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'Story Will Trump Continuity' – The Batgirling Of DC Comics

JUSTL_Cv40_1_25_var_580_54d4452518b679.35863750Today, DC Comics launched 24 ongoing DC comics and a bunch of mini-series as well. You can read about them all here. With co-publisher Dan DiDio saying "In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories in the industry".

Bleeding Cool had already talked about how DC creators were encouraged to come up with "blue skies thinking" approaches to their characters, and June is where we said this would all pay off. And as Marvel will be pushing forward with Secret Wars, DC won't have a crossover or event in sight….

But what caused this shift in tone?

Batgirl. Gotham Academy, Gotham By Midnight, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Grayson.

Or, in other words, pretty much Mark Doyle. The Vertigo editor of American Vampires stolen by the DCU to keep Scott Snyder happy on Batman after his editor left for Marvel, has seen a number of titles launch, relaunch and repurpose themselves to critical acclaim while all being individually distinct, innovative and garnering heavy fan support and commitment in the process. It was, to all extents and purposes, a mini-Marvel Knights, mirroring what Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti acheived under Bob Harras at Marvel, before its spirit spread out and infected the whole publishing line.

And that's what's happening here. I have directly had this referred to as the Batgirling of DC Comics by folk at DC, named after Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr's reworking of Batgirl into a poppy, pop culture, bright and breezy book.

And as result, we are now getting a bunch of interesting comics from DC. So here are a few things of note.

We have been reporting since the first rumours of the New 52, that DC Comics were appealing to artists to move to DC Comics with the hook that they can write their own work. With the June mini-relaunch, we've seen Bryan Hitch writing and drawing the new Justice League Of America comic, Patrick Gleason taking the writing reins from Peter Tomasi, and writing and drawing Robin, Son Of Batman. And Ming Doyle drawing Dark Universe but writing Constantine: The Hellblazer.

Someone really liked the award-winning The Shadow Hero, with Gene Luen Yang writing Action Comics and Sonny Liew drawing Dr Fate.

We have a black man (Dave Walker) writing one of DC's most prominent black comic characters, Cyborg. We have a woman (Amanda Conner) writing and drawing (Emanuela Lupacchino) Starfire, often criticized for the character's sexist portrayals of late. And a comic book creator (Steve Orlando) who already brought us a critically acclaimed gay graphic novel (Virgil), writing DC's gay male comic, Midnighter.  Criticism that despite attempts at diversity in character, it's still a bunch of straight white men working on the comics, is a little harder to justify today.

And there is fan service. Black Canary is back in the fishnets. Garth Ennis and John McCrea are back on the Hitman cast. Constantine gets Hellblazer back in its title.

And could We Are Robins relate to this solicit?

One-shot • On sale MARCH 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The city is overrun by Jokerized victims, but a small band of teenagers unites to take a stand. Their secret knowledge of Gotham City's streets helps them survive, but will Batman take help from this young group of upstarts? And what could it mean for the future of the young heroes in Gotham City?

Looks like it. And Scott Lobdell seems to have an intriguing teenage take on Doomsday, reinvented as a youngster in Doomed, again showing a little more title experimentation, along the lines of Wicked, Tangled and Frozen. Lobdell hasn't always had the best of press, least of all from Bleeding Cool, but if he can summon half of what he had from Generation X into Doomed, then we could well have a massive hit. And, depending what Mystic U is, it may be the only new character title in all the newly launching books.

Although is it worth pointing out that the image used to promote Omega Men..


…was an old Pasqual Ferry image taken from an old Adam Strange series and recoloured? That's not very "Batgirling"…

You can read up on the rest of DC's June mini-relaunch here.


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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