As I’ve said in a previous post, I’ve recently gotten back into comic books (see my review of Locke and Key). I also said I wouldn’t be covering too much about super heroes, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Basically, if you didn’t already know, on Wednesday, August 31 2011, DC is launching a renumbering of their entire DC Universe line of comics. This looks to be possibly a great place for newcomers, or anyone wanting to “get back into” comics, to jump into the DC Universe. It can be hard to find a good doorway into superhero comics, with the hundreds of issues, and extensive back-stories.
Being technically new to the current comic community, I don’t have the authority, or knowledge base to give any educated opinions or ideas about The New 52. That being said, I wanted to get the thoughts of some reputable sources, which lead me to local artist and comic book aficionado, Chris Zuga. He was kind enough to let me do an interview with him on the subject, which follows below: (Note: Chris gave me a wonderful amount of material, but more than I can post in this article. The following has been slightly edited for length. I will post the full interview with Chris at a later date.)
Me: Why don’t you introduce yourself, Chris.
Zuga: I’m Chris Zuga, manager of The Comic Commander in Jackson, Mississippi. I’m originally from Ohio, but have lived here most of my life.
Me: So, the new big thing with DC is the New 52-
Zuga: – the soft reboot. Whatever that means.
Me: So what was your general thought on that when you first heard about it?
Zuga: My first thought was that, because I’m a huge Hellblazer and Vertigo fan, I found out they were pulling Constantine into it and I was like, “No, that’s not gonna work for me,” until I read the Brightest Day: The Search for Swampthing, and I was like, “Ok, they’ve got the essential part of the character down, and they promise me that they’re not going to go back and forth.” There are two separates: DC Constantine and Vertigo Constantine, and that was fine. My reaction after that was that I’d just see where this goes, although half the reactions I’ve heard have been, “Nope, I’m not doing it. I’m not following DC if they’re changing everything.” These people have slowly turned over to, “I’ll give it a try.”
I like the idea, and what people tend to forget is that where as Marvel just keeps on chugging, DC will go back and work at it to make things make sense. DC seems to care more about continuity than Marvel. Somebody could argue against that, I guess. DC has a history of reboots and change, like Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Infinite Crisis…
I’m excited about it though. Look, tell me a good story. I don’t care if that means that Superman has red shorts or doesn’t.
Me: Being an artist, what impact do you think this “soft reboot” has on artists wanting to throw their own style on these iconic heroes?
Zuga: I think it’s been sort of a “carte blanche within reasons.” Some costumes, like kid flash, are a little too much for me, but I think they’ll tone some of that stuff down as the series’ progress. And I’m not sure why, but I do like Superman in jeans.
Me: You’ve been reading comics since you were about five. What’s been your longest lasting favorite?
Zuga: I used to be a huge Superman fan when I was a kid. The first comics I read were Justice League, Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, and I still love all three. And it makes me mad when Justice League isn’t done right. The longest thing I’ve been reading throughout my life is probably Batman, on and off. Since Vertigo debuted, I’d say Constantine consecutively. I’ve read pretty much every issue, and even a bad issue of Hellblazer is better than most comics. Unfortunately the movie didn’t prove that.
Me: As an end, I think we’re both looking forward to it, hoping that DC does pull something amazing out. If they don’t, what company do you think, other than Marvel, do you think has a chance to step up into the void.
Zuga: IDW. They’ve put out some quality books that don’t get enough exposure. 30 Days of Night is probably their best known thing, but the stuff that Ben Templesmith did afterwards, like Groom Lake and Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, deserves to be just as well known as Sandman or anything like that.
BOOM! Studios looks like it wants to get into the superhero market. I don’t know if you’re reading Irredeemable and Incorruptible, but you could build a universe off of that. And then they’ve got Stan Lee doing Star Born and The Traveller.
Personally, I would like to see the market spread out a little more. There are great books out there that have nothing to do with people that can shoot lasers out their eyes or fly. Even Grant Morrison will tell you, superheroes may cause the death knell of western comics if we don’t, for lack of a better phrase, pull our heads out of the sand and realize there’s better ways to be entertaining. I’m not saying ditch superhero books, I’m saying add to your pile. There’s always going to be great stuff out there, and you’re always going to miss it if your always looking in one direction.
I don’t know about you, but I’m genuinely excited about the New 52. Chris Zuga is as well, and he’ll be opening The Comic Commander’s doors at Midnight, Tuesday night for a release party of the newly renumbered Justice League. I’ll be there with my camera and recorder, getting the reactions of other fans. Check back later this week to see what DC’s got in store for us.
[tags]DC Comics, New 52, Interview, Justice League, Comics[/tags]