The “52” experiment

Earlier this year, DC Comics came out with an innovative new comic called ’52.

The premise of the title was to follow around various second-tier superheroes as they made up for the temporary retirement of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

The key part of the title is that it follows a ’24’-like timeline — in that we get snippets of various  stories during each weekly installment. Not every issue touches on every storyline and half-way through the run of the title, not a single storyline has come to its completion. In fact, some stories have just started.

Kinda reminds you of something, doesn’t it? Yep, the writers of “52” are following the same format as TV dramas. You see, the television landscape has changed over time. Years ago, a television drama would make sure that every problem was resolved at the end of the hour. That’s not the case anymore. A TV writer’s job is to bring you back again and again.

It’s a format that has been used for years now in comic books, but ’52’ is a bit different.

Unlike an issue of “Spider-Man” that focuses soley on the life of Spider-Man, “52” takes a look at many, many characters in each issue. And thanks to “52”‘s weekly publishing schedule, you don’t have to wait a month to find out what happens next.

I’ve complained earlier in this blog about the trouble with the continuing storyline format, but the key thing with “52” is that it’s quite compelling and never bewildering.

Yep, I’ve been loving it. From the story of Ralph Dibny looking to reincarnate his wife, to the trials of the Black Adam clan, to the tragic tale of Booster Gold and even the mysteries of Super Nova and the giant-sized Hawkgirl, I’m hooked.

And it appears that comic readers are hooked too, as “52” is among DC’s best sellers.

My one hope is for DC to try the same thing  next year with a whole new group of characters.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
As a subscriber, I'm looking for ...

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.