So far we have looked at how book sales and legal issues could be playing a part in the DC Comics’ relaunch. Now let’s look at another factor.
In 2009 DC Comics’ parent company Warner Bros announced a corporate reorganization. They formed DC Entertainment Inc. The purpose was to have a division that had oversight on all the DC comic brand properties throughout the company. The idea was to allow for better integration of the DC properties through the rest or WB’s divisions and promote them as media franchises. Warner executive Diane Nelson was made President of DC Entertainment and DC Comics was moved under it as a subsidiary. In 2010 Geoff Johns, one of DC Comics’ top writers was made Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment, which basically meant it is his job to oversee the use of DC characters in other media to maintain their integrity.
On paper this looks great, DC now had a cohesive vision for its characters in other media and the authority to back it up. But all was not well
First you have Smallville, the teen angst version of Superman’s origins, that since 2001 had been steamrolling its way through DC continuity.
On the other end of the quality spectrum in 2005 and 2008 you have Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Batman movies. Wonderful films, but the realism that he injects, while making great cinema, do not lend themselves to integration into a greater superhero universe.
Add to that the pressure being put on by Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios is in the midst of a frankly brilliant plan. They are creating a shared universe for their characters, giving the build up to the Avengers movie the feel of an all-star cast epic, but with actors they themselves have built up. So far all DC movies have been in their own little continuities.
Oh and their one entry into the Blockbuster sweepstakes this summer, Green Lantern, is met with a lukewarm greeting, While Thor is a smash and Captain America looks to be the movie to beat this season.
So DC Entertainment, despite having some of the most recognized intellectual properties in the world, can’t seem to get them out there in a big way. They need to get people talking about them again.
So how about resetting the universe they come from in the first place.
Not only can you generate press about the reboot, but you can use it to mold the stories into ones that will translate better into other media.
To back this theory up I look to one of the 52 titles launching in September, Resurrection Man. This is a character practically begging to be adapted into another media. Mitch Shelly is a man who wakes up one day in a shallow grave and suffering from partial amnesia. He comes to find that he has superpowers. His main power is resurrection, when he dies he quickly comes back to life, and as a bonus he has a random super power to boot. He is hunted by a shadowy organization that wants to study him. And the best part, he doesn’t wear spandex. His costume is jeans, t-shirt, a duster, and a wide brimmed hat. Seriously, cast Josh Holloway and you have a hit right there.
(To be fair I have always liked this character and plan to pick up the title myself, but I still stand by what I said.)
Next post I wrap up my thoughts on the relaunch and then we can move on to other subjects.