December 31, 2011

2011 on Anthony's Notes: Comics

2011 on Anthony's Notes: Comics
On this final day of 2011, let’s look back at my posts about comics over the year...
  • Archie reverted its cover logos back to their older look, presumably to make them stand out more on newsstands. Though not sure this completely took, as some of my recent Archie purchases still have the more modern style cover (Kevin Keller’s miniseries, the “Archie Meets KISS” miniseries).
  • The Comics Code finally died in 2011, with DC, Bongo, and Archie dropping use of the code. Granted, the Code had been toothless for years, judging from DC’s shock-value-violence output.
  • Kevin Keller got plenty of coverage this year, between his 2010 debut issue nominated for a GLAAD award (which it lost to Peter David’s “X-Factor”), his own four-issue miniseries in “Veronica,” and the announcement of his own ongoing bimonthly comic.
  • Wizard Magazine finally died this year, having become irrelevant in the Internet age (and its bad fanboy stereotype tone not helping matters).
  • Archie’s Chuck Clayton kicked off Black History Month’s “Blacks in comics and animation” blog posts, leading to my “minorities in cartoons” series.
  • Boom! Studios renamed its kids comic line “kaboom!,” while shifting focus to other comics due to losing the Disney license.
  • C2E2 in Chicago! Fun was had, and I got to meet Chicago TV icon Svengoolie!
  • Action Comics celebrated its 900th issue… just before hitting the reset button several months later.
  • DC Comics’ “New 52″/”DCNU” continuity reboot is this year’s biggest superhero comic story, of course, with the biggest linewide reboot since 1985-86’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” storyline. While the reboot’s fixed a few of my criticisms of DC (there’s some books that aren’t superheroes or have minorities as lead characters; it’s been crossover-free so far, with some comics actually understandable by an average person; and they’re releasing same-day digital comics), after several months of it, I’m afraid I have to conclude it’s still “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”/”reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic”:
    • The shock-value violence elements are still there (or amplified even moreso). The Joker having his face cut off by a serial killer and calling it “fangasmic?” Is DC staffed by 13-year-olds or something? (Since their own ratings system deemed “fangasmic” as “suitable for 13-year-olds”…)
    • The general tone feels even more humorless than before, with what lighter elements DC still had before having been jettisoned or downplayed. Interesting, and probably telling/not surprising, that Marvel published a holiday special (with its heroes celebrating the holidays), while DC didn’t publish such this year in their DCNU (unless new-and-“improved” “angry jerk like his Young Justice TV cartoon counterpart” Superboy torching Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree counts). Johnny DC, however, did give us a well done Hanukkah story featuring Ragman, but then, that’s to be expected of Johnny DC.
    • The books are still too expensive, especially the (DRMed) digital comics.
    • The same writers/editors from before are working on this reboot.
    • Various new, dubious elements introduced, such as Wonder Woman getting a biological father, or Superman’s “Lil’ Abner” costume (or his regular costume changed to promote the upcoming still-in-production movie).
    • Finally, the sexism factor, which got the blog’s most-visited post of the year—the Starfire/Catwoman debacle. Overall, I suspect by this time next year, my DC reading will be back to what it was before: reprints and the Johnny DC line. Not sure what DC’s sales will be like a year from now, but I don’t think this will be enough to truly reverse fortunes long-term (or get the general public reading superhero comics en masse again).
  • Marvel reveals its new Ultimate Marvel Spider-Man to be a biracial (African-American/Latino) teen, in a plus for diversity. On DC’s side, Batwoman got her own ongoing comic in the DCNU reboot.
  • My farewell to the post-“Crisis on Infinite Earths,” pre-DCNU version of the DC Universe.
  • Speaking of Johnny DC, two titles are being axed in 2012 (“Tiny Titans,” “The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold”), though “Superman Family” is being revived in their place.
  • Also in 2012, Archie’s running a third alternate-future storyline, with Archie married to Valerie from “Josie and the Pussycats.”

And that wraps up 2011 in comics. I await seeing what 2012 brings…

Tags: 2011comics triviaKevin KellerMediaNew 52triviayear in review