Monday, June 13, 2011

DCnU and the Groovy Age Connection!

Fandom is all abuzz about DC's upcoming line-wide re-launch. While Ol' Groove digs rappin' about the great comics of the Groovy Age, I feel compelled to at least make some mention of this ginormous undertaking. DC has been known to shake things up: the 25 cent/52 page format of 1971/72, the DC Explosion/Implosion of 1978, Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985, and so many more since. This, though, this is the Big One. Gotta say that rebooting every major title with an issue #1 is definitely not cool. Some of the creative teams do sound interesting. The coolness of the new looks for nearly every character vary widely (don't dig either of the Superman looks, f'rinstance, but Hawkman looks pretty far out).

But that's not what I wanna yak about.

I noticed that DC has cherry-picked from a variety of their 7+ decades, and we have a few mags that are reboots of some classic Groovy Age mags. I wanna spotlight those here today. How's that for an unexpected surprise, Groove-ophiles?

I'm going right down the line, using DC's solicitation info. Ready? Set? GO!

Written by Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver

Welcome to a major new vision of the Nuclear Man as writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone team up with artist Yildiray Cinar to deliver THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The cover to issue #1 is by Ethan Van Sciver.

As you can see, this is gonna be a mish-mash of just about every version of Firestorm, but at least the original, 1970s Ronnie Raymond is back as part of the equation.

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Yannick Paquette
Cover by Yannick Paquette

DC Comics embraces its dark side. On the 40th anniversary of the character’s creation, the New York Times bestselling writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, Scott Snyder, teams up with Yannick Paquette (BATMAN, INCORPORATED) to bring horror back to the DC Universe in SWAMP THING #1. For years, one man served against his will as the avatar of nature. And while he may have been freed of the monster, he’s about to learn the monster will never truly let go of him.

Swamp Thing is one of the best characters to come out of the 1970s. I doubt this version is gonna bear much relation to the original, though, and that's too bad.

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert
Cover by Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert

Set in the Middle Ages, the Demon leads an unlikely team to defend civilization and preserve the last vestiges of Camelot against the tide of history. Critically-acclaimed writer Paul Cornell and artists Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert combine sorcery, swords and superheroes in DEMON KNIGHTS #1.

The Demon as a team book? At least Kirby's kharakter is getting another shot. At least I hope it's Etrigan. Didn't name him in the solicits, did they?

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
Cover by Alberto Ponticelli

Frankenstein and his network of strange beings work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive. It’s the breakout hero of Seven Soldiers as you’ve never seen him before in FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF SHADE #1, the first issue of a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, The Nobody) and artist Alberto Ponticelli.

As with Swamp Thing and Demon Knights, the link between this mag and DC's original Frankenstein (which ran as back-ups in the 1970s Phantom Stranger) seems quite slim.


Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Rob Liefeld
Cover by Rob Liefeld

It’s up to the living avatars of war and peace to root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war in HAWK AND DOVE #1. The exciting new series will be written by Sterling Gates and illustrated by legendary superstar comics artist Rob Liefeld.

Rob Liefeld?!? DC should have begged Steves Skeates and Ditko to come back! Oh, and the black-in-place-of-white on Hawk's uniform? Bad idea.

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Grey
Art by Moritat
Cover by Moritat

Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Featuring back-up stories starring DC’s other western heroes, ALL-STAR WESTERN #1 will be written by the fan-favorite Jonah Hex team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by Moritat.

I hate the fact that DC has cancelled Jonah Hex, but this sounds pretty good (at least Gray and Palmiotti are still writing it). Bat Lash, Scalphunter, and El Diablo back-ups, please!!

Written by Dan Didio & Keith Giffen
Art by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
Cover by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish

A man loses control of his life as the omnipresent Brother Eye transforms him against his will into a powerful killing machine OMAC #1, written by DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and co-written and illustrated by Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish.

Ol' Groove is actually a bit jazzed about this one. Genius stroke to get Giffen involved in this. Sounds like the relationship between Buddy Blank and Brother Eye is gonna be quite different in this version, but them's the breaks. Giffen rocks!

I probably should mention DC Universe Presents, which kicks off with a brand new Deadman story-arc. And Justice League Dark will give a home to such Groovy Age icons as Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, and Madame Xanadu (though the latter two will probably be closer to their Vertigo counterparts than their Groovy Age originals).

Lots of other stuff going on there, but that's fodder for other sites and blogs. Me, I'll keep my fingers crossed and dip in veeeeeeery carefully (All-Star Western and Omac for sure!). What do you think about the whole ta-do, Groove-ophiles?


  1. I don't keep up with modern comics, so I knew nothing about this massive DC reboot. Sounds...lame.
    Is there somewhere to see the reboot costumes?

    But I have to agree about Giffen on OMAC.
    And why is Liefeld on Hawk and Dove?!?

  2. I'm done with DC the only two books I might've bought was JSA & Capt.Marvel/Shazam/Capt.Thunder rumored? JSA is erased I guess & the Marvels have been utterly destroyed in the last 10 years.

    I'm old school, the only book that might be ok in my opinion is Jonah Hex. OMAC doesn't even resemble the original Kirby version any more. Last I heard Batman created OMAC now! Oh brother!I feel this is the maiden voyage of the SS DCU/Titanic!About to sink in icy cold waters of reception!Just more of the same old, same old gimmicks.It looks like Jim Lee's Imageing of DC to me!Can you say Hendinberg? A sad day for DC fans in my book.

  3. OMAC does looks cool. Don't worry about the reboot, though. It sounds like it's a soft reboot in many areas of the DCU. The big changes obviously are centered around Superman and the JLA. Simply put, Grant Morrison is handling Superman. I know it's going to be crazy - but it's a ride I think we'll all ultimately enjoy.

  4. yeah, I was gonna ask what was happening with the JSA. are they dumping the JSA? surely not. that stinks. Captain Marvel, too? crap.

    as far as Omac and the Demon go, I wish DC would just leave Kirby's characters alone. they've rinsed about as much as they can out of them, and it's all beginning to feel just a wee bit stale, now.

    Might give All-Star Western a go, but only in the hope that we get some new Bat Lash and El Diablo stories. personally, I have absolutely no interest what-so-ever in new Jonah Hex stories.

    and HEH? I'm guessing the reason Liefeld's on Hawk & Dove is because it's a reboot of the fantastically awful late-'eighties reboot by Karl & Barbara Kesel that Liefeld was the artist on. it's REALLY bad, and there's no reason to expect this new version to be any different.

    ah, the more things change, the more I'm forced into the back issues boxes. . .

  5. I'm torn.

    On one hand, I don't want to come out of retirement from collecting. $3 per issue is a little steep, even in today's economy.

    I just saw a sample pic of Superman's new look, and, well, they did the same thing with Batman (removing the shorts part of the costume) a few years ago. I believe in "if it's not broken, why fix it?", but apparently DC suits don't.

    I think I'm going to be a little on the selective side here if I want to come out of retirement. All-Star Western interests me. Demon Knights (yeah, it is Etrigan starring in this book)? Not so much.

  6. Not sure at all about yet another reboot but I'll give someof the titles a go - not keen on the Supergirl re image (shes not a fan of the human race it seems) the new Superboy looks interesting and pretty interested in the new Superman that looks quite good - I have to say OMAC is one of the 2 standouts for me (as I am a big Keith Giffen fan( the other is Jonah Hex, I just hope they dont mess to much with him as its been a frankly stunning comic recently(and Im not really a Western fan in genral)

  7. Unfortunately, Hawk isn't wearing a Black & Red costume - he's wearing a dirty grey and red costume. If it had been inked ala Starboy's costume from Legion of Superheroes it might have worked.

    And why can't he have wings like Red Robin does in the Teen Titans cover? That would have been cool. As it is now hawk looks like he's been plucked.

  8. DC went 50 years without feeling the need to reboot and everything was just fine. Then came the Crisis on Infinite Earths and nothing has been the same since - and I don't mean that in a good way. It wasn't us readers at the time who were so confused by all those years of continuity - it was the writers. The Crisis mini-series in itself was a great story, a genuine classic, but the wave it unleashed continues to batter the company nearly 30 years later. All the reboots and false starts that have come in the wake of that series are a big part of why I quit buying new comics and have relegated myself to simply re-reading all my glorious old books from the 60s and 70s in those boxes out in my garage. Comics just aren't fun any more and things like this are a big part of the reason why. In my youth I was a die-hard DC fan - but between this nonsense and the recent hatchet jobs they've done on the classic pulp characters Doc Savage and The Avenger, I've pretty much written off the company as it exists today.

  9. I totally agree John. Pass the barf bag!

  10. I, too, agree with John about DC's need to reboot everything every so often. Plus, I don't really get the feeling that DC and Marvel ever learned their lesson from the independents. Maybe today's writers and artists get treated better, but the editorial policy still seems to be about protecting the properties, instead of giving creative teams an outlet.

    Finally, old fogey that I am, I can't say that I'm overly fond of the slick paper and murky coloring that so many modern comics seem to have. Good paper is desirable, but the slick stuff just doesn't sit well with me for some reason. And the art (including the coloring) should fit the story. If the coloring is too complex or murky to help with the storytelling, then they're doing it wrong!



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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