The (first) 52 titles have been announced, alongside their creative teams and price points, so we’re all done with the DC relaunch discussions for awhile, right? I mean, what else needs to be said…? Oh, yeah, that’s right: What is it going to be called?
In all the kerfuffle surrounding the DC relaunch, we’ve yet to find out how DC is planning to brand the whole thing. Being a comic wonk, this is of unreasonable interest to me: I may be the only person who remembers slogans like “DC’s On The Move In ’82!” with fondness, or who liked the intent behind “Holding The Line At $2.99” purely because it was trying, dammit. I loved it when I was a kid, and the barcode box on covers would be replaced on direct market and international copies with slogans and sales pitches (You can see three of them on the top left; I’m convinced that everyone who read DC Comics in the late 1980s was well aware that The History of the DC Universe was “MUST reading”!), and miss that kind of thing in these days’ comics.
Today, it’s all about the branding. We all know how it goes: Around a major crossover book, there will be new branding or logos appearing on the covers of your favorite comics. DC, historically, tend to do it before events (Who can forget Countdown to Infinite Crisis or Prelude to Blackest Night? Who can remember either Sightings or The Dark Side Club, for that matter?), although they’ve attempted both Brave New World and Brightest Day as signals to readers that it’s a new beginning and a great place to start. Marvel, meanwhile, have become masters at this kind of thing: House of M begat Decimation, Civil War started with The Road to Civil War and ended with The Initiative, Secret Invasion opened with Secret Invasion: The Infiltration and finished with Dark Reign, and then Siege gave us The Heroic Age.
So far, we’re lacking one of those blanket titles for the DCU relaunch, which surprises me: I know that we’re still months out, but didn’t we start hearing about Holding The Line months before that officially launched, too? It’s possible that the branding hasn’t yet been decided upon (We’ll know if it ends up being announced as Yeah, We Hoped Green Lantern Would Be Better As Well, But These Comics Are Awesome, Trust Us), but my bet is that we’ll have some kind of concept based around either “new beginnings,” “legends” – Not only has DC run two different series using that title, the 1980s crossover Legends and 1990s anthology book Legends of the DC Universe (Three, if you also include Legends of the Dark Knight, I guess), but there was a previous slogan “Where Legends Live,” as well as Final Crisis’ early slogan “Heroes die. Legends live forever” – or “#1,” considering the relaunch of all the titles. Is it too early to hope for THE NEW DCU: NOW WHO’S #1 IN COMICS (For this month at least)?