"Ultimizing" The DCU?
The current debate raging in Casa Del Superheroine this morning:
I think DC will, for "Final Crisis," do some variation on "ultimizing"/rebooting/de-aging their characters. For the core characters, you will still have Bruce Wayne as Batman, Clark Kent as Superman, etc. But they will start at square one. "Streamlined." No characters appearing older than 25-30. No marriages, no steady girlfriends. So Superman is a free agent, romance-wise. You could even see the comics restarted at #1. For the more secondary characters, you choose the version that has been most popular. GL = Hal Jordan, Flash = Wally West, etc.
What would such an "ultimizing" accomplish?
It would make it easier for their characters to blend in with what is being done with the movies & TV shows.
You will get another spike in sales with all the reboots & #1s. Sure, fanboys & girls will complain at first. But you explain it away as a decision based on a "love & respect" for the characters -- to get at the "heart" of who they are really about.
You rewrite a lot of bulls**t.
So you have:
Action Comics #1! With this great all-star creative team! Superman up against Lex Luthor! Who will Clark choose, Lois or Lana?
Detective Comics #1! With this all-new kick-ass creative team! Batman meets Robin for the first time! Holy crap, Robin might even be Dick Grayson again! Dovetails perfectly into the new movies!
And look! Sue Dibny was never raped!
Now, from an integrity aspect this course of action might be a bit creatively bankrupt. And so the objection -- "DC wouldn't dare do this."
This is the best course of action to take to satisfy two main needs:
1) Sharp short-term increase in sales
2) Streamlining characters to satisfy needs of corporate parents
Why not invest in the long-term?
1) The days of staying at the same comic book editorial job for 10+ years is, in my opinion, over. That emphemeral "job security" that lulled many a worker into contentment? Over. One's worth to the company is determined by the current month's sales figures. As such, you need to have as many gimmicks, crossovers, events, reboots as possible to boost sales on a continual basis. You can't have a second-tier book chug-chug-chugging along with fair-to-mediocre sales, giving it "time" to build a cult following. And so you have "52," "Countdown," "Post-Crisis," "Final Crisis," etc. So when your boss walks into your office with the sales numbers, you will know there will always be one sales spike or another. And if the fans get fatigue and don't "bite the carrot" anymore? You start planning to get another editorial job before they axe you. Short-term vs. long-term investment.
2) There is an assumption that the newest generation of potential comic book readers have the attention-span of a may fly. That the only way to lure them away from the bells & whistles of video games & their various internet pursuits is by constantly flashing "new cool s**t" in front of their face.
Now -- the above is NOT what I personally advocate as the best course of action to take.
What I would WANT to do is to invest in these books for the long-term with consistent stories and stable, top-notch talent. But, in the current business climate, this is the riskier choice. You might be labelled "old school" for such a mindset -- and God forbid you take on such a label.
That said, I think yesterday's "Final Crisis" teaser image was something hastily put together in response to "Countdown's" increasingly poor sales & in lieu of the San Diego Comic Con. I think if DC has a conception of "Final Crisis" at all, it is in its most youthful stages.
And I think fan response to the image -- how they interpret it, what they like or dislike about it -- will have a definite impact on what direction that particular event is taken. For all we know, tossing such images online without comment could be the company's way of conducting "snap" marketing research.
And to those who will counter with "DC already sort of rebooted half these characters 2 or 3 years ago! They wouldn't have the balls to pull a stunt like this!" -- I think they would.