THE Q: Pros Reminisce About the Passing of the Old DCU

THE Q: Pros Reminisce About the Old DCU

Whenever the comic book industry experiences a death, the professionals in our small community begin reminiscing about what once was.

And today we lost one of our own…

As we lay to rest this evening the old DC Universe, the feeling is no different. Although a new universe will launch tomorrow with brand new stories, it replaces years of continuity and shared experiences between readers and creators. And doggone it, we cared about it.

In this special edition of The Q, we asked creators to share their thoughts on the passing of the legendary old DCU. And we asked them this question:

- As the old DCU dies and the new takes its place, what will you miss, what will you not miss, and what are your significant memories of it?

Jamal Igle

Friends, family members of the Swiss Guard, the banana republic of Bialya. I think I have much to mourn as the DC universe moves on. I am a child of that Universe. I started collecting comics with Crisis on Infinite Earths. My first job in the industry was as Keith Giffen and Andy Helfers' whipping boy while they were massacring the reputation of the Justice League. I suffered as we had to deal with customers buying entire cases of the Death of Superman when I worked at Jim Hanley's Universe. My first published work was an early issues of Kyle Rayner's tenure as Green Lantern, and my last was the final issues of my version of Superman with #714.

 

So I have many memories of what was... I'll miss the "Bwahaha" JLA. I'll miss the Donnerverse touches we brought to the Superman Universe. I'll miss the Darkstars, because, hell everyone needs an ineffectual cosmic police force flying around. I loved the Jerry Ordway run on the Power of Shazam, Infinity Inc.. I'll miss the version of Teen Titans I grew up with. I'll miss Barbara Gordon as Oracle and that version of the Birds of Prey. I'll miss Wally West as the Flash. What I won't miss — a few things though as well:

Guy Gardner in his leather and Jeans look.

Superman's post-return mullet.

Joe Potato (God, I hated that character)

Booster Gold's '90s armor..ewww.

The Detroit Justice League. Sorry kids, they really sucked.

Bloodlines and every character that came out of it.

I'm looking towards DC's bright future, but remembering that this isn't a death. All that we loved and cherish will live in our hearts forever... and in hardcover and trade paperback.

Gerry Conway

 

I'll always remember the old DCU as she was in her youth, which was for me the so-called Silver Age, full of promise and hope and naive enthusiasm. Oh yes, she stumbled early and often (who can forget her awkward Dial-H-for-Hero phase) but she had her pre-teen triumphs as well (the early years of the original Barry Allen Flash, the pre-camp Batman, the first go-round with Hal Jordan as Green Lantern).

In her maturity, she was pretty hot — but never sexier than when Frank Miller, Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Irv Novick redefined Batman in the 70s and early 80s.

Of course, like us all, she struggled with the growing limitations of middle age (oh dear Lord, those embarrassing '90s), but she regained her grace with a final burst of creativity and self-confidence as she finally embraced her twilight years.

Her last decade was among her finest, and now, as she goes not gently into the night, I celebrate the memories, good and bad, and say, "Good night, sweet princess." I'll miss her. We all will.

Keith Giffen

You know what I'm not sorry to see go? Blown deadlines, late shipping, a snarl of continuity that was strangling creativity, people making excuses for why their book is roundly panned by pointing out "look what I was given from the last story!" (that whole excuse is gone, because it's all brand new now)... mostly, the idea that set in somewhere at DC and Marvel that we were doing "fanzines" instead of publishing comics. I'm not going to miss that attitude. I'm kind of glad that we have a more professional, almost crack-the-whip attitude, although I hope everyone keeps it within reason. This make-your-deadline thing can turn ugly if you're not careful, but I think DC is headed in the right direction. I'm not going to miss, I guess, the old business paradigm that had set in and I'm looking forward to seeing how the new one works out.

As for what I'm sorry to see go.... I'm just tempted to say Superman's underpants and let it go at that.

But really, that's a tough one, because they really didn't "go" anywhere. Maybe I'd have many more regrets if someone came to my house Fahrenheit 451 style and said, "DC's restarting, so hand over all your comics! We're confiscating them!" or "We're going to torch them!" But they're not.

Personally, for me, this couldn't have come at a better time, because I'd already decided I didn't want to do any more JLI stories. I've told all the stories I want to tell. And the same with Lobo. And the same with Ambush Bug. So I already had a clean slate. It's not like I had an emotional investment in the old characters. I enjoyed doing my version of the JLI, I know it's not going to be part of this, it's past history, but it's still going to be there to relive in those comics.

Yes, some of your favorite stories may not be valid in this new universe that's being born, but new favorite stories will come up. DC is pushing creativity so hard right now that it's got to pay dividends. And it doesn't mean that you can't go back and enjoy the old stories. They're not going to cease to exist. All that's been taken away from the DCU is this briar thicket of continuity and contradictions and gaping holes in characters' histories.

So no, there's nothing I'm going to miss about the old DC, because it's all still there!

J.M. DeMatteis

I honestly wouldn't miss anything because all those great stories haven't gone away: they're still out there, waiting to be read again and again. (Although there are some stories from early in my career that I wouldn't mind seeing disappear into a cosmic vortex.)

B. Clay Moore

 

The truth is that the DCU doesn't look much like it did when I was in college, which didn't look much like it did when I was a kid, which didn't look much like it did 20 years earlier. There are lost characters and completely revised concepts that I already miss (I miss Earth-2. I miss the original Blackhawks. I miss the original Legion of Super-Heroes, which was published long before I was born. I miss Starman.). Change isn't new, but I think it's probably necessary.

As a reader, I'm excited to have the opportunity to sample a broad cross-section of new books, because I'd love to find something new to enjoy, and to climb on board at ground level. From a creative standpoint, it's great to see a wealth of new ideas from which to draw inspiration.

Jeff Parker

I'll miss Krypto — good boy, Krypto! You were a good boy, always chasing meteorites when you weren't supposed to be around in a story.

I won't miss decades of continuity being shuffled around and mattering for current stories. Though there was plenty of stuff that impacted on me as a young reader like when Moore, Bissette and Totleben transformed Swamp Thing, I'm hoping everyone takes advantage of the clean slate to it's fullest and makes some inclusive, exciting comics. Good luck!

Beau Smith

What will I miss from the old DCU? Well, from the last 10 years...not a lot. If this is the death of the old DCU, then it's been a lingering one for the last decade. The last 10 years have left a lot of the characters walking around lost and without a defined personality. Not many have been very likeable and I hope with the relaunch they'll come back in compelling new stories and be fictional characters I'd like to know and read about.

What won't I miss is the gloom and doom. I will not miss the seemingly endless page after page pounding of heroes flying around in space screaming at bad guys, each other and occasionally falling to the ground to wallow in self-pity. It's time to cowboy up and be heroes again by doing what's right, fighting evil and proving why these characters should be called icons.

When it comes to the DCU, I file my memories by decades. Each decade has a different memory — my childhood, my teenage years, college age and adulthood. None of them are the same because of the life I've led and the publishing plan that DC has offered through those decades.

I'm looking forward to the new relaunch, I'm hoping that DC will present to me, as a reader, characters I care about and can place or replace an emotional investment in. I want to like these characters. If I like them, then I will finally care about the situation or grand event that they're placed in. If not, then I'm sure sales will reflect my disappointment and within a year or so, DC will announce the "We're getting back to the basics!" event.

In comics, nobody stays buried forever.

Ethan Van Sciver

I feel as though nothing has changed. But of course, this is denial. Something has changed. Robin has wings and Superboy has a tattoo, and Zatanna...oh Zatanna. What have you done to your hair, darling? Ho on. (That's "oh no" backwards.) These characters are my friends, and have been my entire life.

But life goes on and people change, and we must change and adapt with the times. The old DCU has passed, but we hold on, and step with some trepidation and curiosity into what is being called DCnU. Is it a big change, a burst of creativity from the boldest generation of creators in decades, or are the changes mostly cosmetic, and will everything underneath feel comforting and traditional? We'll all find out soon. And we'll find out with our friends that we see in the comic book shops we frequent, all DCnU in all the old familiar places.

 

I'll miss Bart Allen as Impulse, but I've missed him for years. I won't miss a DCU without the Swamp Thing in it. And my best memory of the old DC will always be GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH, where we discovered that telling an uplifting and positive story full of life and creation resonates with fans for years afterwards, a lesson that I think we may all learn again this week. I'll see you in the comic shop!

Eric Trautmann

I shall miss all those serious moments with the JLI; the long, lingering soul-searching sessions (over boxes and boxes of Oreos). I cherish the memories of velvet, crimson-tinged sunsets on the idyllic beaches of Kooey Kooey Kooey. I will forever miss Aquaman's blue outfit (because it was rad, the naysayers be damned). But, if Jason Burr has taught me anything, it's that the death of a universe is as permanent and unchanging as the death of, say, the leader of a doomsday snake cult bent on the annihilation of mankind. So, there's that.

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