Or, “more of my rambling thoughts on how certain editorial decisions came to pass.” I’m not saying any of these conversations took place. I really have no idea how decisions are made but sometimes I wonder. So I imagine how things might have happened; sometimes I am apparently closer to the truth than I would have suspected. And the more upset I am by the decision, the harsher the implied criticism of the imaginary conversations. And in this case, I’m really upset by a lot of decisions, so this could get kind of ugly.
DC Studios, the Boardroom Level (pre Nu52):
Editor-in-Chief – Okay, everyone, so sales are lagging and I know what we need to get them up again – a reboot!
Big Name Writers/Editors/Sensible Intern – What, again?
Chief – Yeah, duh. Look, I love comics right, or I wouldn’t be running a company, but one thing that really sucks about comics is all those years of back story. Like, Batman and Superman and Green Arrow have over seventy years of history! How can we expect customers to remember all that? I mean, it’s not as though there’s a vast, free repository of knowledge that can now be almost instantly accessed from pretty much anywhere in the world we sell our comics. That would be like some kind of “information superhighway.” Ha! What crazy talk! That’s like something out of Batman.
Big Name Writers/Editors – Yeah, you’re right!
Sensible Intern – Um, what?
Chief – So anyway, let’s just reboot the universe. Heck, it should be a policy to reboot it every five years. Then no one has to like, learn any history on the characters and the whole universe will be less intimidating to new customers.
Sensible Intern – Won’t that get really annoying to current fans?
Chief – Pffff. What do they know? Reboot!
Big Name Writers/Editors – Yeah, let’s do it!
Chief – And you know what else really sucks about comics? How out of touch they are with modern society. I mean, Batman’s awesome of course, but he’s really the only one. He’s all dark and gritty and stuff. But Superman? I mean, what does that guy do, save the day? Dude, you can’t always save the day! That’s lame. We need more anti-heroes! We need more Batman!
Big Name Writers/Editors – Yay, Batman!
Chief – Anyway, I’m thinking we’ll basically reboot the universe in a post-9/11 world and have superheroes appeared like, five years ago, so no one in the world trusts them. Everyone’s all paranoid about their motivations and hate and fear them. That’s never been done!
Sensible Intern – Um, wait, isn’t that the Marvel universe?
Chief – No, that’s totally not like Marvel… That’s like modern society. So yeah, we’ll have to reduce the number of heroes and decide who’s going to be in the new universe. I mean, four Green Lanterns and three Blue Beetles and two Atoms and two Flashes. It’s all just too confusing. And no one’s going to believe there’s just that many heroes in only five years anyway.
Big Name Writer – What about Robin?
Chief – What do you mean?
Big Name Writer – Well, if Batman’s only been Batman for five years, is there a Robin? Or all the Robins?
Chief – Oh, well, yeah, Batman will have Robin of course. Because Batman!
Big Name Writer – Which Robin? Because if you include all of them, then Batman’s had at least four sidekicks over five years.
Chief – We’ll figure that out later.
Big Name Writer – And that doesn’t even include the Batgirls…
Chief – There’s only one Batgirl and that’s Barbara Gordon, you got that?
Sensible Intern – She hasn’t been Batgirl in over 20 years! Now there’s Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown…
Chief – You shut the hell up! There is only one Batgirl and that’s Barbara Gordon! She was my Batgirl so she’s the only Batgirl. And while we’re reducing the number of heroes, I want Hal Jordan to be Green Lantern and Barry Allen is the Flash. Oh, and Ray Palmer is the only Atom. Yes, that will fix the universe…just the way I want it…just the way it used to be… Bwhahahahahaha!!!
Big Name Writer 1 – Um, he’s supposed to be goody-goody.
Chief – That’s totally lame. Hey, I know, let’s make him a brooding emo kid with barely controlled rage issues. Kids these days will totally relate to that!
Sensible Intern – So you want to give a man with the powers of a god the personality of an [expletive]?
Chief – Pffff, no. He’s just more like an anti-hero, see?
Sensible Intern – Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what I just said.
Chief – So you get it! Now get me some more coffee!
Big Name Writer 2 – What about his actual origin? I mean, ‘alien from another planet’ doesn’t exactly fit in with your idea of a dark and gritty post-9/11 world.
Chief – Yeah, that’s kind of a tough one. But you know, he’s had that origin for seventy years. We can’t just change it just like that. We’ll just give him a totally different personality and maybe new customers won’t care about the silly origin story.
Big Name Writer 2 – You are brilliant!
Chief – Yeah, I know.
Big Name Writer 1 – And Wonder Woman?
Chief – Yeah, that whole made by the gods thing is totally stupid. And Paradise Island? What the hell is that about? Like some sort of utopian society of immortals could actually exist? That’s a stupid, unrealistic fantasy!
Sensible Intern – Can Superman still shoot laser beams out of his eyes?
Chief – Yeah, duh, why?
Sensible Intern – So an alien who can shoot laser beams out of his eyes is a perfectly reasonable fantasy?
Chief – Yeah.
Sensible Intern – But a utopian society of immortals is a stupid fantasy?
Chief – Um, yeah. Really, kid, you should pay more attention. So let’s make her the daughter of Zeus because that’s so much more relatable and realistic, and oh, make the Amazons a dystopian society who kidnap, rape, and kill men to perpetuate their society because immortality is stupid. Oh, and kill the baby boys or sell them into slavery or something.
Chief – Hey, make a note of that: Wonder Girl needs a new origin.
Sensible Intern – What about Wonder Woman? She’s had approximately the same origin for seventy years too – made by the gods or brought to life by the gods. How come you’ll change hers but not Superman’s?
Chief – Because… of… reasons. Anyway, there’s historical evidence that the Amazons weren’t very nice, if they existed. So it’s all fine.
Sensible Intern – Can she still fly? Is she still super-strong?
Chief – Well, yeah.
Sensible Intern – *facepalm*