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.

via Various

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  1. Jimmy
    June 28, 2011 at 11:19 am — Reply

    No longer writing for the trade? I’m even more sold than I already was. This relaunch may be exactly what the comics industry needed.

    I’m also loving that JLA and Action Comics are set in the past. There should be some great stories to tell there.

  2. June 28, 2011 at 11:58 am — Reply

    I’m still a little confused at how some books/characters are getting completely revamped (Red Robin) and some aren’t (Batman, GL). What kind of catastrophe could Flashpoint cause that only effects certain parts of the universe?

  3. June 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    Starting to sound kinda like the patchy revamp Matthew was afraid of…….I think….. maybe I am wrong….

    • Umbra
      June 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm — Reply

      I’d have to agree with you. To me this is even worse for new readers. Instead of a new person going, “hey I like Character X, where should I start” and them getting a straight recommendation, they will now get “well these are good stories, but who knows if they are in continuity anymore”

      Everything has just become more muddled than ever. At least a full restart would have met the new reader ready goal they had. This is just a cluster—- from all I’ve seen so far.

      Regarding the comment about “costumes settle down” i pray they are referring to the teen titans, I think they could be alright if they’d just tone down some of the X-treme 90’s elements to them.

      • June 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm — Reply

        Yeah…. if you are going to do the whole “Bold New Direction” and “a perfect jumping on point” / “rewrite history” thing…. just bloody commit already. Damn…. This is less History Making and more History Repeating… I am an Old School fellow having been a reader since the early ’70’s, but I say if you are going to take the leap, go on already. No half measures. Seems like their resolve is wavering.

  4. ikdks
    June 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm — Reply

    I don’t see any reason to cancel a title because of sales. If sales dip below a certain threshold, just shift it to web only distribution. That way you only have to pay the artists, no printing costs. If you can’t cover those costs there aren’t enough fans to be disappointed if you drop it completely.

    I’d ready Secret Six on the web, if I had the option. Canceling it was a pointless poke in the ass to the fans, considering the new web strategy.

  5. Betty Dobson
    June 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm — Reply

    Here we go again, a partial reboot (sorry, “relaunch”) that will lead to an even bigger crisis before too long. Assuming this is a real reboot (sorry, “relaunch”) and not just a prolonged alternate reality (think Age of Apocalypse) or DC’s version of Heroes Reborn. Consider the statement that the JSA “isn’t gone, just benched.” How can that be if “the word Superhero doesn’t exist” before JLA #1?

    • Umbra
      June 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm — Reply

      I think my favorite was someone trying to piece together the timeline from whats been given to us so far and realized Bruce Wayne would have had to father Damian 5 years before he was Batman.

  6. Allen
    June 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm — Reply

    How did Killing Joke and Oracle happen if Babs is OK now and all the man heroes are in their 20’s? Train wreck.

    • June 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm — Reply

      Yeah, that’s what I thought was weird. Does this mean the Batgirl story is in the past? And if it’s in the present, what does it do to Stephanie Brown if she reappears in Batman Inc?

      • ~wyntermute~
        June 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm — Reply

        Yeah, even though I’m -reaaaaaaally- stoked for the return of Bat-Babs, this very question makes my head ache. :( So, she got shot, did a whole bunch of stuff as Oracle (except mentor Bat-Steph, or join the Birds of Prey, or the Suicide Squad?), and now she’s just ‘back to Batgirl’… I think it’s going to be a major coup for the storywriting-person(s) to make sense of all the retconning that’s about to be dropped on us.

        • Michael
          June 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm — Reply

          But it’s not a retcon. If Barbara still gets shot and paralyzed by the Joker it’ll be up to whoemever is in charge of the BatBooks (at least I’d assume such) to decide or okay how long she’d be in that condition and if there’d been any new Batgirls in the meantime.

  7. James
    June 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    Agreed… Continuity based on sales versus storytelling is a recipe for disaster (and another Zero Hour, or three boot… or infinite boot…). Not writing to the trade any more is only good if you have a story to tell. Given the Green Lantern disaster movie, I don’t hold much hope to DC being around in the long haul.

    • June 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm — Reply

      Continuity based on sales versus storytelling is a recipe for disaster (and another Zero Hour, or three boot… or infinite boot…).

      Continuity for it’s own sake is often no better… The repeated reworkings of the Legion/X-Men when they collapse under their own weight should prove that as well. A good story helps, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

  8. Dravis
    June 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    I saw a “train wreck” once when I lived and worked near a train yard years ago.
    (Stay with me.)
    It was dark morning hours, and an engine must have braked on a severe curve, and three “boxcars” were suddenly bent upwards about midways of the “train”!
    Stuck and suspended in the air with more power night lights than Steven Spielberg ever used in any movie focusing on the MESS.
    I feel that DC is in this exact position.
    This can work out well… or an absolute mess.
    When everyone involved gets canned… and the words “Never Try That S–T Again” becomes their crest and creed… Warner Bros. will go get a new set of talent to make a newer “mess”!

  9. June 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm — Reply

    You know,… normally I’m all for “doom & gloom”, but isn’t this a bit premature? JSA could have existed as a secret society. We knew they were keeping some of the continuity in tact or we wouldn’t have Nightwing and all of the #1 would be origin stories . Also, this “relaunch” doesn’t invalidate all the great comics that DC gave us before.

    So everybody take a step back, a deep breath and remember that until we have the actual product on our hands; this neither a train-wreck or the Second Coming.

    • ikdks
      June 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm — Reply

      Thank you.

      How about we read the books, THEN judge them. At this point all we have is cover art, you guys are literally judging the books by their cover.

      Doesn’t anybody see the irony in that?

    • Rob
      June 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm — Reply

      Good point. Let’s wait and see. I think the idea of a JL title set in the past is kinda cool. And I’m stoked that my favourite titles aren’t getting revamped – just renumbered to number one.

      • TaZ
        June 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm — Reply

        I’m let down that the JLA stories will be “flashbacks to things that haven’t happened that should have happened had there not been a Flashpoint thus making it not really a flashback unless you’ve been past Flashpoint…”. I know that if this is indeed a “restarted” DCU then you would have to go back to the start of the JLA and other heroes to get an idea of how things got to where they are “today” or whatever day it’s supposed to be. I was just getting used to the “new” version of the JLA but the current Eclipso arc is WAY too long for a team-book where members have their own titles. The best JLA stories were usually told in shorter arcs so that after an arc the characters could “catch up” to the continuity of their own titles.

        I am still in very interested wait and see mode, realizing that covers are usually a bit deceptive by nature anyway. However I will not hide my severe disappointment that the JSA has been “benched” so that “Stormwatch” can have a title (say what you want I can see the conversation now: “Hey, let’s put the Wildstorm characters that were originally alternates of the JLA into a title and put Martian Manhunter with them!” “GENIUS! But won’t having the JSA, JLA and Stormwatch together be too many teams?” “Good point. Let’s dump the old guys, especially since Alan Scott now looks like a guy with a bad Marti Gras costume!” “SPLENDID!”) . How the hell do you bench the “coaches” of an entire comic book “universe”?

        Aside from that gripe, I’m looking forward to reading these titles in September and I’m sure all of us will be as vocal as ever as to our likes and dislikes.

        (Benching Alan Scott, Jay Garrick and Ted Grant…who the heck do these people think they are?…grumble…grumble…shufflle…grumble…)

  10. Michael
    June 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    Can you say “This is gonna be a BIG CLUSTER(censored) MESS!”?

    • E. Hobbs
      June 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm — Reply


  11. Dravis
    June 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm — Reply

    I DO judge a book by it’s cover! In the old days the “cover artist” got almost a tenth of all money… or more if you were Gil Kane, Neal Adams, or Steranko! Cover artists usually make a lot more money!
    This goes with any kind of BOOK!
    Lead them in… and they will follow!
    Judging from what may or may not be the actual “covers”… I am far from impressed, thus I do not and will buy later.
    From Pulp magazines, comic books, and paperbacks… the COVER sold the product.
    If you want me at the party… give me Superman breaking chains of Kryptonite off his chest.
    Drawn by Neal and King Kirby!
    (I saved up lunch money for that one,)

  12. bob
    June 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm — Reply

    The constant rewrites of history is what did me in as a comic fan.I stopped collecting more than 10 years ago(about a year after zero hour).I stopped because the friends i grew up with in comics were no longer reconizable.After all in the 70’s and early 80’s the companies didn’t make it easy for me to jump in and start reading.Thats what the cover art was for.To get your attention.When they have it,you stay with them.But then Crisis came.”lets clean up the mulitverse and only have 1″.That worked out well.so well you had to have zero hour and infinte crisis attempt to clean up the mess.
    The top guys made too many changes so I left.And so did a lot of other readers.Same thing happened to Marvel(heros reborn,ultimates).So I read web sites to see if my hard earned money should go back into comics.Redoing the Legion ALMOST had me.Then you brought back Barry.I realized you guys are gonig to break your own rules when ever you feel like it.Barry was gone for over 20 years!His death meant something!Not anymore though.
    So I will wait to see what flashpoint brings.If its another flash in the pan (AoA) then I’ll stay on the sidelines.Spending money on video games instead!

  13. Michael
    June 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm — Reply

    Is it just me, or does it look to anyone else like the cover should replace Donna with someone instead of leaving the space blank? And how long ago was the decision to yank her made?

    • June 29, 2011 at 2:01 am — Reply

      Yeah…. does kinda leave a weird hole in the composition…

  14. Dravis
    June 29, 2011 at 11:56 am — Reply

    Okay, Donna Troy can turn invisible now. And I believe she has had more costume changes than Hank Pym. The more I like the new costume, the more likely it will be changed. (But, it probably wasn’t her in the first place.) My head hurts… again!
    No more “Doom & Gloom”… I’ve got my popcorn and giant Dr. Pepper… let’s watch the movie!
    (From a safe distance.)

    • Michael
      June 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm — Reply

      I’d be THRILLED to stop with the “Doom & Gloom”. Unfortunately DC keeps throwing in what seems like last-minute changes to what seems like a recent decision to fire off a relaunchboot.

      • June 29, 2011 at 11:47 pm — Reply

        I’d be THRILLED to stop with the “Doom & Gloom”. Unfortunately DC keeps throwing in what seems like last-minute changes to what seems like a recent decision to fire off a relaunchboot.

        Why do people keep saying that? People at DC have been making noises that this has been in the works for MONTHS… I don’t understand where the “recent decision” thing comes from.

        • Michael
          June 30, 2011 at 1:01 am — Reply

          Aquaman was supposed to have a new title coming out of Brightest Day. Never happened. But he’ll get a book after the relaunchboot.

          Static and Batwoman were also supposed to have their own books that never seemed to materialize. They’re also going to get those books after the relaunchboot.

          Some storylines like the current goings on in the Green Lantern Corps and Batman Inc. aren’t going to be finished by August/September, but they’re gonna go on (with a few tweaks I’m sure). Other smaller storylines (like Hawk never earning his life back in Brightest Day AFAIK) are just going to end.

          And there’s the changes to things that have happened SINCE the big announcement, like Donna Troy – who was originally on the cover of JLI #1- now being benched.

          IMHO, they came up with this idea during Brightest Day when Superman’s Grounded storyline and the new take on Wonder Woman didn’t go over very well. Assuming I’m anywhere near correct I think that’s a bit too quick to orchestrate the rebirth of an entire multiverse. Unless it’s meant to be a short-lived stunt. Otherwise, it seems to me that the time to do this would’ve been with Infinite Crisis and bringing back the Multiverse. Not out of a storyline going on in The Flash, which really isn’t touching a lot of books directly, even if it is spawning it’s own books a’la the Tangent Universe.

          I very well could be wrong. But I don’t see any evidence that this decision was made prior to 2011.

          • Jimmy
            June 30, 2011 at 11:53 am — Reply

            1) There is a Hawk and Dove ongoing happening in the relaunch; I’d imagine since DC has said the events of Brightest Day DID happen in this relaunch, the fallout will be affecting that title.

            2) Dan Jurgens said that the woman on the JLI cover was never Donna Troy.

          • July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am — Reply

            Aquaman was supposed to have a new title coming out of Brightest Day. Never happened. But he’ll get a book after the relaunchboot. Static and Batwoman were also supposed to have their own books that never seemed to materialize. They’re also going to get those books after the relaunchboot.

            Which seems to support the fact that they KNEW that they were considering something big like this, and that they wanted to hold off on these big number ones until they official relaunch, to me… Why delay the books otherwise? The Aquaman and Batwoman books have been confirmed as being the books that had been teased already, pushed back to September to coincide with the relaunch.

        • June 30, 2011 at 8:08 am — Reply

          Just to keep the conversation going and to boost our numbers… er…uh… I mean… to give some perspective. I had a chance to chat with Gail Simone briefly at the KC Planet Comic Con back in March and she indicated then that she was already working on something big with Ethan Van Sciver that she couldn’t talk about. It was kind of implied that they had been collaborating on the project(s) for some time. That was in March, DC announced the relaunch plans in June, which does mean DC has been working on this for months. Also, I mention my conversation with Gail because it makes Matthew angry that I got to talk with her, and he didn’t. Serves him right for chatting it up with Alex Grecian… :D

          • ikdks
            June 30, 2011 at 8:55 am — Reply

            Oh, you lucky bastard.

          • SallyJupiter
            July 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm — Reply

            My jealousy is undeniable right now.

  15. Dravis
    June 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm — Reply

    Warner VS Disney… I mean DC VS Marvel… let’s see if we can kill the “comic book” (as we know it.) TOGETHER! And while they are at it… make “Cars2” that nobody asked for!
    (Most lame animated Pixar movie ever has a #2?) Smells like it.
    I think I lost my “hall pass”… I’ll be back.
    Is Disney ever gonna use any of those cool Marvel characters other than at their parks?

  16. PBoom
    June 30, 2011 at 2:32 am — Reply

    The reason people are “judging a book by its cover” is because they are being invited to do so by DC. They want people talking about it, they want buzz, so they have launched that kind of campaign. There’s nothing ironic about it.

    The rollout has been a little rocky, and it does seem like some of the press releases and creative decisions are a bit tone deaf.

    They’ll do well or not come September based on the product, but the attention and blowback they are getting is of their own making. They courted it.

    As for it being rushed, one need only look at the relaunching of recently relaunched books, as well as the dangling and unfinished arcs that are essentially being dropped. Bad planning and leadership of the line.

  17. Frank
    June 30, 2011 at 8:45 am — Reply

    Regarding Batgirl, could this series be set in the past before the The Killing Joke. Other series are set in the past… Just a random thought.

  18. brainypirate
    July 1, 2011 at 12:03 am — Reply

    I recall one of the DC honchos admitting that the promo covers we’ve seen aren’t necessarily actual covers–or at least not actually issue #1 covers. So we’re not really able to judge the comics by their covers, since all we’ve been given so far are promos.

    And that was NOT Donna Troy on the JLI cover. Jurgens said so himself.

    • Michael
      July 1, 2011 at 6:46 am — Reply

      Has Jurgens said who this character is (was)?

      • July 1, 2011 at 10:43 am — Reply

        Has Jurgens said who this character is (was)?

        I haven’t heard any official explanation of who the mysterious woman is or why she turned invisible, but I have a question: Why do we presume that removing her from the promotional materials means removing her from the book? What if she’s some sort of big MacGuffin? What if the first arc of JLI is “The Search For A Chick Who May Or May Not Be Donna Troy?”

        • Michael
          July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am — Reply

          That’s a good possibility.

          Up until I’d heard that these weren’t covers for #1 issues (which is news to me), I’d assumed that this was the team by the end of the first issue or at least the first story arc. putting out a revised piece with her having been taken out at the same time Donna Troy is announced as being benched (which, for me, came in the same announcement) is strangely coincidental (and, FWIW, Jurgens’ comment that it’s not Donna is also news to me, though I don’t know when it was said) and says to me that the team’s now not going to include that character (whoever she is) in the immediate future.

  19. Michael
    July 1, 2011 at 11:15 am — Reply

    Matthew Peterson said:

    “Which seems to support the fact that they KNEW that they were considering something big like this, and that they wanted to hold off on these big number ones until they official relaunch, to me… Why delay the books otherwise? The Aquaman and Batwoman books have been confirmed as being the books that had been teased already, pushed back to September to coincide with the relaunch.”

    Apologies, but I wasn’t given and option to reply to that message and I don’t know the html codes offhand.

    it could also say that the announcement was made, the decision was made at some point after that to do this big relaunch/reboot/retcon/whatever it is, and shortly thereafter it was decided to push these books back to September.

    Which says to me that the decision of the Big Whatever was made after the announcement of the Aquaman title coming out of Brightest Day since, IIRC, that was the last of the three titles announced (the third being Static after he left the Teen Titans).

    On a slightly different subject, why are some books going on until the very end? Teen Titans recently changed writers. Why keep the book going? Especially since the writer is involved in some of the new titles?

    Also, please allow me to be clear on some things: I like DC Comics. I want this to work. I’m looking forward to the two Legion titles as well as the Teen Titans title and I’m very happy that the whole Cry For Justice (and what it meant for and did to the Green Arrow family) mess is being tossed.

    However I do have reservations about this. Primarily because under Dan Didio’s lead DC has rebooted characters and the whole DC Universe at least a few times in the last few years. I recall the mess that was Countdown’s and Death Of The New Gods’ lead-in to Final Crisis.

    What I see says to me that this decision was made around the end of 2010/early in 2011. And what I see says that they’re amending things as they go along. I could be spot on about what’s going on and I might be miles off. In either case I’ll be happy if the new stuff’s just plain good and the new DCU is on solid creative ground.

    • July 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm — Reply

      What I see says to me that this decision was made around the end of 2010/early in 2011. And what I see says that they’re amending things as they go along. I could be spot on about what’s going on and I might be miles off. In either case I’ll be happy if the new stuff’s just plain good and the new DCU is on solid creative ground.

      Same here… Agree to disagree on the behind-the-scenes stuff, as neither of us will have the input to find out for sure anyways. I’m working my September Previews order as we speak, and it looks like I’m picking up about 30 new titles. I’m not sure how many I’m losing, though, so I might break even.

  20. Dravis
    July 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    Too much build up… and too much explanation… eventually makes me not want to see ANYONE make “The Statue of Liberty” disappear! (You older ones explain that to the kids.)
    Lord knows they got everyone talking, and tweeting, and blogging… and then…
    They maybe shared too much… and a “guessing game” at church can start a fist-fight.
    (And, the lame-ass “it never was Donna Troy” walnut shell trick don’t work for me.)
    Did she look like freaking Supergirl? No.
    Sadly, if we follow the current run of DC comics to the ultimate end… it will count for nothing!
    Snake eating it’s own tail.
    It was all a dream.
    Once upon a time.
    Hush, little children don’t you cry.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...