DC’s mainstream push for New 52: ‘Even the haters are curious’

by  in Comic News Comment
DC’s mainstream push for New 52: ‘Even the haters are curious’

Ahead of the release on Wednesday of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1, signaling the beginning of its line-wide relaunch, DC Comics has kicked off a promotional assault in the mainstream press to sell “The New 52” to a broader audience. While USA Today, with a circulation of 1.8 million the second-largest newspaper in the United States, looks to be the hub for coverage, DC has also reached out to publications like the New York Daily News, the New York Post and the Boston Herald. Here are the highlights so far from the 11th-hour push:

• A spoiler-heavy preview of Flashpoint #5 in USA Today lays out how the dystopic, casualty-strewn world depicted in the crossover got that way.

• USA Today takes a broad overview of the relaunch, talking with DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, and a couple of retailers. “There are plenty of angry customers over this,” says John Robinson, co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics chain in Illinois. “I’ve heard the usual ‘I can’t believe they’re doing this,’ ‘They’ve betrayed us,’ etc. I’d say about 60% to 70% of those protesting the loudest will still end up buying the stuff. There’s just too much hype and interest — even the haters are curious.”

• The newspaper also hones in on the publisher’s new same-day digital strategy, which debuts Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET when Justice League #1 will be available for purchase digitally. Hank Kanalz, senior vice president for digital at DC Entertainment, acknowledges the challenges of getting the initiative off the ground: “Some books are working really far ahead of schedule, some are down to the wire, and it’s just a matter of coordinating and about overcommunicating. We have to make sure it goes off without a hitch, which is why we’re not sleeping right now. We’re going much wider to a mass audience than ever before, so it’s a matter of making sure we have everything ready to go.”

• A longish feature in the New York Daily News begins with the changes to Superman — no marriage, no living parents, no red trunks — before widening its net to include fan reaction, Cyborg’s addition to the Justice League and Barbara Gordon’s return to the Batgirl identity. “By making these kind of changes, we would restore a lot of the things that we wanted to have in the characters and also set the stage for really cool stories that we couldn’t do before,” Lee says. “And that we could achieve by rolling back the experience on the characters, so they’re not in the prime of their careers, they haven’t battled their arch-nemeses a million times, saved the world countless times. We felt that was a richer, more fertile ground to mine for all the characters.”

• The New York Post, meanwhile, focuses entirely on Barbara Gordon, touching upon the controversy surrounding her move from Oracle back to costumed crimefighting as Batgirl. The article is accompanied by a preview of Batgirl #1, which includes a flashback to the events of The Killing Joke.

DiDio gets blunt about the motivation behind the relaunch in the Boston Herald: ““We wanted a shock to the system to get people reading.”

• Talking with Complex, writer Judd Winick delves into his titles Batwing and Catwoman, as well as the challenges in attempting to reshape the DC Universe: “This is a cataclysmic shift. If there is a point that I wanted to make it’s that this has not been easy. I mean, it’s fun, no lie, but it’s really been hard, hard work. Everyone has had to rewrite scripts, check outlines, do it again, all with the edict of ‘Just make it better. It’s just not there yet. It’s just not doing it. It’s not fun enough, it’s too convoluted, too much like the old. This should feel fresh.'”