Honestly, I did wonder about the taller Dollar Books for a long time.

§ August 14th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics § 3 Comments

Wayne sallies forth with this query:

“…What are *your* memories of it as you heard from others (or read up on) over the years?”

I was born in 1969 (as the ever-changing tagline on my website might suggest) and while I did read various comics throughout the 1970s, I didn’t really start being a “comic collector” in earnest ’til 1980-1, aside from my short-lived attempt at getting each new Star Wars off the shelf. I was, what, 9 when the original DC Implosion happened in 1978, and since I was only picking up the occasional comic book here and there at the time (or badgering my parents into buying them for me) I wasn’t aware of it at all.

But how I became aware of it later…I’m not sure, honestly. It’s just one of those bits of background noise accumulated over the years as I read more comics and bought more back issues (usually from second-hand bookstores, then from actual comic shops). I don’t think I ever wondered “huh, there sure seemed to be a lot of comics that got canned around the same time” or anything.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would bet my first awareness of the DC Implosion came from spotting the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade entry in the Overstreet price guide. I remember getting my hands on one of the guides pretty early on and just poring through the thing, looking at all the different titles and the tiny black and white cover images that adorned each page. That must be where I first learned of a mass cancellation of books at DC, seeing that there were limited run collections of the unpublished comics.

I’m also going to presume that my love of fanzines and prozines (stuff like The Comic Reader and The Comics Journal) helped flesh out my knowledge of the event, particularly once I started picked up back numbers of those that came out as the Implosion was occurring. What was nice about the Comic Book Implosion book that I noted at the beginning of Wednesday’s post was that it pieced together excerpts from articles and interviews from the time, including material that I already had in my own collection of ‘zines, and gave me more of a narrative, and an understanding, of what happened and how. I actually learned quite a bit from the book (including the whys and wherefores of DC’s Dollar Book line — to entice newsstands into carrying a more profitable form of comic — as well as letting me know that some of the Dollar Books being physically taller was a deliberate strategy).

Okay, enough commercials for Two Morrows books, let’s get back to what’s going on at DC now, about which I don’t really know anything more. I did post on Twitter just some thoughts about what could happen, based on what little I read in some of the more reliable articles on the matter. I was going to summarize, but it’s late, I’m all headache-y from lasers in the eyeball this morning, and so I’m just gonna cut ‘n’ paste here:

Comics prediction re: the Warners/DC reorg – we’re going to see Jon Kent and Damian Wayne go away, as well as the Lois/Clark marriage. I can imagine the line as a whole reverting to almost Silver/Bronze-y type comics.

I mean, just modern *enough* to appeal to today’s readers, but simplified continuity, no more reality-bending Crisis type events/reboots, definitely no Dr. Manhattan’s naughty bits sharing a panel with Mary Marvel.

Just sort of a gut feeling based on what I’ve been seeing around. No idea what’s actually going to happen, but I think my assumptions could come to pass.

Meanwhile, on the DC Universe streaming service message board, it’s a pretty fair mix of “THE END IS NEAR” and “surely they won’t take THIS away from us!”

Anyway, I know it’s WAY too early to say, but the general belief is that the focus will be on exploiting DC’s properties in licensing and media, with comics more as an afterthought. I mean, that’s not much different from before…

…but it sorta sounds like they’ll want the comics to be more “marketing/licensing” friendly, so streamlining the continuity (if continuity even remains a concern) and matching public perception of the characters feels like the simplest path to that goal.

Again, just talkin’ out my butt.

I’d be sort of okay with a more accessible DC Comics, but I wish we could have reached that state without the human cost. However, the idea that any new, challenging material may be resisted (i.e. MISTER MIRACLE) is kinda rough.

I don’t know if there had been any new news about what’s happening at DC, as I’ve been otherwise occupied (LASERS IN THE EYE an’ all) but given what little has been said, I don’t think any of this is out of the question. Other folks responded on Twitter noting that there may be a reemphasis of focus on Young Adult and all-ages titles for bookstores, while others lamented the end of seeing any new challenging work from DC ever again (my thought: maybe curtailed for now, but maybe will creep slowly back in). Some suggested, both there and on this site, possible licensing of characters to other publishers (like Marvel’s deal with the Marvel Action line at IDW). It’s possible, but maybe we’ll see more backlist material get reprinted by other publishers, letting them take the financial risk? I don’t know. Nobody knows.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll be returning to this topic again and again for the foreseeable future, so I’m going to end it here tonight and we’ll talk again on Monday. Thanks for reading, pals.

3 Responses to “Honestly, I did wonder about the taller Dollar Books for a long time.”

  • GoldLantern says:

    Man, I hope you’re wrong about Damian. I have never been a big Batman fan but I like him. He’s not a suck-up like the other Robins…

    “Damian, tie them up and leave them for Gordon…”

    “Kill them first?”

    “No, just…”

    “”Can’t I just cripple them? It’ll save on Batrope.”

    “Son, no… just… no. Tie them up like we practiced.”

    Admittedly, I miss the old days when you had a compete story in a comic. Simple easy access sounds good. And if you were to offer me a GOOD story on one hand or continuity on the other, I’d take story every single time. I can’t believe how much people complain about not sticking with continuity. Whiners.

    Except the Legion of Super-heroes! What’s with all the flipping reboots! STOP MESSING WITH MY COMIC!!! We have a history!!!

  • Sir Al says:

    I’m a little younger than you, but my comic collecting started from the local drug store 1979/81, but they stopped carrying and that led to a dry spell. But in 1982, the head counselor at my tennis camp was big into comic books and introduce a whole passel of us kids to the local comic convention and the local comic book shop, Barbarian Books in Wheaton, MD. He was a long time collector plus he was a champion at Putt-putt miniature golf.

  • Raymond says:

    If there’s simpler continuity (or even NO continuity), fewer Events across dozens of titles including one shots and miniseries, fewer variant covers, it would be good for readers.

    Combine that with lower costs, and I might actually get back into buying new comics. Which I havent done for decades.