DC comics has started a new era of Comics these last two months. The last 10 years of Comics by DC and Marvel can be described with a couple of words. Desperate for attention. Now I'm talking about the Comics and you can look it up. The 2006 released event Civil War saved Marvel in sales and Infinite Crisis on DC offered a new status quo after a one-year time skip. Since then Comics have been driven by an endless circle of crossover events more than ever and relaunches with DC going for a harder relaunch in the form of the New 52.
While many fans see the New 52 as a mess it would be a lie saying it wasn’t a huge success for DC comics and for Comic shops. The first months of the New 52 were followed by big sales numbers and a lot of new fans. Still, 5 years later DC has realized that it doesn’t work to just get new fans. You can’t ignore the loyal fans who have been reading DC for at least a decade.
Geoff Johns Starts The Rebirth
Geoff Johns noticed what was wrong with the New 52. He himself said on a Podcast with Kevin Smith that DC jumped into the New 52 with more heart and good ideas than a brain and a plan. That is why Johns has been taking the lead on this new era of DC Comics and kept everything straight and gave a clear plan to the writers.
He has realized that popular Comics like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen have infected the writing of today’s Comic authors. They think dark equals good. When you look at the more pessimistic tone of the New 52 it is hard to ignore which books have influenced that. DC had lost the message of hope and that comics shouldn’t just be a commentary on how bad we all are but also how good we could be and can be.
In a very meta way Johns used all this in DC Rebirth by turning Dr. Manhattan, a god like character in the Watchmen Universe into the villain of the DC Universe who has stolen love and optimism from our heroes to weaken them. Geoff Johns has with this basically declared war against this pessimistic tone fans and writers have forced on the DC Universe.
It is true that the most famous DC stories are dark but you can’t have just darkness. The reasons books like Watchmen, the Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns became so popular can be credited to a degree to the fact that they broke the mostly goofy and fun attitude comics had at that time.
The broke the formula, that is why DC Rebirth has been selling amazingly and has gotten great reviews. This more optimistic tone with the regained respect to the legacy DC has built over decades is great, it is refreshing and nostalgic at the same time.
But What Impact Does This Have On The Movies?
Actually a lot, Geoff Johns has gotten a promotion to assist DC Films in making their movies. Now while he has downplayed his role I have a hard time believing that WB hasn’t put him there to influence Snyder who sees himself as a Comic guy. We have here Zack Snyder whose love for Watchmen and dark comics can be seen from miles away in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, and next to him now we have Geoff Johns who just declared a new era of optimism in comics and has made Watchman the enemy of the DC Universe. It isn’t hard to imagine the talks going down between these two.
DC won’t turn into Marvel but a thing Johns understands is that these heroes are the light in a dark world and everything they touch becomes a bit more optimistic while you could say till now the heroes of the DCEU have been more like glimmers of a fire that may or may not start an inferno, which could be amazing to see or just be scary and burn everything to the ground. Let’s hope Johns will help to tame the flame and turn it into the light we have been looking for in DC Films.