Sunday, October 16, 2011

No More Krypto - DC makes a decision with which I must disagree

According to reports coming out of the New York ComicCon, DC has decided that there will be no more Krypto in the New 52.

This makes me sad.  And this is sort of the thing that is making me wonder about the stated goal of aiming your comics at the 18-34 year old male demographic.

While I do think the comics of the 90's were aimed at an all-ages audience, the 90's Superman comics by-passed the Bronze Age in terms of "world building", but it was also one of the dullest eras of Superman as creators tried everything in their power to avoid reminding readers of the past 50 years of Superman comics and tried to pretend that Superman was just a straightforward superhero book that would fit in alongside "gritty" books.  And, hey, who should be picking up writing chores on Superman than Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen?   Competent writers, but its a strange fit to jump 20 years backward as they're supposedly moving forward.

sorry, buddy
For me, as a Superman fan, this is disappointing.

The 90's were not a creative wasteland for comics.  It was a pretty great time for Vertigo and the development of comics outside of superheroes, but there were 7 years or so in there I was only ever skipping across the top of superhero comics as I really didn't think they had much to offer me.  This was the era where creators earnestly believed that all they needed to do to "hip up" Superman was apply a haircut that was already going out of style at the time, and then add villains with names like "Massacre".

I might add, in the 90's, I was a male ages 15-25 during that time, so you'd think...  anyhow.

Look...  there are a lot of readers out there, and a lot of potential readers. The most popular version of Superman in two decades hasn't been the "Byrne-era version", but the hepped-up Silver-Age take from All Star Superman.  A version that included Jimmy Olsens and Kryptos and Chronovores and Bizarros.

I've no doubt there's a crowd out there who unironically enjoys the boobs & bullets approach to comics, but right now I'd remind DC - the hottest thing in geekdom at the moment is Dr. Who.  

There aren't too many similarities between Dr. Who and Superman at first blush, but the expanded worlds they inhabit, the whimsical nature of many of the stories, the and I think The Doctor and Superman as last of their kind, fighting to make Earth a better place is not insignificant.   The Doctor has a sonic screwdriver, Superman IS the sonic screwdriver.

When I hear that there's no place for Krypto in the current adventures of Superman, I think it informs me of the approach of "seriousness" that DC has mistakenly believed would lead to relevance for their flagship character.

I've argued before, and I'll stick to my guns, that DC is mis-reading the 18-34 year old demographic, and their adoration of the ironic, silly, campy, etc...  And that while the guys who are buying Red Hood & The Outlaws might not pick up a Krypto comic, there's an audience that would, and that audience isn't being served.

Part of Superman's uniqueness is that he's "first", but that doesn't immediately mean "best".  The Model T is not the best assembly-line car.  Nobody is looking to take a ride on the Kittyhawk Flyer.

Instead, its Superman's rich history and the tapestry of villains, friends, family, the sorts of exploits he'll partake in that set him apart.  There's no reason you can't tell a Death of Superman story with Krypto, or any of a thousand other Superman stories knowing Krypto is out there as part of the Super-universe.

Anyhow, I was glad to wake up to see this:



Mikey said...

Sad news. I remember a few years back James Robinson saying that so long as he was writing Superman, he would never get rid of Krypto. Wish others at DC held the same sentiment.

Fantomenos said...

As more of a Dr. Who fan than a Superman fan, I like your comparison.

And yeah, i think DC should take note that the Dr. Who "revamp" has incorporated the massive previous continuity without alienating newer viewers. More germane to the subject at hand, K-9 has made an appearance and been referenced many times in NuWho.

J.S. said...

I think they should bring Krypto back- so long as Krypto acts exactly like Lucy, but with unstoppable super powers.

The League said...

nobody needs a dog that can use unstoppable strength to climb into your lap at every possible opportunity.

There's a lot to be learned from the relaunch of Dr. Who (of which, I admit, I've seen only a couple of seasons). But Jurgens and Giffen don't really seem to be the ones to take Superman and do THAT with the character and his world.

I'm happy to give them a shot, but why DC didn't go knock down Chris Roberson's door when Perez walked off the title, I do not know.

Jake Shore said...

You know, I've always preferred the Byrne-era Superman, but you make an interesting case. I especially like your Doctor Who analogy. I've never thought of myself as the type that would be inclined to like Doctor Who, but I got hooked on the new series with all its over the top camp and crazy mythology. And I liked All-Star Superman more than I expected.

By the way, if you want to see one of the single best episodes of any TV show ever, go on Netflix and watch the Doctor Who episode "Blink." It's in Season 3. Trust me.

Some more good episodes here:

Simon MacDonald said...

Aw, that is sad to hear. Krypto is awesome. Why wouldn't they want a super powered dog in their universe.

Let's be serious for a minute, does anyone think that Jurgens and Giffen are anything more than pinch hitters on this title? I'll keep my fingers crossed that Roberson will make his way back onto Superman.

@Jake Shore, I have to agree "Blink" was one of the best Who episodes of all time and certainly the show was restarted. I also love "The Girl in the Fireplace" and Neil Gaiman's episode "The Doctor's Wife".

The League said...

I am not sure that Roberson hasn't burned a bridge or two at DC with how this whole thing played out, and how DC handled the Superman 711 fiasco.

We'll see. I'd love to see him back on the book.

I also think the Jurgens/ Giffen move looks either like a fill-in. The alternative is too mind-blowing to consider, which is why I'm not very kind about it in the posts here.

I'll watch "Blink" on Netflix ASAP. I think we must have been really close to that episode when we got distracted watching the show.

Simon MacDonald said...

Yes, "Blink" is probably the best Who episode of the new bunch. It introduces a new epic villain to the whoverse. Sadly, the popularity of that villain has caused it to be over used in subsequent seasons. The other interesting thing about this episode is that the Doctor really isn't the star of the show.