Comics are broken. Less than five years ago, I wrote a blog about DC rebooting their properties and now they’re doing it again with–lemme check–Rebirth. An incredibly lazy Google search reveals there are 296 synonyms for “Rebirth” so I have to concede that DC Comics is good for another 1480 years. The system works!
Is this Rebirth? I don’t know.
Certainly, no one at DC is limiting the number of times they spin, reupholster, and present the same old properties in a new way by their ability to do so with creativity and honest-to-gods original stories. Sure, Watchmen 2 notwithstanding, there are talented people at DC Comics. But the company collectively lacks the vision and guts to actually fix the problem.
Superman has been around for seventy years, give or take. That’s seventy years of stories by different authors from different times and different economics behind them. They don’t match or fit together into a cogent narrative. Rightly, DC tries to excise some of those elements from canon. But every time they try, some creative person with clout–usually Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison or actually this joke doesn’t work because I don’t even keep up anymore–will shove in a character reference from twenty years ago. Because story be damned; even Detective Comics Comics[sic] creative staff realize because adulthood is a trap where you desperately claw at any opportunity to forget your adulthood!
It’s a mess; neither capable of integrating the past, nor strong-willed enough to excise it.
It’s a problem though; how do you reward longtime readers while still being accessible to new readers? Those idiots are as lucky as they are stupid however because I have fixed comics (“stupid’ because I have sent them this advice–which I have to remind you solves comics–multiple times and they have not made me their leader due to my uncommon cleverness and above-average attractiveness).
End your world. Whatever Superman-dates-Wonder-Woman garbage you have going on? Cancel it. Not because it’s rubbish (it is), but because IT BORES YOU AND ONE MORE REBOOT WILL FINALLY FILL THAT HOLE INSIDE OF YOU. Wrap it up. Let Darkseid get the anti-life equation and rule the universe. Let the Manhunters kill everyone. Let OMAC usher in that grimdark, not-at-all-like-Days-of-Future-Past future you were pushing a few years ago.
I literally found this by searching for “DC grimdark future”
(Also, I told WordPress to make this reasonably sized, but WordPress don’t give a fuck about your parameters!)
Or—and I only submit this to you with the knowledge you won’t like it and it might even make you throw up a little—have a happy ending. Batman stops all crime, hangs up his cape and cowl, and retires from crimefighting. Superman devotes himself fully to being Clark Kent because the next generation of up-and-coming superheroes can take over for him. Wonder Woman teaches Man’s World about the ways of fucking peace and how not to be dicks to each other and she can’t go home because there is no more Man’s World; just a world she calls home because there’s no longer a divide between Themiscyra and the worl at large.
Or mix it the fuck up; you’re goddamned comics people.
“Oh, but what do we write if the world is over?” you might cry, but in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts because you go to the next world. You have 52 other worlds in your gods-damned, hyped-up, overreferenced, underused, only-Grant-Morrison-gives-a-shit cockfucking multiverse.
I love Obama-as-Superman as much as the next guy, but FUCKING USE YOUR MULTIVERSE TO PUT COMICS INTO, DICKS!
Once Earth-4 (or whatever) is over, move to Earth-5. Start over, as you do. Create new origin stories, as you do. Retell Batman’s god-damned origin story in a reasonably-priced TPB, as you do. Tweak the variables, give those creative folks a chance to have a definitive take on a character, and create a new DC Universe with a set beginning, middle, and end.
Then, after a few years, end the story and move on to Earth-6.
Do you see where this is going?
Do you get it?
Do you really get it?
If this is confusing for you, let me clarify: FUCK THE FLASH AND WHATEVER MULTIVERSE-RELATED RELEVANCE YOU ASCRIBE TO HIM.
Christ, what an asshole.
Do you get it now?
Each of these inevitable reboots can be a distinct universe. And comics can have arcs overseen by a handful of writers/editors before you move to the next universe and tweak everything again. Characters get arcs. New readers get jumping on points. You get to continue recycling old characters without actually creating new content by slapping on a modern coat of paint and a cause célèbre.
But–and I know you’re panicking because you do that when seventy years of comics continuity isn’t constantly within eyesight—you can still use the other universes. Because they have labels, you can say “Here’s a book about the Batman of Earth-1” or “Here’s what happened to Earth-2 after Darkseid won” or “Look, the Wonder Woman of Earth-4 is soooo popular now she’s on Earth-7 for reasons.”
Once you use your shitty multiverse concept to store your stupid extra continuity, the possibilities are endless. Well, actually, they’re bounded by about five years between reboots multiplied by 52 universes, so the bound is about…260 years. It’s less than 1,480, but it’s not bad.
I’ll do Marvel next week.