Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Discuss: Reboots



dogspunk said...

generally I am not for reboots. or parallel earths for that mater. I was staying with friends over the weekend for A.P.E. in San Francisco and read a handful of the "new 52". I need to say first that I have never been much of a DC fan. But you know what? I liked them, a lot. Now if they will stick with it...

Edo Bosnar said...

All right, I'm going to try to comment again, maybe this time it'll work: anyway, I'm pretty indifferent to reboots - none of them happened during my personal 'golden age' (although DC's CoIE came close), so my whole world was never devastated by something like this.
Generally, I think reboots are unnecessary: if the creative team of a book is up to snuff, they should be able to produce a good product despite a given title's continuity baggage, etc. That said, reboots can refresh a given comics universe and give creators new opportunities for good storytelling. I briefly followed a few post-Crisis DC titles and thought they were really well done (e.g. I really liked the way Superman was rejuvenated by Byrne, Wolfman, et al.).
One thing I don't understand is the need to take an old, well-established title like Avengers or Spider-man and restart the issue numbering. Like this line-wide thing at DC now - why restart the numbering on venerable series like Detective and Action? I always thought the fact that they have been continually published since the 1930s a selling point rather than something to conceal...

Doug said...

I personally liked the Legion reboot pictured at left. I enjoyed that the team had been reverted to teenagers (I missed out on the adult Legion stories of the 1980's, but am pretty sure I would not have cared for the concept). That this new team of Legionnaires was clones or whatnot didn't seem to bother me -- it was a jumping on point, and that aspect of the book was soon dropped with the Zero Hour reboot (or was it another reboot along the way? :/ ).

The Heroes Reborn stuff? Yuck. Heroes Return? That it brought us the fine Busiek/Perez run -- heck yeah! But that wasn't so much a reboot as it was a return to status quo.


Inkstained Wretch said...

At this point I frankly don't care. I used to get angry over the continual rebooting and retconning in the post-Crisis DC universe -- Don't even get me started on that -- but it has been so long since I collected new comics that I am indifferent to how they are presented now.

Besides, at some point you do have to start over if you place the characters in the contemporary world. They cannot age in real time like the rest of us if you want to keep them around. Otherwise even the popular characters would have to eventually die or retire. (Although that might be interesting if a company had the nerve to do it.)

DC discovered this when the Silver Age rolled around and it quietly moved Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest from Earth-2 to Earth-1. Marvel did the same thing when it quietly abandoned the real-time aging of its characters around 1980 or so.

The differemce is that nowadays the comic companies make more noise about the reboots because it can be used as a sales ploy.

Let me echo Edo on the point of renumbering though. It genuinely annoys me that they would arbitrarily restart a long-running comic series just to get the brief sales boost from pumping out a #1 issue.

Whenever I picked up a copy of Detective Comics or Action Comics, I always thought it was really cool that this was in a direct line from the seminal issues that introduced Batman and Superman.

Inkstained Wretch said...

As a side note, I kind of missed the whole Rob Liefeld era -- and I'm not sorry that I did. That Avengers cover is awesomely bad, especially the way he drew Thor's arm.

Or was Liefeld arguing that Asgardian anatomy does not correspond to human anatomy?

William said...

I think that DC and Marvel should both completely reboot their continuity about every 10 to 15 years. That way, they don't screw up the integrity of the stuff that came before. (Like JMS did on Amazing Spider-Man with his "Gwen the slut" storyline).

I'm serious though. Think about it. The characters could be rebooted to their core concepts, and they would always be contemporary and fresh without having 30 years of baggage to carry around. Also, the writers could then age them in "real time". Peter Parker could start out in high-school at like 16-years old and by the time of the next reboot he could be 25 or 30, married and even have a couple of kids.

Then WHAM, reboot. Peter's back in high-school for a new generation of readers, new creative teams, etc. And the whole Universe starts over with a new creative vision and twist. (Much like they did with Ultimate Spider-Man). This concept is kind of like the way do TV series. Comics like Avengers, FF, Spider-Man, JLA, Superman, Batman, etc. could actually have a "final episode". Then readers could choose to jump on or off or stick around for the new continuity.

Plus, if they did a reboot every few years they could kill off characters (for reals) and it would have a lot more of an impact. But long-time fans would know that a new version of the character would eventually be back.

I really think in today's world this kind of approach could be made to work. Heck, I might even start reading new comics again if they did something like that.

david_b said...

William.. Clever idea on the reboots, but wondering whether the companies would reboot the reboots in midstream. Pretty sound idea, though.

Some may argue, but the team updating, such as New Titans and the new X-Men of the Bronze years were far more successful 'reboots', call it what you will.. As for the ones today..? Eh.

The only one I'd collect would be the Busiek\Perez Reborn saga..

Fred W. Hill said...

Since I mostly quit collecting back in the mid-80s, I don't have a strong feeling about reboots, but William's idea of starting over about every 30 years strikes me as very intriguing. A crazy scenario I'd like to see is a version of the Marvel Universe in which all the Silver Age characters have aged in real time; well, yeah, even Spidey would be in his mid-60s, assuming he was 15 in 1962, and Reed, Ben, Doc Doom & Nick Fury would all be nearing 90 (and this would ignore the bit about NIck having an anti-aging formula to keep him eternally middle-aged). How would immortal Thor react to seeing his old Avenging buddies grow old, feeble, even dying. Back during Jim Shooter's tenure as Editor-in-Chief, he apparently intended to have most of the big-name heroes replaced and they certainly tested the waters, but I believe the reason that didn't work is because most fans are far more into the characters than the costumes & powers. Yeah, the new versions might develop their own fan base, but most longtime fans of the old versions are likely to use that as a place to quit. As in, this is where the story I was interested in ends.
Oh, and I gotta agree with you, Inkstained -- the first thing that struck my eyes when I brought up this post was what a horrible rendering that was of Thor on the Avengers cover. Egads that was bad!

vancouver mark said...

When the FF had their reboot with Heroes Reborn they negated over 400 issues of continuity that I had effectively grown up with. What I immediately realized is that the FF I had known for so long were suddenly all dead, and imposters were walking around wearing their names, faces and uniforms. Why would I keep following them? I gave up on all Marvels soon after.
That Avengers cover reminds me that I made the right decision.

david_b said...

Sorry, got my titles wrong.. I meant the 'Heroes Return' saga, because both guys really seemed sincere (at least in interviews) to want to bring the greatness of the Avengers back..

But as most have chimed in with here, I'd just stick with the old stories anyways..

Rip Jagger said...

Most reboots leave me cold.

The Avengers was my fave title for decades, but then it was decided to let the Image boys play with them. I still remember the day I found out Liefeld had gotten the nod to toy with my beloved Assemblers. I prepared for the worst.

It was sort of dreadful, but it had some few points of interest to be honest.

But mostly it made possible the return which was engineered by Busiek and Perez and that was really the last time I was breathless to get the next copy of a comic. I simply adored what they did with the team, and that run is easily the last great series I followed in new comics before giving them up finally when the Avengers were rebooted again.

That's the trouble with reboots, as any place to jump on is a great place to jump off. I did and it's been fine.

Rip Off

Roygbiv666 said...

I agree with William and had been thinking along the same lines. The best part is that writers and artists could produce the last Batman story, last Superman story, etc. and play with stories like "Robin and Marian", which depicts an aged Robin Hood.

If I had a superhero comic company, that's what I'd do.

PS Please send me the money so that I can start my own comic company. I am a Nigerian prince or something.

Anonymous said...

"I always thought the fact that they have been continually published since the 1930s is a selling point rather than something to conceal." When DC started the Silver Age Flash, they continued the numbering from the Golden Age version, so the first issue was #105. The thought was that a customer would see the number and reason that it must be a good comic to have run for over 100 issues, whereas a #1 issue would be an unknown quantity. Today, the marketing strategy is the exact opposite: cancel the title and then revive it with new numbering. That is because the market today is collectors and investors, not readers.

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