DC Relaunch: What we know so far…
Dan DiDio, Bob Wayne, Jim Lee, and others are traveling around the country talking with comic book retailers about the new DC Relaunch and how it affects them. Along the way, we’re picking up bits and pieces of what is changing and what is staying the same.
One thing to keep in mind, when JLA #1 arrives, the word Superhero doesn’t exist yet in the DCU.
As speculated, Flashpoint is indeed the soft launch of the DCU Relaunch, but readers won’t have to read Flashpoint #5 in order to understand what is going on when the new number ones arrive.
Day and Date Digital Release is still a big priority for the company, but according to DC, print still sells more than digital by a factor of 630 to 1. I wonder if that number will change once the bundled issues arrive on stands, or if more people will jump on board the number one scheme in the digital market as the release date draws near.
DC has made the commitment to do a major marketing campaign that will include television commercials, print and online advertising to the tune of one million dollars.
The JSA isn’t gone, just benched along with Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and many other characters. Stephanie Brown was hinted at appearing in Batman Incorporated which returns in 2012, and the cover to Justice League International now appears to be missing a certain character that many thought was Troy.
Most of the new titles only have a six issue arc commitment. After that it’s a wait and see. Of course the mandate to have three issues in the can should give some confidence that books with artists who are habitually late will make it to six issues.
For those who like trade waiting, the directive from editorial seems to be for writers to now focus on telling a story, no matter how long it takes instead of writing for the trade. If a story can be told in four issues, then it will be up to editorial to decide on the best way to collect the stories.
When it comes to Action Comics and Detective Comics, the issues are indeed getting the new number one cover treatment, and right now there are no plans to renumber the issues when they hit the milestone 1,000 issue. Of course “no plans right now” means just that, plans in the future might change. Anyone want to take bets?
Action Comics and Justice League are set in the past, Green Lantern, Batman, and the Legion of Super-Hero books are continuing with their storylines – in other words, those books are not getting a reboot. According to DiDio the higher the sales of a particular book, the less is changed to the characters, and stories.
DCU Presents and Hawkman pick up where Brightest Day ended.
THUNDER Agents will return with Nick Spencer writing.
Batman Beyond and Superman Beyond will continue, but we’ll also see a Justice League Beyond join the lineup. For those that love the future DC Universe, this collection of titles could be a way to explore what might be in the distant future.
Action Comics, All Star Western, and Men at War will have $3.99 cover prices going forward. This either means DC is going back on its Hold the Line at $2.99, or these books are going to have more pages than usual, which exempts them from that marketing tag line.
Batgirl: The Killing Joke and Oracle still happened in this new DCU according to retailers who were at the various presentations.
DiDio said that the company would like to have 80 regular books available each month, has no problem canceling a title if sales are bad, and wants strong sales across the line. For what it is worth, DC has 70 regular titles shipping in June, 7 Johnny DC, and 13 Vertigo books, which means that 80 books won’t be too hard to reach.
There appears to be a real push by DC to bring lapsed readers into the fold, even if the company claims they are targeting men age 18 to 34 as their primary buying target audience, with 14-54 as the target audience. This has caused a lot of flack on the Intardwebz, as those readers outside that demographic have taken offense to the wording used on a couple of other websites. DC has acknowledged that it has readers outside of the buying demographic.
July 20 is Free DC Comics Sampler Day. You’ll have to check with your local comic shop to see if they will participate as the number of sampler copies will depend on the number of Flashpoint #1 orders received (5 times the Flashpoint #1 orders).
Toy lines will be announced later as soon as titles, characters, and costumes settle down.
There are plenty of other retailer details that are appearing, like 41 of the 52 new number ones have 100% return policy, but the above information should give you a better idea of what is going on at DC Comics.