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Monday, June 13, 2011

Guest Post by Joe Slab - What's In A #1?

sgWelcome to another Aquaman Shrine Guest Post!

With such big news coming from DC Comics recently, Shrine Correspondent Joe Slab was kind enough to write a brief summation of what we know so far, what we have to look forward to, and provides some historical context.

What's In A #1?

Apparently a whole lot, that is if the internet and comic shop buzz surrounding the big DC Comics re-launch is any indicator. So today, the Aquaman Shrine is taking a look at what we know so far about the new DCU with somewhat of a numerical slant and a little bit of time-travel. It goes without saying that we are more than excited for Aquaman #1 (out September 28, so mark your calendars!) and equally so for the new Justice League in which the Sea King will be a core member, and we thought we’d look at things from a different perspective than some of the other sites have presented. Here is the breakdown so far:

DC Comics currently publishes 35 monthly ongoing books and plans to increase that number to 52 in September. Along the way, 16 titles will be cancelled, 18 titles will continue with new #1 issues (19 if you count Batman Inc., but not until 2012) and 34 (yes thirty-four!) new ongoing titles including Aquaman #1 will be launched. Of these 34 new titles, 24 of them have been published before in prior volumes and 10 of them are brand new, first time titles from DC. Of the 10 unprecedented titles, only 1 features a brand new character creation for the DCU and that is Batwing #1.

35 monthly titles (June 2011)
-16 cancellations, 1 on hiatus
+ 34 [24/10] new titles (September 2011)
= 52 titles in the new DCU
sgThis is truly an audacious move and for those of us old enough to remember it harkens back to the DC Explosion of the late 70’s during which 57 new titles were launched over a 4 year period. During this publishing burst, many characters that have become icons in the DCU were created including Black Lightning, Power Girl, Firestorm, the modern-day Huntress, Steel, and Shade the Changing Man. Of note to Aqua-fans is that Aquaman was a big part of the DC Explosion, returning to his own series in 1977 after a long 6 year hiatus between issues #56 and #57. Unfortunately, from a publishing perspective the DC Explosion was a huge failure and in 1978 a whopping 65 titles were cancelled including Aquaman with issue #63. This became colloquially known as the DC Implosion:

34 ongoing titles (1975)
+ 57 new titles - DC Explosion (75-78)
-65 cancellations (1978)
= 26 titles remaining - DC Implosion

There are some striking similarities in the two sets of numbers above and this might be the point where some fans jump on the bandwagon to make history revisited-like predictions that DC is headed down this same path and that by September 2012 less than 52 titles are likely to continue in publication...but we are not going to do that here at the Aquaman Shrine!

The publishing world has changed enormously since the 70's & 80's and it is obvious that Diane Nelson and the executive staff at DCE have looked at the harsh economic realities they are facing, with sales dropping consistently year after year, to come up with what they see as a viable plan to keep DC Comics from fading into oblivion. They have supported Aquaman as a character consistently since his revival in 2009's Blackest Night and are giving him the star treatment with talent like Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, & Jim Lee heralding his new adventures.

So with this in mind, perhaps it would serve all of us well to take a collective deep breath, look forward to what’s coming for the hero that unites us on this page, and realize that while we don’t need to buy all 52 #1s in September, we do need to buy at least one of them :)

*Special thanks to the site Dial B for Blog for providing the DC Explosion stats for this article!

**For more info on what happened to all the books that were the casualties of the DC Implosion, check out Dial B For Blog's coverage of the infamous Cancelled Comics Cavalcade!

***Leave a comment on what books (besides Aquaman of course) you think you may buy in September!

Update: Via Comics Alliance, here's a complete rundown of all of DC's new titles coming this September!


JasonMotesBowles said...

Batwoman, without a doubt! Her Detective run was the best, most unique super hero comic since Robinson's Starman. I'm also rooting for Batgirl. I'll buy Wonder Woman and Justice League but I'm more wary of those.

Wings1295 said...

Great post, and thank you for the positive-vibe looking at the changes ahead! I don't get why so many fans are so negative to what is basically a company trying to find a way to survive - and thrive - in a new world?

As for me, I am definitley loooking forward to Aquaman #1, Justice League #1, Justice League International #1, DCU Presents #1, Detective Comics #1, Action Comics #1 and JL Dark #1. :)

Michael said...

I think I'll give Action a try along with Firestorm and then I have to pick up Green Arrow to go along with my sure pick of Aquaman. I also plan on going the digital route which will be different.

David J. Cutler said...

I'll be picking up Aquaman for sure, Justice League so long as it's not too hard to find, possibly Wonder Woman and maybe Morrison's Action Comics #1 as I'm kinda curious about the revised origin. There's a few others that look interesting (Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex) but money's tight, and anything beyond Aquaman and JLA is a maybe as is.

Orin's dad said...

Great post Joe. Very fun read. Is there a link where one (i.e. me, apparently the technically challenged, lol) can find out exactly which 52 series' DC will be relaunching in September? I've been all over the DC website, but can't find a breakdown anywhere. I'm sure it's plain as the nose on my face and I'm just missing it, but I'm not having any luck with this...

Brent said...

A second definite for Batwoman! Best art I've seen in a long time. Also JLA, JLI, Justice League Dark (at least once, out of curiosity). And maybe Batgirl as well. I'll have to fish out my Yvonne Craig as Batgirl t-shirt...

BTW, who's the dude in the center of the DC Explosion poster? Disco Two-Face? :)

Count Drunkula said...

A very good post. One thing, though, Batwing premiered in Batman, Inc. #5 or 6; the way it was phrased is this post (I thought) sounded like he was brand new for the #1 in September.

Orin's Dad: A number of comics websites have compiled all of the new #1s and solicits for September. Here's one...

Joe Slab said...

Thanks for the kind words!

@Orins dad:

CBR has a great survey that I encourage everyone to fill out listing all 52 titles and creative teams where you can rank your level of interest in each and every book!


That's an obscure DC character called the Odd Man


Thanks for the link and with only 2 very minor appearances under his belt, for all intents and purposes Batwing certainly qualifies as a brand new citizen of the DCU.

Joe Slab

rob! said...

I agree Joe, nice post.

@Brent: As Joe said, that character was/is named The Odd Man, a creation of Steve Ditko I believe. He was going to be a back-up strip in Shade, The Changing Man, but that book was cancelled before he could appear.

As far as I know, he NEVER appeared in a DC comic story, making this ad his only shot at glory!

Shellhead said...

Still annoyed they up and cancelled Secret Six on me.

But as far as the new titles go: Aquaman, Justice League, Nightwing, and Batgirl (love Babs as Batgirl) are for certain. Teen Titans is a strong maybe. The cover to TT kinda puts me off.

Orin's dad said...

Ryan and Joe, thanks for the links. Much appreciated! Now that I've looked to see what all else is coming out (besides Aquaman and JLA), I'll probably pick up Legion, and possibly Hawkman. Others on the wish list (if I was loaded with cash) would include Hawk and Dove, JLI, Green Arrow, and Legion Lost.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Odd Man did appear in an issue of Detective Comics when it was a Dollar Comic...I think. It was one of the Dollar Comics.

Sorry guys, count me in on the negative bandwagon here. Aside from Aquaman, none of these titles hold any promise for me. I've been out of monthly comic buying for several years now, and this won't be bringing me back for sure. I can't see it appealing a lot to new readers either. This semi-reboot of continuity is going to make the Post-Crisis DCU look coherent.

I understand the need to reinvigorate the comic line, but in my opinion, throwing the baby out with the bathwater wasn't it. At least with the other reboots there was some sense of the legacy of the DCU intact. The somewhat lackluster creative teams announced don't inspire much faith either.


rob! said...

@Chris--right you are about the Odd Man! It looks like they burned off at least one Odd Man story in Detective Comics #487 .

David J. Cutler said...

DC's official solicitations went up a short time ago, including this description of the Aquaman book:

"Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily.

"Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!"

Sounds good to me! I'll keep my opinions and fears about the whole reboot concept to myself, though :P Safe to say they're a little more in line with Earth 2 Chris's than Joe's :) But I've been wrong before and hope to be again!

Russell said...

Put me squarely in Chris' corner (does that mean I'm on Earth 2?). I don't see this as being all that fan-tempting, but maybe that's just me. Plus is it just me, or have we already started off on the wrong foot? Look at those covers for FLASH, WW, and AQUAMAN. Which of them looks the most exciting and shows the star to good effect? I'm sorry to say I don't think it's Arthur. :-(

Anyway, I'll be picking up AQUAMAN, JLA, NIGHTWING if it's Dick, MR. TERRIFIC (want to support minority titles, and I have no idea who Bat-Wing is), and trying out DCU PRESENTS and ALL STAR WESTERN. Other than that I'll be dropping LSH; I've tried to get into it but I just can't. Oddly enough, there's just too much "history."

Jason Garner said...

Great, informative post Joe! Despite my reservations, I am holding out hope that history will not repeat itself. As far as my titles go...

1 & 2) Aquaman and Justice League naturally

3 & 4) Batwoman and Stormwatch, mostly to show my support for gay and lesbian characters in comic books

5) JLI to continue my Booster Gold fix

6) Wonder Woman - please be good, please be good!

7-10) Action, Detective, Batman, Superman - more for morbid curiosity than anything else, will probably ONLY get the first issues

11) Batgirl - I want to see what Gail does with Babs and to make up for the loss of Secret Six

12) Red Hood and the Outlaws - Sharing a first name with Jason Todd has given me a soft spot for the character

13-16) GL, GLC, GL: New Guardians, Red Lanterns - I currently get all the GL titles, but NG and RL are going to have to wow me

17) Swamp Thing - I think Snyder is a great choice for writing ol' Swampy

Wow, that's more titles than I thought! I guess the hype has worked on me so far. I cannot wait for Aquaman #1, although I almost fear Arthur going all mainstream. Hopefully he won't forget his crazy, rabid loyal fans once he makes it!

- Jason G.

Joe Slab said...

This link (which maybe rob! can add to the post) is the best presentation of all DC's 52 #1s that I have found:


Clear, concise, and categorized--much easier to navigate that DC's own website!

via ComicsAlliance.com