Last September, DC Comics launched a game changing reboot of their entire product line, resulting in what was called ‘The New 52′.
I know this more than most, as well, I reviewed every single reboot!
The idea was simple, give new or lapsed readers the opportunity to jump in with a fresh beginning, removing the characters from decades of storytelling to give a fresh take. For a while, the plan seemed to work, with DC taking the #1 spot in sales from Marvel Comics for the first time in decades. However, nearly one year later, it seems that sales are returning to the prior numbers.
Whether DC saw this coming, or they want to make every single September a yearly tradition of being a big DC Comics event, September 2012 will be “Zero Month”, an entire month of #0 issues for the entire DC Comics line.
The stories will be origins for some characters, a look into key characters for forthcoming months for others, but in general, the plan remains the same as the New 52 – grab new readers or regain those they’ve lost.
I can see the positive benefits from a business perspective, but I can’t help but wonder – who is the reader they’re trying to reach?
Yes, I am proof positive that the “New 52″ worked, but eventually, if you keep trying the same thing – you will piss people off. Look at the number of people who are infuriated that The Amazing Spider-Man will be another film origin for the web-swinger.
Only if there were a long running title out there which proved without an origin tale, relaunch or reboot, you can actually gain new readers years in. Oh wait. There is. And it’s 98 issues in.
I think the key will be as always – good stories will draw in readers. Bad stories will turn them away. And it doesn’t matter what number is on the issue.