DC relaunching comic book titles at issue No. 1

Tue May 31, 2011 11:26pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - DC Comics will reset the dial by renumbering its lineup of superhero comics when it releases 52 issues tagged No. 1, starting with its famed Justice League series, the company said on Tuesday.

The publisher behind Superman and Batman also plans to redesign costumes for many of its characters as part of the rebranding and retooling effort, which will begin on August 31 with the release of the Justice League issue No. 1.

Justice League is the decades-old team of superheroes headed by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, who collectively battle evil.

The DC Comics push to start over on its titles comes as the New York-based publisher struggles to catch up to arch rival Marvel Comics.

Marvel, which is owned by Walt Disney Co, accounts for 40 percent of the publications sold at comic-book stores compared to 27 percent for second-place DC Comics, according to statistics from Diamond Comic Distributors Inc.

With the possible exception of Batman, the Time Warner Inc-owned DC Comics has struggled to turn its superhero characters into viable movie franchises that can drive sales on everything from comic books to toys. Indeed, a planned "Wonder Woman" TV series was recently aborted.

DC Comics gave few details on Tuesday about the relaunch of its comic book titles, but it said that the No. 1 issue releases on 52 titles will continue through the month of September.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dean Gooodman)