As of midnight August 31, 2011, the time of DC Comics' "New 52" is upon us. Comic book fans across the country gathered at their local shops to visit with creators, talk shop with other readers, and of course, to get their hands on the first of the New 52, Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
Before the midnight launch event at Midtown Comics in New York City, DC held a media event for press to chat with the creators and read a spread of DC's New 52 titles. The excitement of the creators present was clear as they talked with media, most of whom were clearly fans as well.
Artist Cliff Chiang told us how much he's enjoying working with writer Brian Azzarello on Wonder Woman.
"He's actually a very collaborative writer," said the artist. "If he seems like he wouldn't be when you first talk to him, that's him testing you, waiting for you to challenge him."
Chiang was proudly displaying some of his artwork on his iPad while chatting, and is stretching his art in some different directions from previous work.
Likewise, Jim Lee told Newsarama it's been easy for him to keep up a consistent work habit for Justice League.
"It's easy to sit down and draw when I'm really enjoying the script. Geoff will send me a script, and he tells me he's trying to make me laugh. Then I'll call him up and tell him I laughed at these three lines, and start sending him pages right away, then he calls me when he gets the pages; we're just excited, we're having fun," Lee said.
As for Geoff Johns? He's excited to "inject a little humor back into the DC Universe." He has made that a clear goal across the entire line, to make comics into a place where comedy and tragedy can live side by side, instead of just being all drama all the time.
"We are having so much fun. Everybody likes to laugh sometimes, right?" said the writer and CCO.
Lee's co-publisher Dan DiDio and the Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras were also in attendance, and also feeling good about the relaunch.
"I really think it'll just be a matter of getting a few of these in [readers'] hands," said DiDio. Harras echoed the statement, emphasizing the "huge variety" of books and how much he personally loves Jeff Lemire's Animal Man, a book that will "surprise fans."
DiDio's favorite, he said, is Batgirl #1. He loved how Simone and Syaf made Barbara Gordon a "high-flying hero" again while simultaneously showing the effects of her past.
The fans lined up outside for the midnight launch clapped and hollered every time a creator walked the line. Some where dressed in costume, and nearly all had a DC shirt, hat, or at least a pin on their person. Lee and Johns brought pizza to the fans, some of whom started lining up at 11:00 in the morning. Scott Snyder showed fans his print copy of Swamp Thing #1 and showed off art from Batman on his phone. The first couple fans in line even got autographed poster-sized copies of the covers to Justice League #1.
There were very few reservations from these die-hards, naturally, and a wide variety of books they were most excited for. One said Green Lantern, while the next said Action Comics and another Stormwatch. Mostly, the fans were just excited for the relaunch and the "world of possibilities" as the fan who was about fourth in line said.
Will the relaunch lead to the new readers that DC Comics and the comic book industry as a whole is so desperate for? Well, the initial sales numbers for the first month of the relaunch are substantial, and existing fans seem to have moved from horrified to cautious to outright excited. The DC Universe is dead, long live the DC Universe.
Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!