Greetings, one and all. In today’s mailbag: Why does it seem like DC Comics is rebooting itself again? When does waiting in line for a con exclusive stop being worth it? And why am I still getting questions about Batman v Superman when I already answered like 200 of them earlier this week?


Snow Job

Sara S.:

Why does Hollywood lie to us so much, especially when we know they’re lying, and they know we know they’re lying? It’s so infuriating!!!

I mean for instance this Jon Snow thing is absurd. We all know he’s coming back in season six. But every time people ask Kit Harrington or D&D or any of the others actors, they all swear he’s dead. Yes we all know he’s technically dead but he’s also still coming back. We’ve basically known it since A Dance with Dragons came out but even the people who don’t read the books have surely figured out something is up by now if they’re not stupid.

Why do they insult us by lying to us?!!!

A few things are going on here. The first is that the Game of Thrones TV series has had an incredible run of shocking moments, and the show has gotten used having them. They obviously want the very probable resurrection of Jon Snow to be one of them, which is why they’re all adamantly saying he’s dead in every single interview. They want it to be a surprise when the pops back up, which is a reasonable thing to want.

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I doubt they lose any sleep over it because they know they’re probably not technically lying. While a few people may still believe that someone is going to find Jon Snow and bandage him up before he bleeds out, most fans agree that he does die and comes back through one of several magical means. So when David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and all the rest swear Jon Snow is dead, I don’t think they’re trying to insult us, I think they’re just telling us the truth—and withholding information so that this newest shocker doesn’t get ruined for the many, many people watching the show who haven’t been scanning Westeros.org daily for the past five years.

I also think that book readers are taking this personally, as if the show is lying just to them. It’s not. This is, as always, for the much larger mass audience of the TV show, and they can’t admit “Hey, Jon’s totally getting resurrected” to us without almost certainly spoiling it for everyone else.

My question is this: How much does Kit Harington hate being asked this question? It comes up every time anyone talks to him about anything, as if suddenly today’s the day that HBO told him “Yeah, go ahead and spoil it.” I bet he hates the question more than he hates his hair.


Rebirthing Pains

Guyb:

Why is DC rebooting all their comics again? For all its faults I had finally gotten used to the New 52, and it actually had a bunch of cool titles that are all seem to be getting canceled. I don’t even know what Rebirth is. What’s being reborn? What’s the point? Are they going to keep doing this every five years? Are they that desperate?

Whoa, there. That’s a lot of questions, but this might help: DC’s Rebirth is not a reboot. Really. DC said that from the start, and it turns out it wasn’t lying. Pretty much the only thing changing the DC comics universe is that New 52 Superman is missing for some reason, and pre-New 52 Superman is taking his place. (Classic DCU Supes has actually been living there for a while, with his Lois and a kid, and been trying to stop some of his supervillains before they become a threat, so even this isn’t crazy shocking.)

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DC’s Rebirth is just a name for a new marketing strategy, just like DC You was. It’s about canceling some comics, starting a few new ones, and replacing the creative teams on others. They’ve given this shake-up a brand name, Rebirth, so it sounds more impressive than it is, and so it’s easier for us media types to talk about. And yes, I can absolutely assure you that DC will be pulling this exact same thing the next time it feels it needs to shake up things in its publishing slate.

What I find interesting—and depressing—is that “Rebirth” is actually killing a lot of the DC You titles, which was DC’s initiative to diversify its comics and its readers. Titles like Midnighter, Black Canary, and The Omega Man are all going bye-bye, and I’m still heartbroken that a new team is taking over Batgirl. Li’l James Whitbrook, the scrappy youngster who hangs around the io9 staff and always seems to get embroiled in our adventures, put it best: “‘Rebirth’ is like the ‘Anti-DC You.’ In ‘DC You’ DC said ‘This is fresh change to bring variety to our lineup and we’re going to tell new stories with classic characters.” ‘Rebirth’ is them going ‘OH GOD YOU DON’T LIKE CHANGE FINE HERE’S EVERYTHING TRADITIONAL LOOK WE EVEN BROUGHT BACK SUPERMAN.’”


Walk the Line

Mimo:

Is it ever worth standing in line for a con exclusive?

Almost never. Con exclusives come in one of two varieties: 1) so plentiful that anyone can get them and you can just stop back by later when there’s no line, or 2) so limited that you could stand in line for six hours and not guarantee you’ll get one. Standing in line for a chance to give someone money is a terrible way to spend your time, especially if you’re at a con where you could be spending your time in a hundred more fun ways.

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These things will always—always—be available on eBay when the con is over. Many of them will be marked up to insane prices, but a lot of people undercut the crazy prices too, so you can expect to pay more than what you would have at the con, but not a crazy amount. I guess if you’re really financially strapped, and waiting in line is the only way you can afford the exclusive object of your affection, then I don’t begrudge it of you.

By the way, if you’re financially strapped and still using your meager resources to buy toys or comics, no judgments here. I’ve been there myself. Just don’t suffer or cause others to suffer because of your nerd obsessions. There’s no toy or comics or statue in the world that’s worth the tradeoff of eating instant ramen noodles for a week.


Hakuna Kamala

Amelia N.

Dear Mr. Postman,

What do you think will happen to Kamala Khan once G. Willow Wilson leaves Ms. Marvel? Although it seems obvious that she’d stick around the Marvel Universe - her book sells great, everyone loves her, she’s an Avenger – but I’m still not sure.

I’ve fallen in love with new characters introduced by the Big Two many times over the past decade or so, only to watch them fall off the face of the Earth once a certain creative team leaves, or when the next reboot inevitably comes along. Plus, I’m concerned that so much of Ms. Marvel’s identity and charm is due to Mrs. Wilson, and while I’m not saying that it’s impossible for a white writer (or a male writer, or a non-Muslim writer, etc.) to capture what makes her great, I am saying that newer superheroes don’t seem to get a lot of slack from higher-ups, and a bad run or bad creative team can tank the prospects for a new character really fast. I don’t want this to be Batwoman all over again.

No one can guarantee that Ms. Marvel will retain her prominence in the MCU once G. Willow Wilson stops writing her comic (which I hope is never). But I do know that Marvel is banking on Kamala Khan staying a star, because otherwise they never would have put her in the Avengers. She’s a member of Marvel’s biggest superhero teams (well, one of the eight of ’em) and thus she’s in Marvel’s limelight. I would bet they have much bigger plans for Ms. Marvel down the road.

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If, say, Ms. Marvel becomes a regular on one of Disney XD’s Marvel cartoons, or if she gets her own series (animated or otherwise, both have been rumored) then she’s free and clear. If G. Willow Wilson leaves the comic (which, seriously, should never be allowed to happen; Marvel, you keep paying her and paying her well) before this, then I think the company has enough interest invested in the character to try out a few writers if the first couple are a bust.

Honestly, I think Kamala is pretty safe—much safer than Batwoman was, at any rate. Marvel clearly likes Ms Marvel, and not just because she’s a great character, but because she’s exactly the type of excellent and diverse character that makes Marvel look good. DC not only relegated Batwoman to her own tiny corner of the Bat-universe, but pissed off her creative team and her fans when it inexplicably denied to allow the character to get married. Batwoman didn’t get less popular as much as people stopped reading Batwoman in protest. It had the same effect in the end, but it was still a DC gaffe that destroyed her.


Killing the Joke

Sergio A.:

Dear Mr. Postman,

After watching Batman v Superman, and seeing for umpteenth time that Hollywood doesn’t get that the Batman’s unbreakable rule of not killing is one of his core features, i found myself wondering: How’s the Joker character relevant in that world?

First of all, in a world where Batman is the Punisher in a cowl, none of his iconic villains should be still breathing, specially the Joker. And more important, one of the main reasons that drives the Joker’s obsession with the Dark Knight is his refusal to kill him, even after he commits the most hideous crimes.

If Batman kills, the Joker wins, even if he is the one being killed. I not sure if i want to see a world where the Joker was right, where he won. What’s your take on this?

I had actually had this same thought. In a world where Batman kills bad guys, it is absolutely insane that the Joker is still alive. I thought I had a hot new plot hole to make fun of, but then I remembered that fan theory that the Joker is actually a Robin that has gone insane (mostly likely Jason Todd, or so the rumor mill goes). That would actually give Batman a pretty solid reason to hope for the Joker’s redemption, although I don’t know that the DC movie brain trust has decided this, or even realized this. It may still be a giant plot hole that we’ll only be able to confirm in the solo Batman movie.

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However, seeing as Zack Snyder just announced that the Joker killed Robin 10 years prior to BvS, we can eliminate the one good reason that Murderin’ Batman hasn’t murdered the Joker. Does the Joker just always get away? Is Batman terrible at his job?

How pissed off must the citizens of Gotham City be that Batman has no problem killing and/or branding random thugs, but inadvertently or otherwise, continually lets the mass-murdering psychopath clown man off the hook? Regardless of however Snyder may explain it away, Batman killing people will always pose a major storytelling problem, if nothing else.


Pity Without TV

Dan A.:

Hello Postman! I have been wondering for a while: it seems like many Bioware properties are critically acclaimed, and would be great for adaptation. I don’t understand why, for example, Disney isn’t jumping at the chance to make a Star Wars show set in the Old Republic. Or why a studio isn’t truing to make a Dragon Age TV show to ride the success of Game of Thrones. Any insight into this?

Disney wants to keep their shiny new Star Wars universe as simple as possible. The whole point of jettisoning the old Expanded Universe was to clean things up and keep the entire franchise open to new fans. Obviously, Disney is keeping to the time period of the original trilogy and the sequels for the time being. Honestly, I’m kind of impressed that Rebels is even hinting that the Old Republic era exists.

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As for Dragon Age, fantasies are always expensive, and Hollywood doesn’t trust video games yet, mainly because Hollywood has continually failed to turn a video game into successful live-action entertainment. Look at the list of the top-grossing movies based on video games over at Box Office Mojo; the 2001 Tomb Raider movie has the top spot with a mere $131 million US domestic total, which wasn’t even impressive back in 2001. Studios will always be desperate enough to occasionally gamble on making a big-budget movie adaptation of a game, but one of these movies is going to have a be a bona fide hit before Hollywood embraces them like they did with superheroes after the 2000 X-Men film.

It’s possible that Warcraft or the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie will be the one to break free from the curse and be a hit. It’s also possible they’re as doomed as Disney’s Prince of Persia movie, and we’ll be waiting another 5-10 years for another studio to work up the nerve to try.


Do You Know What Killed the Dinosaurs?

Wesley S.:

Future Postman,

Easy question: What is the worse Batman movie, Batman & Robin or Batman V. Superman?

My answer has to be BVS, simply because: “Why so serious?”

Oh, Batman and Robin, definitely. There’s a campy charm to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pun-laden Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman’s Mae-West-as-supervillain version of Poison Ivy, but most of that movie is agony; in comparison, BvS is mostly boring, but it least it has a few excellent moments scattered in the darkness.

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I suppose murdering people and having a credit card under the name “Batman” are arguably equally as inappropriate to the character, but BvS still has two very important things going for it: 1) Wonder Woman and 2) a complete lack of Alicia Silverstone. Advantage: Batman v Superman.