The Self-Destruction of the New 52 Part 1
By Arnoldo Acosta
Almost two years ago DC announced that in the wake of its most recent comic book event that the DC Universe was going to be relaunched with a new initiative called The New 52. All of the previous DC books would end and 52 new #1s would take their place.
I still remember that time very vividly. In forums and comic news sites, the speculation about what would happen was very high but DC reassured everyone and I quote “this is a relaunch, not a reboot”
Of course anyone who has been paying attention in the past two years now know that that quote is an utter lie and the DCU was indeed rebooted. However it was not a complete reboot and the objective of the reboot was to attract new readers to expand the horizons of who shall be reading comics and reach a wider demographic. The reboot would gain the interest of new readers because of the new digital market and their would be an impulse on the diversity of titles that would be added to the New 52.
Personally, I was really optimistic about this event because at the time I believed the books that were already working DC on both ambits of quality and sales were going to be left untouched. Those titles were Green Lantern and Batman. While Titles that did not work during the pre-New 52 like Teen Titans, Superman, and Justice League would be reworked and have a chance to become better.
Little did I know that the price for such opportunities was going to be high and was never going to pay off.
I read almost every single comic from the New 52 and for each of those comics I read I gave them a fair chance. Even comics like Mr Terrific by Eric Wallace, Deathstroke by Kyle Higgins, Hawk and Dove by Liefeld and Gates and more. Comics which will probably disappear from everybody’s memories in just a couple of years if they haven’t already. I gave all of these comics the same opportunities and I saw very little to be amazed.
I’m not going to complain about just a couple of bad books or even the initiative itself. The idea of the New 52 is about starting fresh, revitalize old concepts, reviving old characters and old possibilities but the reality is chances are only as good as how they are taken. Almost two years after the fact I can honestly say that the New 52 has been a Complete Failure.
Since DC implemented their new policies for digital comics their sales are still far from comparing with the direct market.
New characters and new comics that were suppose to push diversity in this new universe are now either gone for good, cancelled or just simply changed to something missing the original point of the comic.
The new focus of the New 52 is to play things as safe as possible with little to no regard on quality. As long as the sales are doing well there are no other concerns.
We don’t need to look far to find the failures of the New 52.
You just need to look at every single comic that has been cancelled to realize why these titles were cancelled. Then you will understand the problem of the New 52 as a whole.
Hawk and Dove
Men of War
Justice League International
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E
Fury of the Firestorm
Sword of Sorcery
and I, Vampire
Just think about it for a second. If a book was cancelled because of its quality then is obvious that there was a problem with the book, either with the characters, or the writers, or the editors, etc. There had to be something wrong with the title.
However there is more to this. What if a book was cancelled and it was actually good?
Then you have to wonder, why did DC allow it to be cancelled? Why wasn’t it promoted better? Why didn’t it get the impulse that it deserved?
An example is I, Vampire, a fantastic horror comic. It was amazingly drawn, well written, had huge critical success, nominations to a couple of awards as well as being one of the highest selling graphic novels on NYT and yet it was recently cancelled with issue 19 because of very low sales on the direct market.
Those who aren’t familiar with I, Vampire should know that is a really surprising book because it doesn’t maintain an stable status quo for more than 7 issues. There is a reason for this, Joshua Hale Fialkov speeded up his own storylines to get them done as soon as possible.
By issue 6 the story had taken a twist that was meant to happen until the 2nd year of the book, by issue 12 it was getting into plots that were meant for the 3rd year. When this book ends it will have an ending that Fialkov envisioned but sadly it will not have the time and respect that it deserves.
The whole concept created by these three “seasons” are very limited. They had to be rushed because if they hadn’t, it would have never seen an end. The editor, Chris Conroy, knew that they would never see a second year of publication.
This is an example of one of the failures of trying to diversify genres, which was one of the main objectives of the New 52. Even with quality and a good reputation it is not enough to ignore the book is doomed for cancellation.
To Be Continued…