I have made no bones about my dislike of the direction DC Comics has taken in the last several years. From the sameness of the “DC House Style” aesthetics to the many narrative and PR missteps along the way, the New 52 has been divisive to say the least. While I’m not a fan of the overall strategy, I will admit that it hasn’t been all terrible. Most of Scott Snyder’s Bat books, Greg Pak on the Superman books, Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman, and Bernard Chang on Green Lantern Corps were highlights, for sure1.
As a longtime DC fanboy, it’s always pained me to hop on the DC Comics bashwagon, but sometimes it was hard to root for the publisher that let this and this and this and this happen. Over the last several days, though, news of DC’s plans for the last quarter of 2014 and beyond are proving that maybe on my world, the DC logo means hope, too.
It all started last week — for me at least — when EW broke the news about DC launching two new books: Arkham Manor by Gerry Duggan and Shawn Crystal and Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl. EW describes both books thusly:
In Arkham Manor, stately Wayne Manor gets made over into the local psycho dungeon, and, perhaps predictably, some inmates wind up dead. Things are a bit less bleak in Gotham Academy, a new monthly teen drama set at Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school.
This week, DC followed that reveal with some more welcome and out-of-the-box creative teams. First up, as part of their announcement for the digital-first Wonder Woman anthology series Sensation Comics, MTV broke the news of the creative team behind issue #3: Gilbert Hernandez (of Love and Rockets fame) will be writing/drawing a story while Sean E. Williams and Marguerite Sauvage would be collaborating on a different story.
And if that weren’t enough to prove that DC might be figuring out that treating their female fans and readers with respect is actually good for business, yesterday, they revealed the new creative team behind Batgirl — Cameron Stewart and Fletcher, once again, on writing duties with newcomer (and MICA grad!) Babs Tarr on art. More importantly, they previewed her new look and costume. Needless to say, but the internet definitely approves.
— betty felon (@bettyfelon) July 10, 2014
After all the heat that DC has taken over the last several years about how they treat women characters (and fans), maybe the powers that be have finally figured out that girls aren’t icky after all. I mean, I don’t want to give them too much credit. Not yet. But if they keep putting out books like Batgirl and Gotham Academy and pushing new, out-of-the-box talent like Babs Tarr and Marguerite Sauvage — not to mention putting the homey Ming Doyle on the Vertigo mini The Kitchen with Ollie Masters! — I might not be ashamed to call myself a DC fanboy again.