Yesterday, at the New York Comic-Con, Dan Didio and Jim Lee held a Meet the Publishers panel, where they answered questions from fans, most of them geared towards Rebirth, their highly successful line-wide initiative.
One of the most popular questions since Rebirth was announced and explained in February was whether DC had any plans for Captain Marvel, which is understandable, given that fans have been clamoring for more Captain Marvel following the success of Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam!
Geoff Johns answered that in May with an affirmative, but gave no further information other than to say that there will be a Captain Marvel Rebirth book some time after DC got their first wave of Rebirth books just right. In other words, Captain Marvel was being saved for Wave 2 or possibly later.
It’s October now and the first wave has proved to be a wildly triumphant venture, probably beyond even DC’s expectations. It’s safe to say that DC got it right, so naturally, questions about the second wave have begun taking prominence, and now as then, “When will we see Captain Marvel?” is chief among them.
Fortunately, a similar question came up at the panel. The unexpected part was that we actually got an answer.
Question: Will we see a Rebirth of Shazam?
“He’s part of the story – you’re not going to see him right away,” DiDio said. “There’s a lot of characters off the table [in 2016] that we’ll see in 2017. We just went to great lengths to reestablish our characters, and we have a lot of stories to tell. But Shazam has always been a priority to us, and he’s part of the story.”
Didio didn’t say much, but provided a reaffirmation, some nuggets, and an awfully perplexing contradiction. It’s enough to digest.
The result is that Captain Marvel fans more or less came away with acid reflux.
The good news: Didio reaffirmed that they are still planning to go forward with including Captain Marvel in Rebirth in 2017, saying he is a “part of the story.” I assume that means that they intend for Captain Marvel to be a part of their two-year story arc over the course of Rebirth. (I know, I know, they’re calling him Shazam. I refuse to. That’s besides the point.)
So there’s that.
The bad news and the initial reason Captain Marvel fans are disappointed: Didio said we’re not going to see Captain Marvel right away. It’s disappointing that five months after Johns told us that, we’re being told the same thing.
Then there’s the nuggets, one big and one small.
The small nugget is that DC is seemingly going to stick with calling him Shazam. If so, that likely means we’re still going to get New 52 Shazam instead of classic Captain Marvel. But we already knew that. What we don’t know whether they plan on getting back to classic Captain Marvel’s roots as a purely good boy with a heart of gold.
The big nugget is what Didio didn’t say. Astute nugget diggers will have noticed that Didio said nothing of a Captain Marvel Rebirth book, much less a monthly title. He talked only of Captain Marvel being “part of the story.”
Reading in between the lines, if DC is going to publish an actual monthly title or even a special single-issue Rebirth book for Captain Marvel, they don’t appear likely to do it until they do their story arc first.
In other words, DC could just go ahead and publish a Captain Marvel Rebirth special and monthly in the initial phase of Wave 2, but they just don’t want to.
It doesn’t stop there, either. It gets more frustrating.
Yep, I’m speaking of the contradiction in Didio’s comment above, the part where despite saying that we won’t see Captain Marvel right away, Didio then goes on to say that Captain Marvel’s “always been a priority.”
It’s not a lie, necessarily, but it’s an insult to our intelligence.
DC, you have not published Captain Marvel in a proper on-going series in almost 18 years. Kids born in 1999 will be graduating next and going off to college. That’s an entire childhood.
Sure, you’ve had numerous chances to, but you kept choosing not to because you decided other things were more important. Additionally, toward the end of 2015, you said that New 52 Shazam was going to be “an integral part of 2016.” You had the opportunity to do it in Rebirth, but you didn’t take it. Again, you decided he wasn’t important enough to do so.
No, you cannot possibly have “always prioritized” a character if you make him subsequent in your publishing endeavors time and again. This is what you call a mutually exclusive dichotomy.
Clearly, Captain Marvel’s Rebirth is NOT a priority for you, DC.
Granted, you may have some special story event planned, but since the New 52 began, that’s all you’ve given Captain Marvel fans; Captain Marvel in story events.
Curse of Shazam!, abomination that it was, was just a back-up story to the main Justice League title. Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam! were only a limited part of the Multiversity and Convergence story events, respectively.
Why do you think they’ve been asking for more? And it’s not just that, either. Captain Marvel fans aren’t asking for these little teases you’ve given them in one-time story events; what they’re really asking you for are monthly adventures of the Captain of the Lightning.
Give them that.
Actually MAKE Captain Marvel a priority.
He deserves it.