Morrison and Morales get some Action

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20110610 090853 Morrison and Morales get some Action
The final pieces of the DC relaunch are revealed over at Hero Complex, and #52 is revealed as the Grant Morrison/Rags Morales ACTION COMICS #1. A whole new backstory for Superman is teased — probably to be spelled out at tomorrow’s Jim Lee/Geoff Johns event for the LA Times. Dan DiDio also gives a new big picture statement.

“We’re trying to move not just the company but even our industry to new areas and new audiences and, hopefully, for a more healthy business — this seemed like the right time and the right moment,” DiDio said. “This is a refocusing of the energies of the company into a way that really pushes the medium toward the widest and best audience possible. This isn’t about turning around a single character or telling a new story. This is about repositioning the company for the future. What we’re trying to accomplish is to widen the breadth of our stories and the appeal of characters and go after different distribution systems.”


Okay then!

The rest of DC’s super-PR:

A new era of DC Comics begins as the longest-running monthly comic of all time releases its first issue #1 since 1938.

This September, New York Times bestselling writer Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) joins with sensational artist Rags Morales to bring you tales of The Man of Tomorrow unlike any you’ve ever read before in ACTION COMICS #1. This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero.

The first Action Comics #1 is now the most sought-after comic book of all time. This September, one of comics’ most imaginative storytellers will make history again in Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’ ACTION COMICS #1.  This September, one of comics’ most imaginative storytellers will make history again in Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’ ACTION COMICS #1.
 sm cv1 Morrison and Morales get some Action
Superman #1: The Man of Tomorrow, Today
 
What is Superman’s startling new status quo? How does it affect his friends, loved ones and his job at The Daily Planet? Find out in SUPERMAN #1, written by legendary comics creator George Perez (CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, NEW TEEN TITANS and WONDER WOMAN) and illustrated by Jesus Merino.
 sb cv1 Morrison and Morales get some Action

sg cv1 Morrison and Morales get some Action
Supergirl #1 and Superboy #1: The New Superman Family
 
Supergirl’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth. Writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson (Smallville, SUPERMAN/BATMAN) will team up with artist Mahmud Asrar to give a new take on the teenager from Krypton in SUPERGIRL #1.
 
They thought he was just a failed experiment, grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon. SUPERBOY #1 will be written by Scott Lobdell with art by R.B. Silva and Rob Lean.

Comments

  1. nWoJeffDW says:

    Don’t trust Dan DiDio or Grant Morrison one bit. I have a feeling this is going to suck and only the fanboy Morrison zombies will like it.

  2. C. Towns says:

    “I have a feeling this is going to suck and only the fanboy Morrison zombies will like it.”

    So what you’re saying is it’ll be a commercial and critical success that may win awards?

  3. Compare and contrast ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #1’s cover.

  4. Assuming this is what it is, I am astounded — astounded — that Grant Morrison agreed to do this, esp. after the way he writes so ardently against the evils of corporations and conspiracies and is able to enjoy the fruits of his own creator-owned comics and characters. I am not judging him, he is my favorite comics writer and I can’t wait to read Supergods, but I am still astounded.

    Now he will write the comic that may indeed be the first Superman story since the mid-seventies to NOT say “Created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster.”

    What I don’t think DiDio ever got is how comics readers think. Most of us of a certain age like our continuity, we dislike change, and there are two things you just never do: you don’t compare yourself to Kirby and you don’t touch Superman.

    Ever.

    ‘Nuff said.

  5. Mark Engblom says:

    The arrogance of the current DC regime is just…breathtaking. “Firing” the current DCU characters and replacing them with lapsed 90’s archetypes?

    Should be an interesting convention season as the DCnU Party Train runs headlong into a brick wall of anger, alienation, and apathy.

  6. OtisTFirefly says:

    What everyone doesn’t get is that in less than a year, all of this crapola will go away once the decent sales of the first few months fall like a cow from a helicopter. Costumes will return, numbering will revert, continuity will be back… we’ll get big flowery speeches from DD about how “DC respects its readers and tradition is so important in comics and WE’LL GIVE IT TO YOU BECAUSE WE ARE ALL ABOUT YOU, THE FANS and we’d never screw your beloved DCU!!!!”

    And DD, again, will come out smelling like a rose and lead us down another vain attempt at getting “today’s audience” like this one. He’ll keep his job while others not responsible for this fiasco will lose theirs.

  7. I’m intrigued by about a quarter of the new titles and, above all, creative teams. That’s more titles than I’m currently buying from Marvel and DC combined.

    On the other hand, whether or not I’m sticking around will depend on how accessible and attractive the stories are. I don’t care about superhero universes anymore. I care about good stories that tell me new things in entertaining ways.

    Also, as soon as I detect the faint whiff of a crossover forcing its way into a given book, it’ll be wiped from my pull list. I’m too old for that crap, and my shelves are packed with good comics.

    So, purely from my own perspective, DC will be getting a solid chance to convince a direct-market reader who’s been bored with most superhero books not written by Grant Morrison or Joe Casey for the last few years.

  8. Charles Knight says:

    we’ll get big flowery speeches from DD about how “DC respects its readers and tradition is so important in comics and WE’LL GIVE IT TO YOU BECAUSE WE ARE ALL ABOUT YOU, THE FANS and we’d never screw your beloved DCU!!!!”

    If that happens, it will not be Didio, Lee and Johns saying it as they’d be out on their arse – this is not meant to be a temporary change and I’m not sure failure would lead to a return to the old or something more drastic.

  9. “…this is not meant to be a temporary change and I’m not sure failure would lead to a return to the old or something more drastic.”

    I’m not so sure about that, considering that more than half of the Nu titles evoke either creative hesitancy or refried 90s crap. So far, this stunt looks more desperate than anything, and the fact that all the Super titles are all mining worn-out writing cliches doesn’t bode well.

  10. Synsidar says:

    I’m not so sure about that, considering that more than half of the Nu titles evoke either creative hesitancy or refried 90s crap.

    It’s common for superhero comics readers to assume that all change is illusory, like the soap opera promotion claiming that ___ will change The Young and the Restless forever. But DC Entertainment is part of a corporation with a head, Diane Nelson, who was put there to make the unit a success. This relaunch, combined with national advertising and the digital comics program, is just too high-profile an effort for failure to be acceptable. If some of DC’s titles aren’t losing money, with circulations as low as they are, they can’t be making much money.

    The current DC editorial team will be given months to make the relaunch a success, but if circulation figures don’t go up and digital sales aren’t successful, it’s likely that there will be fairly radical changes. People at the top being fired, the characters being licensed to another publisher, a shift to OGNs, and/or other changes. Superman, Batman, et al are comic book characters, but that doesn’t mean they’ll keep appearing in comic books that don’t make profits.

    If this relaunch fails, the comic books and their publishers will be embarrassments for Time Warner. Corporate executives hate being embarrassed.

    SRS

  11. “It’s common for superhero comics readers to assume that all change is illusory…”

    Whether they do or not isn’t really the point, if they aren’t even hooked with the introduction. A premise that’s already on the surface as “been there, done that” is hardly a smart idea to re-sell as something new. I don’t think Diane Nelson had much of a hand in formulating this stunt.

  12. Mark-Oliver: I’m intrigued by about a quarter of the new titles and, above all, creative teams. That’s more titles than I’m currently buying from Marvel and DC combined.

    On the other hand, whether or not I’m sticking around will depend on how accessible and attractive the stories are. I don’t care about superhero universes anymore. I care about good stories that tell me new things in entertaining ways.

    So, purely from my own perspective, DC will be getting a solid chance to convince a direct-market reader who’s been bored with most superhero books not written by Grant Morrison or Joe Casey for the last few years.

    This is almost exactly me. I was a long time DC reader who gradually whittled his pull down to just one DCU title (Batman Inc.), and I’m super-excited about 8 of the new titles and willing to give another 6 or 7 at least a one-issue tryout. I’m hoping for good, accessable superhero stories that don’t require a PhD in DCology to understand. Here’s hoping that’s what they actually end up providing me.

  13. Ron Catapano says:

    As a comic shop owner this DCNewU scares the cr@p out of me, because this is a make or break event for DC.

    As a fan, I’m excited about most of these books. The fact that I’m excited about changing thes books means that the current books just aren’t as good as they could be.

    There does seem to be one thing that almost all the comments I’ve read have in common, readers don’t want Barbara Gordon to stop being Oracle. Oracle is probably one of DC’s strongest characters. The Calculaters daughter may be able to fill the story role but she doesn’t have the backstory that make readers care about her.

    I have 2 other concerns – that out of 52 titles, 11 are Batman related books. I’m also worried that Didio is writing a book, as a writer he makes a fine editor and after reading the Outsiders I would question the decision to put him on another title.

  14. thefreakytiki says:

    I. Love. It.

    As a comic consumer, I can’t wait for the new DCU. My LCS owner posts on these boards and I have already told him that I will be sending more of my $$$ his way.

    the Tiki

  15. Jon_in_Austin says:

    Slightly off-topic, but given it’s Morrison’s Superman we’re talking about maybe not. This sure looks like the Kirby Crackle to me:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/10/nasa-voyager-bubbles-solar-system-heliosphere_n_874733.html

  16. Seth Hollander says:

    “how comics readers think. Most of us of a certain age like our continuity, we dislike change”

    That’s why WarnerComm is refocussing DC to reach NON-COMICS READERS. Why pander to a shrinking niche market when you can go for the untapped masses? The big money is in the iTunes/Netflix/Amazon consumer pools, not in in the Diamond outlet system (the “direct Market”).
    Imagine an RPG company saying “We’ll stick with putting out paper maps, dice, and rulesbooks. That computer stuff is not what we do.”
    What effect the DCnu has on the Direct Market is beside their point. We DM consumers are not feeding WarnerComm sufficiently. They are moving on. That’s business and it’s “The American Way”.
    I’m an old fart who wants comics on paper and music on CDs. That era is fading away. If I don’t give up those desires, I should hop on a piece of ice and float out to sea.
    In the big picture, discussing how DCnu will fare in our DM is nitpicking.

  17. Synsidar says:

    Whether they do or not isn’t really the point, if they aren’t even hooked with the introduction.

    Suppose that you were in charge of remaking DC’s comics line. Circulation has been declining for years. Some titles are still profitable, others are breaking even, and others are losing money. The characters are still potentially valuable IP for use in other media, but successful movies, TV and video games aren’t guaranteed. Superman, Batman, et al., enjoy wide name recognition, but the core audience for comic books is estimated to be about 300,000 adults and hasn’t changed in size significantly for years.

    Getting new and “better” (writing} talent isn’t the answer, since quality perception is relative and novelists, for example, wouldn’t want to write endless serials. They’d prefer standalone stories.

    The speed of artists will limit the size of publications, since issues containing more then 32 (?) pages of story a month would have to be anthology publications.

    Shifting over to OGNs could result in cash flow problems. Unless artists were paid less per page, OGNs which didn’t sell well could be expensive flops. Comic writers aren’t accustomed to writing close-ended stories.

    Writing endless serials is a creative straitjacket, since any direction or style dulls with repetition. Any writer will have a limited number of good stories to tell about a given character.

    I don’t know what I’d do with DC. It remains to be seen whether a national advertising campaign can actually convince non-comics readers to develop a reading habit. If that fails, DC might be doomed.

    If I could do anything I wanted, I’d opt for OGNs about the characters that dispensed with continuity. Just let the writer and artist do the best story they could about the given character, and hope that it sells. If a writer wanted ot do a sequel to an OGN which sold well, fine; otherwise, each OGN would be a standalone story. Flops could be expensive, but there would also be the potential of reaching a big audience that doesn’t exist with issues marketed to the comics audience.

    I’m not informed enough to speculate on how well digital comics will sell at particular prices.

    SRS

  18. Jon_in_Austin says:

    “That’s why WarnerComm is refocussing DC to reach NON-COMICS READERS. Why pander to a shrinking niche market when you can go for the untapped masses?”

    Right, but what age group are they targeting with this revamp? I started reading comics as a kid in the 1970s. Now I’m a parent, but given the extreme tone and excess imagery in the current line-up, there’s not much that I’d feel comfortable sharing with my kids (Johnny DC excepted). My wife is a Star Trek nut but she won’t touch this stuff either. A new set of No. 1s won’t make a difference. Still looks like pandering to a niche to me.

  19. “Getting new and “better” (writing} talent isn’t the answer, since quality perception is relative…”

    You just shot down your own thesis right there. If you’re still going to the same well of writers and artists you always have in the past, you can’t really expect them to churn out something new and exciting, can you? They’ve already been failing to do that for years already.

    Quality perception may be relative, but DC really only has one shot at getting outside attention for this. ONE SHOT. If they can’t even convince their own readership base that they’re finally changing their socks, then they’ve got an even more uphill battle with those who at this point are only casually interested.

    There are so many other entertainment options now available.

  20. “That’s why WarnerComm is refocussing DC to reach NON-COMICS READERS. Why pander to a shrinking niche market when you can go for the untapped masses?”

    Oh, you mean that unknown phantom that’s always being trotted out as ‘untapped masses’? They really don’t exist…at least not in the form and volume that DC and Marvel would like you to think.

  21. hikaru says:

    “Also, as soon as I detect the faint whiff of a crossover forcing its way into a given book, it’ll be wiped from my pull list. I’m too old for that crap, and my shelves are packed with good comics.”

    Amen to that. A clean slate like this could give us something like Frank Miller’s Daredevil or Walt Simonson’s Thor for DC. Decades of bogged down continuity has always hindered DC’s ability to tell fresh stories.

    I hope for sweet love all that writers get to tell some wild stories with minimal editorial guidance.

  22. I need to see actual material before I part with money on anything, except perhaps Legion. Even Jonah Hex I’m confused about and apprehensive of back-ups.

    Bluntly, I’m not seeing enough creative blood that’s new to DC and this has an air of heavy editorial direction, which is frequently a deal-killer for me. Especially when the DiDio/Johns management is what had me only buying 4 DCU-ish titles in the first place.

  23. Charles Knight says:

    “Oh, you mean that unknown phantom that’s always being trotted out as ‘untapped masses’? They really don’t exist…at least not in the form and volume that DC and Marvel would like you to think.”

    This move is an indication that the DM isn’t enough anymore, so they can’t get anyone else to come to the party, I think the party is over.

  24. X-fan says:

    I really do welcome what DC are aiming for. I just wish it was 52 $1 books or better still, just 26 books. Brian Hibbs summed it in his latest column by saying there are too many books vying for too few readers. The industry needs fewer titles right now, not more.

    I like the diversity in the 52 titles, but do not understand why half of them aren’t just miniseries that should prove themselves first.

    So, yes, I am excited that DC are striving for new readers in new markets, but I just wish they weren’t doing it by offering too large a selection for the public to have to choose from.

    Best of luck to DC and the Retailers that have to order and sell them.

  25. Synsidar says:

    You just shot down your own thesis right there. If you’re still going to the same well of writers and artists you always have in the past, you can’t really expect them to churn out something new and exciting, can you?

    If editors insist on the endless serial approach, then any writers would be as constrained as the current industry mainstays.

    However, if they abandoned that approach in favor of OGNs, then creators would have a lot of freedom. A writer could have a number of momentous battles and other events occur in the hero’s past to bring about his current situation, and have deaths and changes that would be unimaginable with the endless serial. The reader also wouldn’t open the book being able to guess right away how the story ended.

    From the creative standpoint, nothing but good things would result from switching to OGNs. The drawbacks are all financial in nature.

    SRS

  26. OtisTFirefly says:

    >>>>That’s why WarnerComm is refocussing DC to reach NON-COMICS READERS. Why pander to a shrinking niche market when you can go for the untapped masses? The big money is in the iTunes/Netflix/Amazon consumer pools, not in in the Diamond outlet system (the “direct Market”).

    Well, Seth, perhaps you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing my rant about DC being ignorant trying to go after “todays market”… this youth market DOES NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT COMIC BOOK FLOPPIES!!! They are trying to market, as I said before, PONG to a MODERN WARFARE audience. IT WILL NOT WORK.

    THIS is why you go for the “niche” market. It’s not like they’re losing money as it is.

    >>>Imagine an RPG company saying “We’ll stick with putting out paper maps, dice, and rulesbooks. That computer stuff is not what we do.”

    Imagine a company making millions off of selling comics and books saying “We’ll take most of what’s working and flush it down the toilet because our jr. execs hatched an idea to get them HUGE ONE-TIME bonuses for sales and diversity points. Never mind we will be making HALF or LESS of what we’re making now in a year!”
    Well, y0u don’t have to imagine it. It’s happening right in front of us.

  27. Thefreakytiki says:

    Aren’t comics about hope and the glass being half full? At what point did it become about fear and whining?

    This is a grand opportunity for the industry. It’s a chance to be involved on the ground floor for a brand new era. I applaud DC on their bold initiative. I look forward to telling people that was was along for the ride from the dawn of this new day.

    The Tiki

  28. jonrob5000 says:

    Totally agree with X-fan said. Especially…
    “I like the diversity in the 52 titles, but do not understand why half of them aren’t just miniseries that should prove themselves first.”

    I’m more disturbed by the plan to attempt to apparently sever the Superclan from any legal connection to Siegel & Schuster.

  29. Synsidar – I think you have a great handle on the situation. Would drop me a email at jimshelley@gmail.com?

  30. @Synsidar I agree those are great points — but super-hero comics are serial in nature — they are designed to do little over long periods of time so as to keep readers coming back. Its from Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and more recently, Lost. It is a very tried-and-true method. The problem is timeliness. If JMS’ “Superman” only comes out once a year b) will people still care about a cliffhanger? and b) it takes several years to build up a decent back catalog. But, maybe OGN’s make a lot more money, so maybe you are right on. I could certainly see myself reading them if they weren’t a wipe of the continuity I had already spent decades of dollars on. I think that’s why readers like me are mad — because we’ve invested so much money and time, we feel like actual investors. And we are. Of course we want the industry to grow and find new fans if they exist, but not by being abandoned at the nerd lunch table.

    All of these titles just look like potential movie licenses to me.

    And just to be clear on my comments above, there has been no announcement by DC that they will abandon the “Created by Jerry and Joe” bubble, this is just a guess (also read Jeff Trexler’s guest column here). But it is becoming increasingly possible if you look at the wording that suggests a brand-new origin for Superman. Another interesting facet of this is where do other creators (many of them at the very top of their field) stand on this? And why are so many missing from the new roster? Obviously, DC is going to be watching what people say, esp. if this is, at heart, or at least partly, about creators’ rights.

    Note too that the big event last night in LA that promised “bombshell announcements” about Superman announced nothing, included no details, and had no Q&A. Are they listening?

    Wish I was going to Comic-Con to see what happens….sorry for the long post.

  31. When its time to celebrate the 1000 issue, the old numbering will return. Its inevitable. A 1000th issue is way cooler than yet another new #1. We’ve seen new #1’s a hundred times over, but how many american comics have made it to issue 1000?

  32. Apollokid9000 says:

    I’m interested to see how DC markets the revamp to the public at large. Most of the comments about the revamp have been by those in the know, those already buying comics with a pull list for a varying number of years.

    How will DC get the person who, at best, is familar with DC characters only from their various tv shows and movies.

    DC has 2 bread winners with the public at large: Batman and Superman.
    Will see where Green Lantern resides after this summer,
    Wonder Woman is the black sheep of their IP’s. Only Captain Marvel is handled with more puzzlement.
    It seems like their falling back a bit on pushing the Flash.

    I like a good number of the titles debuting in September.
    Could it have more diversity, creator and genre-wise? Of course.
    Are some of the redesigns a bit “extreme”? Yup,
    But that’s how I view it. I’ m one of a potential hundred thousand, hopefully.

    In terms of reaching a wider audience, especially across multiple media, a couple things they could do.

    Have weekly online comic strips starring the big five across the homepages of various search engines ie: Superman on Google homepage, Batman on Yahoo homepage, GL on MSN, etc.

    The sucess of Arkham Asylum is nice but…it’s Batman. Again.
    Where’s the Halo/ Call of Duty styled Suicid Squad video game? Create that before even thinking about a Gotham Imposters game.

    Whatever Happened To The DCAU?
    Not every character needs a movie right of the bat.
    One their best characters is ready made for animation: The Flash. And use the Flash that most people know – Wally West. That’s not a strike against Barry Allen. It’s just that one season of a live action show back in the early 90’s doesn’t compete with several years on lauded animated shows.

    Promote your comic books. Online, in bookstores, at the movies,on tv.
    Supposedly they plan to do this.

    For all the novelists they hire to write their comic books, why not hire them to actually write novels starring DC characters.
    Not the superheroes but the supporting characters.
    How about Alfred Pennyworth: Burning In Burma?
    Lois Lane: Editor In Chief?
    The Wall: The Unauthorized Biography of Amanda Waller?

    But I don’t anyone would think of these possibilities and declare that “they just won’t sell”.

    Seems that DC is admitting the same about their current slate of books by even having the revamp.

    Just my 2 cents.

  33. Synsidar says:

    If JMS’ “Superman” only comes out once a year b) will people still care about a cliffhanger? and b) it takes several years to build up a decent back catalog.

    Perhaps it’s a matter of what people are used to, but it’s pretty routine, I think, for a prose author of a series to do one novel per year. If the developments in the novel are dramatic and the ending is successful, the GN should be enough of a satisfying chunk to sate the appetite for a while — at least for that particular writer/artist team.

    The biggest advantage to doing OGNs might be setting up situations which haven’t been done before.

    As an example: Aliens invade Earth and kill or capture most of the paranormals. Some heroes and villains escape. The remaining humans are used as slaves, test subjects, and food stocks.

    The free paranormals find allies, who charge a price — cell samples, so that they can replicate the humans’ powers — and return to Earth to free their people. However, they find that there aren’t many left to save, and those who remain have been altered so severely, since they’re food, that they can hardly be considered human..

    So, what do the paranormals do after their victory? Do they give up Earth for dead? Embark on a long-term project to repopulate the planet? And will their alien allies remain allies?

    As a reader, writer, or editor, I’d be much more interested in seeing heroes deal with loss and multi-faceted, open-ended challenges than I would be with simple hero-villain conflicts.

    SRS

  34. PONG to a MODERN WARFARE audience

    While the prevailing fanboy view is that they shouldn’t do this and stick to selling that Pong to the Pong audience, the smart person will shake their heads and ask, “Why are they trying to sell Pong in a Modern Warfare era?”

    Now that we have it pretty much figured that it’s a big “Fuck you!” to the heirs, the half-assed nature of this stunt makes sense.

  35. Seth Hollander says:

    belated response to OTISTFIREFLY (great movie, btw):
    RE: ” this youth market DOES NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT COMIC BOOK FLOPPIES!!!”
    Umm, yes. “Same Day And Date” downloads are how they reach the wider market. Floppies are vestigial, for sale to the insufficiently renumerative (to WarnerComm) niche market. 2-5 years from now DC will drop the price of downloads. 5-10 years from now they will stop producing floppies.
    Maybe Apple will do an DC Absolute iPad model to make us feel better?

  36. Torsten Adair says:

    In less than ten years:
    * DC will have digitized their entire backlist. Even stuff they don’t have the rights to anymore, like Bob Hope, if only so they can use it in-house.

    * Everything will be available as digital comics. Marginal titles which do not generate enough sales to justify a mass-market comic book will be available as a Print-On-Demand edition. The technology already exists. Warner Archives already runs this model for DVDs, offering fan-favorite movies and television shows at a reasonable price.

    * Once everything is digitized, fans will be able to edit their own collections. These collections can then be posted on message boards, encouraging others to order a copy, or peruse the digital copies.

    * There is a strong possibility that Continuity will become fractured. The best model for Warners is to allow creators to take characters and reinvent them. Look at how many Elseworld series are now part of the “52” multiverse. How much money has Warners made from the Batman films? ($2.624 Billion) Which were inspired not by the camp television series, but a “grim and gritty” “imaginary story” version by a young buck creator. If a title like Superman: Earth One becomes successful, then commission sequels. If not, then perhaps some fan will feel nostalgic and try to relaunch a failed version fifteen years later. Either way, DCE has a story they can reuse at a later date.

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