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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Usenet Fandom - Crisis on Infinite Earths p2

Before we had the World Wide Web, we had UseNet. Developed in 1980, UseNet allowed a collection of computer users to interconnect via dial-up modems and post messages onto newsgroups (which resemble BBSes). Anywhere and anytime comic fans are able to congregate, you know they will be exchanging opinions and ideas about comic books - particularly DC comic books. In today's segment, Chris Sheehan examines what online comic fans were saying about Crisis on Infinite Earths. Please note: usernames have been removed for privacy reasons.

On January 15, 1985 "RN" offered:

I think we just met the true brains behind Marvel’s New Universe line of comics.  I gotta wonder if Jim Shooter was browsing Usenet in early 1985.  In case the above manifesto proves too difficult to parse, I believe RN (and the owner of his comic store) is suggesting is for DC to not just reboot… not just scrap everything and start over… but to… just scrap everything.

Throwing the babies out with the bathwater, DC would launch a new universe of titles.  Superman and Batman?  Dead… Gone.  The DC Universe?  No such thing in RN’s Post-Crisis world.  DC can revisit those heroes in an occasional graphic novel, but not in any serialized form… no worries though, Superman might get the cover of TIME Magazine out of it….

In the interest of fairness, there were two responses I was able to salvage from this post.  First, from "NC" dated January 22, 1985 (yes, an entire week went by before another user came along)…

Okay, so "NC" is on board… He will miss Swamp Thing and Blue Devil, however.  Swamp Thing, it should go without saying was one of DC Comics’ most critically acclaimed books.  Then, as now, Internet acclaim does not always translate into sales.  A sales chart dated 11/22/85 shows Swamp Thing as selling 25,000 copies per month, placing it in the bottom third of DC’s monthly output.  Blue Devil only fared moderately better, selling 29,300 units.  Blue Devil was an interesting concept that, in my opinion, really fit the "NEW DC" branding.  It was a very fun book to follow while it lasted, and had such a fresh feeling when compared to many of the "old guard" DC books of the vintage.

All told, "NC's" reply was cordial and pleasant… it’s certainly a refreshing change from what we currently see on message boards.  Let’s see the next (and final) reply I was able to salvage…

On January 25, 1985 "QH" chimes in with:

Well… I suppose the more things change... I had to make sure that date was actually 1985 and not 2015.

That's all for today but have no fear, we’ve got plenty more Crisis on Infinite Earths fun to come.  If you have any additions or corrections, please feel free to contact me in care of this web-site.  Thank you for reading.


Can't wait for the next installment in this series of articles? For more of Chris Sheehan, check out his highly recommended Chris is on Infinite Earths blog

PLEASE NOTE: All words written on this page that aren't italicized were written by Chris Sheehan. If you want to attribute any of this work, please credit Chris Sheehan.

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