Monday, June 1, 2015

Converging on Convergence

So many things are churning, and popping in my noggin that I hardly know where to begin. Among them a follow up to my 'What Are You Good At' GM Challenge, and a whole lot on Superheroes, and Star Wars. The obstacle I'm facing this month is that I some point before June's end, I willing be moving to a new apartment. I may not have a lot of time to post.

Sigh. Might as well get started. The first thing I want to talk about this month is...





You'll notice these are actually two images that I merged together from Convergence #8.
They could easily have been better linked, or merged, to appear as one, continuous image.
To me this is very indicative of what DC has become since the New 52.
A company that doesn't put in that extra effort, and as a result
their universe just doesn't gel.

SPOILERS!
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!
IF YOU DO NOT WISH THE STORY TO BE SPOILED,
DO NOT ENTER!

Hardhats and protective eyewear
are required beyond this point
at all times.

Thank You - The Management.

I first addressed the DC Comics publishing initiative known as 'The New 52' back in June of 2011, eventually returning to the subject a few times to discuss my utter disappointment, and disgust at the entire endeavor.

Four years have past, and although there has been a handful of interesting books in the interim (that's a handful in FOUR YEARS), overall nothing has changed my mind that the entire thing was poorly planned, badly executed, and completely ineffective in the long term. The near constant release of 'First Issues' worked for a while, but eventually you have to produce a second, third, fourth issue, and so on.

The charlatan show of DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio, and Jim Lee managed to sell the initial New 52 titles like hotcakes, even finally winning the top sales spots from Marvel Comics for a while. However, by December of 2011, only four months after the New 52 began,  Marvel had already regained the top position in both dollar amount, and units sold.

Add in the terrible treatment of female, and minority characters over the span of the New 52, the numerous issues of 'creative differences' between the writers, and artists, and DC editorial staff, and the less than stellar treatment of long time DC fans by DiDio at conventions, and New 52 was doomed to failure. It was only a matter of time. It was as if Rube Goldberg, and Jean Tinguely collaborated on a sculpture together.

That brings us to Convergence, the latest DC 'event' limited series, which itself spins out of two previous events, Earth 2: World's End, and The New 52: Futures End.

For something created to begin a both new direction, the New 52 was really focused on endings wasn't it? Sorry, where was I...

The oddly formatted Convergence event consisted of a nine issue limited series of the same name (Convergence #0-8), and forty (you read that right - 40) titles that would run for two issues each. The two-shots ran from April to May, just enough time to cover DC's move from their New York offices*, to their new digs in Burbank, California to be closer to their parent company Warner Brothers.

Apparently no one informed them that we had these new fangled doohickeys called computers, and planes that can take people all the way across the country.
Marvel is still in New York, but Disney is in Burbank, just like Warner Brothers, and you don't see Marvel moving.

Now, IMHO the Convergence series was very weak. The art was good for the most part, although the art in the final issue wasn't especially sharp for some reason. The writing however, and especially the characters they chose to focus on made for a tale I did not really care for, or about.

Some of the two part tie-in were decent, a few even very good, but overall they shared poor, rushed art, and a weak premise with the main title.

I did like the Captain Marvel/SHAZAM! story by Jeff Parker, and Evan Shaner a lot. This book, like the Multiversity one shot, 'Thunderworld' by Grant Morrison, and Cameron Stewart, shows that when you get why people like these characters, and you imbue a story about them with that quality (whatever it is), people will respond positively to the comic.
These four fellows did in three issues what DC as a company has been unable to do with the Marvel Family for many, many years. Get them right.






Enough backstory, let's get to the real reason I called you all here today.
The End of Convergence.

While a lackluster series in general, not really worthy of the term 'event', Convergence did have a rather surprising ending, and one that gives me the slightest glimmer of hope for DC's future.

In the finale of the series, a group of pre-New 52 heroes, including the Silver Age Superman, Supergirl, and Flash (Barry Allen), along with 'Zero Hour' Hal Jordan as Parallax, travel back in time, and essentially prevent the 1985 comic book series event known as Crisis on Infinite Earths.

That's right. Crisis didn't happen.

There are now an infinite number of Earths. More importantly, the characters, and histories from every incarnation of the DC universe, exist as a canon part of the current DC multiverse.

Much like the proposed idea of Hypertime created for the DC series The Kingdom in 1999, DC's current continuity says that everything, EVERYTHING, that was ever in a DC comic book, movie, TV show, cartoon, game, or novel, happened. In the words of Mark Waid (in regards to the Hypertime concept), "It's all true".

On some Earth, at some point in time, somewhere, the stories, and characters you love, are there.

Awesome.

But does it matter?

Following the Convergence series, DC is dropping the New 52 name from it's collection of publishing lines, and putting out a series of new books, as well as continuing some of the ones currently running.

Wait. Aren't the ones currently running still the New 52?

While they will no longer be called that, yes, the continuity (heheh, almost managed to say that with a straight face) established in the New 52 books prior to Convergence shall continue on into the ongoing titles, and new ones.

So...you brought back every idea you every had, you finally really embraced your history, and you are making...no books utilizing the idea?

At least right now, it seems like none of the new titles are set on any of these alternate Earths. The real Justice Society of America of Earth-2 will NOT be joining us on the shelves of your favorite, local comic shop. There are no plans as of this writing for a Legion of Superheroes comic, or a Teen Titans comics that doesn't royally suck.

I've looked at the preview pages for about half of the titles coming out this month, and still not one interests me. Not. A. One.

So in final analysis, is the news that the DC multiverse has returned good news. Yes. In, and of itself, it does make me smile, and I can hope, and dream that someone will do something cool with it one of these days.

Am I still boycotting DC? Yes. I will purchase no comics, graphic novels, books, t-shirts, or toys featuring DC characters, for myself, or anyone else, until they can make at least one, decent comic book monthly that I want to follow.

The ball in now in your court DC. Actually, you have an infinite number of balls at this this point. Surely you can figure out how to make one of them bounce.

Right?

AD
Barking Alien

* I used to visit the original DC offices at 666 Fifth Ave., in New York City every once in a while as a kid thanks to my uncle, who worked with their distributor at the time. I would later go there again to visit friends who worked there.

I also went to their next office location a few times as well, also visiting friends.
I think moving DC out of NY is very sad, very unfortunate, and frankly silly.
But that's DC right now.





2 comments:

  1. Justice Society of America of Earth-2 and the Legion of Superheroes were (are) my favorites. I refuse to hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never give up hope. As Superman would say, "Sometimes hope is all we have."

      As a side note, I need to meet a gal just like Teresa. Does anyone know where I can find one? ;)

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