Yesterday I was asked a question regarding my feelings about DC revamping their comic books. DC has decided that they are going to make two pretty major game-changing moves. The first move they're going to make is that they will be rebooting 52 of their current series. That means, 52 DC titles will be restarting with a number one issue, starting fresh, and forgetting most of what came before in the storyline.
I personally don't blame DC for making this move. JLA, Wonder-Woman, Superman, Batman, all of these titles have a TON of issues behind them, most clocking in at over 600 issues currently. This is great for people who jumped on the series when it first began, and have been following ever since, but what about the person who just discovered comics? Or the person who is a "sometimes" reader, and wants to come back to the series? This means that you have to read a TON of comics to get yourself caught up, and even if you do that, there is no guarantee that you're going to have any idea what is going on.
I think, if done correctly, this move can inject new life into some of the older brands. There were rumors that the reboot was going to happen a few months ago when "Superman: Earth One" came out. When I read "Earth One", I was extremely pleased with what I got. They didn't spend 4 pages telling Superman's origin, they did it with flashbacks. They didn't make him the "Man of Steel", they humanized him into a young 20's guy who didn't know if he could rise to the occasion and become Earth's savior. They did something to Superman that hadn't really been done before: they humanized him. They humanized him in a way that you could understand what he was going through, and how difficult the decisions in his life were, and you didn't just see him as an indestructible alien. As a chick in her mid-20's, I could understand the character and see him as something other than the undefeatable. If they stick to the plan that they followed with "Earth One", I think that DC will come out on top.
It's not like this idea hasn't worked before either. Evey person who read golden aged comics went through it when comic companies had a resurgence during the silver age, and the silver agers went through it when we entered the bronze age of comics, and the bronze agers went through it when the modern age came up. And that all happened in under 100 years. Sure it sucks for a few months while you're adjusting, but it's introducing a whole new generation to the series. Maybe the "modern age" will just become the "titanium age" or something. And I mean, it's not like the guys in charge (Jim Lee, Dan Didio and Geoff Johns) are going to take this task lightly either. These are guys who have been in the business for decades and know the DC characters like no one else. They don't want to see this fail.
The second major change at DC is that they are finally making the move to become digital. This is a move that Marvel did MONTHS ago. I think it's fantastic that both of the major companies have made this move. With all of the technology in the world, it's where the future is heading. It gives people an opportunity to read back issues of series that they enjoy, without having to lug around graphic novels and individual comic books. It helps save trees, and it looks fantastic on something as small as an iPhone. Also, DC will be releasing the digital version of their titles the same day as the paper version, so the gratification is immediate. After four weeks, the price of the digital version will drop to a dollar less than the paper version as well, making it more affordable for the consumer.
There is a flip side to this decision, however. I love comic book stores. I love going to them, I love the smell of them, I love finding something awesome that I didn't know I wanted while going through back issues. I love everything about comic books stores. Digitizing comic books could spell the end for shops, and that scares me. Sure, there will always be people out there, like myself, who prefer the paper version to the digital version, but I feel like we're a dying breed. I like to touch the book. I like to feel it in my hands. I do it with novels as well as comics. There's just something about touching the product that can't be replaced in my mind. However, with the invention of the iPad and the Kindle, life is made easier. You don't need to leave the house to go pick up your "hold", and you don't need to run to the Barnes and Noble to pick up the new Sookie Stackhouse book, you simply need to plug in a cord and it's there. It's almost sad to me, because you're missing out on the human element. You're missing your chance to have other periodicals suggested to you by a person. You're missing out on having a geeky conversation with the guy who runs the store.
I also have friends who make a living selling comic books, and I don't want to see them go the way of the video rental store. They're great guys, who do great promotions not only in their stores, but also in their communities. They organize fund raisers, they throw parties when there is a comic anniversary, they go waaaaaay out of their way to accommodate everyone at Free Comic Book Day (which is NOT free to them), and they hold food drives for local food pantries. They are great people who give back.
I guess what it comes down to with the digitalization of everything is that the people will be divided. They will be split into the collectors (like myself), and the readers. There isn't really a bad way to go in this situation. On the one hand, it puts comic books into peoples hands who may not have had access to them previously, and cuts down on overall waste, and on the other hand, you have people who like having physical copies, and people who are trying to make a living in the industry. It's a hard call to say one is better than the other. Digital is the way life is going though, so at the end of the day, it's a great move for DC. I'll just be very sad to see the day when comic book stores are a thing of the past...