Madison’s Westfield Comics prepares for the new DCU

On Wednesday the San Diego Comic-Con kicks off. In recent years the focus has been less on the form of media in the event’s name and more about television shows, video gaming, and film. This year Comic-Con could be much more old school as the main point of discussion for many attendees will likely be the controversial decision by DC comics to reset all of it’s titles to #1 and, in a sense, relaunch the Universe. On Saturday, fans are planning a protest to express how “utterly baffled, disappointed and just ANGRY” they are about DC’s decision.

That protest is in solidarity with “Harleypalooza” where cosplayers who like to dress as The Joker’s lady friend, Harley Quinn, plan to show their outrage at the new DC version of Harley. The previous incarnation of Harley sported a modest clown suit and the new DCU (or DCnU) has her sporting a loosely tied corset and very, very short shorts (here’s some commentary on the new look).

DC is touting the “relaunch” as a way for new readers to jump on, but they’re also trying to allay fears from long-term fans that many of the key points of nearly a century’s worth of content will still be canon. The problem DC is trying to address is the complex storylines and stories that alienate potential new readers from jumping in.

I was curious how Westfield Comics, a Madison-based comic distribution company with two shops in town, plans to handle the relaunch come August 31. One clever way is through the company’s mail-order subscription service. If a reader is interested in sampling all 52 new titles they can pay $111 and save nearly $50.

On the storefront side, I checked in with Bob Moreau who manages the Mineral Point Road location (they also have a newer shop on Williamson Street). Moreau said logistically there won’t be much of a difference in the amount of shelf space being taken up by the 52 new titles. A handful will be released weekly starting with Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on August 31. Westfield is hoping they’ll be part of a midnight release of the new Justice League book on August 30.

Moreau does recommend to potential new readers and current readers to either set up or update their pull list. A pull list essentially informs the store that you know you’ll be picking up certain titles each week, so they put them aside in the back room when they come in so they don’t sell out. He said they expect their will “definitely” be sell outs of the number ones: “Maybe not on something like Justice League, but probably on the newer titles where it’s had to gauge interest.”

As for the fan reception in Madison, he said the general response has been positive overall. “Most people tend to look at it as a ballsy move on the part of DC and are curious to check out the new titles,” says Moreau

Some of the most buzzed about titles include Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, Geoff Johns’s Aquaman, and the long-awaited Batwoman.

Moreau also sent us some of the most anticipated titles for some of the regular Westfield employees:

Bob: Justice League; Aquaman; Stormwatch
Wayne: Justice League Dark; All-Star Western; Blackhawks
Dariel: Batwoman; Batgirl; Green Lantern
Ryan: Batgirl; Nightwing; Catwoman

And, I know Josh at Willy St. is looking forward to Voodoo #1 because he has a man-crush on Ron Marz.

IThis article originally appeared at on July 19, 2011.

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