It looks like there are some big changes coming in comics at DC, changes which we have seen coming incrementally for some time.
And, as a reader for a long time, a very long time, I am not unhappy about new versions of old characters getting to shine — as long as the original versions stick around.
I’m a bit confused about the thinking over at Superman’s home. They know that older readers are the support system keeping the business alive. Most of the customers who faithfully trudge to the comic shop for their weekly fix are old enough to have voted for Clinton—Bill, not Hillary.
So, if those readers are the company’s bread and butter, DC needs to realize that long-time fans want to see the Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Flash they grew up with.
Rumors strongly suggest something is coming later this year where classic heroes hand over the mantle to younger people, though no details or official confirmation have been given.
Not that I object to Teen Lantern or any of the other multiple ethnically/racially/sexually/gender-diverse versions of established characters. Those versions are meant for a younger audience searching for heroes that look like them.
And that’s fine.
I hope the younger readers actually buy the books and support not just those characters but the publishers. To court that audience, DC has published a ton of teen-oriented graphic novels featuring youthful versions of Batgirl, Catwoman and Wonder Woman, written and drawn by new faces.
But DC should also remember the thousands of readers who have supported those characters for decades and provide content that those readers want to read.
The good news is that there is a way to please everyone, a pretty obvious way – keep both versions. There was nothing I loved more as a kid than seeing the original Flash, Jay Garrick, return from retirement and race along with his modern counterpart, Barry Allen. The same goes for the other members of the 1940s Justice Society showing up.
I wish the same for today’s readers. Let them have their new heroes and let the older readers have theirs.
DC’s Black Label series could be the answer. They are oversized comics that sell for $6.99, $2 or $3 more than a regular comic, and feature more adult adventures of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and, my favorite so far, The Question.
They are made for folks over 17, so they can be more explicit, which does not mean more blood and gore. It means deeper characterization, situations and (sadly) some nudity. Do I have to mention the bat-penis? Did anyone really want to see that?
It’s a big table and there is plenty of room for new, exotic dishes. Just don’t forget who’s paying the biggest part of the tab.
Michael Sangiacomo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.