Undoing Crisis & Waiting for the Trade

CBR has posted a write-up of the DC Nation panel at Bristol Comics Expo last weekend, and Dan Didio has (as usual) some interesting things to say about the Flash.

All modern concepts of The Flash stem from the Silver Age Barry Allen version of him, and ‘The Flash: Rebirth’ does not negate the all of the stories that have gone before, it merely brings back the star character of the franchise in order to revitalize and expand the Flash universe, using the core concept as the foundation.

Well, sure, it doesn’t negate them…except for the stories that have been negated. For example, anything that involves Barry’s parents being alive during his career as the Flash, like the Identity Crisis tie-in, “The Secret of Barry Allen.” Hmm, I wonder who wrote that one?

Undoing Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths Poster

He also explains that since the “pillars of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’” — the deaths of the Flash and Supergirl, and elimination of the multiverse — had long since started falling, they might as well knock them all over. I’m not sure I’d consider those “pillars.” Things that happened, sure, but the key purpose of COIE was to combine DC’s multiple universes’ worth of characters into a single, cohesive history — and that still stands. There may be alternate realities, alternate timelines, hypertime, a multiverse, whatever you want to call it — but they’re all variations on a theme.

There’s still a main DC Universe which is home to all the Golden Age DC characters, all the Silver Age DC characters, all the characters DC bought from Fawcett, Quality, Charlton and other companies, even the Milestone and Archie/Red Circle characters that they just licensed last year. They’re all part of “The DC Universe,” which itself has become a brand name.

Just adding a multiverse that contains worlds for the Tangent characters, popular Elseworlds concepts, and new alternate realities? That doesn’t undo the Crisis. Really undoing it would mean splitting off groups of characters into separate universes, and at this point DC couldn’t do that without a much more substantial reboot than they did with Zero Hour or Infinite Crisis.

Waiting for the Trade

One last note: Didio’s perspective on trade-waiting, and DC’s focus on periodicals:

We have to make it feel like you can’t wait for the trade. I hate the expression ‘wait for the trade.’ It’s the thing that upsets me the most, because it means in my opinion that what we’re creating isn’t worth reading now. ‘I can pick it up a year from now.’

It’s an interesting take on the issue. It reminds me of a remark someone else made about how if you wait for the trade, you might not remember to pick it up a year from now, whereas if you’re buying something every month, you’re a lot less likely to forget. I suppose there’s some truth to that, but I’ll say this much: when it comes to prose authors I follow, if I’m following a series or really looking forward to their new book, I’m going to either pre-order it or go straight to the local bookstore the week it comes out.

I mean, how many Harry Potter fans forgot to pick up the last book when it came out?


8 thoughts on “Undoing Crisis & Waiting for the Trade

  1. collectededitions

    I imagine Dan DiDio in a boat rowing upstream when he says things like that.

    I’m all for periodicals — they’re fine and good for the people who enjoy them — but given that trade paperbacks/graphic novels now have their own major bestseller list, and given how the mainstream bookstores now devote regular shelf space to trade paperbacks and graphic novels, it seems wildly misguided not to find a way to tailor your products toward that market, rather than work against it.

    (Aside: Dan, it’s not that they’re not worth reading now; it’s that they’re too darn expensive.)

    Really I think this is just Dan’s opinion and not the party line proper. Every book wouldn’t be released in trade from their collections department, some in hardcover first, some solicited even before the periodical run finishes, if DC as a whole really didn’t want to encourage trade reading.

    .-= collectededitions’s latest blog post: Review: Supergirl: Way of the World trade paperback (DC Comics) =-.

  2. Wally East

    “All modern concepts of The Flash stem from the Silver Age Barry Allen version of him … ”

    Does he realize how ridiculous he sounds?

    Let’s see, main features:

    Runs fast: check
    Wears a lightning bolt: check
    Wears red: check
    Wings on the head: check
    Variety of rogues: check
    Has a loving wife: check

    That doesn’t describe Jay in what way?

    The only thing that Barry, Wally, and Bart have/had that Jay doesn’t is the head-to-toe red and yellow suit and the small lightning bolt-on-white-background. Those are design features not core concepts.

    The Flash has one core concept: running fast.

    .-= Wally East’s latest blog post: Mint Chocolate =-.

  3. Kelson Post author

    I get the impression that the current DC regime would like to pretend that all their characters sprang into existence in 1956, and the golden age never happened.

  4. West

    I’m pretty blown away by Didio’s reaction to waiting for trades.

    First of all, considering how many times he’s mislead their readership, it’s odd to see HIM feeling disrespected, for lack of a more precise word.

    Secondly, I wonder what he expects the readers to do – buy the issues then buy the trades… then buy the hardcovers, too?

    That quote sounds like one from a petulant child. How the heck does one say that someone reading the material in six months means that the material is not worth reading…? What that really translates into is “I don’t like this, so it’s wrong.”

    Wow. I feel a strong rant coming on, so I guess I’ll just stop there.

    Good topic, KV. Thanks.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Heh! Good point on Didio and disrespecting the readership.

      I’m trying to remember — was it Joe Quesada who compared comics fans to addicts, who need to go to the store every Wednesday to get their fix? That certainly seems to be the way Didio, at least, is approaching comics: that they have to bring people in compulsively, every week.

      Never mind that while some people will rush in on Wednesday, others will wait until Saturday, and some will just have their local store save things up for them and drop by once a month, or subscribe through a store that will send them comics through the mail.

      The focus is on the every-Wednesday crowd. Which I suppose is fair, since that’s probably where they make most of their money. But in addition to those who have decided to drop the weekly trip in favor of collections, there are plenty of people who have never set foot in a comic store, but would be happy to pick up a book at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon. And he’s not just dismissing the classic trade-waiters, he’s dismissing that entire other audience.

    2. Nightwing89

      Unfortunatly as long as Didio continues forcing what he liked as a kid on us, the more Im considering abandoning comics altogether. Why Time Warner inc., Paul Letitz, and/or Jenette Kahn hired him, we’ll never know. 🙁

      I’ve been reading DC for 10 years (it began with Nightwing #25 and later started reading stories from all things Batman to the entire DCU. The Multiverse isn’t really all that interesting. With the recent cancelations and upcoming titles (No offence to Grant Morrison, but I frigging hate Damien Wayne and Final Crisis with Batman R.I.P. were so terrible)I see no point in spending money on comics that are ruined by ongoing stupid editorial meddling (i.e. Didio and Marvel’s Joe Quesada).

      FYI I beginning to think that Superboy-Prime’s behavior is an amalgamation of both Didio and Geoff Johns felt about the DCU long before Identity Crisis.

      1. Kelson Post author

        If you’re frustrated with Didio and Quesada, why give up on comics entirely? There’s a lot more out there than just Marvel and DC. These days I’m reading a lot of stuff from Boom, Image, and Vertigo (technically DC, but generally creator-driven rather than editorially-driven).

        (Also: the multiverse in concept opens up huge possibilities. But for some reason, DC was more interested in using it as cannon fodder instead of telling stories.)

  5. West

    Too true.

    I’ve gotten tired of the frustrations associated with trying to make it to the comic shop on Wednesday, at the right time, and trying to figure out if they ran out of something before I got there (but took down the signs so we wouldn’t realize what we missed), or if something was super-late,…

    The list goes on and on. Of course, this can be true of trades and hardcovers, too, but at least you’re getting a complete story arc with the collected volume. Miss an ish and you end up with, not only an incomplete run but, an incomplete story.

    Of course, there are online options and hold files, but ordering a single ish online can be pricey and I don’t always know that I want a given book/series until I get to the shop. I like browsing.

    Bah. There I go again.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Gays & the Military… Again =-.


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