It’s been 10 months since DC rolled out the New 52 – 52 new titles, all beginning their character’s stories anew.
It’s likely DC was looking to get a stranglehold of the monthly comic sales while simultaneously telling some excellent, less-convoluted stories.
So, has it worked?
Since the re-launch last September, DC has, at its lowest point, been responsible for six of the top 10 highest-selling comics in a month. At the highest, and for two consecutive months – January and February – every single one of the top 10 highest selling comic books was a DC title.
Compare that to just last August, when Marvel titles took up six of the top 10 spots.
So it’s worked pretty well for them.
It could be argued that it’s been good for comics overall, as well.
According to Diamond Distributor’s numbers, comic sales for the first four months of 2012 are up 7.3 per cent. This could be due to a lot of things – the ever-growing popularity of comic books, mostly – but certainly DC will have no problem taking credit for it.
The excellent, less-convoluted stories
It’s no secret that comics can get a little bit (okay, a whole lot) silly and convoluted. Characters die, come back, die again, exist in parallel universes while time travelling and a whole bunch of other confusing gobbledygook.
This College Humor video sums it up well.
The nice thing about DC’s reboot is that all that is eliminated. Every story starts from scratch, reintroducing characters to each other and the reader.
What’s great about that is, not only does it make the stories easier to read, it makes them accessible. Finally, someone can pick up a copy of Superman and know what the hell is going on without having to read a fifteen-scroll Wiki on it.
And the stories have been good. Like, really good.
Wonder Woman’s storyline has been delving into Greek mythology – a gold mine – with unreal results. Brian Azzarello’s writing is top-notch, and Cliff Chiang’s art has been no slouch either.
Swamp Thing, Animal Man and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. are all doing crossovers as their main characters battle a natural force of death called The Rot. The results are three fascinating reinventions of often-sidelined characters with a sense of urgency that rivals the best thrillers.
And, of course, the flagship titles starring The Justice League, Batman and Superman are stripping the mythologies of these characters right down to their essentials. And now they are shining, and finally justifying why fans love the characters so much.
Oh, and Resurrection Man is cool, too.
But will they be able to maintain the quality and the sales?
It remains to be seen.
Dan DiDio and company have been investing a lot of time and capital into their domination of the comics industry. They have some of the best writers in the business writing some amazing stories for them.
But nobody wants to work at the same job forever, especially not those whose creative geysers run nonstop. Eventually, these writers will want to move on, and, God forbid, the well of good ideas may dry up.
For now, though, let’s relish in some of the best stories these characters have seen in years.