The DC Comics Reboot

Today is the last day of the DC Universe as we know it. Tomorrow, and I mean at 12:01 am, the DC Universe reboots.

There’s a jaded, cynical side of me that wonders if this is simply a gimmick that will be erased in a year. Let’s face it, it’s not like super heroes die and then eventually come back. Granted, this is a much larger scale, but it could be a shrewd marketing move to boost sales for a year before returning things to the status quo. But let’s assume for a moment that this is a true reboot. If this is truly the case, I think it’s brilliant.

While it’s been a number of years since I’ve actually collected comics, I still follow along online, reading sites like Newsarama, or keeping up with Peter David’s blog (I miss his Aquaman and Hulk to this day). And I’ve wondered for years how comic book publishers were going to deal with the issue of the passing of time.

Let’s take a look at Batman/Bruce Wayne. Batman was introduced in 1939. In 1940, we were introduced to Robin (Dick Grayson). In that time, Dick grew up and became Nightwing. We were introduced to a new Robin (Jason Todd). Jason died (don’t be sad, he’d get better, eventually), and we were introduced to yet another Robin (Tim Drake). Robins came and went. Robins grew older and grew up. But Bruce never seemed to age.

Certainly as a comic book reader, one has to be willing to suspend disbelief to a point. And for a number of years, I think the comic book reading audience at large was willing to overlook the fact that supporting cast members aged, time passed, yet our heroes did not, for the most part, age.

But as more time passed in the real world, I think it got harder to overlook that particular dichotomy. And it would only continue to be the elephant in the room as time marched on (for all but our heroes).

I think what DC has chosen to do, again… if it’s more than just a gimmick, is the “right” solution. I’ve read that there are some folks who are upset that their favorite stories will have never happened in this newly rebooted DC Universe. For example, Superman is no longer married to Lois. I’d assume that she no longer knows that he’s Superman either. I think that’s OK. I think the fact that your favorite stories didn’t happen in the new timeline doesn’t remove the pleasure that you felt when reading them, or even re-reading them. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to read them in the future.

“Sacrificing” some stories is, I think, a very small sacrifice to make. With an arsenal of characters as big as DC’s now unrestrained by 70 years of continuity, I think we’re about to bear witness to some amazingly fresh takes on old favorites.

I’m OK with closing the door on the current incarnation of the DC Universe. I’ve enjoyed reading many, many stories involving so many of these characters. I thank all of the creators who were involved in making that happen, from those who created the characters to those who continued to tell their stories, and bring them to life on the page.

Now, it’s time to turn that page. It’s time for a fresh take on familiar faces. It’s time for my kids to enjoy a Superman, a Batman, a Wonder Woman, a Flash, a Justice League… all updated for today, unencumbered by the past.

Ladies and gentlemen of DC Comics, I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor. Now go make magic and tell stories that my kids will remember as fondly as those that I remember… and there are many.