DC comics now and DC comics then

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#1 Posted by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

Watching the Justice League DCEU live-action film trailer, I finally understood what I have disliked about both DCEU and the New 52 influence over the DCAU.

During the latter half of the Silver Age and the Bronze Age, during the time when writers such as Perez, Wolfman, Moore, and Gaiman were major inspirations for DC comics, the adult superheroes seemed to be genuine adults; in their better issues, Clark Kent and Princess Diana and Hal Jordan and Barry Allen all seemed to be the sort of thoughtful, emotionally and spiritually mature men and women that most readers hoped to be when they reached adulthood (keeping in mind the restrictions inherent to American style comic books).

This continued on in the DCAU, in such series as Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League/JLU.

In contrast, the superheroes of the DCEU and the New 52 seem to be grown-ups the way the more immature and angsty kids might imagine an adult; they often seem to be written by people who have never met an actual adult before (or by people who are exploitatively pandering to an audience that has no idea what actual adults are like) and who don't think very highly of young people.

Thus, the MoS version of Superman mistakes self-pitying joylessness for adult seriousness; the SvB version of Batman mistakes infantile obsession and violence for adult determination. Judging from the trailers, it looks as though the DCEU JL version of Wonder Woman mistakes an adolescently grim cynicism for adult pragmatism; worse, it looks as though the DCEU JL version of The Flash is an awestruck adolescent written by people who have never spoken to an actual flesh-and-blood young person in their lives and have forgotten what it is like to be young.

This is what I regret most about the post-New52 DCAU and the live-action DCEU: every film in it seems to be just another desperate effort to imitiate Marvel's financial successes by replacing the sometimes-realistic adults of the DC Universe with flatly immature parodies of grown-ups.

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#2 Edited by johanshieh (288 posts) - - Show Bio

name_already_chosen marked this as the best answer

@name_already_chosen: I guess you're right. Haven't really followed other issues aside from World's Finest, JLA and Action Comic. Stopped for a while because of the coloring.

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#3 Posted by Ready_4_Madness (15411 posts) - - Show Bio
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#4 Posted by jb681131 (3064 posts) - - Show Bio

@name_already_chosen: I don't entirely agree with you.

But I will admit that DCAU New52 animated movies are very very bad.

But I personnaly found the DCEU movies more enjoyble than most MCU movies.

In the MCU Superman seems like a total stranger to the way of being a human even if he's been raised on earth for all his life. He is anormaly "pure". And therfore seems too off or childish by moments. But that is not why MoS of BvS were bad in my opinion. The main errors was the lack of good scenarios on both movies (they were still better than most MCU movies).

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#5 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@ready_4_madness wrote:that was always going to happen because what the audience likes = Money

That does not change the fact that there is a difference between presenting an audience with something well done, something that resonates with their better nature and will be remembered by them for years afterwards, and cheaply pandering to the worst in human nature.

You are correct that World Wide Wrestling makes money, but so also do the Olympics. You are correct that Jaws 4 made money, but so also did the original Jaws. You are correct that strippers make money performing on stage, but so does a stage presentation of a Shakespeare play. You are correct that a cheap four dollar bottle of rotgut wine will make a profit, but so will a vintage wine even though it takes more effort and more dignity to produce.

The DCEU is not the way it is because it is more profitable in the long-term, nor was New 52 the way it was in the name of profit; they both occurred because of a fervently held cynicism about and contempt for the average Amercian audience. And just as a mistreated dog might be so desperate for affection that the dog will wag its tail when inedible garbage is tossed its way, so too are some people so desperate to see Batman on the screen that they will convince themselves that they enjoy whatever version DC tosses at them, regardless its actual quality.

Film history is filled with badly-done but profitable movies that were the talk of the town for a time but have been forgotten, consigned to the trash heap of memory and treated with disgust when remembered at all, but film history also has a number of films that did not have quite the instantaneous short term profit but have remained over the years, continuing to bring in a profit decades later, watched again and again.

Both the DCEU and New52 are the sort of superhero fiction that will end up on the trash heap as well, embarrassments to the very same people who foamed at the mouth about how popular they were just a handful of years ago.

Yet DC used to choose to put out works that were remembered for decades after; for example, today, over thirty years later, people still thrill to the sound of the 1980s Superman film theme music. I wish they would return once more to that wisdom.

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#6 Edited by Ready_4_Madness (15411 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Posted by HauntedGraveyard (252 posts) - - Show Bio

I respect your OPINION.

I am currently enjoying the DCEU.

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#8 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@ready_4_madness said:

@name_already_chosen: all of that is cool but why do you think those changes were made?

DC has fallen prey to the "quarterly report" mentality, just as so many others have. Back when I was involved in the film industry, we used to call them "The Suits": the business strongarms who cared nothing about fidelity to one's customers or artistry or long-term staying power but only about producing an impressive quarterly report partway into the year.

According to The Suits, all that matters is the short-term bottom line, and from a purely greed-focused motivation, they are correct -- if your film makes enough hundreds of millions of dollars on the first two weekends, why would you care whether anyone remembers your movie fondly ten years down the line? You're in this only to squeeze every last penny from your customers, right, and not out of any love for films, right? Take the money, ride the trend for as long as the rubes will fall for it, find the next whirlwind trend to ride, repeat.

So they ruthlessly pander to the current fixations and emotional cliche's regardless of quality, and in their advertising they use the same cheap tactics successfully used by bad romance novel covers to lure the inner chimpanzee of the buyer, and they cannily exploit the American weakness for hype and for reptile-brain emotionalism (the movie Man of Steel protagonist has more in common with a self-absorbed Jerry Springer guest or a whining and emotionally vapid reality TV contestant than he does with the quasi-messianic hero of the better comic book runs).

Because when your highest goal and your greatest good is profit by any legal means possible, and when substance is utterly irrelevant except as a marketing tool, all of the above are successful tactics.

I have to concede their point: some of the greatest writers, musical composers, and painters/sculptors of history died in poverty while shlockmeisters have died as millionaires.

That is why those changes were made.

But here on comicvine, a site aimed at those of us who love superheroes and comic books in general enough that we contribute without seeking payment or salary, a site aimed at those of us who care rather than at those who crave only profit, here if nowhere else, shouldn't we find a space where people don't succumb to or accommodate the mentality that produced the DCEU?

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#9 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@hauntedgraveyard said:

I respect your OPINION.

I am currently enjoying the DCEU.

I'm realize that we can enjoy badly done films. For example, Battleground: Earth was a fun cheap little pleasure, or one of those terrible SyFy monster movies; I imagine the same cheap pleasure can be found in some DCEU films, like Suicide Squad.

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#10 Posted by Yassassin (7643 posts) - - Show Bio

New 52 was like 6 years ago, and it's place in canon has really begun to wane, not that it matter, your example less OP makes me think that you haven't really read anything from "good" DC or "bad", and you just want to complain about the DCEU.

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#11 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@tvc-15 said:

New 52 was like 6 years ago, and it's place in canon has really begun to wane, not that it matter, your example less OP makes me think that you haven't really read anything from "good" DC or "bad", and you just want to complain about the DCEU.

You have my sympathies that you have chosen to think so erroneously.

I would counter you with a detailed rebuttal, but your words make it clear that you would ignore what I wrote and continue to think whatever it pleases you to think regardless of your inaccuracy, so I will not waste the time. If you truly cared about superhero comic books and film, you would know already that internet folk such as the Nostalgia Critic and The Film Essay and comics historian/critic columnist AskChris have already done an excellent job of pointing out the travesty of DCEU (as well as CinemaSins and HonestTrailers both pointing out the petulant vindictiveness of the Man of Steel film version of Superman).

Besides, as you point out, New 52 has already become recognized as a terrible successor to the more than half century of comics which preceded it, so your own words work as rebuttal enough.

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#12 Edited by Yassassin (7643 posts) - - Show Bio

@name_already_chosen: So no. You don't actually have any actual comic example and just want to complain to about the DCEU. That's fine, I guess.

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#13 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@tvc-15 said:

@name_already_chosen: So no. You don't actually have any actual comic example and just want to complain to about the DCEU. That's fine, I guess.

Thank you for confirming me when I wrote "your words make it clear that you would ignore what I wrote and continue to think whatever it pleases you to think regardless of your inaccuracy" -- confirming me through your falsely alleging a lack of examples while willfully ignoring my examples of the Nostalgia Critic and his excellent video on the relatively recent Man of Steel vs Batman film, The Film Essay and their excellent videos regarding the DCEU, and the columns written by comics historian/critic columnist AskChris on this same topic.

I am forced to assume therefore that you are a troll, for no other explanation describes your determination to write dishonestly. One regrets that one can not ban for life all trolls such as you, but such is the way of the world. Blocking will have to suffice.

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#14 Posted by johanshieh (288 posts) - - Show Bio

@name_already_chosen: Just a personal opinion, I feel like most of the characters we know today (DCAU,DCeU, rebirth, 52....) were developed post crisis. Before that individual characteristics doesn't seem to differ much, of course Batman is the detective, Superman is the icon, etc. But if you give Batman superpowers and put him in superman's costume, we might not be able to tell much differences. They all tend to have a general hero personality. To me it's post crisis- pre 52 that really developed the characters.

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#15 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio
@johanshieh said:

@name_already_chosen: To me it's post crisis- pre 52 that really developed the characters.

True for the Silver Age and early Bronze Age, but actually, the five years just prior to pre-Crisis was considered a heyday for DC Comics, to the point that Marvel was becoming scared for the first time of losing the comic book market supremacy it had achieved during its self-proclaimed "Marvel Age" (according to various writers and artists who worked at Marvel at the time).

George Perez and Marv Wolfman were heaping accolades for their work on the pre-Crisis Teen Titans title(s).

Paul Levitz was lauded for the pre-Crisis Legion of Superheroes, turning Darkseid from an obscure villain to a major villain in the Great Darkness Saga back in 1982.

Alan Moore's Saga of the Swamp-Thing rehabilitated that old title and paved the way for what became the Vertigo line.

Mike W. Barr's and Jim Aparo's Batman and the Outsiders had excellent characterization of its heroes (with less success in the characterization of its villains).

Roy Thomas was developing Golden Age characters into full-fledged characters left and right for the pre-Crisis All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc.

Gerry Conway's Fury of Firestorm was receiving praise for relevant storylines. (Unfortunately, this has also meant the stories have not aged as well.)

So there was a time pre-Crisis when DC Comics was on top of the world in terms of high quality and public recognition of that high quality.

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#16 Edited by name_already_chosen (238 posts) - - Show Bio
@johanshieh said:

Haven't really followed other issues aside from World's Finest, JLA and Action Comic. Stopped for a while because of the coloring.

Well, since even someone 30 years old today would not have been born yet during that pre-Crisis heyday, it's not surprising that a lot of people have forgotten about some of it.

What bothers me is when so many of the self-proclaimed "world's greatest comic book experts" online haven't even bothered to look into their comic book history. People who call themselves "world's greatest comic book expert" or "world's greatest DC expert" really should be ashamed of themselves if they have not bothered to learn about anything that pre-dates New 52.

I still remember running into an idiot who loudly claimed to know all there is to know about Lobo yet had no idea that the character had started out as a skinny one-shot parody figure in an Omega Men title, for example.

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