Monday, March 12, 2018

DC Black Label



As the financial aspect of comic continues to be in flux, I have to commend DC for trying to branch out. We have the main line. We have DC Ink. We have DC Zoom aimed at young adults. We have Jinxworld from Brian Bendis. And now we have DC Black Label, a line which has hinted at being the 'R-Rated' adult line of classic characters.

Here is the blurb about the line from Entertainment Weekly:
http://ew.com/books/2018/03/08/dc-black-label-imprint-all-star-creators/

While the Wonder Woman projects sound promising (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez!), I am underwhelmed, maybe even saddened a bit by the Superman project. Here is that description ripped right from the article.

Frank Miller, who forever redefined Batman with classic ’80s comics like The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, will finally tackle the Man of Steel in Superman: Year One alongside artist John Romita Jr. Together, they will give “a groundbreaking, definitive treatment” of Superman’s origin in honor of the character’s 80th anniversary this year (one of many celebrations DC is planning for the milestone). That one is due out in August. 

I haven't liked a Miller project since '300'. I think the last project I truly loved by him was Batman Year One, although some Sin City projects veer close. And I don't really like Romita Jr.'s art style. So while Miller/Romita Jr. might sound good on paper, for Superman fans, I don't know if it works.

Plus, do I really need an R-Rated Frank Miller Superman? Will he be a government dupe like in Dark Knight? Working the docks like some thug in Sin City?

So, I'm out. Don't expect reviews here.


While I understand this diversification. And, in fact, I applaud it.

I do have to wonder about the person walking into Barnes and Noble or heading to Amazon looking to buy a book for someone. Will they be able to tell which is the right version? Will this diluted and varied experience lead to further confusion? Or more streamlined buying from savvy readers.

Thinking about Wonder Woman, there'll be the main line, the DC Zoom books, the DeConnick/Jimenez Black Label Wonder Woman Historia book, Wonder Woman Earth One, the recent Jill Thompson version, the DeLiz Legend of the Wonder Woman. Whew ... I don't know if a book store employee or someone typing Wonder Woman into a search window will know which version fits their mold. Will the real origin please stand up!


I suppose this is the whole point of this exercise. Why not let people find the Wonder Woman they want. I know that I'll sample the DeConnick book hoping it veers more to classic DC than, let's say, Bitch Planet. But I'm not the audience for a Bitch Planet book. So why should those Diana fans be denied.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised about Frank Miller writing Superman. I thought he had run out of synonymous of "moron", "brainless", "pathetic", "loser", "impotent" and "stooge", but he's apparently been able to come up with new insults and ways to put Clark Kent down. A truly driven man.

Wow. I can't wait.

Oh, and "definitive treatment of Superman's origin"? Pffffff.... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

"I do have to wonder about the person walking into Barnes and Noble or heading to Amazon looking to buy a book for someone. Will they be able to tell which is the right version? Will this diluted and varied experience lead to further confusion? Or more streamlined buying from savvy readers."

A fair point. Several different versions of the same character dilute the "brand"? Are we underestimating potential readers if we assume they'll be hopelessly confused?

I'm intrigued about that novel featuring Wonder Woman's daughter. Lyta Trevor's return, perhaps? Fury was truly shafted in the outcome of the Crisis.

Anyway, speaking about Superman's origin, have you seen this?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMsOdmHF2f/?hl=en&taken-by=dccomics

Regardless what Bendis do, it's so satisfying seeing someone acknowledging Supergirl's existence and hopefully importance... When was the last time Kara was brought up during an origin/reimagination story? She was barely a hologram seen in one panel in the post-Reborn origin.

Martin Gray said...

Lordy, I am sooo sick or origins. And I've never been a Miller fan since, oh, Born Again? Mind, at that DC convention breakfast that was reported on news sites he seemed strangely respectful of Superman.

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/03/10/dc-comics-breakfast-bendis-jim-lee-sxsw/

Miller: 'The more I think about Superman, the more in love with him I get. With Batman, he’s familiar … he’s a guy I know now. But with Superman, there’s more for me to explore. What I love about him is his purity, that he is a true hero. He has the small town aspect but he is also an alien … he is an American.'

What I want to know is, how does Supergirl fit into 'The Other History of the DC Universe', mentioned here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/dc-black-label-imprint-unveiled-1092933 I know 'Kryptonian orphan' is an exclusive group, but 'disenfranchised'?

Anonymous said...

"I know 'Kryptonian orphan' is an exclusive group, but 'disenfranchised'?"

Maybe they're referring to the fact that it doesn't matter how many times Kara saves the world or how many incredible deeds she performs: she's always been considered in-and-out-of-universe as inferior to SuperMAN. All of her accomplishments are ignored because she's Superman's female counterpart. Let us remember Supergirl #30 when she saves people from Livewire but they're let down because they hoped to be saved by Superman; or the "Who Is Superwoman?" story arc when Mr. Henderson asks "Are you SURE Superman is out of the planet?"

Or maybe it's about the fact Kara is an immigrant who has survived genocides.

Martin Gray said...

'Or maybe it's about the fact Kara is an immigrant who has survived genocides.'

She's not really an immigrant in the sense of a disenfranchised incomer... she has a government-sponsored secret ID. And she survived a natural (understating here) disaster, not a genocide (well, unless Bendis is going to plump for one of those 'Brainiac killed Krypton' origins).

As for not getting as much credit as Superman, that's all a bit of 'bo-hoo' Kara should be able to rise above.

I think we need to keep thinking! I do appreciate the response.

Anonymous said...

"And she survived a natural (understating here) disaster, not a genocide (well, unless Bendis is going to plump for one of those 'Brainiac killed Krypton' origins)."

I was thinking of New Krypton, which admitedly happened in another continuity, but since we don't know what continuity this book is set in...

We'll see, I guess.

Anj said...

I am more interested in Bendis' take than Miller's.

And Kara does seem to be a part of it which makes me happy.

Anonymous said...

Geez Poor Superman, what'd he ever do to earn the cold clutches of Frank Miller??? And the artwork will be awful as well....I mean yipes just yipes is all I can say about this.
Well this is DC after all, their devotion to "cheap heat" publishing stunts is pretty much their entire corporate strategy .

I won't be buying this one either...just the crude amateurish artwork alone disallows the project.

JF

Gear said...

Naturally everyone wants different things, but I see a lot of similar comments about Miller elsewhere. I’m interested in what DeConnick wants to do with the Amazons, and add Jimenez in there and it sounds like something I’ll be buying.

All of the recent DC announcements have their plusses and minuses, I guess that’s to be expected. My wallet’s still in my pocket for the Superman stuff. That could change with a single announcement though.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

"Frank Miller...alongside artist John Romita Jr....will give a ground breaking definitive treatment of Superman's origin."

I thought that was Brian Bendis's job.

So now we're getting TWO "definitive" origins for Superman this summer. The mainstream Bendis version, and the "out of continuity R-rated Miller version. There's a place for R-rated (which doesn't necessarily mean "mature") comics I suppose, but characters like Superman should (in my opinion) be suitable for all ages (which does NOT necessarily mean Weisinger type stories).

Oh, well...Miller can do what he wants, but you won't see me standing in line to buy this.

Chatterjee Ishita said...

I concur with everyone's views here on the Frank Miller Superman project, I won't be waiting at all for that one.

As for the the other history of DC universe stuff, the official blurb is that it aims to look at the heroes behind their suits and into their ordinary lives. I saw some of the other heroes listed with kara- Jon Stewart, katana, vixen and a few more. Diluting it to just their racial signatures, katana is a japanese woman and vixen is a black woman, Jon Stewart is also a black man. What I am kind of puzzled about is how Supergirl will fit into this kind of disenfranchised group, she is a immigrant and also lets take into consideration that she escaped a genocide and is also an orphan. She remembers Krypton and have trouble fitting in on earth. But still she is a white woman, is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, has a loving set of adopted parents, has a government ID, is highly intellectually gifted as well. I still think they will take the immigrant route and I am cautiously optimistic as to how it will turn out.

KET said...

At this point, the proposed DC Black Label (based on the news blurb) reads merely like a recycled Elseworlds imprint with more 'creative' self-indulgence. It remains to be seen if there will be much of an impact to these proposed book ideas outside of insular comics circles.

KET