A new DC Comics logo has been unveiled, replacing the one that was introduced in 2005, and my first impression is that it’s getting a better reception than that one did. General consensus is that it’s at least more clever and has some character to it when compared to the swooshy star.
But I’m also seeing comments from people who aren’t happy with it, and they mostly center on these things: it’s not a “page turn” but a “peel”, it’s designed to encourage fancy digital effects treatments, and isn’t iconic like the classic “DC Bullet” logo that debuted in the late seventies.
The people who are upset about the logo change also seem to be part of the group who complained about the massive company-wide book relaunches that DC did a few months ago. The company jettisoned the bulk of the characters’ long histories and started fresh, irritating these longtime fans in the process.
A lot of comics fans feel a strong nostalgia for classic comics that I don’t seem to, maybe because I came relatively late to the medium, at 13. The first comic book I bought for myself was Power Pack #12, from the spinner rack at my local 7-Eleven. I’d read a few old Little Lulu and Superboy comics, growing up, but nothing captured my attention like these young kids—who seemed like kids I might know—with super powers! (And it was an X-Men crossover, so I became a mutant junkie in short order as well.)
And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started picking up a ton of DC titles when I started reading comics in the mid-80s. They had just relaunched several their books as a result of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which simplified the DC Universe and “cleaned up” a lot of conflicting or just plain weird histories for their characters. (And when you’re creating fantastic tales about superheroes every month for fifty years, you better believe that things are going to get weird and conflicting.) The 1985 relaunch gave me an “in” to start reading Wonder Woman and Superman from their first issues and feel like I was there at the start of their journey.
The comics I devoured from then through high school were magical, and I loved them in a much more intense way than I love comics today. But even though that was the period that I was most blissfully in love with comics, I very rarely think, “comics should always be like that.” That magic I felt had nothing to do with company logos or particular costumes or the fact that they were in print not digital. I felt it because being 13 and discovering a whole new world is magical. I’m sure young people getting into comics today are feeling the same magic I did and are excited to be in on the ground floor of something new.
I don’t want comics to be frozen the way I remember them and risk becoming irrelevant to new readers, even if that means that sometimes I won’t always “get it” or agree with the direction things go in. How many people are going to see these unfamiliar logos, either printed on a comics book or animated and glowing on a screen, and be enticed to discover a whole new world unfolding before their eyes?
I can pull my old issues out any time I want, and those logos will never change. I’ve had my magic, and now it’s time for someone else to have a turn.