This is an idea in progress. I’m trying to stretch out my thinking for fun. Thank you for taking a look.
DC Comics is rebooting and renumbering their entire line in September, 2011. The initial press materials make it appear that the universe is getting a fresh coat of paint, not so much a ground up rebuild.
This has been attempted a few times in the past. The renumbering concept goes back to 1986 when the idea was proposed to follow Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was rejected at that time, although a few titles were renumbered and restructured.
I feel the failing of all reboots to really capture a larger reading demographic comes down to the reboot just lets you tell the same stories again. Comics have a 76 year history that needs to be acknowledged and embraced. Comics don’t always have to tell contemporary stories to maintain a sense of continuity.
With this concept I am proposing that events have run approximately in real time. Characters have aged and died. Sometimes replace by new characters. Truly build a sense of history and not keep trying to relegate your history of stories into a mythical ten year period. That’s just stupid and insulting to your audience.
To capture the imagination, you must not just reboot the status quo, you have to completely re-imagine the core. Keep true to the guiding principle but add depth and possibility for creativity.
1938 - Superman debuts to a world just beginning to be rocked by war. His existence is spread by scattered news reports and word of mouth mythology. He is as he always was and should be, the first.
By Earth calendar he is 24 years old. This puts his year of birth at 1914. Symbolic attachment to World War 1. This puts him growing up in Kansas during the great Depression and the isolationist mentality that still was pervasive after WW1. Possibly tie in an FDR Fireside chat as a source of inspiration for the decision to reveal.
1949 - Marries Lois Lane - He’s been Superman for 11 years. World War 2 has been fought and won. The world has returned to something normal. While not retired, he’s not as active as he once was.
1952 - Clark Jr. is born
1953 - after long being asked to not interfere in the Korean conflict Superman is asked to defend the flag and freedom from the growing Communist threat - circumstances are clouded in mystery, Superman disappears and peace is achieved.
1967 - 1970 - Clark Jr spends most of these years in the 30th Century working with the Legion of Super Heroes. Working with these young heroes, Clark’s powers fully develop.
1971 - Clark Jr. debuts as Superman 2 - Very much speaking to the legacy of his father. Similar to how we have political dynasties, just as his father was the first superhero, he is the first of the dynasties. Clark Jr. is 19, confident and powerful - numerous storytelling opportunities here with new sets of friendships and possible romantic angles. In addition this would be a Superman coming onto the world stage with media really reaching into the lives of public figures. (as we have stepped away from following traditional reboot formula at this point we would be allowed to create another strong female character
1985 - Superman 2 marries
1990 - Clark III born
1993 - Superman 2 is killed in battle with Doomsday (in this world death is real and irrevocable)
2002 - spurred by events of 9/11 Clark III becomes an active and visible Superboy. He is 12
203-2010 - As he grows into the role of hero Clark III spends time with the Teen Titans and the Legion of Superheroes
2011 - Clark III becomes Superman 3