This past Wednesday, the big moment finally came and went. Justice League #1 hit the racks, with many stores hosting well-attended midnight release parties. It’s still too early to determine if DC Comics’ new 52 relaunch will be a success at gaining new fans while holding on to the old ones. From a public relations point of view, however, I think it’s safe to say that DC Comics has scored a big win.
Everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, has been talking about DC’s move to reboot their existing lines with 52 new number 1 issues. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the reboot/relaunch is not simply a matter of re-numbering books. It also involves changes to characters, costumes, and plotlines. This caused a lot of chatter amongst comics fans on blogs, podcasts, and in comic shops everywhere. With the beginning of the relaunch (New 52 debut comics will be released over the next 4 weeks) major media players began adding their voices to the discussion with featured articles, reviews and interviews with key figures within DC Comics.
Media heavyweights such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times and National Public Radio ran stories covering the event. Magazines including Fast Company, PC Magazine, Wired and Christian Science Monitor gave space to discussions of DC Comics’ bold move. MTV and Entertainment Weekly shoe-horned in some coverage and ABC News ran an interview with two of the major archiects of the realunch, DC Comics’ creators/executives Jim Lee and Geoff Johns. Even non-comic websites such as Mashable, Salon and Marketplace gave their take on how the relaunch would impact DC Comics’ sales of print and digital copies.
The media coverage isn’t the only place where DC have scored a win. Not only has Justice League #1 sold out, but many of the remaining New 52 titles are also selling out before their release through pre-orders. This event has been a huge boost for DC both in sales and share of mind with consumers. A keyword search through Google revealed that “DC Comics” came up 673,000 times in online searches versus 368,000 for “Marvel Comics”.
So it seems that a lot of people are talking about DC Comics right now. Will this translate into fan interest and loyalty beyond the debut issues? It will be fascinating to see what sort of impact all this attention has both on DC Comics and the comic industry as a whole.