Wednesday, June 15, 2011
DCnU: It's Working, I Guess
Whether I felt underwhelmed or outright perplexed by a great number of the series and creator announcements coming out of DC's huge September relaunch, upon closer inspection, I suppose I could say that... it's working.
I decided to take a look at just how many DC monthlies I was buying currently. Not taking into account the plethora of Flashpoint tie-in minis, regular minis of interest, the Vertigo or Johnny DC books. (as those appear to be untouched by this initiative)
Taking those out of the picture, focusing solely on monthly, DC Universe-based ongoing series, I am currently buying 17 titles from DC.
Going into the September relaunch, it appears that number could grow to 30.
Now, financially, I'm a little wary of adding 13 new books to my monthly buys. Taking a closer look, at least 9 of those 30 books are ones I'm a little on the fence about. And I already whittled down a couple that I decided I was curious about, but not THAT curious and would be fine checking out a trade down the line or even taking advantage of a discounted digital copy in the future. Maybe that's an advantage to this new digital distribution for a fan like me. I still love my floppies (though I loathe calling them that) so of course I'm still gonna buy my copies of Action Comics off the shelf. But say a book like Voodoo catches my eye but I can't really rationalize it as a must-buy monthly read that I just HAVE to have the week/day it comes out. Surely I can be patient and wait it off until the digital copy gets marked down. I have boxes full of Superman comics but I've only ever owned a handful of Wildcats comics. I don't really feel any burning need to fill my closet (or, uh... floor) with copies of Voodoo. But it might be a nice book to read later on, on my phone or computer or that free iPad those banner ads and pop-ups keep promising me.
Still, September could be a pretty expensive month. But I envision myself being significantly more harsh on these new series than I've been in the past. Simply because DC is introducing 52 new books, all vying for my attention. Some of them receiving none of it whatsoever, a few demanding it, and the rest may come down to some harsh first issue scrutiny.
So let's say there are 21 DC books I will definitely be reading in September, baring the chance that one or more of them could surprise me by being terrible (or worse, boring). 11 of them are books I was already buying. 6 of those books have 1 or more creators still in place from before the relaunch. 8 of those 21 are books I've bought in the past. 9, if you count Jeff Lemire's Frankenstein, which I'm currently reading as a Flashpoint tie-in. And the Johns/Reis Aquaman and JH Williams III Batwoman are books I was already planning to buy as they were both announced long before this relaunch was revealed. So with that, DC has only convinced me to try out two new books: Swamp Thing and Animal Man.
Now, that's not a bad thing. I'm not saying that. I want you to consider that I am a person who already buys a LOT of comics and I've kept pretty steady at it most of my life. They don't exactly have to even work very hard to win me over. I'm already well invested. And they've taken a person who was already buying a good number of DC comics (even MORE, if we wanted to factor in all those Flashpoint minis and other peripherals) and gotten her to consider buying even MORE. So that's a win. What they're really going to want and, well, NEED is people who aren't buying DC books or aren't buying very many or don't buy comics AT ALL.
They can lure me into buying books I already have the inclination to buy because they've already got me. It's already in my veins. I'm the sort of fan who was just looking for an excuse to run back to Wonder Woman and all needed to say "Cliff Chiang."
They could've brought me back to Justice League by doing almost anything that seemed more interesting than what they were doing at the time. The fact that they're doing it with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee is actually shooting a bit higher than they needed to, for my purposes, but it's definitely the sort of move they needed to do to grab outsider attention. Which I hope the rest of these books are capable of doing. I have my doubts but I would love to be surprised.
So, look, skepticism or no, they've got me. Clearly there is already some small victory claimed with this fan and I'll be curious to see if it holds and how many other readers they can claim victory over come September.