A New Golden Age of DC Comics: Begin with an apologyFebruary 19, 2010
You do indeed get credit for the find. Your post was the first I had heard of any of this. As you know, I have been out of that world for many years, but Geoff Johns is certainly one of the names I remember, and as one of the good guys. Indeed, THE good guy. I seem to recall he was affectionately known as “Other Geoff” in my old comic shop, to distinguish phonetically from Uncle Jeph (said with equal affection). And “Jim” is Jim Lee? Can’t say I have any opinion there, other than he is a spectacularly talented artist. I don’t know any of his views in terms of creative philosophy, Cat or otherwise.
Anyway, you asked for my thoughts, such as they are.
Snark first, then we’ll get serious:
The only triumvirates I’ve ever heard of ended with the rich guy under house arrest while the other two fought a civil war until the one not named Caesar is driven into Egypt, where he died by his own hand or someone else’s. If it were me, and I wasn’t named Caesar, I wouldn’t be keen on trying it again.
Serious answer? Well…
I think a new Golden Age of DC Comics is achievable in our lifetime. Honestly. We had a collective epiphany in the late ‘80s that this isn’t kid’s stuff. That there is not just a market but a hunger for complex, realistic and adult stories about these characters we collectively love. We immediately took a wrong term in defining what “complex, realistic and adult” mean. We took a 25 year detour, but that potential still exists. Look at all the readers who might have given up on the comics but never gave up the characters or what they should be. Look at TDK, that’s what happens when you understand, respect and keep the essence of what the characters are and use them in truly sophisticated, mature and complex storytelling. It takes 3 years and a hundred million dollars to do on that level. Comics have the ability to produce far more – not as much as they think, perhaps. There is only so much you can turn out and still keep it good. But through that medium, we can get more than one wholly satisfying Batman outing in 3 years.
So yes, in my opinion, an actual honest-to-god Renaissance is possible. But it can only begin with an apology. I question whether Geoff, Jim, and those who appointed them are aware of just how much bad will has been created over the last 10+ years. More is needed than another retcon, reboot or “new direction”. I don’t know what is needed. I don’t pretend to know. I do know this: You cannot set out to deliberately anger, disappoint and offend people, take away something they enjoyed and laugh at their cries of outrage, and then offer a half-assed reboot like a dozen others.
Someone I absolutely adore once said to me “You may forget the exact words, but you never forget how people made you feel.”
I expand it to: You may not be able to articulate it, but you never forget how people made you feel.
I have gotten a lot of email over the years from people who are angry, betrayed, bitter, belittled, heartbroken, deceived, paranoid, beaten, broken, despairing, exasperated and exhausted. Few had the self-knowledge, vocabulary and energy to express it coherently, but all have been kicked in the stomach. Unlike me, they didn’t note names. They can’t say J’accuse Ed Brubaker. They do know the name of the company: DC Comics.
How do you fix that? I have no fucking idea. I wish them all the luck in the world, but I have no earthly idea how you FIX this.
That’s my reaction, Chips. I wish it was more… something.
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P.S. My inner Joker is furious I did not use that last sentence to plug More Cowbell.