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DC Opens Up on the New DCU, and Precisely How It Is “Not a Reboot”

Great Hera!

Key DC editors and personages have been quick to remind everybody that despite the fact that all their titles are being renumbered, and most of their characters are getting new costumes, and they will be rejiggering continuity… that the DCnU (I know, I know, Flashboot is just not catching on as a name and it makes me sad) should not be considered a reboot.

This was something that I just sort of shrugged off as “PR babble until you give me some cold, hard details” and now DC has revealed a few cold, hard details to Newsarama. I’m not sure I agree that this isn’t a reboot, but it might be fair to say that it isn’t a reboot on the same scale as Crisis on Infinite Earths or the Marvel’s Ultimate line.

It turns out that DC isn’t so much flipping over the table of their entire continuity, in the way that you might if you flipped over chess set. Instead what they’re doing is closer to rearranging two thirds of the pieces right in front of you.

And just so things are clear (they’re not actually clear):

Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras: So we really did take everything very seriously and looked at big events like Blackest Night and Brightest Day, and wanted to make sure those stayed a part of our stories…

Executive Editor Eddie Berganza: Right. The ones that really impacted people, like Death in the Family and Killing Joke. The ones that even people outside regular comic readers know. People know something happened to Barbara Gordon, that the Joker shot her. That counts.

Harras: So we looked at all these characters and really said what we’re going to weave in and what we’re going keep and what we’re going to move forward on.

Nrama: So to clarify, the storylines you’ve mention, like the Killing Joke and Death in the Family, are definitely part of history going forward?

Harras: Yes, and in fact, they’re even important starting points for some of the storylines we have…

Berganza: It was all about the character. It wasn’t so much, “what did this event do?” but “what did it do to the individuals?” If we got more story out of it, then definitely, that’s what we were definitely going for. For instance, with Killing Joke, that event in the Bat-family is really crucial to what we’re doing.

So The Killing Joke is in, but Barbara Gordon is Batgirl. DC, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. Or you won’t and we’ll just have to buy the comics/read blogs afterward. Infinite Crisis is also on the list of kept storylines, so we can all look forward (or not) to Superboy’s misplaced punches bringing Jason Todd back to life.

Speaking of which, Harras and Berganza also laid out some interesting news about timelines. The Superman of DCnU is canonically the very first superhero, so it’s unclear where DC’s Golden Age characters fit in, and the editors remained mum. September’s Action Comics and Justice League are supposedly stories from the dawn of DC’s Superheroic Age, but they’re also supposed to be only 5 years behind continuity. All other titles that aren’t period pieces are in that contemporary five-year-later period.

So the question is: How did we get four Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne) in five years? How did Dick Grayson get old enough to be Nightwing? Why would Bruce even have met Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter in order for them to have a kid more than half a decade before he started being Batman? While training? Or is Batman’s career actually much older than Superman’s, just not a “super” one? Is he a completely crazy dude who invented costumed vigilanteism (without superpowers to make it easier) and was just thought of as one of those crazy things that happens in Gotham, an already historically crazy city, until Superman made it popular? And then the JLA feels conflicted about inviting him because obviously he’s experienced but he’s also totally creepy and endangers children?

I am actually totally in favor of this it sounds awesome. There is nothing I love more than Batman being an over-experienced know-it-all and making the people around him nervous even though they could totally push his pelvis through a mail-slot.


Batman related nerdery aside, was there much else to be drawn from Newsarama’s interview? A couple things. What seems like a greater focus on subtle plot-weaving (ask your local Dungeon Master) in order to keep continuity between story arcs.

Nrama: We’ve also heard from a few writers that they’re trying to tell a complete story in each issue, although planting seeds for future stories. Is there an effort to move away from the standard six-issue arcs where five issues depend on having read the first one?

Harras: I think the goal is to be more reader-friendly, but there’s no edict to not do five-issue arcs or six-issue arcs. If the writer feels he wants to do one-issue stories with threads going to the next issues, that’s great.

Berganza: We’re looking more into weaving in subplots that tease to the next issue. But there’s definitely not a move toward only doing one-issue stories and that’s it.

And the entire reason behind the reboot in the first place: a desire to open up the accessibility of their comics.

Berganza: I think Bob and I like using the “party” line, or party analogy, if you will. We had created a party that was very exclusive. We weren’t letting a lot of people in.

What we’re saying is that we’re opening the doors really wide. We want everybody to come in. We want to everybody who wants to read periodicals, or wants to read a story on their iPod or iPad — everybody.


Well, after you’ve put two different people in near identical Batman costumes and even people who read the books every week can’t remember which titles are about who, and have to wonder and try to find a panel that shows the front of the costume for the first four pages seems like a good thing to look at. A reboot of some magnitude would seem to be in order.

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.