How 'Dark Matter' Is Changing The Game For Comic Books And DC
While the embrace of technological innovation has brought us closer to the picture of the future inspired by Issac Asimov and H. G. Wells, and later materialized in the grander scheme of 80s blockbuster films, the arrival of the contemporary techy era has had both negative and positive implications on a variety of fields and businesses.
Perhaps the most drastically affected business of all is that of the comic book, which, thanks to the advent of the computer and internet, have been able to reform the difficulties associated with comic book production and provide material to a larger audience.
Yet, despite the improvements made, the industry seems to also be suffering heavily to successfully establish itself in 21st century society.
According to sales figures released in November 2016, a steady decline in sales has been documented across the board for comic book companies. With many comic book companies filing for bankruptcy or seeking fan assistance to save them from economic difficulties, the primal question of survival has arisen and led many to question the meritocracy of the industry and art form.
Perhaps, some say, it is high time for comic producers to reevaluate and turn away from a beaten down bandwagon path to a new, less traveled by route, and DC, the prolific comic book behemoth, that has led the industry since its foundation in 1934.
Inspired by the recent challenges to the traditional comic book, DC has changed its approach. Discarding the antiquated and cliché habitual development of the previous decade, DC has instead moved to focus much of its energy on the development of completely new subject matter, more precisely known as Dark Matter.
Introduced to the public at Diamond Retailers Summit in Chicago on April 20, 2017, Dark Matter is a completely new line of comics that will feature a new array of characters under individual titles.
Beginning in August, the Dark Matter line will release a variety of new comic titles including The Silencer, Sideways, Immortal Men, Damage, and New Challengers, eventually gathering the protagonists and antagonists of each into one super comic, Dark Nights: Metal.
Each character has been endowed with their own unique ability, such as the ability to teleport through dimensions and the ability to borrow time, and these abilities perform pivotal roles in the character’s internal development and their receptions within the greater DC society of which they are apart of.
The truly riveting aspect of DC’s Dark Matter, however, is the actual development of the series.
According to Jim Lee, the publisher of Dark Matter, after considering what was “missing in comics” the forces of DC eventually decided that the true essence of the comic book had been largely depleted in contemporary times and thus “Dark Matter is a return to bringing both the writer and artist to the fore to unlock their full potential”.
This truly is an innovative and risky approach, as many artists are choosing to use traditional means to develop Dark Matter, which is quite time consuming and physically engrossing.
If DC’s Dark Matter proves to be as successful as it is projected to be, it will have huge implications on the future of the comic book.
Using traditional artistic elements in the development of the comic, uniting the creative forces behind the comics to inspire one solid work, and developing a completely new storyline will perhaps prove to bring posterity to the art of the comic book, entwining the artistic past with the creative future for ages to come.
Regardless of the outcome, it seems as if DC comics perfectly embodies the spirit of their characters, and like many beloved superheroes, refuse to go down without a fight.