DC was my first foray into comics.
My story began with animated series, which then lead me to my fondness for Green Lantern. While X-Men and Spider-Man mark these experiences, nothing touched me like the man wearing a green power ring, which made me ask for Green Lantern comics one Christmas.
Fast forward years later and I see the Teen Titans on TV for the first time, characters whose experiences matched my own sans superpowers. After having a job and a car, I’d go to my local comic shop, poring through long boxes to find out more about them, to begin my journey into a medium I love.
DC Comics’ Rebirth #1 took me back to those experiences, which is why I think it is a hallmark of my own passion for comics and a re-invigoration of DC Comics.
Since my first days of collecting at 16, a story I’m bound to repeat again, I’ve grown to understand how and why comics need to change. I recognized that my face wasn’t present, that queer characters were relegated to the sidelines and that this development was a comparatively positive one for them.
At the same time, I fostered a connection to many of the legacies of DC, including Donna Troy, Cassie Sandsmark, and Wally West. So, as I understood and advocate for the advancement of representation, these characters were still ones I could bond with. In that matter, Rebirth #1 gave me a lot of feelings, and some complicated.
How excited was I when it was clarified that the Wally I grew up with and the Wally that represented a change in vanguard could exist together? My heart fluttered seeing the Speedster formerly known as Kid Flash, and his words about being lost in people’s memories hurt, because he was never lost in mine.
Yet, at the same time, I wanted the new Wally to stick around. I didn’t want him to fade away as the timeline or multiverse or whatever was corrected, as what happened with New 52 and countless times before that. It fills me with joy to know they can both be in the pages of the company that got me into comics.
Yet, the darker reality of Rebirth is that it simultaneously addresses hope, which I see as a more diverse line, while hearkening back to the days of a much more White DC Comics. I think this is a chance for DC to do things better, but I’ll be honest with you and say I’m not hedging my bets.
With the loss of DC You, which I regrettably did not support as much as I could, we lost the glimmer of hope that represented a brighter DC for those of us who live our lives in the margins. That last banner before this Rebirth seemed as though this company was inching closer to something that all of us could call home, and my fear is that we won’t return to that.
We are flawed and imperfect, and so are the things that we create. My joy for DC Comics is in no way tempered by my anger at some of the actions of editorial through the years, and I am comfortable housing both of these intense emotions within my heart.
I do have hope and love for where DC is heading, because it’s the DC I saw as a teenager with bright eyes and money eager to be spent perusing the historic volumes of the publisher. I missed Wally and the profound impact he had on both the world of comics, but the characters within it and the media that came from it.
I also long for more people who look like me and the people I’ve come to know and love through comics. I want Alan Scott as a gay man, I want the darkness of Midnighter, and I want older gay characters like Obsidian to return. I want Thunder and Lightning, the Pierce sisters, back. I want to see Empress and Arrowette and Mia Dearden Speedy back. Give me Static and Milestone and something the legacy of Dwayne McDuffie can live through with vigor, respect, and authenticity. There are so many things I miss about DC, and there are so many things that it are missing from it.
Rebirth has the capacity to take the good parts of the past five years and combine them with the better parts of the many years before the New 52. Rebirth #1 gives the impression that things are truly changing for the better, so I’m going to trust it. I loved what I saw and who I saw, and I hope that I get to see more of that. While I’d love to ride on the wave of happiness I felt as I read through 80 pages of tear-jerking reminders of a time that was, I also recognize that things truly need to be different, not the same White sheen with a new paint.
Let’s hope that DC listens and that what comes in the next few months is something we all can be proud of.
May this be a rebirth and reinvigoration of DC Comics that allows for all fans, new and old, to fellowship together and feel as though we are being welcomed into the arms of something that loves us.