The DC Comics Reboot – Opinion

September 30, 2011

Comics

The ball’s been rolling for a couple of weeks on DC Comic’s ‘new 52′ reboot – an attempt to tidy up the unruly tendrils of the DC universe with a neat, marketable number of ‘rebooted’ characters. I put that word between two ‘sarcasm commas’ because the term has lost all substance in recent years because of the damned ubiquity of the things. There’s nothing wrong with starting over, and it’s certainly preferable to running a series into the ground with bad ideas, but its success is totally dependent upon better ideas to justify the clean slate.

Of the fifty-two titles released by DC this month, there are six that feature women as solo leads – one of them, Voodoo, who is a stripper, has hardly made an impact, partly because this has always been the case. The two characters causing major offence in the comic book community are Catwoman (in her own Catwoman series) and Starfire (in Red Hood and the Outlaws). There’s been a lot of internet column inches spent on the debate, so rather than recap it here we’ve assembled the best pieces in one handy post. Note that while (due to the nature of the comics in question) we won’t be posting any panels here, some articles linked to will - we’ve noted which are work-safe beside each link.

First, foremost and probably the key text in the whole debacle is from the Comics Alliance website editor-in-chief Laura Hudson. She takes the long-view of someone who has spent her life working in the industry and considers the move by DC as a major step backwards. The article has a lot of panels from the comics and is probably not work-safe.

Just as engaging and partly in reaction to the above piece is from Sara McDonald, a writer from ComicsBulletin.com on her personal blog, Ms Snarky. This assumes you’ve already seen the worst of the comics and is text-only, talks about growing up with comics, and addresses some common reactions from those defending DC, admirably with resorting to straw-manning or hyperbole.

Rich Johnston over at bleedingcool.com talks about the reboot’s impact and how these comics could exist given a context that is generally more favourable to women characters, and Kyle Garret, also at ComicsBulletin, tries to look at it from the point of view of the book’s target audience. More heartbreaking is fantasy author Michele Lee’s account on io9.com about her seven-year-old daughter’s response to it, which is just remarkably incisive. This article also contains a few panels and is possibly not work-safe.

Delightfully, the artists are fighting back, too! Aaron Diaz of the webcomic Dresden Codak has come up with some alternative costume designs for the DC universe, plus a couple of posts on the best and worst redesigns in comic book history.

What about the DC reboot has grabbed your attention! We’re sure it’s not all bad. Let us know in the comments.

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