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Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

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Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby TheSecondLex » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:13 am

A somewhat damning editorial I found just now on Sequart which places the two reboots (or reimaginings, whatever) up against one another to see what comes out:

http://sequart.org/magazine/19234/marve ... dc-new-52/

Marvel NOW! Vs. DC’s New 52

A few weeks ago, back when I started talking about my favorite comics of 2012, I mentioned that I kinda stopped following DC Comics at some point late last year. I said that between the Avengers movie, the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe and Marvel’s “Marvel NOW!” initiative, I just felt like it was more of a Marvel year for me. So I’d like to take a few minutes to really expand on that and elaborate on what that means. I’d like to explain why I have, for the time being, stopped reading DC Comics.

First of all, I’d like to clarify that I do not wish for this to be an article that exists solely to bash DC or to slam them for their editorial choices or whatever. I’m a lifelong DC reader just as I am a lifelong Marvel reader. It was Batman that brought me into comics, and then later it was Spider-Man and the X-Men that kept me there. And there have been times throughout my career as a comics fan that I have swung more DC than Marvel, and vice versa. So this is not an attempt to shill for Marvel or to persuade readers to leave DC. I just want to analyze the two companies’ different initiatives and figure out where DC went wrong, for me, and where Marvel went right.

Let’s start at the beginning. In August of 2011, DC released Justice League, the first book of it’s New 52 relaunch. The book was written by DC’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, and pencilled by it’s Co-Publisher, Jim Lee. It starred a new Justice League lineup, featuring the core heroes of the DCU, including Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman. The former Teen Titan Cyborg was added to the roster as well, presumably to add some ethnic diversity to the lineup. The series was a widescreen, summer blockbuster-style action comic that showed Batman and Green Lantern, not yet friends, on the trail of a parademon in Gotham City. The hunt lead them to crossing paths with the other superheroes and to eventually form a united front against the parademon’s master, Darkseid.

For me, this signaled the beginning of the end. Johns and Lee were taking point in the New 52, and I wasn’t convinced that was the direction I wanted to go in. To be sure, I’ve always liked Jim Lee’s art. One of the first comics I remember owning and really cherishing as a kid was X-Men #1. Growing up, he was the man. However, seeing his art on DC characters just doesn’t make sense to me for some reason. It’s like putting Curt Swan on the X-Men. Which isn’t to say his art was bad, it was top-notch, it just seemed like an awkward fit.

And I’ve just never been a fan of Geoff Johns for some reason. I kinda feel like he’s a writer who chooses to write comics about comics instead of using them to write about, like, us. Which is fine, I just don’t enjoy that stuff as much. I remember thinking that the first few issues of the new Justice League series felt a little bland and boring to me, and agreeing with another critic (I can’t remember who) who criticized Johns for continuously using the arrival of a new character as the cliffhanger for the next issue. Even though we knew these characters had to be in the book because they were on the cover of the first issue.

But probably what landed the worst with me were the costume redesigns. The spandex and red underwear that had survived for generations was now replaced with funny-looking matching collars and inelegant, fussy piping and like every square inch had to suggest some kind of unrealistic, kitschy, early-’90s cyborg armor. It pretty much looked dumb on every character except that one that is intended to look like a cyborg. Because his name is Cyborg. Everyone else looked like a bad action figure. So what you have is a team consisting of the most iconic members of the DCU pantheon, and none of them look iconic. None of them have the same grandeur and splendor that they once had because they look like they’re being drawn for Marvel in 1992. It’s obnoxious.

And those are, in a nutshell, my two main problems with the entire New 52. First of all, none of the characters feel like the real characters anymore. They feel like some kind of weird “What if… the Image Comics co-founders had created the DCU!” Elseworlds story. Like in trying to be new and edgy, and to shed the stigma of DC Comics being “your dad’s comics,” they accidentally went for what was new and edgy for Marvel in the early ‘90s. At least visually. And while I didn’t have a chance to read all of the New 52 titles (and there were some stellar titles that I did read, such as Wonder Woman and Batwoman), I kept seeing the same horrendous ‘90s design motifs and dull character choices popping up throughout the line.

And my second problem with it was that DC was throwing out the baby with the bathwater by trying to make their characters seem more grounded. It’s pretty well understood by now that DC comes across as a bit ashamed of itself for having the more fanciful superheroes of the Big Two. And while creators like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have shown them how they can take these larger-than-life characters and focus on what makes them inspiring and play those aspects up to make comics that are sophisticated and engaging while owning up to their own goofy nature, DC would rather not do that. They’d like to stick with what Frank Miller and Alan Moore did for them 30 years ago and reduce everything down to something that they can pass off as more realistic, which means, essentially giving Superman a suit of armor and taking away his briefs. Because that’s what they care about.

So while I really dug Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman for a while (The Court of Owls thing went on too long for me and got to be pretty soap opera-y by the end of it), and I was loving Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman, I just couldn’t stay with it. Not while Marvel was doing something far more interesting with their relaunch-y type thing.

While DC was trying to take their characters more seriously, Marvel was having a blast with theirs. Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. shot Captain America into space. Matt Fraction and Mike Allred switched the Fantastic Four out with a bunch of b- and c-listers in hip, retro costumes. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman had Spider-Man and Doc Ock switch brains. Even the dialogue is more fun at Marvel than at DC, with guys Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron writing characters who talk the way I talk and emote the way I emote and kick ass the way I… wish I kicked ass. Marvel NOW! feels more comic book-y and yet it feels more believable at the same time. Ultimately, it’s just more fresh, more forward-thinking, and more fun.

Anyway, that’s where I’m coming from when I say that I’ve stopped caring entirely about what happens in the DCU. When I say that I’ve walked away from those comics and have become, for the time being a fulltime Marvel man. I don’t expect this change to be permanent, just as no change in comic books is ever permanent. And I am aware that this is just one person’s opinion, and there are probably those of you out there who have the exact polar opposite viewpoint as me, and that’s totally fine. I’m just adding to the discussion here. I want to read DC again, I want those characters to woo me back to their stories, but in its current iteration I find that universe to be even more pretentious and insulated and “uncool” than it’s ever been before. I guess it just comes down to me and my personal tastes. I’m a guy who likes fun. I don’t like taking things too seriously. I just wish the DCU could take itself a lot less seriously. I just wish it could have more fun. I mean, these are still comic books, right?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Greear

Mike Greear is a journalism graduate from the University of West Florida currently living in New York City. During his time as an undergraduate, he reported on everything from Presidential campaign stops to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, eventually working his way up to being the editor-in-chief of the University of West Florida’s student newspaper, The Voyager. Since graduating, he worked briefly as a reporter for Foster’s Daily Democrat in New Hampshire, reporting on crime and municipal stories in the city of Rochester as well as interviewing Republican primary candidates, before returning to Florida and freelancing for the Pensacola News Journal. He now resides in Long Island City, writing weekly columns for Sequart.org and hoping to break into the comics scene.



Briefly: I'm for the most part in line with this. There are a lot of extraneous thoughts on my mind, mostly of them about the intersection of Batman with the League, which is a perennial problem; the always squandered potential of Hal Jordan; why the X-Men suck; why I think Matt Fraction is screwing Marvel's First Family over and hard (while paradoxically doing wonderful things with Alex Power and Scott Lang??). But mostly while I was reading this I kept thinking to myself, "Bob Harras. Bob Harras. Bob Harras." Take from that what you will.

Discuss?!

Oh, and I found this image hilarious and also-damning:

Image
vinnypic wrote:War is necessary. Cops are necessary. One is a necessary evil. one is a necessary force of good. failure to grasp that distinction means you're a high functioning retard.


Image

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby The Beast » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:06 am

Image

:lol:

Can't say I really agree with the article as far as how bad DCNu is. I didn't buy Pre-FP DC at all and I sure as hell wouldn't want to go back.

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:45 am

I agree that Marvel's reboot has been way better, and that Justice League is awful, but I do like DC better now than before the reboot.

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby Like Master J » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:03 am

See there's just so many points to that article which just seem completely arbitrary. "I like Jim Lee when he's at Marvel, but not at DC"

"I liked Azarello's Wonder Woman but I had to drop it"

"Marvel became more fun by killing off Peter Parker replacing his personality with Doctor Octopus and having him hit on Mary Jane"

How can you call Marvel more fun when there big event just started off with Captain America a broken man, Hawkeye killing dozens and Ultron ruling the world? Captain America in space sounsd fun, when you miss out Cap contemplating suicide.

It just seems that he's picked one over the other without really backing up the points. Sure he doesn't like the new costumes, but is that really a valid complaint for reading one book over the other?

As for the "fun" point, I refer the author to Mark Waid:

The moment all the reviews started coming in they all said, "It's fun." "It's fun." "It's fun." I started to sweat, because "fun" is a death word in comics these days
.

If you like Marvel better than DC fair enough, but this article is a complete cop out that fails to point out any relevant reasons why. Which is fair enough, sometimes you just go with your gut feeling, but dno't try and make it into a blog if that's the case.
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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby MajorTool » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:09 am

35+ years I've been a loyal DC reader and, currently, the DCU is more boring than I can remember. The costumes don't bother me too much I'm just not enjoying this endless re-introduction to characters I've known all of my life. Admittedly, I'm still bitter about all the history that's been erased.
The bigger problem I have is that it's more obvious now than ever that DC cares less about storytelling than big events. The huge crossover/status quo changing epics that used to happen once a year have become the norm. I hate that I'm forced to buy a title I don't normally read because it contains a moment that's important to the story of a title I regularly enjoy. I hate that once these "earth shattering" stories have concluded, very little has changed...unless a hero dies ( which I also hate). The last several pages of these stories are often plagued with inconsistent artwork.
The constant shuffling of creative teams have led me to drop many DCU comics. Strong writers and artists are sidelined or fired and When they go, they take with them whatever it was that made the comic appealing in the first place.
I bought all 52 titles when the re boot began but last month I only bought 3 DC titles...and one of them was a first issue.
None of what DC is doing now excites me especially since I can still remember the last time they did it...and did it so much better.


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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby Like Master J » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:12 am

MajorTool wrote:35+ years I've been a loyal DC reader and, currently, the DCU is more boring than I can remember. The costumes don't bother me too much I'm just not enjoying this endless re-introduction to characters I've known all of my life. Admittedly, I'm still bitter about all the history that's been erased.
The bigger problem I have is that it's more obvious now than ever that DC cares less about storytelling than big events. The huge crossover/status quo changing epics that used to happen once a year have become the norm. I hate that I'm forced to buy a title I don't normally read because it contains a moment that's important to the story of a title I regularly enjoy. I hate that once these "earth shattering" stories have concluded, very little has changed...unless a hero dies ( which I also hate). The last several pages of these stories are often plagued with inconsistent artwork.
The constant shuffling of creative teams have led me to drop many DCU comics. Strong writers and artists are sidelined or fired and When they go, they take with them whatever it was that made the comic appealing in the first place.
I bought all 52 titles when the re boot began but last month I only bought 3 DC titles...and one of them was a first issue.
None of what DC is doing now excites me especially since I can still remember the last time they did it...and did it so much better.


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Just a quick question, why do you hate it when a hero dies?
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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby MajorTool » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:52 am

Because I tend to follow favorite characters rather writers or artists. Sure, it's just fiction, but I feel like I know them and I enjoy witnessing the changes they go through as they grow and evolve.
When Ice (Tora) was killed, I was devastated. I'd waited years to see her use her powers for more than creating walls of ice of tossing snow balls and, just when that happened, she was murdered. She has not been the same since. Not even close


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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby MajorTool » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:15 am

To be fair, I should admit that I loved the stories that dealt with Fire's grief over Ice's death.


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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby holtom2000 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:05 am

I loved the line what if Image created the dcnu

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby Herald » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:16 am

Bravo! An article that succinctly demonstrates where DiDio-era DC went wrong with its characters and universe, including the "cheesy action figure-ization" of characters like Superman!

And I love the pièce de résistance...

Image


:smt005 :smt023

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby mrorangesoda » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:36 am

" I disagree with where the line is going. Even though I claim to love this Wonder Woman book, I have to give it up because Justice League is lame or something"

This is Herald level idiocy. I'm sure the previous versions of these fictional characters appreciate that he's denying himself a positive reading experience to defend their honor.

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby BlueStreak » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:40 am

What a poorly written article. It looks at the symptoms of why the New 52 produced less than satisfying stories instead of the actual disease.

The New 52 didn't fail because of goofy costumes. Hockey gloves Cap, armored Hulk, space Iron Man and X-Cyclops have all been mocked online for being crappy character designs.

The New 52 didn't fail because it's flagship was an underwhelming book. Once Marvel stopped paying sites for reviews, Uncanny Avengers quickly became hailed as a "mediocre" series, especially when compared to other, better Marvel titles such as Avengers, New Avengers All New X-Men etc.

The New 52 failed because DC didn't bring in talent that could sell comic books and didn't let many of their creators tell the stories they wanted. No one wants to read series by Tom DeFalco, Rob Liefeld, or Scott Lobdell anymore (although Lobdell's books have been selling alright). And no one wants to read a story that's been micromanaged by an overzealous editorial staff.

The comics that have done well in the New 52, Batman, Aquaman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman, all have one thing in common: top-tier creators telling the stories they want to tell.
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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby Herald » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:48 am

mrorangesoda wrote:" I disagree with where the line is going. Even though I claim to love this Wonder Woman book, I have to give it up because Justice League is lame or something"

This is Herald level idiocy.


Completely misrepresenting what he actually said is Orangesoda-level idiocy. And, considering that what he actually said is right there for all to verify, that level is stratospheric.

Now, instead of ASSUMING (and what happens when we "assume"??) what he said, let's look back at what he REALLY said:

"And those are, in a nutshell, my two main problems with the entire New 52. First of all, none of the characters feel like the real characters anymore. They feel like some kind of weird “What if… the Image Comics co-founders had created the DCU!” Elseworlds story. Like in trying to be new and edgy, and to shed the stigma of DC Comics being “your dad’s comics,” they accidentally went for what was new and edgy for Marvel in the early ‘90s. At least visually. And while I didn’t have a chance to read all of the New 52 titles (and there were some stellar titles that I did read, such as Wonder Woman and Batwoman), I kept seeing the same horrendous ‘90s design motifs and dull character choices popping up throughout the line."

He didn't like the redesigned appearance of characters like Nu-Wondy. And, given that comic books are partly dependent on their visuals, not being able to tolerate looking at a book to read it every month is a valid issue to have.

Moreover:

"So while I really dug Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman for a while... and I was loving Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman, I just couldn’t stay with it. Not while Marvel was doing something far more interesting with their relaunch-y type thing."

He found an alternative that he liked better. Again, that's a perfectly valid issue to have, one I'm betting has happened to everyone here at some point.

Next time, try using the TRUTH, Orange.
I hear it will "make you free."

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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby e_galston » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:40 am

BlueMole wrote:What a poorly written article. It looks at the symptoms of why the New 52 produced less than satisfying stories instead of the actual disease.

The New 52 didn't fail because of goofy costumes. Hockey gloves Cap, armored Hulk, space Iron Man and X-Cyclops have all been mocked online for being crappy character designs.

The New 52 didn't fail because it's flagship was an underwhelming book. Once Marvel stopped paying sites for reviews, Uncanny Avengers quickly became hailed as a "mediocre" series, especially when compared to other, better Marvel titles such as Avengers, New Avengers All New X-Men etc.

The New 52 failed because DC didn't bring in talent that could sell comic books and didn't let many of their creators tell the stories they wanted. No one wants to read series by Tom DeFalco, Rob Liefeld, or Scott Lobdell anymore (although Lobdell's books have been selling alright). And no one wants to read a story that's been micromanaged by an overzealous editorial staff.

The comics that have done well in the New 52, Batman, Aquaman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman, all have one thing in common: top-tier creators telling the stories they want to tell.


well to be honest Lobdell's books (outside of maybe Red Hood) would sell regardless, i mean he was on Teen Titans, Superboy and now on Superman... if those 3 books DON'T sell DC has a big problem.
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Re: Sequart on Marvel NOW! vs the New 52

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:42 pm

Jubilee wrote:See there's just so many points to that article which just seem completely arbitrary. "I like Jim Lee when he's at Marvel, but not at DC"

"I liked Azarello's Wonder Woman but I had to drop it"

"Marvel became more fun by killing off Peter Parker replacing his personality with Doctor Octopus and having him hit on Mary Jane"

How can you call Marvel more fun when there big event just started off with Captain America a broken man, Hawkeye killing dozens and Ultron ruling the world? Captain America in space sounsd fun, when you miss out Cap contemplating suicide.

It just seems that he's picked one over the other without really backing up the points. Sure he doesn't like the new costumes, but is that really a valid complaint for reading one book over the other?

As for the "fun" point, I refer the author to Mark Waid:

The moment all the reviews started coming in they all said, "It's fun." "It's fun." "It's fun." I started to sweat, because "fun" is a death word in comics these days
.

If you like Marvel better than DC fair enough, but this article is a complete cop out that fails to point out any relevant reasons why. Which is fair enough, sometimes you just go with your gut feeling, but dno't try and make it into a blog if that's the case.

I agree completely. The point about Jim Lee's art is especially arbitrary. It's been twenty years since Lee drew for Marvel. It's borderline delusional to connect him solely with that company.

I will say that while Cap is a dark title, it is rather fun in a zany, unpredictable way. I love that each issue surprises me. That's a fun experience for readers. So stylistically it's fun, even if thematically it's bleak.

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