End of an era: farewell, post-Crisis DCU

Man of Steel #1
“Man of Steel” #1 (1986). Art by John Byrne.

Tonight’s the last night of the current DC Comics continuity, as the “post-Crisis” DC Universe, present since 1986’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (plus the following Superman reboot) wiped out or altered the previous 50 years of DC books, gets rebooted tomorrow with a new continuity (dubbed as “the DCnU” in what’s got to be the worst acronym I’ve ever seen… thus I shall be spelling it “DCNU,” thank you very much). Tomorrow debuts the new DCU, with “Justice League” #1. (Note no “of America” at the end of the new Justice League’s name.)

Reaction online seems to range from skeptical to mixed to excitement. My reaction’s more of the first two, having seen too many DC reboots before, plus I still like the pre-“Crisis On Infinite Earths” continuity. Still, I’ll be giving a few of the rebooted-DCU books a shot, starting with tomorrow’s first issue, along with: Superman; Action Comics; Static Shock; and Mister Terrific. And that’s all; I’ll be sticking with the usual Johnny DC titles and reprints otherwise.

Some comic shops are holding midnight sales for “Justice League” #1. The shop in my town holding said sale is quite a distance from my apartment. Also, I have work tomorrow (and mass transit is spotty after midnight here), so I’ll stick with buying the same-day digital copy that’ll be on sale tomorrow.

A lot of fans seem miffed about the post-Crisis DCU going away, though I imagine they might now relate to how some fans of the pre-Crisis DCU must’ve felt. Still, instead of burning their bridges behind them (like they did post-Crisis), they should’ve just created a new Earth (leaving the post-Crisis DCU on its own world) and focused solely/primarily on there. Doing such would also provide a completely fresh reboot with no previous story ties, avoiding continuity hijinks (see: post-Crisis Hawkman). (Apparently a new version of Earth-2 is sticking around in this reboot, so maybe the above will also happen…)

To nitpick further, there’s also that this reboot is only a partial one. Batman’s deemed too precious (or sells too well) to be rebooted, thus he’s keeping his backstory. Which by my count must stretch back to at least the 1960s, since *some* fair number of “Dick Grayson as a teenaged Robin” stories must’ve still happened…

As for nostalgia for the post-Crisis DCU, I did start heavily reading comic books during the 90s, when it was in full swing. Titles I followed included the Flash (starring Wally West, with appearances by openly gay ex-supervillain the Pied Piper), the various “triangle” Superman books (the Fall of Metropolis; that story where Brainiac used the people of Metropolis as his own living hard drives while Supes was trapped in a young boy’s body; the wedding of Lois and Clark; etc.), and the “Power of Shazam” featuring the Marvel family.

Of course, by the 2000s, I was reading fewer DC titles. I stopped almost completely by the time Dan DiDio was put in charge (and the likes of “Identity Crisis” came along). Granted, there were also plenty of things even back in the 90s that I didn’t care for (“The Killing Joke”; Superman executing the Phantom Zoners; no multiverse; etc.).

Plenty of changes had happened between 1961 and 1986 in comics, as well, especially with characters like Lois Lane. Other changes between 1961 and 1986 include underground comics, more mature themes seeing print, and one of the biggest, the rise of Marvel. And yes, there’ve been plenty of changes between 1986 and the present in comics, too (the American rise of manga, webcomics, digital comics, an explosion of graphic novels, etc.).

Thus, I guess we’ll see if this new ploy to get new readers and give a fresh coat of paint to Superman, Wonder Woman and company works. Maybe in 2036 we’ll see another massive reboot (that’ll again conveniently leave Batman out of it), and *those* fans annoyed at seeing the “DCNU” chucked aside!

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