So, a lot has happened here and IRL, but the biggest thing that’s happening here that I want to talk about: the ‘transformation’ of DC Universe into DC Universe Infinite.
I thought about putting this in @Applejack’s lovely discussion/vent thread about the whole thing, but I wanted to gather all of my own thoughts on this. I’ll probably post a TLDR version of this post over there sometime later.
So, on to it.
Am I excited? I…guess? At the very least, I’ll admit that part of me is thrilled that the community isn’t going away. And there’s no way I’m turning down the concept of getting more DC comics to read. But…
Man. I gotta admit this, because I’d be lying to myself if I said I felt any other way: I feel a good bit of sadness about losing DCU. Specifically, I’m talking about losing, in my opinion, the things that made DCU such an outrageously weird, affably bonkers and endlessly charming platform for DC fandom.
Yeah, the video content is part of it, but only a small part. Of course the powers that be would want HBO Max to be the one-stop shop for original DC programming (that The CW can’t afford). You ask me, they have a LOT of work to do on that front, but that’s a discussion for later.
But…more than the video content, it was the little things they did. Putting little links at the end of an episode to comics that inspired the content. Having collections ‘themed’ after a certain character or team, perfect for singular deep dives that took fans through the breadth of DC media. Having DC Daily, a daily talk show hosted by DC nerds like us, who were just as enthusiastic and felt just as strongly about the DC multiverse as we did. The fun, quirky stuff like DC Universe All-Star Games and DC Daily Comic Book Club.
In addition to the video content and the vibrant and wonderful community, it was all the oddball stuff that no other service had. That no other platform had. Things that made DC Universe not just a streaming service, not just a comics-reading service, not just an online community, but this unique space where it was all those things and it all felt like it was for us and in turn, felt like it was our space.
Was it flawed? Of course, it was. Did it sometimes frustrate a lot of people? oh, you bet. But see: at least to me, some of the things that frustrated everyone about DC Universe was part of the charm for me. It wasn’t meant to be every other SVOD platform. It was a space built for and by DC nerds, with the added benefit that was inclusive of every DC fan, regardless of fandom, degree of fandom, or how their fandom was shaped.
A lot of the things I loved about DC Universe were things that made it the perpetual laughing stock and punching bag of social media. And for the three years of it’s existence, DC Universe lived proudly in defiance of it all.
That brings us to today. DC Universe is becoming a comic-subscription service, something that some people wanted for a very long time. Cool. Except I guess my problem with that is, in losing almost all of what I just described, DC Universe doesn’t just become unrecognizable. Far from it, actually. It becomes something very familiar, something I have seen before.
In the transition from DC Universe to DCU Infinite, it is starting to look like Marvel Unlimited. It is starting to look like ComiXology Unlimited. It is starting to look like the Archie Comics or Dark Horse Comics apps. Hell, it’s even starting to look like DC and Marvel’s dedicated ComiXology apps.
Basically, DCU Infinite, in my eyes, is looking like every other comic subscription app that has been on the market for years and years. A product to be sold on a crowded marketplace with the goal of giving hardcore fans an outlet through which to consume the comics material while another service satisfies the hunger for original programming.
Or at least, that’s my ultra-pessimistic view of things. To be honest it’s the only thing keeping me from activating my DCU Infinite subscription: the leering feeling that, while good-intentioned, it all feels like a strictly numbers-driven decision. A directive sent down by business suits in a boardroom in an effort to prop up a bigger, flashier streaming service that’s been plagued with problems since its launch.
Again. That’s pessimist me talking.
Either way, I’m sure I’ll come around. It’s just…I’ll miss it for what it was, not what other people wanted it to be.
A membership like no other