Post by Rick N –
We’re entering the the third month of DC’s Rebirth comics. So far, there’s been a lot of good reading as each DC title gets some refurbishing via new creative teams, new story arcs and in many cases a new overall direction to take. History will be the ultimate judge on just how significant the great DC Rebirth in the summer of 2016 was; but right now in the midst of it, I can tell you it feels very significant. It’s certainly significant enough to be considered “game changing” insofar as how DC Comics sits in the market place. Which is a nice change of pace for DC Comics as of late.
Some feathers might be ruffled by this statement, but before the DC Rebirth books came along this summer, the only ongoing title from DC that was widely-accepted as being notable was the Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo run of Batman. But don’t take my word for it; Comic Book Resources recently called the now-concluded Snyder/Capullo run on Batman “game-changing.”
That got me thinking about “game-changing” runs on other books and what exactly might constitute the type of run comic fans talk about, collect and wax nostalgic about. So I looked a few up – and feel free to add to this list – but one I didn’t find was Miller/Janson on Daredevil, which to me serves as exhibit number one of character defining runs.
Daredevil before Miller and Janson…not interesting. After the addition of a real character with a supporting cast and an intriguing storyline: interesting. Like gotta-have-it-in-my-collection level of interesting! Much has been said about Miller and Janson, but I’d like to offer that they added to Daredevil canon (which may very well serve as an important characteristic of “game changer” comic runs).
(Kyle: It’s worth pointing out that both seasons of Daredevil Netflix seasons are heavily channeling the Miller-Janson era of Daredevil! I’m also really hoping they decide to use the later Miller-Mazzuccelli run of Daredevil as inspiration for future seasons!)
Adding to canon can mean a few things in my books. A new – and important – side character or maybe the death of a side character. Miller and Janson added (and killed off) Matt Murdoch’s one true love, Elektra, to Daredevil and Marvel canon. Snyder and Capullo added the Court of Owls and their enforcers, the Talons, to Batman lore and they are a formidable foe to be sure.
Maybe it means a change in costume. Chris Claremont changed the direction of so many Marvel characters in his run on Uncanny X-Men it’s hard to keep count. Anyone remember when Angel was a pretty-boy with feather wings? How about when Psylocke was a button-down Brit not an attractive telepath a la’ Olivia Munn?
Dan Slott radically changed Spider-Man in his long run on Amazing Spider Man. You might not like the new Peter Parker but he changed the character, OK! Parker (Otto Octavius), during the two-year run of “Superior Spider-Man” went from shutterbug to CEO and industrialist rival to Tony Stark. That’s a big change from the seventies and eighties version of Parker, who couldn’t seem to manage anything about his life, let alone a multi-national corporation. That kind of storyline qualifies as a game changer in my mind.
What if nothing changed about the character but an artist upped the ante for a whole genre? What about Jim Lee on Uncanny X-Men and Todd McFarlane on Amazing Spider-Man? Going older, what about Jim Steranko on the Nick Fury and Shield? Game-changing art there. Each time the character developed, yes, but it was the change in artistic style that people talk about. That and when all those 1990s artists stiffed Marvel big time (BIG time) by walking out on the publisher and creating Image Comics on their own.
Last example and the one that might make you think the most. Was the mid-nineties run of Doug Moench on Batman game-changing? He put pen to paper on a story that cynics at the time considered no more than a run-of-the-mill “super event” for DC. Looking back, it has become one of the biggest Batman storylines of all time, and isn’t talked about in the same light as any of the names above: Knightfall and the breaking of the Bat.