Time to fire whoever thought One Year Later
was a good idea. Also, Hibbs offers a final analysis of Countdown
: "JACK KIRBY: Pretty much shat upon."
The Savage Critics | Brian Hibbs | Count This!
DC has had a pretty bad last two years. Their editorial vision has been, in my humble opinion, horrifically broken, and, more importantly, completely and utterly out of touch of the interests of the audience. What successes they've had have seemed to this observer to either be completely accidental (SINESTRO CORPS) or actively worked against (the end of 52, and the multiverse, etc)
I've been selling comics in my own store for nineteen years now, and we've always been a "DC store" -- selling more DC comics than Marvel comics. This makes us a rare and unique creature in comics retailing, as far as I can tell from speaking with my brethren and reading the sales charts.
And right now in 2008, we're selling more Marvel comic books than DC. If it weren't for DC's superlative backlist program, and the strength of Vertigo titles in that format like Y and FABLES and DMZ, it would be a total and complete rout.
Marvel, to be sure, has been on a strong run with the of-the-Zeitgeist CIVIL WAR, but it is clear to me watching our sales figures and listening to my customers that an equal measure of this switch has been DC completely and utterly bobbling the ball.
The first real signs, for me, was "One Year Later", which was about as unmanaged and poorly fitting of an idea as anything I can think of. Virtually every DCU book took a sharp downwards spike in the wake of OYL, as the readership didn't understand what was going on in the books they followed, and given no real incentive to pick up new ones.
That could have been managed had it not been for COUNTDOWN, "the spine of the DC Universe" -- a spine that virtually no one enjoyed, and that had what seemed to be a billion-jillion awful tie ins and crossovers and "spin outs" all predicated on branding and ideas that no one (not even, it seems the creators) were especially enthused by....
Plot should flow from character; characterization should not be dictated by plot. DC *has* to learn this and learn this very quickly if they don't want to lose more market share and customer interest.