In September of 2011, DC Comics relaunched every single one of their on-going superhero series. One year later, the rippling effects of the not-reboot-reboot are still being revealed. Dipping into the recent past, 51 of the 52 existing titles (not so fast JLI) and 4 brand new series get “Zero Issues” this month. Will these issues fill in gaps in character histories or simply provide amusing asides from our favorite heroes’ early days?
Moreover, does this kind of stunt effectively draw in new readers? Does a fresh batch of origin stories hold sway over fans reading other series? Does it entice would-be-fans that haven’t crossed the nerd-threshold into reading monthly comics? Does it even register outside the geek-o-sphere?
So Retcon Punch reached out to over two dozen guests – with hugely disparate levels of experience with comics – and asked them for their opinions on the Zero Issues. This is your nerve center for our coverage on ALL 55 issues released in September.
Chat Cave: Zero Month – We talked about our hopes and fears back when this was announced.
Taylor Anderson, Freakin’ Animal Man, Tricia Aung, Scott Baumgartner, Bryan Coratti, Jack Ehlers, Kevin Elliott, Tristan Fickes, Selene Gill, Heath Gordon, Lawton Hall, Siri Hellerman, Nick Idell, Edmond Johnson, Hesper Juhnke, Zach Kastner, Mike Logsdon, Lindsey Peterson, Pete Peterson, Pete Pfarr, Joe Picek, Nikki Royce, Jennie Seidewand, Sarah Singer, and Dave Werner
As always, our posting schedule can be found on our Pull List.
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Finally, The Spectre appears… Phantom Stranger #0 comments?
We’ll be talking about Phantom Stranger on Tuesday. I flipped through it today and HOLY HELL did I nearly jump out of my chair when I saw the LIVING EMBODIMENT OF GOD’S WRATH.
Zero Month Bitching: Why do new titles starting this month start with #0? Will titles starting in the next wave get a #0? Where are you filing your 0’s? Some take place directly after the last issue (Green Lantern, Justice League) while others occur before #1? How should I file these? SERIOUSLY
I’m filing by release date. Even #0s that do take place before the #1 don’t exactly flow into the series proper. Many also reveal information that would spoil some mysteries if you knew them going in (like the Star Wars prequels). The real question is how to file Animal Man and Swamp Thing to get the full effect of the covers of their twelfth issues.
Ah, this is logical but doesn’t mesh with my current filing system where annuals appear in numerical order beginning directly after the most recent issue of any given book. CURSES!
Have I taken zero month for granted? Tomorrow seems awesome with Aquaman, Batman Inc, Flash, JL Dark, and Talon 0’s coming out – and looking back, I think a lot of these 0’s so far qualify as ‘more important than your random average issue’ so the synchronicity of getting a lot of cool comics in one month has been kind of awesome. Action 0, Batgirl 0, Batman 0, Green Lantern 0, Justice League 0, and Wonder Woman 0 are all books coming from decent-even-at-their-worst runs that stand out as special issues for me when compared to your average mid-story installment
It’s been an interesting experiment. Ultimately, I think the zero issues that were most successful were all from series that are consistently solid, anyway. Almost all of the titles you mentioned are on our pull, and they generally meet or exceed my expectations. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy Flash, JLD, Batman Inc, etc. but I think I would also have enjoyed their #13s just as much.
Don’t get me wrong — there have been some great issues this month, but I can’t help but feel like writers were forced to come up with something for them. Like, I’m grateful for Batwoman 0, but I wonder if Blackman and Williams wouldn’t have deployed that info differently if it weren’t for zero month. I guess we’ll never know, so we might as well enjoy it.
I don’t know if I’ve expressed this elsewhere, but I love artificial formal constraints. I almost like to imagine it like a competitive reality show (like Top Chef): everyone is issued the same challenge and the individual creative teams come up with clever ways to address the concept. The challenge “write a zero issue” isn’t inherently good or bad, and it should come as no surprise that we largely liked the same writers and artists that we have in the past. Half of the fun has been in seeing how each writer chooses to address the concept of “zero.” So even when these things weren’t great, they were at least still “special.” I’m happy it happened, and that we pushed ourselves to read and cover them all (I’m also happy Mogo found us and has been keeping up with us – seemingly stride-for-stride).
Heh–I actually thought zero month was pretty stupid until I read your comment here–it reframed the whole thing for me. Looking at it as a kind of challenge and seeing what creative teams could do with the format restriction is kind of a cool way of looking at this. Thanks.
Hey buddy, glad to be here. Glad to even know about somewhere people that are reading as many comics as me and actually talking about them