Your 2023 Predictions, Part Two: Roast Mutton.

§ January 12th, 2024 § Filed under predictions § 10 Comments

Continuing on with your 2023 comic industry predictions from a year or so ago! The first part of this series was Wednesday, and there are still more to go, so let’s get cracking!

And don’t forget to leave me your 2024 predictions if you haven’t already!

• • •

Andrew sketches out the following

“mmm well, I’m HOPING that the Dawn of DC promotion in the new year brings a bit of lightness to the DC universe – although I am behind on Dark Crisis, it seems like the parallel Earths are returning but it’ll be a toss up whether it is a momentary ‘bump’ in creativity bringing the dawn of a clearer path or just a way station to yet another reboot (“coming in 2024, the Crisis on Infinite Earths… again!”) My hope is the former but the long time reader in me figures it’ll be the latter. Sigh.

“Overall, I think between the above and the chaos with the cinematic/television properties, 2023 will be a watershed year for DC… I don’t think that they will be able to maintain a status quo – it’ll either start blooming – or will cease to exist (at least everything other than Batman).”

I think for 2023 DC was out there trying new stuff, throwing things at the wall, seeing what sticks, that sort of thing. And in general it feels like the tone has been generally lighter, and titles being more fun. The Superman books in particular have of late been quite entertaining, a much lighter series of adventures after the very long Warworld storyline.

Everything still seems to be on the upswing there, so a line-wide “Crisis” type series doesn’t necessarily seem imminent. I mean, not until sales start flagging and DC needs to jumpstart things with yet another linewide crossover and/or reboot. Frankly, at this point I feel like DC just needs to leave well enough alone…they finally established their multiverse — again — now they just need to use it on a regular basis and keep it all consistent. I know DC keeps trying to make Crisis on Infinite Earths not have happened, but without just straight up cancelling everything and restarting all the books from just before Crisis began, they should just try to make do with what they’ve got.

• • •

Chris Gumprich cashes in with

“1. DC will give up on the idea of line-wide continuity and allow each book (or book “family”) to exist on its own without worrying if a character drinks lemonade in GREEN LANTERN but drinks beer in JUSTICE LEAGUE.”

Well…I think most books at DC have largely kept to themselves, but an overall eschewing of line-wide continuity hasn’t seemed evident. The fictional milieu of the DC Universe is one the company has spent a lot of time establishing and reestablishing, so going out their way to discard it entirely seems unlikely. Right now, since we don’t hafe any linewide events, we don’t see it in explicit evidence, but it’s still there!

“2. The direct market will suffer a recession, killing a number of smaller companies and stores. The big companies will retreat to their superhero ghettos to continue their slow death, while the smarter store owners (Hi Mike!) will survive because of their diversity.”

I think, from the few articles I’ve gleaned, that the overall growth of the direct market has slowed, compared to the big boost it had during the early years of the pandemic. I don’t think the market is in quite the freefall just yet, despite some shops indeed going away, which unfortunately is just something that happens in this business regardless of how the industry is doing. (My old stomping grounds even shuttered in 2022 after over 40 years of business.)

I would call 2023 a year of adjustments more than outright decline, as stores and publishers react to a new post-pandemic marketplace where things aren’t in the dumps, but perhaps not as financially expansive as before. I mean, I’m doing okay, some other stores are too, and others are not. Same as it ever was, as a great philosopher once said.

“3. In late 2023 I will make another prediction about Archie digests exclusively reprinting stories from the 80s and earlier, because I once again forget that I have been making that same prediction every year.”

I just checked and you did not make that prediction for 2024! YOU LOSE, GOOD DAY SIR

• • •

Greg A annouces

“DC will try once again to attempt to produce an ongoing LSH title, but it will completely disregard the latest attempt.”

No, the Legion fields remained fallow for another year. Did the Legion even appear in anything in 2023? I’m sure a character or two from the team showed up somewhere in the last year, but nothing immediately comes to mind. At any rate, after the big relaunch of the team fizzled out a couple of years ago, they’ve been mostly out of the picture ever since.

There was a new animated movie featuring the Legion released in 2023, but it…wasn’t very good, unfortunately. And with the new regime in place (at least for now) at Warners running the DC media adaptations, I don’t think we’ll be getting another one for a while, if ever.

• • •

William Burns fires me up with

“1. The Big Two will steadily retreat from gay and particularly trans representation. Nothing will be announced, but introduction of new gay and trans characters will cease, existing queer characters will be desexualized and while pride issues will continue to appear, they won’t get much push. The retreat will be particularly apparent in material geared for children.”

We are still getting new pride issues, yes, but I don’t think there’s been a specific push to deemphasize gay or trans characters at either company. Probably the most visible of the LGBTQIA characters, Superman’s son, had a mini-series earlier in the year. But I get your point, that maybe the big publishers are feeling some pressure to ease off this issue by cultural and political opposition.

I don’t think that’s happening to any extreme measure, though there are always Those Guys who complain whenever a character isn’t straight, white, and male. But I didn’t read every Marvel and DC book for the year so I can’t tell you how gay or trans characters were treated in-story, so maybe folks who were a little more well read in 2023 can clue me in. A Googling shows that there was still plenty of coverage for these characters over the past year, so Marvel and DC are still getting (from what I saw, mostly positive) attention for their diversity efforts. And I hope the companies keep it up, especially as forces in the real world are marshaling efforts against these communities.

“2. Marvel will relaunch Iron Man as ‘The Immortal Iron Man.'”

Not yet, but I still think this is a good call for the near future as we’re probably only a year away from a new Iron Man series replacing the current one.

“3. Production begins on a Dr. Aphra Star Wars project, marking the first ‘Comics-to-film’ transition of a Star Wars character.”

A character that appeared alongside Doctor Aphra in Marvel’s Star Wars comics, the Wookiee bounty hunter Krrsantan, beat her to live action by appearing in the Book of Boba Fett Disney+ series in 2022.

Prior to this, Quinlan Vos was a Jedi character in the Dark Horse-published Star Wars comics that George Lucas liked, and had planned to put in the prequel trilogy…but only got a name check. He did eventually make it into the Clone Wars cartoon.

The Twi’lek Jedi Aayla Secura was another Dark Horse era character that Lucas liked, and she made it into Attack of the Clones.

But even prior to that, Admiral Ackbar first appeared in the Star Wars newspaper strip before appearing in Return of the Jedi, but that’s not quite the same as he was created specifically for the movie.

I’m sure I’m missing others who made the transition, but those were the ones that came to mind. Doctor Aphra (speaking of gay characters!), however, has not yet made it, but as she’s a great new addition to the franchise, I think a live action adaptation would be enjoyable. Particularly if they leave her…morally suspect. A couple of years ago I said about her

“…The appeal of the character [is] filling the ‘morally ambiguous’ role that Han Solo can no longer occupy after his turn in the original movie trilogy. It’s an exploration of this universe via a fresh yet cynical perspective, told with humor and the right amount of pathos. While there is some sort of redemption arc to her story, it’s a meandering one which means we get to see her be a space asshole, which is quite entertaining.”

Now, we sort of get this with the title character in Andor, which may be one of the reasons why a Google search brings up a bunch of articles about how that series “opens the door” for an Aphra show of some kind. I don’t know, I didn’t read any of those, but I’d probably enjoy seeing her pop up somewhere.

• • •

Okay, I’m up way past my bedtime writing this (8 PM on school nights) so let’s continue this on Monday. As always, if you have additional info I’m missing (and I think I’m missing a bit this time ’round) please let me know and I’ll include it in the eventually addendum post I’ll make to this series. Thanks for reading, pals!

10 Responses to “Your 2023 Predictions, Part Two: Roast Mutton.”

  • aj says:

    the shops closing thing is very interesting; here in CT, we have very few shops, but 2 more opened in the last 18 months or so within 20 miles of each other-and if you dont know connecticut, that’s practically a boom. there’s a comics desert that has lasted since the 90s boom where between new london and new haven(~50 miles) there has only been one shop that closed about 2000. new london has the biggest one in the state, and new haven has the SMALLEST in the state. Sarge’s is an old department store, and Alternate Universe is without exaggeration about the size of my living room. now there’s 2 in between, and it’s amazing. how long will those stores last, especially since they don’t offer card tournaments or mini tournaments? who knows, but regionally they are filling avoid that has been around 20 plus years.

  • Thom H. says:

    Poor Legion of Super-heroes. I’m sure there’s someone who could make them work in 2024 (*cough* Tom King *cough*), but it’s definitely an uphill battle at this point.

    Readers who aren’t familiar with the concept are going to think it’s too dense to get into, and readers who remember the old LoSH are going to be put off by changes to the characters.

    I do wish someone would try, though. I miss those guys.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Dark Horse-published Star Wars”

    MAN did Dark Horse do a great job on those! And Marvel will NEVER match it.

  • Michael Wayne says:

    The Legion appeared in the first arc of the new Green Arrow series, of all things. Some members of the Arrow family were trapped in the 30th century, and a number of members appeared.

    Poor LSH, yes. Thom states succinctly why it will have trouble upon any relaunch.

  • Michael Wayne says:

    And, oh yeah, it was the Bendis Legion (the most recent iteration) which appeared in Green Arrow.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I think the best hope for the Legion would be to do an approach similar to what Mark Waid has done with World’s Finest: Teen Titans … a mini-series which focuses on the Bronze Age iteration of the Legion as depicted in stories from the ’70s to mid-’80s–i.e. the Legion at its zenith. Maybe the plot could center around Tyroc or Invisible Kid II. If Paul Levitz would write the script and Mike Grell would draw
    it, it would be cool. Or Jim Starlin and Alan Davis. Or Louise and Walter Simonson.

  • Anyone who brings the Legion back had better not make Projectra a snake this time.

  • That was an impressive recounting of Star Wars comics-to-screen characters!

  • DK says:

    Part of the problem of the Bendis LSH is that you basically have two choices:

    1. Modernize the characters so they aren’t all white kids (and more diversity is badly needed, and I don’t mean turning people into snakes).

    OR

    2. Modernize the outfits so they aren’t so Silver Age looking but keep iconic logos etc.

    So either change the people or the costumes but not both.

    BUT

    3. You also have to keep the new characters to a minimum since there are about 30 core team members, get rid of some old ones if you want new ones. All of them are somebody’s favorite, except Quislet.

    LSH has a long history of bumping off underperformers. By all means whack a couple. Not Bouncing Boy, but anyone else is fair game.

    Well he went ahead and changed everything at the same time and now I can’t tell who anyone is.

    Phantom Girl is now purple? In a totally different outfit? So how am I supposed ot know that’s PG?

    Same problem with Element Lad. He looks like one of the Madmen that used to fight Ted Kord Blue Beetle now. Nothing about him says “Element Lad”.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @DK

    I will always advocate for the Bronze Age Legion costume redesigns by Dave Cockrum–that was the best look the team ever had. If you advance to the Keith Giffen era, a few of his redesigns were okay Timberwolf cones to mind), but many of them harked back to the Silver Age costumes which were by and large bland, bland, bland.

    As far as diversity goes, the Legion actually lead the way during the Bronze Age at DC (along with the Teen Titans) by adding Tyroc, Dawnstar, and Invisible Kid II to the team–and I recall that at certain times Karate Kid was depicted as biracial, at least when Mike Grell was the artist on the Legion. I will grant you that Tyroc was way underutilized, Dawnstar was from another planet (but, as an Amerindian, at least her ancestors were indigenous Native Americans), and Karate Kid was most likely not shown as being biracial during the Silver Age, although I’m not certain if Jim Shooter intended the character to be biracial or not–but either way, Mike Grell’s depiction of him as biracial and co-creation of Tyroc and Dawnstar during the ’70s was forward thinking and inclusive. But Invisible Kid II was probably the true breakthrough diversity Legion character in terms of being Black and a Francophone–and a well-rounded character…so Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen deserve some credit there.

    But going back to the Silver Age at DC, the Legion and Green Lantern Corps were both hugely important in terms of depicting diverse teams comprised of many diverse aliens along with Earthlings who were treated as equals and were equally important in stories (and props to early Silver Age JLA fur having Martian Manhunter as a founding member). So, yes, even though Silver Age Legion wasn’t ethnically diverse in terms of Earthlings (and it was a product of its less enlightened time), at least some credit should be afforded it for the inclusion of alien team members including Brainiac-5, Shadow Lass, and Chameleon Boy who did have diverse skin tones–and, later in the Bronze Age, Blokk, and the White Witch (wasn’t she albino?), and Quislet and other non-humanoid team members.

    Anyway, since DC now has a Multiverse, multiple interpretations of the LOSH can exist simultaneously…including the classic Bronze Age Legion at its zenith and the Bendis-Legion. Maybe DC should release a one-shot or a limited series wherein the classic Bronze Age Legion meets the Bendis Legion…a la the old JLA/JSA Crisis Team-Ups…to take on the Time Trapper or Mordru or the Fatal Five …or even Darkseid. For that matter, it would be interesting to see if a LOSH exists on old school Earth-II and we were just never introduced to it yet.

    I think if DC truly wants to be a champion of diversity it should also strive not to be ageist toward its fan base and embrace the Multiverse concept and occasionally create content which brings back great Bronze Age iterations of its characters for limited series or special one-shot stories, which many middle-aged readers would buy. And rather than the sweeping changes that Bendis made, DC should honor the continuity and history of the Bronze Age Legion characters, and organically introduce new, diverse characters to the team (they could start off with five non-Caucasian members-in-training…maybe one could be the legacy replacement for Chemical King…and those newbie members could be mentored by Tyroc, Dawnstar, Karate Kid, Invisible Kid II–and, of course, Bouncing Boy, because he’s always been training the recruits. And speaking of Bouncing Boy, the Legion was also polyamourously progressive in terms of the Bouncing Boy and Dou Damsel marriage being outside of conventional thinking. Anyway, I’d love to see the Bronze Age Legion make a triumphant return, in classic Cockrum costumes, and being shown as between 19 to 25 years of age–with the new recruits being about 18 or 19 years old.

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