OP/ED: 5 Wishes for DC's Rumored Post-FLASHPOINT Plans
If rumors found around the internet are to be believed, DC is planning something big with their September releases. Not only is the publisher only soliciting one comic on August 31st, but every other regular DCU title for the month prior appears to be reaching the end of a storyline, status quo or train of thought. Are we heading towards another One Year Later-style relaunch of the entire DCU? It definitely seems possible... which means that it's time to ask really nicely for some of the following things. We'll keep it limited to five so that you can add on.
No Relaunching Books From #1 Without A Good Reason
One of the rumors going around is that all books will be relaunched with a brand new #1 to entice new readers. Considering that two of the titles affected by this would be the two longest-continuously-running series in comics history, I'm sure that you can see my hesitation with this idea. Is dumping 70+ years of history really worth what is sure to be a temporary sales bump? (Spoiler: No.) That said...
Every Post-Flashpoint Issue Should Be Approached As If A First Issue
If the September books are to be pushed as jumping on points for new readers, they have to act as such: The premise of the series has to be clearly laid out, the characters introduced and whatever mysteries or long-running questions the readers need to be asking themselves should be in place by the end of the first issue. Everything the reader would require in order to become a fan of the series should be present in the September issue. No time for slow burns, Doctor Jones.
No Drastic In Media Res Changes Without A Plan To Explain Them Sooner, Rather Than Later
One of the problems with One Year Later was that changes were made to series with the intent of hooking the reader in (Why is the book suddenly called Hawkgirl? Who are all these new Teen Titans? Who is this new Aquaman?) without, it seems, the most clearly thought-out plans for explaining the changes to the reader. If there are changes coming to the status quos of books in September, please make sure that the reasons behind them aren't left dangling for months, giving readers the idea that even the creators have no idea why they happened. On a similar note...
If We Have To Do Retro, Let's Do Retro Right, Shall We?
You know what DC Comics readers have been starved of, recently? Superman flying around Metropolis, saving the day and, as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, visiting the Daily Planet for his dayjob. Or Green Lantern being a space cop who looked into things other than the increasingly-incestuous multicolored lantern corps or shenanigans perpetuated by his bosses, the Guardians of The Universe. Or Wonder Woman doing anything that isn't addressing her own origins, cut off from the rest of the universe. Whether by coincidence or design, it seems as if we've gone through an extended period of taking iconic characters away from their iconic roles, and if there's a time to fix that, a line-wide relaunch would seem to be the ideal one. Change isn't necessarily bad, but it has to be worth it: If you don't have anything better to replace the classics with, don't just change them for the sake of change.
Take Your Influence From The Right Places
Whether intentionally or otherwise, Geoff Johns' shadow has fallen long across the DCU as a line in recent years. It makes a lot of sense, considering (a) his place within the company and (b) his sales figures. But I'm always surprised to see so few creators looking at Grant Morrison's Batman to see another model of how to do things to critical and sales success - Morrison's Batman breaks with the Johns model in a lot of ways, not least of which is its emphasis on form over character (Both Batman and Robin and Batman Incorporated have character moments, but they're really about the story and the way the story is told, in a way that Johns' books rarely are) and its willingness to push forward through status quos without invalidating the core concept. Somewhere between Johns' and Morrison's approaches (but taking note of everything that they share, just as importantly) is a road plan for doing DC superheroes "right." If you can somehow crack that, you should be all set.
Wait, is that five already? But there are so many more! Give Some New Characters A Chance, Don't Invent Things You're Not Going To Do Anything With (Hi, new Global Guardians in Green Lantern), Try And Ensure Your New Creative Teams Don't Bail On Books A Couple Of Months In Where Possible, As Far As Humanly Possible, Try To Have A Better Shipping Schedule Than One Year Later Did, or even Seriously, Killing People Off For Shock Value Is Over, Please Don't Have A Sudden Death or Two To Make A Point... I could go on for days...! Most importantly though, DC, take care of the characters we love; make sure when you're trying to grab new readers you don't leave the current ones behind.