My opinion on the DC 5G rumor

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Sharper Continuity
    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.

  6. Market Expansion.
    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.

-Nathan.Payson
(Your Friendly Neighborhood Reporter)

5G Masterpage

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Nothing wrong with that, I guess. Its business after all But replacing iconic characters with 5G characters will drive some away. For DC’s sake, I hope it brings in more than leave but I wouldn’t bet on it one way or the other.

For me, it doesn’t really matter except that I will miss the original Batman. DC has already driven me from subscribing to all but a couple of titles earlier this year down to just 3 (Flash, Batman, Detective) currently. This will just push me, and some others I suspect, away from DC completely.

No great loss because the good news is that publishers like Valiant, Boom!, Dark Horse, Image, IDW and several others are providing fine alternative content.

But I would hope that, like Amadeus Cho at Marvel where the original Hulk came back as a co-existing title, or X-23 where Wolverine also came back, the same might turn out to be true of some of the DC icons.

I know its just a rumor at this point, but I suspect that the rumor has legs. Best of luck to DC going forward.

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I think part of why I’m against it is that it’s a near certainty that even if they do go through with it, it simply won’t last too long to really make an impact. Not only that, but Bruce has had two different replacement stories in the course of a decade.

I’m willing to be convinced, and having more diversity in the upper echelon of the DCU would be nice and all, but it’s going to be a hard sell for me.

Dc is in panic mode.

Here are numbers for August, 2019.
Market share:
Marvel-49.96%
Dc-25.96%

Here are the numbers for August, 2017.
Market share:
Marvel-39.52%
DC-31.09.

Drink that in…They are desperate.

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Dc is in panic mode.

Here are numbers for August, 2019.
Market share:
Marvel-49.96%
Dc-25.96%

Here are the numbers for August, 2017.
Market share:
Marvel-39.52%
DC-31.09.

Drink that in…They are desperate.

1 Like

I’m going to have to disagree with just about everything you said.

  1. Two artificial ageups in about as many years to suddenly thrust him into his father’s boots are not really my idea of natural growth. I’m also not sure what you mean about two Jonathan Kents, but this whole concept is just asking for even more confusing, new-reader-unfriendly continuity. “Who is Superman?” “Well, there’s a guy who’s the last survivor of an alien world that exploded who was sent to Earth as a baby… but he grew up and had a son, and then went into hiding in a new universe, and his son went into space with his dead grandfather and aged seven years and then aged even more in the future where he went for some reason but then he came back and now he’s doing his father’s job.”

  2. I don’t detect an actual argument here. Are you saying that black Batman is less confusing than white Batman?

  3. Superheroes are in a golden age in every medium except comics? What? The American comic industry is almost entirely dominated by superheroes. Comics as a medium are outperformed by other media, but that’s because they don’t hold a mass audience’s attention like film or television, and because superheroes are all there is to choose from (leading anyone not interested in superheroes to be inclined to look elsewhere). What popularity they have is from well-known characters with pre-existing fanbases since they’re able to keep coming back to recurring characters and ideas over an extended period of time that other media don’t have the flexibility to match. Replacing all of the most successful properties at once hardly seems like what the market is calling for. A “diverse group of kids” can be successful (New Teen Titans, for example), but replacing successful characters with unknowns en masse can’t possibly be construed as a sound business decision. Legacy characters have occasionally been successful but by their nature block the opportunity to use a known quantity. By comparison, new and lesser-known characters have about as much chance of breaking out if made prominent, but carry none of the risk of losing something that’s already successful.

  4. Writing for the trade is exhausting and leads to awful pacing and event burnout. It’s caused rampant instability since every story is pushed as a major half-year event.

  5. Again, I don’t understand how long-winded reading orders are supposed to make it easier for new readers to get into comics. It’s far easier when any given issue you pick up stands on its own rather than requiring informal third-party supplemental reading to understand what’s happening. Long, continuity-intensive stories cater to dedicated fans, who are simply a smaller market to target than a first-time reader for any given release.

  6. Nobody goes to bookstores. It’s sad, and it’s mean to say, but nobody goes to bookstores. New readers aren’t just going to wander into a comic shop, but they may very well wander onto a website. Digital media are the only serious potential growth area for the industry.

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Political from all angles. Very interpretable comment.

Saying not just leftist stuff only?! I guess. That would mean all angles.

Or are we saying every comic in every way needs to be political? If so, big no. At the end of the day this is entertainment not CNN/Fox news lecture.

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After reading this, maybe it’s better the message boards just go away.

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What’s sad to me when Marvel and DC do these things is, their head and heart are in the right place, but they are confusing Comic Book immortal iconic characters with characters in a traditional novel or trilogy. Sure, Bilbo aged in Tolkien’s books, etc, but characters like The Shadow and Batman don’t age. They are meant to be “immortal” concepts. I’ll pick up digitally the latest Shadow (Dynamite currently) title, greatly enjoy it, and not lose sleep that he’s been around since the '30s (in that case, they ingeniously keep the stories in the time period, issue solved!).

Why not keep the classic characters, have them placed in current times if you must, but just introduce new great iconic characters that are more diverse and relevant and inspirational. And bonus: they don’t even need to be “super” anymore. Technology is at a point where other publishers are successful with near future “heroes” where the hook is genetic manipulation or exoskeletons or exploration of the solar system etc.

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This rumor sounds like a half-truth. Imagine a 5G line with new versions of classic characters, kind of like Tangent, except this one is in continuity. Almost like an Ultimate DC line, but set 10 or so years in the future. Doesn’t replace the current versions, it’s additive.

And you don’t need to age up Jon Kent again to make it work.

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“But I would hope that, like Amadeus Cho at Marvel where the original Hulk came back as a co-existing title, or X-23 where Wolverine also came back, the same might turn out to be true of some of the DC icons.”

@LonelyLobo I hope they do especially if they are doing it, to bridge the gap.

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@Jay_Kay “even if they do go through with it, it simply won’t last too long to really make an impact”

How long would it take to make an impact?

@dogwelder
“Market share:
Marvel-49.96%
Dc-25.96%”

This data is misleading because Marvel produces twice as many comics. Normally DC makes more per comic than Marvel does, however this month thanks to 4 big titles, Marvel made on average about as much per title as DC. DC makes less because they produce less. Can’t blame them though, Marvel hit 100 titles in a single month recently which is on par with the overflow they led to the comics bust. DC is better positioned for long term success.

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As someone who misses the days when legacy heroes like Kyle Rayner, Connor Hawke, and Linda Danvers all had ongoing titles and were considered the true replacements for their Silver Age counterparts, I’d be excited about a true next generation of heroes taking the reins – I just don’t trust DC to keep them in place the way they did in the 80s and 90s. Wally West was the Flash for over 20 years. Kyle Rayner was the only Green Lantern for a decade. The Linda Danvers Supergirl series ran 80 issues. I’d love to see these “5G” heroes getting that kind of a run, but I feel like if it happens at all it will last a year or two at most.

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I don’t have time to respond to everything, but I will come back later
“1. Writing for the trade is exhausting and leads to awful pacing and event burnout. It’s caused rampant instability since every story is pushed as a major half-year event.”
@biff_pow I disagree. The trade market does two things right now. 1. Isolate Trade Collectors who don’t read comics. 2. Create a platform easier for the non-reader to understand. It’s much easier to say read Batman vol. 1 then to say Read Batman: Rebirth #1, Batman #1, #2, etc. It gets confusing and is one of many small barriers. Look, I’ve talked to a fair number of people who are MCU fans who don’t read comics and many say “I don’t know how to start.” When you read the Percy Jacksonverse, you know there are a couple places to start. AKA Book 1 of any of the series. Obviously the most rewarding is start with Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief, but there are too many books. Extend that confusion to comics which are infinitely larger and infinitely more confusing. The result is a overload of resources and possible routes. The trade format gives DC a marketable approach to new consumers. Old consumers would immediatly (for the most part) transfer over to trades.

Can the trade format work?
Christopher Priest and Ta-Nehisi Coates write for the trade. They both have WONDERFUL pacing and content. Mister Miracle is a wonderful trade. Writing for the trade can definitely be done properly.
Comics also don’t write in a one and done format. Instead sometimes a story barely moves in an issue. Is that good pacing? Trades tell the whole story in one sitting which makes reading them easier. They are more likely to be reread and better yet, easier to take with you.

Some articles to understand this point better than I have time to write

https://www.diversetechgeek.com/2017/10/13/problems-single-issue-comic-format/
https://sktchd.com/longform/format-longform/

I very much agree on all points Nathan!

I read the 5g news and braces for the fan-splosion of “slap in the fan faces” claims and the rest of the general “chapped behinds” that accompany changes to superheroes.

I think it’s going to be cool. If i want to read about Bruce and Clark, i ONLY have 80 years of backstories to read.

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(Just my opinion, I’m not saying any one person is who I am counter arguing with)
I personally hate the 5G idea. Not because I’m a fanboy who refuses to move on or because I hate diversity but because I am exhausted from the constant changing, altering and reverting.
Additions? Awesome. Replacements? No thank you. Superman is Clark. Batman is Bruce. Diana is Wonder Woman. Can they have supporting characters? Absolutely but the idea of replacing them has been done and mostly failed. Write stories we love instead of nonstop throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks.
People say comics need diversity but how many support NEW characters? Not enough for companies to keep them relevant. Taking popularity and switching it to diversity is not the same thing. Create and build a character. A character change that originates in a corporate meeting where a boss says “we need diversity so change someone” is not creativity.
I’m also exhausted with events. Please for the love of all gods just take a break. When was the last time there was downtime between events? I’m a Scott Snyder fan but holy heck, give me an issue where the team isn’t battling (and losing). Give us one of those issues where characters bond over boring monitor duty. Let the fans and characters breathe.
I don’t mind “dark” but a whole universe doesn’t have to be that way. Aside from my dislike of the course of the plot, Batman is just a bleak title and Justice League has been 30+ issues of constant loss.
I got somewhat off track but the key (for me) is sustaining these characters not changing them.

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I hope this stays a rumor and doesn’t come to fruition. Many have already expressed some of my concerns in well articulated fashion. I won’t be redundant by repeating them.

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I have mixed feeling on this. I like it because it’s kind of what DC did in the Silver Age. Certain characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman remained the same, but a new generation of Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom and more took over. HOWEVER, I’ll miss Clark and Bruce terribly (on the bright side Jon and Luke are two of my favorite newer characters).

But not all writers are equipped for trade writing. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

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I think it’s a terrible idea. Marvel had just recently done the exact thing repacking all the main hero’s with different people. I never liked the replacements as much as the originals.

Also A lot of this is done to increase diversity. I am for diversity, but would rather have theses characters come in as new superheroes, and create their own legacy, rather than replace an existing one.

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