Sometimes the venue in which an announcement is made can reveal quite a bit about what is being touted. A case in point is DC Comics’ announcement of two new "politically-charged" books, which was trumpeted first on the liberal, politically-themed Huffington Post blog. Taking its cue from the wealth inequality issues that were highlighted by the "Occupy Wall St." movement, DC has announced the May debuts of two series that look at the growing divide between the rich and the poor in the U.S. from totally different perspectives.
Gail Simone and Freddie Williams III’s The Movement
is about disenfranchised superheroes, who become the new voice of the people. As Simone told explained to the Huffington Post
, The Movement
is all about the shifting role of power in the information age and about "how injustice can affect real people’s lives."
The other new title, Art Baltazar and Franco’s The Green Team
, is about a team of teen trillionaires, and it posits a world in which the rich can purchase superpowers as easily as they can now buy political influence with anonymous contributions to campaign "superpacs." The difficult task facing DC will be creating "politically-themed" comics that reflect the major issues in our society without unduly alienating one side of the political spectrum or the other. It has been done before in other media--The West Wing
TV series managed the task quite well, but this is pretty much "terra incognita" for mainstream superhero comics.
Thus The Movement
and The Green Team
represent a rather daring move on DC’s part to expand the superhero comic book genre with new politically-charged themes. Given the weakness of some of the traditional comic book genres such as war comics and westerns as well as the weakness of many lesser known superhero titles, perhaps this new initiative will generate some new interest in the superhero genre, which remains the dominant direct market comic book category, but which, like the distribution of wealth in this country, appears to be concentrating its success increasingly in a handful of extremely popular properties (Batman, Avengers, Superman, X-Men, Spider-Man, Green Lantern
to name some of the most obvious). This announcement also provides some indication of how DC plans to replace the six "New 52" titles that are slated for cancellation in May (see "DC Cancels Six More Titles