Saturday, September 17, 2016

Afterbirth: DC's "Rebirth" initiative, week 16

Okay, so here's a question that didn't occur to me until literally five minutes ago: Is Gotham Academy: Second Semester, the only new DC comic to launch this week that wasn't on the new Young Animal imprint, part of the "Rebirth" initiative or not?

I had been operating under the belief that it was, seeing as how it was a shared-universe, DCU book that was canceled around the time as all of the other such books, and being relaunched with a new #1 during the roll-out of all the other "Rebirth" titles, even if it was near the end of that roll-out (I believe there are just two more books yet to debut, Teen Titans and Trinity).

But when I sat down to write about Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1, I see that it lacks the "Rebirth" branding along the top that all of the other "Rebirth" books have:
Which reminds me that when DC first announced the line-up of Rebirth books, Gotham Academy didn't appear on that list, which lead to fans wondering for a few days if it was being canceled and staying canceled, rather than being canceled just to be relaunched.

I can't imagine why it wouldn't be considered part of "Rebirth," as it's a non-imprint, DCU title set in the shared-universe (unlike, say, DC Comics Bombshells or The Legend of Wonder Woman or Scooby-Doo Team-Up or Scooby Apoaclypse), but there is clearly now "Rebirth" logo atop the first issue.

As a relatively poorer-selling DCU comic that is nevertheless high-quality and all-ages in address, it's the sort of book that DC should be publishing and continue to publish as long as they can, and one that could probably use any sales boost it can get. Which, I suppose begs a question for the retailers in the reading audience--Does the "Rebirth" banner across the top help sell more books if all other factors are even?

Like, would Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 see a sales increase based solely on the "Rebirth" logo? Little else here in direction or creative team has changed, so it's difficult to even find another comic in the exact same place as Gotham Academy. Given how relatively deep a corner of the Bat-Family books Gotham Academy occupies, I suppose it's theoretically possible that the "Rebirth" logo might have hurt it, as a long-time reader who only reads that book from DC's line might be intimidated, thinking it's part of a bigger crossover?

I have no idea. I'm just wondering aloud, basically.

Given that I'm not sure, I suppose I won't offer a review here...especially since I just reviewed it as part of this week's "Comic Shop Comics" the other day.

I will recommend it, though, and Gotham Academy in general. The series centers on an unofficial Detective Club as a prestigious, Gotham City boarding school, the members of which are constantly finding themselves engaged in the weird goings-on there, and at the weird city in general.

It's not really a Bat-Family title, despite its participation in the fringes of certain events, having published an "Endgame" tie-in one-shot and participated in "Robin War." Bruce Wayne gets mentioned and occasionally appears, and Robin Damian Wayne has appeared more frequently, striking up a friendship of sorts with Maps, the weirdest and quirkiest and most mystery-obsessed member of Detective Club. And the faculty of the school seems to consist of one Professor MacPherson and a bunch of Batman villains, ranging from Dr. Langstrom (Man-Bat, natch) to Mister Scarlet (Batman '66's Bookworm).

I like it a lot. I will note that it reads better in trade than in single issues, though.

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