Marvel NOW Part 1: DC's Chance

So, I've made no secret that I'm not exactly a huge fan of the way The New 52 has been carried out.  The idea itself was sound, but it was backed by poor execution and a lack of sufficient talent for the huge undertaking that it was.  But, there's something coming up real soon that makes me hopeful for future prospects from DC: MarvelNOW.

It sounds weird saying DC's competition doing something big is good news for them, but it isn't, and the reasoning behind it is fairly simple.  Competition is good.  Let's face it: The New 52, financially, was a resounding success.  Despite the early missteps that were Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws, that you could (and they technically already have) cancel roughly half their line and the comics world as a whole wouldn't even notice, AND the fact that discussion about DC Comics these days is largely negative--DC is still making money.  They beat Marvel for the first time in decades for two months straight, and even more impressive?  AQUAMAN beat out *every single Marvel comic book on the stands* for a completely separate two months.  DC's riding high on the popularity of being "new", even if that's an illusion, and so all the problems they have with their line they don't (or at least didn't) appear to be in any hurry to correct.

But MarvelNOW is something even more new, and it appeals to all the hardcore Marvel fans that may have wandered off, and superhero comic fans in general, and other lapsed fans, and even fans who the New 52 pissed off.  By the second month of MarvelNOW's rollout, DC could easily be in danger of being unable to crack the Top 10 outside of Scott Snyder's Batman, and by the third or so they could be fighting just to keep slots in the Top 20.  As a long-time DC fan, I would be worried, but as I've already said, I'm not a huge fan of what's going on right now.  And DC is a business--they know they can't rest on their laurels once Marvel starts really going.  And stronger opponents force you to step your game up.

Already there are rumors swirling around DC doing a fairly big restructuring for January.  And conditions are ripe for it:

- The good titles they have are mostly selling well, and show no signs of stopping.  Earth-2, Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Batgirl, World's Finest, Nightwing, The Flash, All-Star Western, Swamp Thing and Animal Man are all books in no danger of being canceled and have talented writer/artist teams that seem to have no plans on leaving. 

- A lot of the weaker titles have either been canceled, are on the verge of being canceled, or the writers in charge of them have left.  I refuse to be the type of fanboy that rips into a writer/artist I don't like.  He (or she) has to be SOMEONE'S favorite, and that really just detracts from my point.  But facts are facts, and the fact is that there were some titles that came out of The New 52 (and are still coming out of The New 52), that aren't great.  And when comics cost $3 and $4 for 22 pages, there's absolutely no reason for me or any fan to ever pay for a comic book that isn't great.  (This is a lesson that both DC and Marvel need to consistently be taught.)  Still, with the last three waves of cancellations, and the recent few writers who've stopped writing for DC, a lot of the weaker titles are simply...gone. 

I don't want to jump the gun and claim that DC's gotten the big picture just yet, so for now I'll just leave it at this: DC Comics right now, more than they have been at any other time in the last year, are in a position to fix all the shit that went wrong with their initial launch, and still come out as decent competitors to Marvel.  Whether or not they will depends on what happens in January.  Of course JiH will be talking about just how effective their plan is when it happens.  (What else do I have to do?)


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