I don’t know what’s caused it- well, if I was to guess I would cynically say profits- but it seems that the comic book industry execs of Marvel and DC have suddenly taken off their hoods comprised of sheer hubris and are finally listening to what people want! Slightly overshadowed by Marvels all-female Avengers bombshell, DC is making its own impactful changes, including more books driven by female characters and abandoning the New 52 continuity.
Let’s start with the new books. As a DC boy, I couldn’t be happier with what’s on the horizon. With the establishment of the New 52 continuity, DC seemed to forget what made their comics so great to begin with: there was diversity and they were fun! Then the success of Nolan’s Batman decreed everything must be gritty and angst filled- this affected both DC‘s cinematic and comic universes- resulting in a lot of characters just not having a place in the new books.
In a twist on par with Scott Synder’s spectacularly written Batman run (seriously, read it), DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has announced the company’s new line will “tell stories that better reflect the society around us”. Throwing around words like “contemporary tonality,” “fresh,” “inclusive,” “accessible” and “modern”, DC is shifting its- up until recently- narrowed focus to include a much more diverse run of books.
“We’re seeing more diversity in our audience. We’re seeing a younger crowd,” DiDio says. “We’re seeing people really enthusiastic about comics. So what we’re trying to do is embrace all our audiences, and to create product that I feel talks to everybody.”
With the rampant success of Harley Quinn’s solo run, DC have realized that a new untapped demographic called women may make up a large proportion of their readership. Subsequently- and so long overdue- DC are giving classic heroes such as Black Canary, Starfire and Power Girl their own solo books, filling the female devoid vacuum left after the cancellation of Batwoman and Supergirl.
The push for more “accessibly” will also see more humorous comics making the weekly racks, with characters like Bizarro, Bat-Mite (an adorable trickster in a poor Batman cosplay from another dimension) and Prez (a 14 year old President of the USA) being included in the June line up.
For those looking misty-eyed at their Dark Knight Returns poster, fear not, the gritty guys are still going to be around. Batman will obviously retain his signature style but an interesting new inclusion is a solo book for The Midnighter. It’s cool, you can totally be forgiven for not knowing who he is. The quick crib notes, a much more kill happy analog of Batman previously published by DC offshoot Wildstorm. He’s also a notable homosexual character in a loving relationship with a husband. Kudos DC, you’re making some great first steps.
Now, as for the New 52 continuity, they’re putting that shit to bed.
“In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories in the industry” says Dido.
It looks like we can expect a lot more interesting and inclusive stories and characters to start erupting out of the pages of DC in the coming year. Not gonna lie, I’ve been hanging out for Star- I’m talking proper Starfire, not the soulless sex appeal in print now- to return for so long. To the comic book store, post haste!