No. 1


Cover of Justice League #1, by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Jim Lee and Scott Williams

From The New York Times:

When the latest issue of Justice League is released on Wednesday by DC Comics, it will be scrutinized like no other installment in the 76-year history of that publisher of superhero adventures.

Some readers may be drawn in by its cover depicting revised incarnations of Superman and Batman, or a story line that tells of a tense first meeting between these costumed characters before they became allies.

But DC is betting that more potential customers will be attracted by an insignia that boldly declares this to be issue No. 1 of Justice League; never mind the hundreds of chapters that came before it.

The process of restarting a long-running narrative at Page 1 — known in industry parlance, and with growing derision, as a reboot — is nothing new to comics: in the 1980s DC dismantled its narrative architecture in the venerated mini-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” and has sought to recapture its anything-could-happen spirit in story lines with titles like “Infinite Crisis” and “Final Crisis.” DC and Marvel have been revising their World War II-era characters since at least the 1950s, and Marvel has an entire publishing line, Ultimate Comics, that features contemporary takes on its traditional heroes (like a Spider-Man who is of black and Hispanic descent).

In Hollywood the reboot impulse has yielded hit films like “Batman Begins” (and its billion-dollar-grossing sequel, “The Dark Knight”) and noncomics properties like this summer’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

The DC reboot arrives at a crucial moment for the comics business, which, like the publishing industry as a whole, is experiencing continued erosion in sales.

“Heroes Take Flight, Again”, Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times