Goodbye to Berlanti and New 52

If DC starts publishing webcomics since Zuda, it could pull a Star Wars on The New 52. This has happened before to an extent. No doubt that the New 52 is a failure but when it comes to publishing webcomics, both the New 52 and the Berlanti productions will not only be considered apocryphal.

They could even get repurposed as infomercials for that webcomic. Bits and pieces of each story will get passed down to the webcomic, which refines them in the interim. If Supergirl features a Kon-El who’s related to James Olsen, expect the forthcoming webcomic to reflect on that but by using the comics versions instead.

This sounds very cynical to treat Supergirl as an infomercial for the upcoming Superboy webcomic but considering the former’s declining ratings, the Woman of Steel would end up providing (for) the Boy of Steel instead.

Superboy will take priority over Supergirl, considering its potential to pull in younger readers due to its accessibility. One might even have a feeling that the webcomics Kon-El could become the new, official Superman as all the other Supermen are failures.

The Kal-El Superman has become so wasted and expendable that it’s unsurprising DC needs a newer, better one to replace him. As shown in the latest Bruce Timm cartoon, DC might as well replace him with someone else.

Then we have new, permanent ideas like Barry Allen permanently losing his powers before turning himself into a punk detective. It could start right at the Flash programme itself, following Supergirl’s disastrous lead.

It’s going to be a repeat of the Star Wars EU fiasco, only with DC this time and could even surpass it in controversy.

The Webcomics Canon

Another side-effect of DC and Marvel adopting and publishing webcomics for good is that they’re going to pull a Star Wars. Star Wars is a franchise centered on the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his posse in outer space. There was and still is an expanded universe to capitalise on the movies’ popularity though this has been changed and the problem with the expanded universe is that it appeals to obsessive fans.

Maybe not entirely but it feels like it. Similar things could be said of DC and Marvel’s ridiculous use of storytelling involving changes done to storytelling continuity. In other words, retcons and if you will, reboots.

There’s nothing wrong with changes done to characters.What’s wrong is whether or not it’s in canon. At any rate when DC starts rebooting and retooling characters, even reverting back to their classic versions it makes you wonder what directions could’ve been taken had these happened less frequently.

Supergirl could still be an angel with no real genetic relation to Superman and Barbara Gordon has happily relinquished her Batgirl identity to other women. But this was eventually undone and for Barbara, it’s telling that outside of comics she’s always Batgirl. The female Batman even when other women can make that claim too.

Everything feels like an afterthought and draft of a far bigger, better idea. A lot of superhero stories almost always feel like drafts for something else. Not just for movies, television and licencing but for something grander.

Given DC’s habit of rebooting, if it publishes webcomics at all since Zuda there’s a chance that it’ll reboot itself without trying. This would make the New 52 imprint a huge draft for a potentially more successful webcomic.

This means that some of the concepts in New 52 will be carried over to the webcomic, eventually refining them for mass consumption. The webcomic will eventually be considered canon, the one to go for.

The New 52 isn’t just a draft for future programmes but also a far more successful, accessible and cheaper webcomic. If that happens, expect more than half of the New 52 continuity to be thrown out Star Wars style.

Declining Sales and Viewership

Superhero comics’ sales have been declining, despite sporadic spikes. I think it’s got to do with several factors. One is shock value, then there’s excessive fan pandering and inaccessibility.

It could also be attributed to people who would want to buy comics but don’t have the time to do so and even if they could download one when they can’t get it from a store, it’ll still be the case.

Similar things can be said of viewership, though healthier it’s going the direction superhero comics have been heading for ages. A notable one would be the Supergirl programme which suffers from declining rates per episode.

If ratings decline any further, the Woman of Steel could resort to shock value and influence others to do the same. Just like what happens in superhero comics. Whenever sales decline, use shock value to temporarily spike them.

Not to mention that they pander heavily to a narrow audience. I even have a feeling that once superhero fatigue reaches its zenith, the viewership for superhero programmes will decline so badly they’ll shock people to the point of making them hate superheroes.

With an overabundance of superhero media, it’s going to crash just like what happened to their comics counterpart before. History repeats itself to disastrous effect.

Superhuman Nature

Here’s the thing I realised about the potentials of Green Lantern and The Flash: they can fill niches way better than other superheroes do. Green Lantern would’ve made an excellent martial artist, exceeding the likes of Batman and Black Canary. It makes sense that if your shtick is to create stuff out of thin air in combat, chances are you’re more likely to create weapons.

Especially creating weapons out of nothing to deal with differing situations as well as learning something new to do it. The Flash would’ve made a particularly excellent escape artist if it weren’t for super speed. Instead of being made into a godlike character, The Flash could’ve remained fast and naturally suited for both evading and tracking.

That might’ve been done before but not to the extent that suits them the most. I suspect that superhero writers sometmes aren’t very keen on what they’re actually doing. For some characters, it’s based more on speculating than on extrapolating from real life.

If the Flash was heavily based on actual escape artists as well as footballers/soccer players and sprinters just as Green Lantern owes a lot to martial arts specialising in weaponry, you’d get something that realises and fleshes out their potential.

It’ll also make too much sense from a certain standpoint. It’s just that writers are too lazy to depict it because that’ll involve thinking and understanding things objectively. It also involves both the characters’ weaknesses and advantages.

That’s why it barely happens because that’ll involve a lot of careful planning and thinking in writing.

Marvel’s future

I had talked about DC’s future several times over and how it’ll emulate Japanese publishers when it comes to approaching IP, down to using programmes as glorified late night infomercials for more succesful products like webcomics and video games.

 

That’s got to do with DC’s location in the West Coast. Marvel on the other hand would be a little far behind the curve when it comes to exploiting webcomics. Rather than emulating DC’s lead, Marvel stops focusing on superheroes altogether except in archival form.

 

Marvel would end up publishing Disney comics and fairy tale stories, including translated editions instead. These make more money than the frankly useless superhero imprint.

 

At any rate when DC/CW kills off public interest in superheroes with stunts like Kon-El turning out to be James Olsen’s brother, punk detective Barry and Faplicity Smoak, Marvel being a subsidiary of Disney stops showcasing superheroes for good.

 

 

Writing from life

Drawing from life (or at least untouched photographs) is a necessity and discipline in illustration and cartooning though one wonders if similar things can be said of writing.

 

So far the only way to talk about it (and beat me to it) is the essay ‘Education of a Cartoonist’. It goes on saying that the majority of comics being written, though specifically addressing the American indie comics scene, are written by people with limited experiences and interests.

 

In the case with superhero comics, reality has to be toning down all the stranger stuff and speculating a lot on what’s like to have powers despite the meme about truth being stranger than fiction.

 

There are cases where people can lift vehicles like superheroes. I also get the weird impression that when it comes to coming up with super strength and super speed, most writers don’t bother looking up on actual strongpeople, soccer players and sprinters.

 

If they did, that leads to a very lively superhero. The liveliness is gone whenever superhero comics only look to other superhero comics for inspiration.

 

Actually that can be said of any fiction as long as it’s withdrawn from reality.

Teenaged Superheroes

Here are the things that I don’t really get about superhero comics and in here it’s the choice of depicting kids. Teenagers in particular and while that might’ve been the case before there’s usually not much subtlety.

 

Teenagers have to be depicted as shorter and thinner than adults even in reality this isn’t always clear cut. When watching Justice League, I could deduct that Wally’s younger or more immature than Hawkgirl despite being taller than her.

 

Heck I have two kid brothers who are taller than me (or that I slouch very often). I even met a number of kids in school who were either the same height as adults, sometimes taller and sometimes bulkier.

 

I think this is portrayed in comics but not to the same extent. It gets weirder still in live action portrayals where several actors who play these characters are ironically closer to the way teenagers are drawn in comics.

 

To date on Arrow, the only mesomorph is John Diggle. Every other man’s an ectomorph and/or an ecto-mesomorph. This might not always be the case in comics either but it’s telling.