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The Graphic Novel That Would Have Changed Comics Forever
Alan Moore's Twilight of the Superheroes imagined a futuristic world where the heroes of DC Comics were drunk on power and engaging in sado-masochistic sex, they turned it down and we were left to dream of what if..

September 2011 is a huge month in the world of comics as DC launches the ‘New 52’. With traditional print media numbers falling the comics giant has taken the boldest step possible by re-launching its entire universe and embracing a digital readership. The Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman known and loved by so many remain intact, but every character across DC’s publications begins again with new ‘issue one’ comics.

Most aren’t having their origins retold but all have either been subtly or radically overhauled to reflect a changing world. Free of the bonds of years and years of continuity, hopes are high that new readers will come onboard and embrace a world that in the past has been seen as unwelcoming and complicated to break into.

For instance people who watched ‘The Dark Knight” at the cinema and wanted to begin reading the comics were faced with a run by Grant Morrison in which Batman was entrenched in a saga three years in the making. This complicated arc punished those that hadn’t been reading since day one, involving amongst other things ‘Doctor Hurt’ as the lead villain having last been seen in the 60s, Bruce Wayne’s test tube birthed son and attempts to tie in over fifty years of continuity into one ‘definitive’ story.

Along with this and a multitude of economic reasons they’ve also been lagging behind main rival Marvel in sales, a company who’ve successfully tapered their printed output to run in line with a series of films featuring their biggest names. This ‘New 52’ is by no means a last roll of the dice, but it does represent a step away from their traditional audience and a move to a world without their own self-imposed conventions.

It’s also an acknowledgement that DC are willing to take big decisions regarding ‘their’ world having missed huge opportunities in the past. A case in point for one of the biggest was a loss of nerve to run with an idea that would have reshaped the fabric of not just their own output, but potentially set a new benchmark for the whole industry. Back in the late 80s DC managed to reject the greatest comic book event never written – Alan Moore’s ‘Twilight of the Superheroes’.

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