Thursday, May 24, 2012

DC's New 52: A few thoughts after 9 months

First, I want to make clear that I don't read very many comics.  I read Action Comics, Justice League, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  That's it.  I keep up with them by browsing at my local shops, but I don't actually invest any time or money into any of the Batman books, second-tier characters like Hawkman and Aquaman, or the more fantastic stuff like Swamp Thing or I, Vampire.  I read Action Comics because it's Superman and I trust Grant Morrison to write an awesome Superman comic book.  Morrison gets Superman.  I read Justice League because I trust Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.  These guys know their craft. I read Wonder Woman because I was curious about what Brian Azzarello would do with the character and I have been wonderfully pleased with what I've found.  I've stopped reading Superman because I can't stand the turn the writing has taken since George Perez left.  I promised myself in the late 90s that if Dan Jurgens was involved in a comic book, I was not going to buy it.  As you can see, my personal experience with the New 52 is actually pretty limited. 

You are probably asking, "Why do you think your opinion counts?"  The answer to that is, "I know it doesn't."  My money counts.  And DC got me to spend money on comic books again with the New 52.  Period.  But my dollars are not the ones DC should have been chasing.  The purported goal of "The New 52" was to attract the mythical "new reader" to comic books.  Unfortunately, they have failed to do this.  According to DC's own statistics, something around 97% of the people who are buying DC comics right now are people who already buy comics.  I am not the "new reader."  I was a lapsed reader, and I will probably lapse again if the writing for characters I care about continues to degrade.  But DC knew they had my money.  Many "lapsed" readers like me were just waiting for a good "jumping on" point.  The New 52 offered us that.  What DC has failed to do is get the new money.  DC has failed to attract new readers to the medium.  In retrospect, this should come as no surprise. 

The New 52 isn't really "new" at all.  All the same characters are being written by all the same writers and drawn by all the same artists.  Let's be honest, some of those artists were never all that good (Rob Liefield, Dan Jurgens), some have lost a step (Jim Lee), while others are doing stellar work (Rags Morales, Cliff Chang).  The same can be said for the writers.  Some still can't write (Dan Jurgens), some are doing work consistent with their past excellence (Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison), and others are surprisingly good (George Perez, Brian Azzarello).  There are a few (Judd Winick in particular) who are just plain offensive (but at least he can write decent dialogue, which is more than can be said for Jurgens).  But this is no different now than it was before.  The New 52 isn't doing anything new.  It is the same stuff.  It is simply another reboot.  Nothing special.  Nothing new.

If DC really wanted the "new reader" they should have thrown some money into doing something new.  How about real fantasy comics?  Fantasy is huge right now.  It's booming on television, in books, video games, and comics.  Why didn't DC take some of that talent and put it behind a new fantasy line of comic books?  How about western, crime, political thriller and horror?  What about straight-up galaxy-spanning sci-fi?  Don't license anything.  Create something new. 

Finally, if DC really wanted to snag "the new reader," they should have focused on girls.  Romance, relationship, drama, and even girl-action comics might attract someone new.  Your average tween or young adult female is not going to find anything compelling about super-hero comics which still objectify and over-sexualize women while simultaneously playing into the power-fantasies of adolescent males.  Females are over half of the population.  There are more women graduating college than men.  Women's pay is catching up to men's (though it still has a way to go).  By ignoring females of all ages, DC is ignoring "the new reader." 

The New 52 isn't really new at all.  It's the same artists, the same writers, the same characters, and consequently, the same readers.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Blogger Mobile App

I'm trying out the Blogger app on my iPhone right now. I like being able to manage the posts a little better, but the app isn't switching to landscape orientation when I turn my phone around. I have large and unwieldy thumbs. Consequently, I prefer the larger keyboard.

I'm also disappointed that there isn't an app for the iPad. That seems a little silly. Of rather blog on my iPad than on my iPhone any day. I might not use the app again.

On the upside, adding pictures looks like it is easier on the phone than on the desktop. I could even take a picture of my cool new Superman ear buds and post it straight away!

For a less-than-part-time blogger like myself, this little app should suit me just fine.