For those who don’t know, Bleeding Cool has an ongoing rumor that the DCU Universe will be officially handing the baton off to the next generation of heroes.
Following rumors that the next batman will be Luke Fox, DC released a timeline which hints Jonathan Kent will come back from the future EVEN more aged. Likely in his early 20s. Here are my thoughts.
Jonathan Kent needs to be handled with care. I am okay with Jonathan Kent becoming aged again, BUT I want DC to continue using this 17 year old Jonathan. I believe having a Jonathan who will take over from Superman could work provided stories with the 17 year old Jonathan continue. People love Jonathan for his hope, innocence, and optimism. Though 17 year old Jonathan is no longer innocent, I’d like to think that he is still filled with hope and optimism. By having two Jonathan Kent’s at the same time, Bendis can explore Superman’s legacy while giving fans the natural growth of Jonathan that they deserve.
New Batman: Honestly I don’t mind however they do this. I think Bruce is FANTASTIC, but I think there are more interesting Batman stories to tell. By making the new Batman Black, DC has a great opportunity to position itself for the modern world. Comics out date themselves with confusing continuity and a lack of change. A change like this could be important.
WHY THIS SHOULD HAPPEN
Look, here’s a controversial opinion, but I’ve been thinking about this all day. Superhero comics as a medium are looking for a new angle. Marvel came about with a focus on nuanced characters who are imperfect. In a time of conformism and massive social change with the Civil Rights Movement, Marvel created Black Panther as a RECURRING HERO. In fact, many of the biggest stories in comics are political. From Killing Joke to Saga of the Swamp Thing, handling of mature topics lead to massive popularity. However now, we are in a golden era of Superhero media for every medium except comics. Shows like the boys and Jessica Jones were well recieved thanks in part to mature themes. Black Lightnings audience loves it’s desire to tell valuable stories about race and the embracal of Black Culture. Black Panther became a center piece of Black Culture a month BEFORE it’s release when the National Black Caucus decided to celebrate it. While TV shows and Movies are finding success through political ideas, comics wait on the sidelines and tale stories for all ages. It’s not that these stories are bad. I love Justice League, House of X, and Powers of X, but it’s time for comics to move on. Comics need to tell relevant stories to today rather than let Doom run wild. Comics need to get political from all angles and pass the torch to a diverse group of kids. DC needs to reinvent itself in more ways than one.
No more single issues.
This is highly controversial. However, most people tend to reread trades. I strongly believe that if trades were release at the same time as the final issue of a trade, sales would increase. Trades currently prevent people from getting current and encourage reading #1’s instead of sticking with an arc. Trades are also more marketable to the general public. Writers like Ta Nahisis Coates are taking advantage of the trade format and telling stories for trade. Cristopher Priest wrote Batman vs. Deathstroke with the trade format in mind. Trades allow you to describe stories easier and are more sharable and communal.
DC should create a timeline from now on of the exact order to read books. Now, I don’t love this idea, but to the general audience, reading orders are popular because they create an entrance point. New readers think they need to read everything. So give them the order to read everything. This requires a lot of pre-planning, but in a trade based format reading orders are MUCH easier to create and explain. Readers idea that release order = reading order is muddled when they see #1,#2,#3, etc. A new reader doesn’t realize that reading #1 then #2 then #3 is better than #1 of Aquaman #1 of Superman #1 of Wonder Woman. Suddenly the reader is lost. Create a sharp timeline even if it doesn’t seem nessecary could be very valuable.
DC really wants to expand it’s market, but it doesn’t fully know how. DC should try to use local Book Stores more to there advantage. Offer X number of copies of a book free provided the book store spends a week marketing it. Then on the back of the trade, readers can see the release date of the next book or what to read while waiting. Book Stores don’t want floppies, so they don’t buy comics. However if you go to a bookstore that sells graphic novels (Powell’s in Portland Oregon) the superhero graphic novel section is one of their busiest sections. Have you ever been to a bookstore and wished they might have that trade you are looking for, but they don’t because they only sell normal books? I have!
Encourage the teaching of comics throughout school. Comics are a great way to transition kids from picture book into chapter book. Comics words are harder and more mature than a picture book, but still have pictures that the kids can attach to the words. Similarly in Middle School, encourage schools to teach books like American Born Chinese. These books have lots of depth to them, but for a young age are relatively accessible. Remove books like Maus as well which though fantastic are generally disliked by kids. In high school, read books like Watchmen and Mister Miracle which are great introductions to mature themes and have lots of teachable material with symbolism and trauma.
This is a lot, but let’s face it. Comics need to take bold moves and try new things. DC and Marvel keep “testing the waters” when they should jump right in. When fans who watch the movies and TV shows don’t read the comics, DC loses out on a big opportunity. DC thinks adding new ongoings and new comics will work, when in reality it continues to not help sales. DC and Marvel need to take Bold Directions to change the dying existence of comics. New directions, new markets, new strategies, and new characters could help bring back a dying industry.
(Your Friendly Neighborhood Reporter)