Saturday, September 7, 2013

In Which I Come to Terms with DC Comics

Over the last two years, DC has been trying their best to stay relevant to the world of comics beginning with the mostly-complete reboot of their universe. Love it or hate it, this was a chance to make old things new and c-list characters meaningful. At least, I'm sure that was the idea.
DC has been getting a reputation over these years for not letting creative control rest on the comic title's creative team. Writers who have left have said that the editors are dictating where things go, often forcing last minutes changes to the stories. Unless you're on the inside, that's a claim that's hard to prove but if you look at some numbers, it seems very likely.
DC has had 73 different ongoing titles in the last two years. 25 have been cancelled (or ended for whatever reason they may claim) and of those, seven didn't even get to make it past issue #8. I can tell ya that comics are ordered two months in advance, so really the decision to can the titles came at issue #6 or even sooner. Pretty damn early to be calling it quits.
Amongst those 73 titles, the creative changes have been many. This last week, the writers and artist of Batwoman (one of the only books from the start to still have the original writers) quit the book after forced changes at the "eleventh hour" that they didn't agree with, one of them being that they weren't allowed to marry the character off (she is gay but the writers have said the gay marriage was not the reason why). This seems like their new MO after you look at the numbers over these two years: 163 total writers have been credited on these titles. Even more staggering are the 419 artists. And I guarantee that's lower than the actual number. I counted those issue for issue and didn't even go through every title completely.
DC is lost and confused. They keep changing everything in order to sell everything like it was Batman and are often cancelling smaller character books to launch another title from a selling name (including combining names to do such like the just launched Batman/Superman and the upcoming Superman/Wonder Woman). DC needs to let their people go. I understand you want things to sell and you do this for profit but you can't make profit when all you're doing is stretching your product thin and repeating yourselves. I still have some faith in these characters and their possible stories.
I just wish DC had some.


  1. I feel like a lot of the pressure at DC comes from them being owned by Warner Bros. They are over-protective of their properties to begin with and on top of that, I don't believe they really know how the comic world (and it's fans) operate and what they really want to see. That's why DC's best stuff continually comes from Vertigo and why mainstream heroes do not regularly appear in those titles. It's the one area I don't think WB really pays attention to unless they can make a movie out of one of them. Then, as soon as they make a movie, the comic dies.

  2. I'm worried that the whole WB/DC dynamic is gonna happen with Disney and Marvel.

  3. I get that DC worries about movie properties more than their comic counters but one would think that after these years, they'd notice how well Marvel is still doing and want to figure something out.
    And so far, Disney has been extremely good with letting comics be comics over at Marvel. I don't see them wanting to change the formula anytime soon but stranger things have happened.