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FTN PRESENTS: Comic Book Club #1: Failure to Relaunch?

November 26th, 2013 by Jake Tanner Comments

Welcome to a new feature you guys can look forward to weekly, only here at FtN. Shane and I will be sitting down and discussing pressing issues in comics, events, and even some single issues. We’ll be bringing in other contributors and guests each week. We had a lot of fun doing it, so we really hope you guys enjoy it!

This week we’re discussing the effect all the rebooting by the Big Two has had on all of us. Some of us don’t mind it because it drew us in as new readers; not everyone was so lucky though! Happy reading!

Chris: How’s everybody doing tonight/very early morning?

Jake: Let me fire up the laptop and grab my charger

Shane:  My eyes feel like kryptonite

Jake:  For Ultraman or Superman?

Shane: Superman :(

Chris: You gonna make it?

Jake: In that case, won’t the sun be up soon? Problem solved

Shane: But for truth, justice and couple mins I’ll be grand.

Chris: Word up. So what’s the topic?

Jake: Give me just a sec, I can’t find my charger, screw it, I’m gonna do this charger-less

Shane: Sounds dicey, I like it!

Jake: I like to live on the edge

Shane: This could be the plot of the next Die Hard, lord knows it would be better than 5 was..

Chris: Pretty much

Jake: Alright gentlemen, sorry for the delay

Chris: No problem man. So how shall we kick this off?

Jake: To kick things off, why don’t we start with introductions and your comic book experience? Just to give the readers an idea of who’s saying what, you know?

Chris: Word. Chris. Comic editor, FTN. My comics experience has been good!

Jake: -_- I meant how long you’ve been reading and how familiar you are with the past and present continuity.

Chris: Ah. I’ve been a reader for about 3 years now, but am pretty familiar with some past continuity.

Shane: Hi I’m Shane, 28, contributor at FTN and I’ve been reading comics since I was knee high. Like a lot of people I know, Marvel was my entry into comics and I didn’t start reading DC until I was 16 or 17 when I started to pick up Geoff John’s runs on Flash and JSA, those are what really made me fall for DC’s rich history and characters and I’ve absorbed everything since!

Jake: Ok well, I’m obviously Jake, 25 years old. I’ve been a bonafide bat-freak my entire life, but I never SERIOUSLY read comics until a little over a year ago. It was always reading single issues here and there along with graphic novels like The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. I’ve always had a great grasp on DC’s continuity, but I’m kind of foggy on some of the things in Marvel’s just because of unfamiliarity with the characters.

Chris: Damn fellas. Full on bios and s*@t. F*@king writers.

Jake: hahaha ;)

Jake: Obviously with all the rebooting, it’s had negative and positive impacts on all readers. How have the reboots and re-numberings had an impact on you?

Chris: Well the re-numberings haven’t effected me much as far as DC goes because Green Lantern and Batman and Brightest Day were the only things I was really reading when Flashpoint hit. With Marvel though, it’s drawn me in; I was never a big Marvel reader, but Marvel Now introduced some really great books that grew on me.

Shane: Hate it. Pure and simple. When the news broke of DC’s reboot I immediately knew I would. The continuity was what I loved the most about DC and that was the exact reason that they were planning the reboot in the first place. As for Marvel, their NOW campaign has been everything DC should have done. Taking creators off books they were on for years and putting them on books they weren’t associated it has really freshened the line and has even gotten me enjoying Bendis written books! I love it!

Jake: I mean, parts of me love it and hate it. Without the New 52 I probably would’ve never gotten in to comics the way I am now. I was browsing trades on the Kindle app on my tablet one night and happened across Snyder’s Batman volume 1: Court of Owls. That story is fantastic and it’s what drew me in to reading monthly issues. The problem I have, though, is that the stuff I HAD read were the classics. Frank Miller’s Year One is THE Batman origin story for anyone you talk to. With the New 52 it’s retconned out because of technicalities in the story like how old the Gordon kids would be if Year One had actually happened.

Jake: On the Marvel side though, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never been much of a ‘Marvel guy’ but the NOW campaign has changed my tone entirely. I’m reading stuff I would’ve never thought I’d touch 5 years ago like Avengers titles and even FF.

Chris: I always thought Miller’s Batman was a different earth.

Jake: TDKR is, not Year One.

Chris: And all-star batman.

Jake: I don’t even think I’d consider TDKR as a different earth now. It’s so important to modern day comics I feel like it’s too prominent to write off as a different Batman…if that makes sense lol

Jake: That brings up a point though, where do you think DC went wrong and how do you think they should fix it?

Shane: Yea, ok, don’t get me wrong I understand why DC did a total reboot and it worked initially if the sales were anything to go by but they didn’t go full hog. They cherry-picked their continuity and have left some history intact leaving their timeline even more screwed up. Coincidently the titles I actually enjoy at DC now are the ones largely left alone by the reboot I.e. Green lantern by Johns and Snyder’s Batman.

Chris: Like I said before, I didn’t really care about Superman or JL or whatever so I didn’t care much. They left my GL intact so I was happy. And when it first kicked off we were getting blessed with great books like a re-energized Aquaman. But lately DC feels like it’s been sputtering out. I’m finding it hard to keep up with GL. The writing just isn’t there like it was.

Jake: It doesn’t help Johns left that title lol. My biggest problem is the inconsistency with the titles. Sure we have the great titles like Batman and the early GL…hell even Aquaman and Swamp Thing have found prominence amongst comic elite, but Larfleeze? Red Lanterns? I have ZERO ambition to pick those up!

Shane: Be cohesive. It really seems like DC are rudderless at the moment and rapidly regressing back to the 90s way of comics, gimmicky events, tons of covers and artists writing and drawing books. They need to sort this out, stop what appears to be the screwing over of talent and get back on track. Honestly, it’s never going to happen now but for me to fully love DC again, a total reset and back to the old continuity would have to happen.

Jake: Maybe DC handicapped itself by making the ’52 ongoing titles’ gimmick?

Shane: Perhaps Superman walks out of the shower and it was all a dream?

Chris: Red Lanterns has been pretty good lately though. But it was crap for a good while.

Jake: I’m not saying they’re not quality titles, they may very well be. I just have a hard time picking them up because I don’t care about them, you know?

Shane: I think so and they never even kept to 52! It has fluctuated all the time and really the books that surprised only did so because Johns and Snyder were writing and Lemire too.

Chris: That’s pretty much it Shane.

Shane: For me though, to take a chance in a title and be surprised Jake is what it’s all about. I never thought I would like DC, ESPECIALLY JSA way back when I started reading DC and I adore it thanks to Johns, but DC  have really disappointed me on any title I took a chance with that didn’t have a proven writer on it that I hadn’t enjoyed before. Marvel on the other hand…

Jake: I know you’re not reading the title, but Charles Soule is doing amazing work on Swamp Thing, hell even Superman/WW.

Chris: One thing that I used to love about DC and made me appreciate it more than Marvel was that focus on building characters, but lately with all the creative shifts they have people working on these characters that don’t voice them properly. It feels like they don’t know how to write them.

Jake: Do you think part of that is their lack of empathy towards their creative teams? Look at J.H. Williams on Batwoman.

Shane: (DC) Has taken creators I wasn’t necessarily in love with and put them on characters I was in love with and it’s worked wonders for both. X-men was my first love in comics and despite smatterings of good runs such as Morrison’s New X-Men and Whedon’s Astonishing I haven’t really been bothered to pick up the books. Bendis starts writing the line with the Marvel Now initiative. He was a writer I was not really taken with and those books are red hot at the moment. Brilliant comics! It’s one of the reasons amongst many, unfortunately. There is no consistency. The sheer talent that has walked away from DC since the new52 is scary. I was really pissed off with Robinson’s departure from Earth 2 and Ales Kot leaving Suicide Squad. I shook my fist a-plenty.

Jake: So what do you think the course of action should be for DC to bring their talent up to snuff?

Shane: It’s baffling really. Kot was getting really great reviews on Suicide Squad a JH Williams was a tour de force on Batwoman etc unless DC are careful the only creative talent they will have will be Johns and Snyder. Hell, they are the only reason I’m reading any DC now as it is.

Chris: What can they do? They just keep shifting the writers around. It seems no one’s heart is in it anymore. All the fun is gone.

Shane: If the rumors are true, the editors are to blame. Eleventh hour changes, disputes, strong-arming etc.

Jake: Yeah, I hear a lot of grumblings about editorial. BUT just for discussion purposes…do you think creative teams should take even the slightest blame for not standing up for their work?

Chris: They don’t wanna end up unemployed too.

Jake: I’ve heard stories of Snyder/Capullo EARLY into their Batman run standing up for their work. In some cases they ARE unemployed. IMO being passionate about your work would almost ensure another publisher would pick you up just for that reason alone.

Shane: Not really if that’s the type of stuff that’s going on. Some of these guys are not necessarily big names and can’t or else they are told to walk. I reckon that if Geoff Johns who started out unknown writing issues here and there until he wrote Stars and STRIPE, had of started in the new52 he may not have had a chance to develop as a writer the way he did back in the old DC.

Jake: Maybe, but they’re not complete ‘no names’ if they’re writing for DC or Marvel, let’s be honest…unless it’s a totally obscure book.

Shane: I hadn’t heard of Ales Kot until he took over Suicide Squad and after going back to his other stuff at Image have found he is a wonderful creator.

Jake: That’s what I’m saying though, just because you hadn’t read his Image stuff, he wasn’t a no-name.

Jake: When I say Snyder stood up for his stuff, I mean when he pitched stuff like DotF and Zero Year, he flat out said: “This is my idea, if you ok it, it’s not changing.”

Shane: Maybe nowadays where any new Image number one by any small unknown becomes huge and makes the creator a comic God but back when Ales Kot released Wild Children and Change, that wasn’t the case.

Jake: I’m just saying that there are two sides to every story. I’m sure DC editorial is to blame, but who’s to say they didn’t reveal their game plan to these creators who maybe thought they could sneak plot points by them?

Shane: It’s my understanding that Snyder said in an interview, that when he was on Detective comics pre new52, he, Jock and Francavilla all had an understanding that if DC wanted to change their story they would all threaten to walk as a team because he was close with both artists. When he took over Batman, he wasn’t familiar with Capullo and was uncomfortable that he couldn’t use such a unified front as insurance.

Chris: Fellas, I gotta cut out. Sorry for bailing, but I think you guys can get some good back and forth going!

Jake: Like Batwoman’s marriage, because it seems to me like DC took a pretty hard ‘no marriage’ in any book stance.

Jake: True, but he also said he flat out told them once they ok’d a story that it wasn’t changing.

Shane: We all have to agree though that Scott Snyder has A LOT more power in comics now than what he did back when he was Detective.

Jake: But he also had the balls to stand by his work. The Batwoman creative team all left after the marriage fiasco though didn’t they?

Shane: It would have been one of the reasons but for me, a walkout like that is an example of them standing up for their work. They had this planned years in advance, ok’d by editorial then changed. If the creative team believed in it so much then hell yeah, walk.

Jake: Idk with the critical success Batwoman had, do you really think DC would just let them leave?

Shane: I don’t think they had a choice. Their exit was the latest in many. I think DC are being bull headed.

Jake: Well the other side of the coin is maybe DC has a plan of their own…maybe that’s how much they believe in what they’re doing? It could be a bigger picture sort of thing.

Shane: Is it? For me that’s the whole point of my anger and disappointment. I don’t think there is any plan.

Jake: There’s gotta be a plan, even if it isn’t a good one. Even if DC has their heads completely up their own asses, there has to be some kind of plan.

Shane: Perhaps a loose one but if it keeps getting changed all the time then does it really count?

Jake: How do we know it’s being change though? We don’t know what it really is. Truthfully I’m just playing devil’s advocate at this point.

Shane: Well from all the creators leaving we have gleaned that the editorial-ship isn’t up to scratch and running round with their heads cut off.

Jake: Maybe a change at the top is needed. Shane I hate to cut this totally short man, but I’ve gotta work in the morning, would you like to do a final thought?

Shane: Perhaps Johns is spearheading the direction with Forever evil but if rumors of him having to scale back the amount of books to writes are to be believed DC May be in even more serious trouble.

Shane: I could go on and on about this but to be honest nothing I can say will change anything. I don’t see DC ever going back to ‘my’ continuity so I’m just going to continue to buy the little books I enjoy at the moment from them which as I mentioned were from Johns and Snyder for the most part. Marvel is fantastic at the moment so I hope they continue with their momentum. All I can hope is that DC surprises me and blows me away again.

Jake: The reboots have done what they were truly meant to do and I’m proof of that. It was done to bring in new readers and it succeeded in that aspect. Maybe the biggest thing DC is guilty of here is being too short-sided because they’re just playing catch up to Marvel in pretty much every aspect except TV. I love DC because of the joy it’s brought me pretty much my whole life just through my favorite fictional character, Batman. So I’ll continue to be a loyal reader as long as he’s around. Marvel on the other hand is doing a terrific job. They’ve even made a fan out of me! My pull list is about 50/50 with Marvel and DC titles…something I never thought possible. One way or another though, I truly believe that DC will eventually correct what they’ve screwed up so royally though.

Shane: If not, we still have Image!

There you have it folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our discussion, because we had a ton of fun with it! Feel free to jump in with your own comments, opinions, and even questions in the comment section below! Look for our second discussion coming your way soon!


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I'm 25 years old and I'm hugely passionate about comic books and I also LOVE gaming. The birth of my daughter, Abby, rekindled my passion for comic book stories. I grew up on them and I want nothing more than to share that passion with her! I'm a pretty typical guy, I love sports. (NHL-Blackhawks, NBA-Lakers, MLB-Cubs, and NFL-Daaaa Bears!). I've been writing for a pretty big portion of my life, and I've been nominated for multiple awards for some of the poetry I’ve written! Happy reading and follow me on Twitter @xJatmanx.

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