52 weeks, 52 wonderful pieces of art
May 3, 2007 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Start here and work your way up to page one to see the most remarkable achievement of DC Comics just-completed weekly series, 52. 52 weeks worth of amazing covers by artist J. G. Jones! A weekly blog for each cover starts here. This one was my favorite. 52!
posted by WolfDaddy (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So... was it worth it? Infinite Crisis was a big meh for me. I gave a quick read over to World War III and boy was that pointless, gorey and stupid. Except for the last page, where several clones(?) of a certain guy of old fame do their thing from space. That was a truly WTF moment for me, by the future ghost of George Perez...
posted by Iosephus at 11:12 PM on May 3, 2007

Overall, for me, yeah 52 was worth it. But then some of my favorite characters--Black Adam, Ralph Dibny, and to a lesser extent, the JSA--headlined the series. I'm forced to wonder though if certain delays in DC's other major titles during the past year weren't partly due to the rigors of publishing 52 every week.

Still, DC managed to do 52 weeks of issues on time every time, and the story was (relatively) self-contained within those 52 issues. So hats off to DC and bring on the Countdown! And also a coffee table book of all the 52 covers, please!
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:21 PM on May 3, 2007

Oooh — me likey Mr Mesmer vs Suzie & the Snubnoses!
posted by rob511 at 11:23 PM on May 3, 2007

That last link should have a caption contest.
"It was I. It was I who farted"
posted by pantsrobot at 11:39 PM on May 3, 2007

Wait, what the fuck?
posted by nasreddin at 11:42 PM on May 3, 2007

I've been reading the summary updates at wikipedia and other places cuz I'm too poor to buy comics anymore. Essentially, Crisis on Infinite Earths was for me a big finale, and everything since then has been pale in comparison. Guess I'm waiting to see a reason to come back to comics.

So there's a multiverse again, huh? All that work back in 1985 was for nothing. Whatever. What they won't do is tell stories in an alternate reality where Superman and Batman were in their prime back in 1938, and they and a host of other heroes helped the Allies back in World War Two, and became inspirations for many generations after them, but eventually they died or were killed or faded into obscurity and others took their place.

I'm tired of hearing about how the editors keep retooling their trademarks to keep them viable and lucrative for primary demographics utilizing a scaled mitigation scheme for maximizing potential product sales.

They want to keep Superman thirty-something for all time, so they can keep his franchise going. I don't wanna read about the Earth where Superman just showed up. I wanted to know what happened after he left.

What would a world be like after four or five generations of heroes? Would it be so far removed from this one that we couldn't relate? Is that why they don't try to tell those stories? IS there no profit in that?

Or would it be like The Watchmen was? Though there's a past with heroes in it, life pretty much continues on as it always has. Would there still be loves and losses and conflicts and humor? There'd still be stories to tell even if Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince and Clark Kent were all in their respective graves, and their great grandchildren were looking at tomorrow with fresh new eyes.

I dunno. They've gotten too expensive for me anyway. This DC is now for a new generation and I got passed by. I'm not the target demographic. But just as those who grew up reading golden age comics would have scoffed at New Teen Titans and Firestorm and Neil Gaiman's amazing Sandman series... I look at how great it was during the Silver and Bronze ages and question where it's all gone.

And you young whippersnappers look at where it is and go.. "cool." I guess that's alright.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:50 PM on May 3, 2007 [3 favorites]

Well, in a somewhat fuzzy sense the generational view was one element (secondary, granted) in Alan Moore's superb League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I doubt Moore would be interested in rolling the cast through the century, not the least fot the PITA rights issues that would arise (James Bond, Frank Black, Lestat, Kabuki, Steve Austin and Ms Maple take on the Body Snatchers, anyone? I wish...).
posted by Iosephus at 12:08 AM on May 4, 2007

I think ZachsMind should read john Byrne's Superman & Batman: Generations. It tells the story of a Batman and Superman whould started in the late 30's and then aged and had kids who took up their mantle. It's very Superman and Batman centric with not much given to other DC heroes, and it's John Byrne who a lot of people can't stand (I don't mind the guy, except for the fact that he only draws one face and it's kinda weird looking at that) so take it as you will.
posted by thecjm at 12:20 AM on May 4, 2007

Also, Darwyn Cooke's amazing The New Frontier retells the dawn of dc's silver age with charactes appearing on the date that they first appeared on the newsstand. And although it only covers a decade or so of time there is a definite sense of time progressing through the story.
posted by thecjm at 12:30 AM on May 4, 2007

I doubt Moore would be interested in rolling the cast through the century...

Actually, Iosephus, in the upcoming
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier and Volume 3, Moore will be doing stories of the various Leagues from the 17th century to the present.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:57 AM on May 4, 2007

Really. Damn. Insert moorefan cry of hapiness here.

Still, reading there, I see it's not the kind of thing I described up here. Two of the mains are still around, and there's much more of an alt-history feel to it (which is just in keeping with the already published, my mistake to suppose Moore would just grab current pop culture heros since that would ruin the mood).

Now to wait (till October?).
posted by Iosephus at 3:57 AM on May 4, 2007

I really enjoyed 52*, but perusing the wikipedia entry (Spoilers ahoy!) makes me realize I really should go back and reread it in one shot.
I'll probably check out Countdown; didn't realize just how addictive the nearly-instant gratification of a weekly series could be.

*WWIII, not so much. Pee-yew!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:37 AM on May 4, 2007

What would a world be like after four or five generations of heroes? Would it be so far removed from this one that we couldn't relate?

Zachsmind, you may also like Kingdom Come, which features more or less the scenario you describe, albiet one generation rather than four or five. Alex Ross drew the whole thing, it's absolutely gorgeous.
posted by Scoo at 6:53 AM on May 4, 2007

I used to love John Byrne's work. Alpha Flight was awesome. He killed off Vindicator in issue twelve. That was wild. To kill off the leader of the group one year into the title. Suddenly, the gloves were off, anything and everything was possible, and there was no way to know what to expect next. Brilliant.

Then he did Man of Steel and I just... He reboots Superman, which at the time I was on board with, and then brings back Bizarro?! If there's one thing to wipe out on a reboot, it's not multi-colored kryptonite or superventriloquism or the supermonkey -- It's Bizarro fuckin' Superman. And he brings it back as soon as he possibly can, in an even less amusing way then its first go around. And that's just one of thousands of things that were so wrong with the four issue maxi series of Man of Steel.

I can't bare to look at John Byrne's work anymore. The guy's a fruitcake. The kinda fruitcake that makes for a sticky paperweight.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:58 AM on May 4, 2007

...Kingdom Come looks promising.

What I mean though is to just do one title, separate from all the rest, and establish that everything that happened in the Golden Age occurred in the Golden Age, and a lot of crap has happened since then, and here's where we are today. What would the world be like? There'd be a lot of flashbacks, but the audience would read about what happened before only in context of the present day storyline. It'd be about the grandchildren or great grandchildren of the 1940s.

I don't think it'd be Earth 2. I think it'd be something a little different, although some continuity from titles like Flash & Justice League during the 70s and 80s could be utilized to flesh out the story. Rather than try to mold and shape the fictional world to accomodate stock margins and marketing ploys, try to tell the story of the world that was molded and shaped almost a century ago, and depict where it would be right now.

Writers and artists have done similar things over the years, which is what invented Earth 2 in the first place, and also brought rise to the other titles you guys are mentioning which aren't Earth 2 related, but even Infinity Inc fell shy of the mark, and it WAS about the offspring of the JSA and their enemies, but started publishing just before Crisis on Infinite Earths, so it kinda lost sight of its original intentions.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:06 AM on May 4, 2007

ZM, I've never been a fan of Byrne, either. Mainly because he broke the Legion with his Superman reboot, and it's never ever recovered.

But if you haven't read the full 52 story, you might enjoy it. It is the tale of the DC Universe during a year in which Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are inactive, out of costume. It allows the characters trying to take their places to stand or fall without the "trinity" there to assist in their efforts. Plus, the idea of an island filled with nothing but the DCU's "mad scientists" was absolutely hilarious ... until it became absolutely horrifying.

Also, as a result of a couple of plotlines in 52--Lex Luthor's "Everyman" project, and the events of World War III--the Justice Society of America has re-tasked itself to actively involve itself in the "next generation" of superheroes. I've been in love with the JSA (for more than the Justice League) for most of my life, and have really enjoyed their return to greatness in the last 7 or 8 years. This newest version of the JSA is also fortunate enough to be drawn by Dale Eaglesham, and it's beautiful!
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:15 AM on May 4, 2007

52 really did a great job of pulling me down to the comic shop, week after week. It probably helped that it focused on some lesser characters that I really like, including Renee Montoya and Ralph Dibny.
posted by graventy at 7:30 AM on May 4, 2007

I absolutely loved 52, and didn't even grow up on a healthy diet of DC. My favorite cover? The one that makes for an awesome t-shirt.

(Yeah, we're big geeks)
posted by one.louder.ash! at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2007

I still think ZachsMind should check out The New Frontier. Like I said it only really covers the 50s, but it deals with what happens when the heroes of WWII aren't needed by the government anymore, how the next generation of heroes is seen by the public, and what happened to all those scifi and adventure book characters that DC published between the Golden and Silver Ages like the challengers of the unknown. The JSA retires. Superman works for the man. Wonder Woman does too until her politics cause some waves. Batman isn't trusted by anyone. The new breed of masked heroes is hunted by government agents until they're needed against a new threat. Adventurer-scientists with military backgrounds and publicly known identities fill the void as long as they play by the government's rules, and for a time are huge celebrities. I cannot recommend it enough, which is why I'm doing so twice in this thread.
posted by thecjm at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2007

Ah. New Frontier. That does look cool. Thanks for the heads' up. The tribute to the Kirby look alone appears to be worth the price of admission.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:58 PM on May 4, 2007

ZachsMind, in addition to The New Frontier, you’ll love James Robinson’s Starman.
posted by hilker at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2007

Thank you for suggesting all these titles.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by City of Heroes. That game's world presumes there were heroes back in World War Two and although Statesman (CoH's equiv. of Cap America or Superman) is still around, it's cuz his origins are tapped into the greek gods and he's sorta kinda immortal. Most other heroes have come and gone more realistically, and you create a hero for the here and now who takes the metaphorical baton of justice and runs with it. Sounds corny I know but there's a whole century's worth of history that backs your character up. So every time you log in it's like reading a comic book but then it's nothing like reading a comic book. It's not like living one either. That WOULD be corny.

There's talk of Marvel comics coming out with its own variant of CoH. I presume DC will do the same thing eventually, but maybe what I really wish DC could do would just say, "yes it all happened. Every imaginary story and all the stuff that doesn't mesh everything that is inconsistent it all happened. Doesn't make sense? So what. It's a comic. We'll refer to stuff that happened before if it helps the here and now and if it doesn't, so what? It's a comic. Let's have fun."

Heck, even Doyle couldn't remember where Watson's war wound was.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:56 PM on May 4, 2007

Nice artwork. I haven't been following 52 'cause, unless Morrison is writing, I haven't had much interest in hero comics in a while. I read the Wikipedia synopsis though, and it seems to me like the premise was interesting. Remove the Big Three and see what grows in the niche they occupied. A good chance to develop some of the second-string characters. It looks like DC is still stuck in the mindset that suffering, death and mutilation = character development, which is a shame.

I'd like to see what could be done if DC (or Marvel) retired their main characters for five years rather than just one. Let the writers really stretch their legs!
posted by lekvar at 4:40 PM on May 4, 2007

Morrison was one of the writers on 52

this was my favorite cover

I wish DC would release a poster of it.

52 is probably best thing DC has done in years.
posted by Dreamghost at 6:42 PM on May 4, 2007

This is as good a place as any to remind folks that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! Bring a comics virgin down to your LCS and bust their four-colour cherry (And don't forget to snag a free funnybook for yourself, natch!)

I recommend Comics Festival! 2007; fun stories by great creators, including MetaFilter's Own Robot Johnny! Yowza!

Wood Shavings!
-Aggressive Alvy
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on May 4, 2007

WolfDaddy, you need to pick up the new series of Justice Society of America from the beginning up to the current story, The Lightning Saga. You will love what happens in that, and it's something that is an indirect result of 52.
posted by stx23 at 1:19 AM on May 5, 2007

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