This isn’t the first time they’ve done it, of course.
Remember all the famous “Crises”.. Crisis on Infinite Earths, .. whose initial idea was to simply the DC comics multiverse (combining it into just one universe) but ended up being replaced with a multiverse once again.. The claim was that the concept of multiple universes was too complex for readers. Clearly this wasn’t true, since other publishing houses, namely Marvel, had and still have multiverses with many universes. Crisis made things worse until DC had to reinstate many of the original universes as well as new ones.
Not that many people would have cared, for many their only version of DC superheroes are the ones in the movies – Batman and Superman (ok there’s the Smallville version too).
The argument usually given was that the backhistory for these characters and others like Wonder Woman spanned decades and it was impossible for new readers to follow all of this. So the classic retcon gets performed every now and then, wiping out a lot of the character’s history. With Marvel, long histories have never been that much of a problem, though there have been both positive selective changes such as Iron Man having his origin in Afghanistan rather than Vietnam, as well as more ridiculous retcons such as Wolverine’s history…
On August 31st 2011, DC comics will issue the last comic of the “Flashpoint” miniseries (about a parallel universe) and Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jim Lee. The characters’ costumes have been redesigned – we will see if fans start to complain as happened with Wonder Woman’s last redesign. This group of superheroes this time around will have a valid reason to come together.
The stories won’t be all classic superhero ones, there will be Westerns, horror and more..
Overall though, most people do find these comic books difficult to follow, even after watching popular movies based upon them.
So, here’s to hoping this reboot really works.. that ridiculous concepts are really removed (while keeping the important parts of the current histories of the titles) and the new dc multiverse is the same one as in the DC movies (without being a reboot from scratch)…
The concept of digital releases is a good one too.