I meant to get this out last month, but as you might have noticed from the serious lack of updates, I’ve been pretty sick lately and not been able to do much. I’m on the road to feeling better so I figured it was time to try writing something again!
I was never a comics guy in the past. I had some interest in the Green Lantern stuff, specifically the recent Geoff Johns relaunch, but that was mostly because it reminded me of Super Sentai with the various Lantern Corps being introduced. I read up a bit on the various stories in that arc and had a decent grasp of what was going on, but I was far from truly knowledgeable about it. I never thought things would actually change…then came the whole New 52 plan from DC.
If you’re not familiar, the New 52 is DC’s way of driving new fans towards their brands. In an attempt to make the stories appealing to potential fans, DC rebooted their line of comics. In the past, there had been series that started their number over to mark a major relaunch of change in creative team, but this was the first time that every major comic was rolled back to issue #1 all at once. DC was hoping this would free up their titles from the chains of decades long stories and make the comic world seem fresh once again.
Now, granted, my view of things probably isn’t the most insightful as far as comic fans go. I completely admit that I’m a newbie when it comes to these things and I won’t pretend that it most long time fans absolutely hate the relaunch and treat it as just another money grabbing attempt – which it is, but I think it has some merit to it beyond that. Even if the numbers go back to what they once were in the past, I think DC will have done their job in getting new fans into the world of comics. I say this because, no matter what DC does in regards to the New 52 in the future, they’ve hooked me into their world of characters.
Lately I’ve been diving into past comic book story arcs, trying to get a feel for older things. I’m finding that I enjoy a lot of what’s been there and that some of it isn’t as difficult to get into as I thought it would be. The reason I could never see myself as a fan of comic books in the past was simply because there was no jumping on point, at least nothing highly publicized. I’ve found some decent jumping on points here and there, but you really did need to have been part of the comic book fandom to know about them because they’re not advertised as jumping on points. That’s the beauty of the New 52.
The New 52 is a reboot, but it can be considered a soft reboot rather than a hard reboot. This doesn’t means that these heroes have never had their adventures before in this world. A lot of what happened in the past still happened, but now it’s treated as being in the past. And, because this New 52 world takes place five years into the careers of most years, you, as a reader, can just treat those older stories as adventures they’re already been on. Granted, it makes things a little strange in regards to things like Batman having gone through four different Robins in his short career, but the big picture is still there and it still works.
DC’s recent Zero Month event in which every series releases an issue #0 rather than 13 was supposed to be another jumping on point, but it didn’t work out like that to me. I felt like I was reading issue #13 of a different series, just under a different number. Some of them work because they’re setting up new story arcs and showing us the past, but a lot of them don’t do much to continue the story. Though I’ve got to give a shout out to Justice League #0 for finally giving Billy his own full length issue for once.
I’ve been behind on comics for most of this year but I was finally able to catch up not too long ago and I realized that I…really wanted to read more. In fact, the reason I’ve been writing this, other than to celebrate my one year anniversary as a comic book fan, is that I’ve found myself going through Grant Morrison’s run of Batman and have been having tons of fun with it. This is one of those unadvertised jumping on points that I was talking about. You can pick up his first saga, Batman and Son, and just go. Well, you might need to know a few teeny tiny details that the average person might not know (who the heck Talia is and why there has been more than one Robin) but it’s mostly something you can pick up and go.
Another reason I never quite felt too hot on comics was that I often heard how terrible the field has become these days, but the more I read, the more I start to feel like these are people who just don’t like the new approach. I can’t point out too many comics from what I’ve read and say that they’re offensively bad to the point where I won’t want to read them. I like it when comics revel in the fact that they’re often stories about superheroes but have that sense of dramatics and seriousness to them, a sense of scale. Though I will say that I’m having a difficult time enjoying most of the newer Batman titles. (mostly a Batwing guy now)
As I look at my shelf and realize that I’ve not only got various trades from the New 52 sitting up there, but things from the past like Batman Year One and Knightfall, I’ve realized that I’m probably the exact result DC was shooting for. I’m someone who was never quite into comic books in the past and now I’ve found myself enjoying not only just the different series the New 52 has to offer but I’ve gone back and started picking up older series and trades and am I’m having a great time. I’m even slightly starting to branch out of DC and have started reading Marvel comics – I’m really loving the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man series feature Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man and things like the Second Coming story arc. Though, as far as Marvel goes, I’m enjoying their adaptations of the Wizard of Oz books more than their iconic hero titles.
So, all in all, I’m enjoying being a fan of comic books. It’s a great world to dive into with stories of all types. Even if you’re not into superheroes, there’s something out there for you. I’ve really been enjoying Joe the Barbarian and The October Girl, two titles devoid of any heroes.
Finally, I’m here to say…I’m Aoi Kurenai and I’m a DC.