Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 28, 2016

Bundled Extra: DC Announces Hanna-Barbera Comics

I think the EW story was the official anouncement (forgive me if it's not, but that's a lot of art otherwise) that DC Comics will be putting out a line based on the Hanna-Barbera characters to which they have access: the Scooby-Doo characters, the various permutations of Jonny Quest, the Flinstones characters, the Space Ghost milieu and others.

These are all sturdy franchises, for sure. I don't know how well they'll be utilized in what looks like a modern update with interconnected storylines and a slightly more somber, serious approach to the action-adventure elements (although maybe not so much serious for Jonny Quest, which was there already). A pair of of DC's perceived problems with their main superhero line over the last half-decade are 1) not having enough creators that connect to today's audience, 2) not really hitting strongly on the reconceptualization aspects to foster as many issues as the original conception managed. There's certainly that risk here.

Modernizing creative projects carries with it the unique problem of trying to catch a wave to what's working right now while risking you end up mired in the elements of the recent past from which the current conception pushes away -- the Poochie Problem. Does the art presented feel like comics from 2016 or 2006? What kind of book does DC sell best? The company does have a bit of history with more traditional takes on these properties. My memory is that DC did well with some of the HB and related properties internationally last time around, ahead of how those comics did domestically. That could be a factor as well.

This will mean a number of welcome jobs in a post-BOOM!, post-IDW, active-franchising world that may give a lot of the creators in DC's general, broad, freelance family an opportunity to do a somewhat different kind of creative project. That might be a welcome opportunity for a lot of artists who feel comfortable under that general umbrella but might be poorly suited to whatever may be happening to the main line come June.

Luckily, this doesn't play out as conceptual lines that exist in our heads for which we predict things, but as comics that will actually be made. We'll get to see how they do, as much as a company like DC allows us the numbers required for confirmation. I wish everyone luck and for the best comics possible.
posted 9:55 pm PST | Permalink

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