Rob: no, there were not always Red Lanterns, nor Indigo, nor Blue, nor Orange, nor ...
My predictions about DC 52:
It's a last ditch attempt by DC to resurrect their flagging sales, the industry as a whole, and comic books in print as an art form.
I think that by the end of 2013, they will no longer be publishing print comics (except as specialty editions, low print runs and/or promotional) and will focus primarily on Online and Merchandise and Franchise options.
I also think, that by mid 2012, more than half of the print titles will be cancelled.
Of the titles that remain, I don't think they will last. The covers that I've seen, the storylines I've heard of, and everything that else that I've been exposed to, tells me that this is headed for a fall.
On the day of print of each of the new 52 titles, they will be available online, at the same price. Not much of a dissuasion for the collector, but the average reader (the bulk of comic sales) is moving to TPB's and GN's as opposed to individual issues. "Nobody" likes to wait for parts of the story over a period of months, when they can get the whole thing and read it in its entirety in a single reading ... short attention spans and all that.
Oh, well; it makes me sad, of course, but it's the same general progression as print edition books, moving more and more to E-Books instead of print - only at an accelerated pace.
Matthew, try this one:http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/13/dc-comics-september-2011/
Happy comic reading!
And remember, every Wednesday is new comic book day ....