DCU - A NEW WORLD

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Worlds Best Comics 1 If you come to think about it for a moment or four, inspiration is a very strange concept at times. It can take people from the real world and then guide them to do things that are not so real. Would ‘The Godfather’ series of films be made if it wasn't for organised crime? Would computers come into existence if the passage of time was not marked by a chime of a bell? Also, what about the DCU? Now for the answer to this latter question dear reader, you best watch this 25 minute documentary made in 2010.


Justice League: Crisis on Two EarthsAnimated Superhero Movies & TV)


THE STORY:
This DC Comic focused documentary tells the tale of inspiration, motivation, and crisis driven publications, all with a series of still pictures and recorded interviews from the likes of Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Brad Meltzer, Dan Didio, Mike Carlin, and other such luminaries of this field.

What now follows is a brief overlay of this program.

HEROES IN THE SAME WORLD: In 1940, the gala event called 'The New York World Fair' provided a bold platform for DC Comics to create a publication that was a seminal piece of work in it's field. Now the comic book in question is ‘World’s Best Comics #1’. And it became so legendary due to the fact that Batman, Superman, and Robin, were all standing together on the cover in a regaled pose. You see, this  issue was the first time that the general public saw that Batman existed in the same world that Superman did. Thus leading DC to produce other hero-affiliated titles over time, such as All Star Comics #3 (the first appearance of the Justice Society of America).

JOINING THE UNIVERSES TOGETHER: Marv Wolfman set the comic book world ablaze in the eighties when he and artist supreme, George Perez, created 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. This 12 issue maxi-series (and others similar previous events like it) paved the way for DC to consolidate on there line of heroes, whilst at the same time giving them a new lease of life for a new and evolving readership. Other comics of note were 'Crisis on Earth One', which was printed in the 'Justice League of America' series. Plus 'The Great Darkness Saga', which was printed in the 'Legion of Super Heroes' series.

COMICS IN CRISIS: Since 9/11, the co-publisher of DC comics, Dan Didio, has tried to reinvigorate DC Comics line of titles by instilling a more ‘event driven’ focus plus a healthy dose of fear. In annual succession, he has guided such projects as 'Identity Crisis' (with Brad Meltzer), ‘Infinite’ Crisis (with Geoff Johns), and ‘Final Crisis’ (with Grant Morrison). Each of these projects are being used as stepping stones to bring the DC heroes into a post 9/11 world, making them more associative by nature.

FOCUS ON THE FUTURE: Like the past, DC is constantly evolving. It appears that the creators of today want to give the creators of tomorrow the same inspiration that they had from creators of the yesterday. Prudently, they are aiming to do this by producing better books, more associative and sophisticated material, and a tone that will make for a more imaginative tomorrow. Now will they be able to do this or not? Hmm. Time will tell I guess.




THE REVIEW:
Truthfully speaking, 'DC - A New Word' is a quick and pithy documentary that is firmly focused on the then current marketplace of the DC Universe (2010). Please note, you have to take into consideration while watching this program, that what most of the people say in this piece, is way before the recent DCnU coming into play. Also, that some of the projects that were mentioned, did not get the recognition that DC thought that it would receive (i.e. 'Final Crisis').

For me, personally, I like to think of this feature as a ‘vocal ideology’ about how the big-wings now in charge of DC’s editorial decisions (Dan Didio and Geoff Johns for example) are trying to take past failures and then turn them into future triumphs. Subliminally of course, and at a grass roots level.


Justice League of America The Great Darkness Saga The first Earth 2


Now I really did like quite a few things about this program. For example (1) It did tell a brusque story of how comic books and society seems to feed off of each other symbiotically. With each of the parties involved acting as a stimulating guide for the other. (2) It told how the individuals creators of DC got into the profession, as well as what comic books inspired them to create in the first place. Most notably writers, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, and Brad Meltzer. (3) It tried its best to explain the guiding force behind the ‘crisis’ series of event driven mini-series. Which was kind of interesting on some level. And (4) It did touch upon how editorial edict is figured out and applied to DC’s range of titles. Mainly from Mr Kojack himself, Dan Didio.


Crisis in Infinite Earth


However, where ‘DCU: A New World’ falls short, is that for a documentary that wants to tell a tale of comics past, present, and future, it is very short program all in all. OK, I know that these sorts of things are used as promotional pieces to sell a series of the past whilst promoting a series of the future. But that does not mean that it has to put to one side a large chunk of comic book history (such as the 'Crisis on Infinite Earth' mini-series, or the numerous Justice League / Justice Society events) just to make way for what is coming out next! OK, I know that no disrespect was meant in not elaborating more on things such as these. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen more of this, plus maybe an interview with people like Marv Wolfman or Grant Morrison too.


Dan Didio


Anyway, that is the inner fan-boy in me speaking. Because by in large this documentary is a very nice program to watch, especially for a comic book novice who wants to know more about DC. In many ways it is like an introduction of sorts to the evolving face of the DC Universe, and helps in promoting past wares whilst justifying a future that is yet to be seen.

Nice short documentary – needed more gumf though.

THE RATING: B