For the last three or four months DC (Detective Comics, home of Superman, Batman, etc., in case you're not a regular at your local Android's Dungeon) has teased that in September they'll be relaunching the entire universe, with 52 titles getting brand new "Number One" issues. For DC, it's a chance to reinvigorate the brand and attract new readers who might be turned off or confused by the extensive continuity. Additionally, they're going to introduce "a more modern, diverse DC Universe" with "character variations in appearance, origin, and age," which is a press-release-way of saying "We're going to make Batman Mexican. Deal with it."
Comic book fans, notoriously easy to anger, have taken the news with the expected gamut of emotions: nerd rage, worried contemplation as to the effects on their favorite characters/storylines, pessimism at a blatant cash grab, and naive optimism that THIS will be the change that sticks. I guess I'm in favor of anything that might introduce a new audience to comics and thus keep them in business. In general, I'm in favor of a comic universe sticking to its own continuity: dead people should stay dead, and "HUGE, EPIC CROSSOVER" events should have lasting effects on the world if they're that important. But nitpicking continuity issues is for basement-dwellers with too much anger to contain. It seems like in making this move DC has been taking to heart the angry letters they undoubtedly get from people counting the compartments on Batman's belt.
But this isn't really about DC; they're just the inspiration. See, if the people behind cultural icons like The Flash and Wonder Woman can just cast it all to the winds and try to reboot everything, what's stopping everybody else? Here are some comics we feel are in dire need of a universal reboot:
Forget everything you ever thought you knew about Charlie Brown and co. A brand new creative team lead by Rob Liefeld takes everyone's favorite lovable loser into the present. Charlie Brown is now Cordero Cruz, son of Puerto Rican immigrants looking to make his mark on his new hometown, which just happens to be a multicultural urban center. He's only bald because he shaves his head to look cool, and everywhere Charlie Brown zigged, Cordero zags. Look for the little guy to finally start WINNING. Oh, and pouches. There's going to be a LOT of pouches.
He's also slightly older.
If any franchise is in need of trimming the fat from its continuity, it's this one. Between Odie, Nermal, Jon Arbuckle, Jon's family, Lyman, Irma, Binky the Clown, Pooky, Arlene, Dr. Liz Wilson, and the multitude of women Jon attempts to date it's gotten extremely cluttered. Tom DeFalco cuts through the crap and takes everyone's favorite fat cat back to his roots. Except look for Garfield to drop the lasagna in favor of some soul food. Oh, and he may or may not be a clone of himself.
After more than 40 years it's impossible to remember just which locations and in front of which people Ziggy has suffered his trademark ignominy. How many times have you read his daily little circle and thought, "Wait. Is this the same waiter from last week? Why would he go back to that restaurant? And why does the guy look exactly like the person at the Returns counter from the department store? Do department stores still have Returns counters?" No more. Frank Miller strips Ziggy down to his core and readers will be taken along for the ride as we see just where it all begins. The new strip will be titled "Ziggy: Diary of My Descent," and our titular hero is recast as a schizophrenic shut-in who relives the perceived slights he endures from society with such cutting brutality it only further propagates his madness.
At least he has pants, now.
J.T. Krul brings the Great Dane out of the '50s and into modern times! Marmaduke's now an old soul, heavy with guilt at his past indiscretions and the damage they've caused. His insecurity manifests as a neediness almost everyone around him finds insufferable, causing him to feel alienated. Expect a lot of "will they or won't they?" teasing with Marmaduke and Dottie's relationship.
Finally! It seems like the strip has been bouncing around the Middle Ages forever! No longer, as Brad Meltzer's update introduces us to Valiant, the Mercenary: a gun for hire. Gone are all the messy, confusing blends of history and mythology. Valiant's singing sword is replaced with his trusty WTS .50 BMG Pistol, which he still calls "Flamberge" in a nod to the series' roots. Meltzer's take on the strip gives fans what they've craved for almost 75 years now: nonstop gruesome action and killing. As a merc not bound to any conventional ideals of warfare, Valiant will kill, torture, and pillage his way across war zones in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
You've heard our pitch, now give us yours: what comic universe would you like to see start over from scratch with a brand new update?
Flickr photos (in order)
Charlie Brown & Snoopy by ginnerobot
Just leave me alone by Ed Yourdon
used under a Creative Commons License