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  1. #1
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    Default Fans more Interested in Old DC than Current DC?

    It might be old news at this point, but I came across this a few days ago and thought it might be worth discussing: https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/07...-dc-publishes/

    In Dan Didio's words:

    We do these Facsimile Editions where we reprint older issues of comics including all the old ads and stuff…and in some cases these are selling more than the new comics with these characters. People are more interested in buying the stories from 30 or 40 years ago than the contemporary stories, and that’s a failure on us. We should be focused on moving things forward, always pushing the boundaries and finding new stories to tell. That’s how we’ll survive and grow this industry.
    So, what do you think is the takeaway from this? Why do you think there appears to be more interest in classic DC than in the current output from DC?
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 08-01-2019 at 11:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    That's really hard to judge without knowing which issues they reprinted.

    I doubt that it is really that the people like these older stories better.

    Since the Bronze age most bigger stories run over multiple issues, therefore with a single issue from that era you usually wont get a complete story.

    Silver Age and Golden Age Stories usually don't go over multiple issues, but are also not that great stoytelling wise

    If they of course republish some "historicity significant" issues that could explain why these issues sell that well. I mean "Batman: A Death in the Family" (which is also roughly 30 years old at this point) is also regularly reprinted, even if it is hardly a good story.

  3. #3
    Uncanny King-Kamalu lemonpeace's Avatar
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    I would say it's a matter of consistency, as a reader who prefers contemporary storytelling usually, it's frustrating how often new ideas or characters or storylines are introduced and subsequently dropped not to be picked up again. I'd imagine it's due to not finding their audience yet but DC's willingness to cut and run rather than stick it out and build new ideas creates a culture where their regular fans generally don't care to give new shit much of a chance because their first instinct is that it'll get shelved anyway. Plus most fans like to follow characters and given how shitty DC tends to be nowadays with balancing which characters are being used in compelling or interesting ways, fans tend to have to rely on older stories to get their fix for their favorite character. I could be wrong but these are my best guesses.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Korath's Avatar
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    DC comic fans are just obssessed with nostalgia. I get it, they grew up with a certain vibe for their comics and it's not here anymore. But I'm also pretty sure that me and many other comic book readers wouldn't be there without the New 52 and I have far more interest in the minor new creations of DC than most of the old stories, which, without the vernish of nostalgia, just aren't that great. For me All-Star Superman and Perez's Wonder Woman, for instance, are either physically painful to read for the first, mind-bogingly boring and dated for the second

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korath View Post
    DC comic fans are just obssessed with nostalgia. I get it, they grew up with a certain vibe for their comics and it's not here anymore. But I'm also pretty sure that me and many other comic book readers wouldn't be there without the New 52 and I have far more interest in the minor new creations of DC than most of the old stories, which, without the vernish of nostalgia, just aren't that great. For me All-Star Superman and Perez's Wonder Woman, for instance, are either physically painful to read for the first, mind-bogingly boring and dated for the second
    Actually, they're pretty great. Also, your explanation doesn't really account for the fact that, as the article suggests, these older comics are actually being bought by younger readers who didn't grow up with them. They just find the older stuff more appealing than what's on the stands right now.

    And honestly, they're kind of right. I have to admit, the comics from DC in the 80 and 90s are probably more consistently good than their output from subsequent years. I mean, have you read Waid's Flash or Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans or Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League? Those books are literally some of the best superhero comics ever published (and keep in mind that, being in my twenties, I read these runs many many many years after they were originally published). Do yourself a favor and pick them up.
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 08-02-2019 at 01:53 AM.

  6. #6
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    Also remember 30-40 years old means comics from the 80s, and some of the comics from that age were quite good.
    There was of course also bad stuff but thats also the case with current comics.

    In that era the comics also resemble more the iconic version of the DCU, without all the new characters that were added later.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Jekyll's Avatar
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    To me DC comics was more enjoyable in the 80s-early 2000's more than anything in the past decade DC has done. Some of my favorite characters and runs came from that time period. There was strong creative teams, most of the stories were really fun, and there was more variety. Today's DC line of comics there really aren't many choices outside of Batman and the core seven silver age characters.
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  8. #8
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    So if an archaeologist studies the Inca, he's being nostalgic. Or if a theoretical physicist examines the red shifts at the furthest reaches of the unvierse, he's not living in the now. Or what about literary scholars that write papers on William Shakespeare and Fyodor Dostoevsky?

    Oh but these are comic books and their history doesn't deserve study, we're just supposed to be consumers of entertainment and we always need to have a new thrill. If we have an interest in the past, then that's nostalgia, but only if that interest is undervalued. If it's valued then it's inquiry.

    I get why Dan DiDio has this skewed opinion, because he's being paid to sell new content and build new markets for that content. But are other comic book readers that naive about the artform that they claim to love?

    It happens that some of us love the medium and the artform of comics and we're interested in how that came to be and what developments shaped it and changed it. And studying that kind of thing can be our entertainment. It's not nostalgia, because we're always learning new things and coming to greater understanding about the work.

    Looking into the future is the realm of science fiction--we can ony look into the past and observe what was there, to understand where we are now. No one really lives in the present--time moves past us and everything we know has already happened. We are all driving down a highway looking in the rearview mirror, because that's the only perspective that the laws of the universe allow us.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Comics (for me anyway) have always been about reading (and collecting) forward as well as back.

    People don't seem to remember this, but before the direct market, that's what a comic shop was, it's what started the unique phenomena of comic shops, people looking to buy back issues.

    With reprints and trades, it's just become easier to buy them.
    But yeah, if people aren't buying the new stuff and new characters, that's on them.
    Last edited by Güicho; 08-02-2019 at 06:08 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonpeace View Post
    I would say it's a matter of consistency, as a reader who prefers contemporary storytelling usually, it's frustrating how often new ideas or characters or storylines are introduced and subsequently dropped not to be picked up again. I'd imagine it's due to not finding their audience yet but DC's willingness to cut and run rather than stick it out and build new ideas creates a culture where their regular fans generally don't care to give new shit much of a chance because their first instinct is that it'll get shelved anyway. Plus most fans like to follow characters and given how shitty DC tends to be nowadays with balancing which characters are being used in compelling or interesting ways, fans tend to have to rely on older stories to get their fix for their favorite character. I could be wrong but these are my best guesses.
    The consistency issue that lemonpeace (rightly) points out also shows up in characterization. IMO, older DC comics tended to more consistently adhere to the personas of their characters. I suppose it has to do with the latitude some writers have today. They blow into a book, tell the story they want, often with very little attention to who they're writing, or what went before, and when they're done, the next writer does the same thing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    So if an archaeologist studies the Inca, he's being nostalgic. Or if a theoretical physicist examines the red shifts at the furthest reaches of the unvierse, he's not living in the now. Or what about literary scholars that write papers on William Shakespeare and Fyodor Dostoevsky?

    Oh but these are comic books and their history doesn't deserve study, we're just supposed to be consumers of entertainment and we always need to have a new thrill. If we have an interest in the past, then that's nostalgia, but only if that interest is undervalued. If it's valued then it's inquiry.

    I get why Dan DiDio has this skewed opinion, because he's being paid to sell new content and build new markets for that content. But are other comic book readers that naive about the artform that they claim to love?

    It happens that some of us love the medium and the artform of comics and we're interested in how that came to be and what developments shaped it and changed it. And studying that kind of thing can be our entertainment. It's not nostalgia, because we're always learning new things and coming to greater understanding about the work.

    Looking into the future is the realm of science fiction--we can ony look into the past and observe what was there, to understand where we are now. No one really lives in the present--time moves past us and everything we know has already happened. We are all driving down a highway looking in the rearview mirror, because that's the only perspective that the laws of the universe allow us.
    Beautifully said. I never thought about this point before, but you've absolutely hit the nail on the head. Someone isn't thought to be living in the past if they read Tennessee Williams or Anton Chekhov or if they admire the work of Pablo Picasso or Henri Matisse. In art, things are called classic for a reason and, IMO, appreciating the classics is a prerequisite to understanding any medium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jekyll View Post
    To me DC comics was more enjoyable in the 80s-early 2000's more than anything in the past decade DC has done. Some of my favorite characters and runs came from that time period. There was strong creative teams, most of the stories were really fun, and there was more variety. Today's DC line of comics there really aren't many choices outside of Batman and the core seven silver age characters.
    I'm inclined to agree. Reading back issues, I often find myself thinking: why isn't DC publishing stuff like this now??

    Quote Originally Posted by Güicho View Post
    But yeah, if people aren't buying the new stuff and new characters, that's on them.
    Is it on them or is it on DC for not making a product that appeals to them?
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 08-02-2019 at 08:05 AM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    There's the matter of Sturgeon's Law. 90% of the output of any era is crap. It's the other 10% that make it worthwhile. Reprints and facsimile editions can cherry pick books for the 10% of any era for "the good stuff" i..e. standout stories or milestone happenings, but with current output you have to wade through the 90% of crap to find the 10% that is really worthwhile. Consumers can be a little more confident they're going to get "the good stuff" when buying a curated collection of reprints than when they are just buying a new comic off the racks.

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  13. #13
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    For me, it's not about "studying" the past. It's about reading comics I enjoy. I bought a lot of comics in the 90s, and I'm rereading them now, after reading almost no comics in the last 15ish years. I'm enjoying most of them, including the ones I bought as back issues at the time, which date back to the 80s, 10 years before I started reading.

    I looked online to see if there was anything I might be interested in buying today, and discovered that DC had rebooted, mutilated, or eliminated many of my favorite characters. If there were rave reviews for DC's recent work, I might still be willing to give some of their new stuff a try. But other than the occasional "This series is pretty good", I'm not seeing any excitement about any particular modern work, even from current readers. So why would I bother spending money on the new stuff that even current DC readers aren't excited about?

    For now, I'm rereading my old collection, and very rarely picking up an issue or two from the back issue bins to fill in gaps in my collection. So far, I've bought exactly two issues in the last 3 months, and both of those were published in 1988. Once I'm done reading what I already own, I'll probably start buying stuff to add to my collection more regularly. But even then, I'm fairly certain I'll stick to buying old stuff. DC hasn't done anything in the last decade that I'm even remotely curious to check out.
    Just re-reading my old collection, filling in the occasional gap with back issues, not buying anything new.

    Currently working my way through 1990's Flash, Impulse, and JLA, and occasional other related stuff.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    So if an archaeologist studies the Inca, he's being nostalgic. Or if a theoretical physicist examines the red shifts at the furthest reaches of the unvierse, he's not living in the now. Or what about literary scholars that write papers on William Shakespeare and Fyodor Dostoevsky?

    Oh but these are comic books and their history doesn't deserve study, we're just supposed to be consumers of entertainment and we always need to have a new thrill. If we have an interest in the past, then that's nostalgia, but only if that interest is undervalued. If it's valued then it's inquiry.
    Liking and being interested in old stories isn’t bad. Developing an obsession with it to the exclusion of everything else is the problem.

    Looking into the future is the realm of science fiction--we can ony look into the past and observe what was there, to understand where we are now. No one really lives in the present--time moves past us and everything we know has already happened. We are all driving down a highway looking in the rearview mirror, because that's the only perspective that the laws of the universe allow us.
    Um, no. People look to the future all the time. From studying current trends to determine what will become of human kind to something as mundane as making plans for your day tomorrow. Looking to the future is not exclusive to science fiction.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member Jadeb's Avatar
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    I just got the DC universe app, and I think it has convinced me to drop most of my monthly ongoings. Comparing the old books to the modern makes me realize just how bloated most of the new stuff is. The stories aren’t any more meaningful than they were 30 or 60 years ago — they’re just a lot longer, and usually much less inventive. We’re being sold the notion that the modern stuff “matters,” but I look at books from the last five years and realize I don’t want or need to read them, and that I don’t want to spend the time to slog through six or 12 or 24 issues of a storyline that’s already been forgotten. Even stuff I’m currently reading — how much do I care about Rogol Zaar? On the other hand, I can pull up a Superman story from the ‘50s (long before I was born) and enjoy it for the simple pleasure it is.

    This isn’t to say that there isn’t good stuff coming out, but I think I’m over the age of event comics. When no status quo ever sticks, who cares about another reboot, or the latest epic storyline that promises to change Batman forever?
    Last edited by Jadeb; 08-02-2019 at 08:57 AM.

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