If you’ve talked to anyone buying single issues, there is certainly a lot of what we’ll call “emotional opinions” about the New 52 – on one side there is the group that is not in love with it on an almost “The-rapture-is-coming” level, and if things go sideways we’ll all hear “told you so.” But that group is not the inspiration for this article. The inspiration is the other side; the group of nerds getting so wired & excited over the relaunch that I’ll be disappointed if there aren’t massive nerdy flash mobs breaking out in Glee-esque renditions of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” (that overly chippy “Dancing in September ” song for those who don’t know) every Wednesday in September. I was in Brandon’s store a few weeks ago & had the opportunity to see him & these nerds in action.
I don’t hate them, but it’s just so hard to get excited as a trade waiter, when the collections are probably the better part of a year away, and the cheaper trade paperback is nearly 2 years away (unless DC is changing their policy?! One can dream…). Those of us who are cheap (or rather, who like to buy more) and go for the trade paperbacks are at the Blackest Night, which is far away from this Flashpoint stuff. The only thing happening for me in September is the newest Uncanny X-Men trade (and maybe some other trades I don’t plan to get).
While part of me wants to gather the cast of Annie to counter with a rendition of “Hard Knock Life” (this would be a seriously great episode of Glee), the other part sees the opportunities the New 52 presents:
- The opportunity to bail.
I think it’s a fact people stick with a series even during bad times because they will hope it gets better eventually, and, more so, they don’t want to be lost when it does get better. I have some late 90s/pre-Morrison X-Men comics that attest to that fact. I can’t imagine comic store owners want you to keep with a series you don’t like as telling someone you know something is bad, has way more impact than telling them you’ve heard it’s bad, or that you haven’t heard anything about it. Leave the stuff you don’t like for people who do, they actually do exist. The New 52 allows you to bail without the punishment of missing important story points – every issue is a new #1, a new jumping on point, so even for those books that are keeping some of their history intact (I’m thinking the Batman and Green Lantern titles) you should be able to grab that new #1 and figure things out. Hopefully.
- The ability to spend elsewhere.
Number 1 leads to Number 2. You bail on one series, now you have money in your pocket, and if you leave it there it will burn a hole in your wallet and set you on fire. While waiting for the New 52 to hit trades, you have the opportunity to grab some really good stuff, and/or spend more to maybe get the hardcovers because you are so tired of waiting for the paperbacks all the time and want some really good DC stuff. I am totally bailing on a series and totally spending my money on Grant Morrison’s Joe the Barbarian and the much-loved-by-Brandon Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder. Yes they were on my list before, but the money to buy them was coming out of thin air. I also need to get Batwoman by Greg Rucka because I keep forgetting.
- A Fresh & refreshed start with goodness guarantees.
Waiting sucks, sure, but have you ever wanted to really see a movie, and couldn’t make it right away, then heard it was totally awful, avoided it, and then saw something considerably more awesome instead. Great happiness all round! The same applies for the New 52. 52 titles – they can’t all be mind-blowingly awesome. I for one can’t name 52 awesome things that came out all at the exact same time. Something is bound to be terrible, and something is bound to be mind-blowing. There is going to be something you want to be awesome that sucks and most importantly of all, there is going to be something that you thought would suck, or didn’t care at all about, and it will be awesome. I’m 99% sure Action Comics will be amazing – it’s Grant Morrison and Superman, remember what we got the last time that happened?! But what I am mostly looking forward to is that hidden gem of awesomeness that comes from a recommendation. Remember those dancing nerds? In six months they will be your best friend. They will have been the proverbial cannon fodder and can recommend what to look for and what to avoid. Talk to them.
I think back to a recommendation I got for Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist. In the past I hated Iron Fist. Well I mostly hated the costume. Between the giant collar and the yellow slippers… I mean why didn’t the 80s happen to Danny Rand like they did to everyone else? Then I was told to grab the Iron Fist stuff as it was “really good.” I loved it (thanks to David Aja for fixing that costume!). I actually can’t express how much I loved it properly. It still makes me VERY angry that it was cancelled. I not only loved Iron Fist but I learned to love Matt Fraction’s work and actively sought out more of it (FYI – I was already a Brubaker fan, which helped in the decision to grab it).
The New 52 allows for those new in-roads for stuff you hear is awesome, and for characters and titles that have interested you, but seem impossible to jump in to. Right now I’ve got my eye on Action Comics,& JLA (obviously) but also the Red Hood & the Outlaws (Red Arrow!), Batman (thanks to Brandon for that one) and Teen Titans (90s awesomeness!). Most importantly though, I’ve got my ears open for those series that are surprisingly awesome. I think people will be tired of hearing “So, What was good?”
So fellow Trade-Waiters, bide your time, spend your money on new things, and listen for the gleeful screams of issue buying nerds everywhere. And pray that this doesn’t go sideways on DC – I like my Batman too much.