy or Absolute continuity. Boom, done.

DC also has to branch out their universes to be more “pure” in nature. Shazam shouldn’t be in mainstream DC continuity, he should really be in a DC Fawcett continuity. Want multiple versions of the character? Why not Shazam Legacy, Shazam Absolute, and maybe even a Shazam Classic (same great taste, all new stories)? I like the reimagined Shazam (with the hooded cape), but I’m also a fan of the old school Shazam (i.e. Captain Marvel). I just chose Shazam for this specific example, but other characters have been absorbed into DC that could also benefit from this treatment.

Watchmen, anyone? Watchmen in an ongoing in the Watch-verse retelling their adventures that may or may not lead into their ultimate end in Alan Moore’s Watchmen GN. I’d read this… hell, you could have two titles in here (one as Watchmen, one as Minutemen for the old time stories). This could also have solo titles with Rorschach, Dr Manhattan, Nite Owl, etc… or have new characters in there, like the newly created specifically for that universe.

Since DC and Warner Brothers owns Hanna-Barbera, this is where I’m going to suggest launching an HB specific universe. I would include all of the characters, like the obviously left out Blue Falcon who could add a bit to the universe DC is currently working on in Future Quest. We could also have the Teen Force in there and why not create a few characters that would fit into that aesthetic, too? DC owns a lot of properties and they’re only scraping the surface on most of this.

The thing that has bothered me most about what DC is doing is that they launch a title, let it run for a few issues, and either cancel it because a reboot is coming or cancel it because they want another version of that character to interact with the character whose title got canceled… so they launch a new title. Why? WHY?

I’d do all of the above and I’d also try the idea I put forward over in my Marvel column: a separate DCGNU, graphic novels as the “movies” to release and tell a very specific, cohesive story that would end up with whatever outcome the creators of that DCGNU come up with. The possibilities are endless.

In neither of these columns have I addressed the issues of digital vs print, or moving into different areas of publishing, or just eliminating the problems that are holding these companies down (like high issue prices for both digital and print, as if the digital was using the resources of printing and paper).

Here’s where I really start to trail away from the concept of running DC alone. The comic book industry has both a great future and great problems. The issue of saddling yourself with 75-100 years of comic book continuity is an absolute nightmare and why anyone would want to hold creators to that ONLY is insane. If you want to keep the continuity, then why can’t Bruce Wayne retire permanently and let Dick Grayson be Batman? Is Superman truly immortal or is the newly introduced son going to take his place? How many damn times can Hal Jordan be resurrected (and continually be known as the greatest Green Lantern ever, but never truly makes a sacrifice for the Corps)? Barry Allen was dead for a long time… but someone brought him back… WHY?

There is more information to mine in this subject, specifically with the digital v print conversation. There will be talk about that but I’m going to stop this one here before I diverge too far away from the subject.

Think on it.