In 1973, Oxford University Press published a book by the American writer and critic Harold Bloom entitled The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. In the book, Bloom set out his thesis that poetry – and by extension art – is in perpetual conflict with its past, struggling to find the new whilst out of necessity being influenced by the old. In summary, artists are forever trying to be the same but different.
certain resonance for DC fans) new #1s published across the four weeks of September, including the long-lived, never-renumbered Detective Comics (which, with an unbroken run from March 1937, is the longest continuously published US comic book ever) and Action Comics (an unbroken run from April 1938).
Ever since the initiative was announced back in June, the internet has been awash with commentary, conjecture, opinion, invective, bile and spleen. I actually began this post shortly after that announcement, but quickly realised that adding to the cacophony would be both pointless and fruitless; after all, there's little to be gained in passing judgment on something that hasn't even happened yet. However, this week saw the publication of the first wave of new DC #1s – following on from August's Justice League #1 – and as a longtime but these days largely lapsed DC reader, I was intrigued enough to purchase all thirteen titles. And reading those thirteen comic books, it's clear that Bloom's assessment is as pertinent to DC's admittedly commercial, pop cultural endeavours as it is to any form of art.
Dave's Comics either.
UPDATE, 9/8/12: I considered writing an additional post to this one to mark the one-year anniversary of the DC New 52 – basically a "one year later" (arf) missive detailing which DC titles I'm still reading. Frankly, however, the notion was too depressing to countenance: the only DC comics I'm still reading at this point are Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated – which essentially completely ignores the New 52 status quo – and James Robinson's The Shade, a twelve-issue maxi-series that again has no relation to the New 52. Even the once-promising Animal Man has become mired in an overlong storyline and now a crossover, and Nightwing, the one "old DCU" title I was guaranteed to buy, whatever the quality of the stories (sad, I know), has lost me too. Still, in truth, Marvel's output has been little better of late, and at least I'm saving myself some money (which I'm spending on old books instead).