At last, we may be hearing the final death knell of the New 52.
On Friday, DC Comics announced the launch of a “bold new direction” for their comic-book universe, combining 25 of the most popular current titles with 24 new comics. This means the end of the DC Universe created by the New 52 relaunch in 2011, a reboot originally heralded as a smart editorial decision before it deteriorated into a mess of controversies and cancellations.
The primary goal here is obvious: to sell more comics. Slightly more subtle is DC’s plan to diversify its audience, reaching out to fans who feel alienated by the remnants of the New 52. In the very first sentence of the announcement, DC expresses a desire to be “more inclusive and accessible to a wider group of readers.” By reshuffling their creative lineup, they want to catch up with Marvel and Image Comics, both of which are better at attracting readers who don’t fulfill the straight, white male fanboy stereotype.
This is a strong message to anyone who has been following the last few years of PR hiccups, which became so regular that someone created a site called Has DC Done Something Stupid Today. (We’re currently at 52 days and counting, by the way. DC’s longest record is 80 days in a row with no public mishaps.)
That's good news from DC Comics! I hope it means they finally drop that ridiculous "New 52" brand and go all-in on creative, diverse comics.
— Perazza (@Perazza) February 6, 2015
Very pleased with DC. Great steps towards a diverse line up of talent and characters. Letting continuity go is a smart move.
— Alexander Adrock (@adrock512) February 6, 2015
Shout out to @DCComics for giving me more lady-led titles. Would love even more women-writ ones. Gimme more women writing male titles too.
— Amy (Three Different Ones) (@taterpie) February 6, 2015
I'm excited by the @DCComics news, but I can help notice how very little women are up there. There are a grand total of 7 women at DC now.
— Randy Z Ochoa (@rzochoa) February 6, 2015
The response on social media is very positive so far, although some fans are pointing out that DC still has a long way to go when it comes to hiring female creators. Only a handful of the 49 titles have a woman on the creative team, with some of the highlights being Ming Doyle writing the new Constantine: The Hellblazer and Annie Wu as the artist for Black Canary — a very popular choice.
Wait, Annie Wu is doing art on a solo Black Canary book? Yes, hello DC, please take all of my money
— Sydney Preston (@SydneyPreston) February 6, 2015
New 52 is over!! So pumped for the new HellblaZer, Hitch on JLA, Annie Wu on Black Canary, and most of all a gay male lead in Midnighter!
— Logan (@MidnighterBae) February 6, 2015
Hiring Ming Doyle to reboot Constantine is one of the decisions DC describes as “depicting iconic characters in a more contemporary light,” along with hiring National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang to write Superman.
The relaunch will take place on June 3. With any luck, this new lineup will quickly erase everyone’s sour memories of the New 52.
Photo via Pat Loika/Flickr (CC 2.0)