There are some changes coming to the DC Comics’ Bat-Universe! And with them comes some controversy about writer Tom King.
For the release from DC, go to this link here on MajorSpoilers.
Some folks have taken to the Internet to talk about Mr. King and these changes. I thought I’d weigh in on all this from my perspective.
BATMAN AND TOM KING
Right now, Batman is IT for DC. His book sells in the top 10 or so each week, he has many related comics selling better than other books at DC, and his merchandizing is through the roof! I mean, Batman underwear, Batman toys, Batman shirts, Batman socks, Batman everything, seems like.
So, the Dark Knight is a property Warner Bros. and DC are very concerned about, much like Star Trek is with Paramount. If some folks don’t care for a storyline in Batman, well, the folks in charge begin to worry big time. They don’t want to lose a single dime of income by having the comic turn people off.
I appreciate what Mr. King has been doing with Batman’s stories. I mean, he made a book starring Elmer Fudd a massive seller, so much so that there’s a sequel about the Dark Knight and The Fudd coming out soon.
Granted, some of his stories have gone on longer than I would have liked. The current one, which has a lot of psycho-drama to it, should have ended a few months’ back. And I was never a fan of that first story with Gotham and Gotham-Girl. If he truly was going to go on to issue #100, I often worried that it might involve one, extended 15-issue storyline. THAT would have been tough to swallow.
But I’ve enjoyed many of his other stories, including the one about Bruce Wayne serving on the jury for Mr. Freeze. That one made me think and had me engaged the entire time.
King seems to prefer drama to action. What I mean by that is he’ll often have people talking to each other in dramatic fashion instead of fist-fights. Many of us Bat-fans prefer the latter, and I particularly like to see Batman use his noggin to figure out the crazy plans of those loony villains.
The things I’ve been hearing lately is that The Powers That Be (TPTB) haven’t been happy with King’s storytelling. But they know he has a following, so rather than kick him off Batman, they’re easing him out by letting him work on his own title, Batman/Catwoman, for a year. But once that’s done, he’s not likely to work on the Dark Knight again anytime soon.
There have been arguments about sales numbers, some saying King hasn’t been selling enough copies each issue compared to, say, Scott Snyder’s run. Well, Mr. Snyder set the standard for Batman for years to come, in my estimation, and if King is even in the ballpark of those numbers, then he’s doing something right. (Oh, and Snyder/Capullo are doing what they’re calling their LAST Batman story, starting this week. They won’t be back.)
Not everyone agrees with that assessment, though.
WHAT WE KNOW AND DON’T KNOW
As it stands right now, Mr. King’s run on Batman ends with #85. As of this writing, no announcement has been made as to who will take over the title in #86 on. Whoever they are, they will have an extremely high standard to meet.
Batman is going to a monthly release schedule. I figure that Batman/Catwoman will take the place of the other bi-monthly Bat-issue while it’s going. When it ends, it’s all up in the air as far as I can see.
I mentioned that King has done wonderful things with Elmer Fudd. He’s also brought the spotlight to Mister Miracle. Over at Marvel, he made the Vision a big deal. DC clearly understands that he can make lesser-known properties into big names if he’s working on them.
But Batman… given how important the Dark Knight is to Warner Bros. and DC, he’s got to produce massive sales numbers. And it seems that he hasn’t sold enough to make TPTB happy.
I just get this odd feeling that Marvel is going to swoop in and sign King to an exclusive contract much like they did with Pat Gleason. If they keep this kind of thing up, Marvel will become the New DC.
I have another odd feeling that we’ll see revolving creative teams on Batman for a time. You know, that old idea where someone throws something against the wall and see what sticks?
Or these could both just be the results of that undercooked slice of pizza I just ate. I don’t know.
THE BAT AND THE CAT
I’ll freely admit here that DC’s marketing machine actually had me looking forward to Bruce and Selina getting hitched in Batman #50. After all, if we want to go where no Batman has gone before, Bat-marriage would be something akin to Superman getting together with Lois Lane. And that took place very successfully, I might add.
Of course, DC and other comics companies have a negative outlook on continuing relationships. It takes away some of the mystery, after all. Will he? Won’t he? When a hero is married, he certainly better NOT!
Batman and Catwoman, sitting in a tree… K I S S I N G.
So I’ve got another odd feeling that this miniseries or maxiseries, whatever, is going to give Mr. King a chance to get it right this time, as it were… bring the Bat and the Cat together “for real” this go-round.
I mean, I remember hearing of death threats against Mr. King for not getting the Bat and the Cat hitched. Really? Can we please remember these are comics we’re talking about here?
IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE
The folks at Warner Bros./DC are facing just what other companies like Marvel have encountered—NOW WHAT? Disease. I mean, we’ve seen just about everything possible with the Dark Knight in 80 years. What do you do with him now?
Remember that Marvel sent in Mephisto to reverse Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson. Seems like that moved Spider-Man too far from his original concept.
Would marrying Bruce and Selina do the same thing? I still harken back to Clark and Lois, and how great it has been to see that even Superman needs someone to help him now and again. Could be that Batman having Catwoman by his side might be quite enjoyable to read.
Look for the next few months to be a bumpy ride as DC works to sort out the Bat-stuff as they face the future. There will be backs’-and-forths’ as some things work out and some don’t. All we can do is watch and talk about it on the Internet yet again!
What do you think? Should Bruce and Selina really tie the knot this time much like Clark and Lois have? Or would that ruin Batman’s character much like marriage to Mary Jane spoiled Spider-Man? Whatever your opinions, please be sure to share them in the space below!