Geoff Johns Shares What Went Wrong With New 52, Adult Graphic Novel Sales Fall, Usagi Yojimbo Turns Forty | Comic Book Club News For January 10, 2024

Comic Book Club News January 10 2024 new 52 wings of fire usagi yojimbo

Geoff Johns is sharing what he thinks went wrong with DC Comics’ New 52 in a new interview. Adult graphic novel sales fell in 2023. Usagi Yojimbo celebrates its fortieth anniversary. All on Comic Book Club News for January 10, 2024.


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Episode Transcript:

Geoff Johns reveals what went wrong with the New 52.

Adult graphic novel sales fall.

Usagi Yojimbo turns 40.

This is Comic Book Club News for January 10, 2024.

Geoff Johns Shares What Went Wrong With The New 52, In New Interview:

Geoff Johns, former CCO of DC Comics, is sharing what he thinks went wrong with the New 52 relaunch, in a new interview.

While the 2011 reboot is now considered a high watermark in rejuvenated comic book sales, often shouted out during the current, ongoing “here’s what’s wrong with comics today” debates, it didn’t last forever. When sales started to flag, the New 52 branding was removed in 2015, and led to a new version of the DC Universe in 2016’s “Rebirth” event slash branding.

The reason it didn’t work, according to Johns? It was a “half reboot” that lost the core of what makes DC work.

Said Johns to PopVerse: “The heart of the DCU that was missing at the time was legacy because the legacies had been erased, the JSA didn’t exist, there were a lot of relationships that no longer existed. It was an emotional void that I think a lot of people felt and, in some cases, readers had their proverbial umbilical cord cut with ‘The New 52’ and they felt it still and felt it even more.”

Johns continues on the same bent, calling out the erasure of Wally West as well as the dissolution of Black Canary and Green Arrow’s romance as two examples of what went wrong with the New 52. And with 2016’s “Rebirth,” both of those elements — and other, long-standing “legacy” relationships were returned to the DC Universe.

And while this podcast might offer that Johns does have a point, the real issue of the New 52 was always that releasing 52 new comics a month is a lot of comics. Maybe next time they should try the Old 25.

Adult Graphic Novel Sales Fell In 2023:

Yesterday, we brought you the news about the biggest graphic novels of December, 2023. And now, a new report shows that Adult Graphic Novel sales overall fell sharply in 2023, down over 22%.

According to the report from The Beat via Circana Bookscan, graphic novels fell 22.4% from the year before, after several years of growth. It’s not all dour news, as despite what tech companies thing, non-stop exponential growth isn’t possible. And overall, adult graphic novels were the third biggest category on Bookscan in adult fiction last year.

And while adults might be partaking less in the four-color funnies, kids are still gaga for granos. That’s short for “graphic novels.” Perennial favorites like Dog Man, Wimpy Kid and Wings of Fire continue to lead the kids categories, though no overall numbers were shared at this time.

But perhaps the best sign that the “comics are dead” and “books are dead” convos are overblown is that the American Library Association has reported that 43% of Gen Z and Millenials who don’t identify as readers have been to the local library in the past 12 months. Maybe the reason sales are down is because people are enjoying libraries, instead. That certainly… Checks out.

Usagi Yojimbo Turns 40 With New Dark Horse Collection:

Usually, rabbits don’t live longer than a decade. But it is hard to kill Usagi Yojimbo, and this year the bunny Ronin turns 40 with an anniversary collection from Dark Horse.

Said Dark Horse President Mike Richardson via press release: “Stan Sakai is not just a master storyteller, but a member of the Dark Horse family. We are so glad to celebrate Stan and 40 years of his beloved creation, Usagi Yojimbo, here at Dark Horse. I’m thrilled to offer longtime fans and new readers a fresh look at some of our favorite stories over the years, now in one new collection.” 

The Usagi Yojimbo 40th Anniversary Reader will include eight stories selected by Sakai himself, and in color for the first time. The paperback with hit bookstores on June 18, 2024, and comic shops on June 19, 2024

For Comic Book Club News, I’m Alex Zalben. Now to go read some granos. Oh wow, it’s really catching on.

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