Relaunching some of the world’s most beloved comic-book heroes requires careful planning, attention to detail, captivating storylines, and extraordinary artwork. Oh, and free pizza, too.
For Jim Lee ’86, co-publisher of DC Comics and the artist behind the new Justice League series that hit stores Aug. 31, last week was the culmination of all of the above. After helping to lead the company’s effort to attract new readers, he delivered pizza to fans who had camped out at Manhattan’s Mid Town Comics for Justice League 1’s midnight release.
Lee, the illustrator behind legendary titles such as X-Men I, has high hopes for reinvigorating Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and others by paring down their extensive “continuity” – the long list of storylines that the characters have collected in more than 70 years on the shelves. As he explained to NPR’s Melissa Block, “We’re sort of shortening and simplifying the backstory so that new readers can jump in and understand what’s going on from the very first issue. … When a book is up to issue 900-something, you don’t feel like you can kind of jump in and really understand what’s going on right off the bat.”
So far, reviewers and readers have been divided, but from a publicity standpoint, the relaunch has been a success, with The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wired, and several other media outlets covering the story. And according to Rich Johnston of the blog “Bleeding Cool,” Lee was the right artist for the job. While comics aficionados may be accustomed to Lee’s style, Johnston wrote, “for the unfamiliar eye it simply looks glorious.”
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