Thursday, June 19, 2008

What’s Wrong with DC?

I love DC comics. No, correction I love the DC's catalogue of super-heroes.

Growing up the comics that made me a fan were Marvel comics. The Stan Lee / Jack Kirby / Steve Ditko / Don Heck and all the rest created books that just drew me in and made me want to read each adventure. As a six year old growing up reading comics in the early sixties was a great time to be a Marvel fan. DC had its moments, but each and every month Marvel was growing and changing and it all tied together. When Thor was called to Asgard, he no longer could make an Avengers meeting. Peter graduated from high school, Reed and Sue got married, this place (the MU) was where it was happening. In DC Batman was being morphed to reflect the TV show and the rest of the characters had adventures but issue to issue nothing changed.

Then I believe Carmine Infantino left DC and Jeanette Khan came onboard as the head person at DC. She emphasized story first and at the same time frame Marvel had become #1 and Stan Lee supposedly said only the illusion of change from now on.

Over the many years since then the O’Neil/Adams Batman, the LOSH, the Teen Titans won me over to becoming more of a DC fan with a strong love for Marvel. Then more recently Marvel has so radically altered what they have done that they have squeezed the last love I had for those characters almost totally out of me. So my love for DC super heroes grew a little more.

This discussion is leaving out Vertigo, Independents and such because they are a separate category. Over time I have ripped Marvel quite a few times and I have been much easier on DC, but now I have to start being worried about all the glitches and hiccups DC has had over the last few years.

Thing that DC has screwed up:
1) Trying to kill Nightwing
2) Re-launch of Wonder Woman
3) Launch of Bart Allen as Flash
4) Re-launch of Wally West as Flash
5) Re-launch of Batman and the Outsiders
6) The Last Son Story with Superman
7) Countdown
8) Re-launch of Titans
9) The departure of Chuck Dixon
10) The lack of a cohesive continuity for Superman
11) Lack of explanation for things like Desolation Jones disappearing
12) The apparent changing continuity on the fly mode they are in.

Then today a quote from Warren Ellis:
“What the hell is going on at DC? I took a break from NO HERO last night to skim Journalista, and
ended up spending twenty minutes reading all kinds of crap. I get on very well with Paul Levitz,
and I like Dan Didio a lot. I don't really keep an eye on what DC is up to these days, beyond opening the occasional comp box and having a flick through. I knew Dan was focusing on luring old readers back, I knew they'd fucked up some of their big relaunches, but my god.

Grant has to now go online to explain that he turned in his FINAL CRISIS scripts way ahead of time to define the structure of the event, but the prequel projects all ignored the scripts? JG Jones --who *can* hit deadlines on short projects with the correct editorial oversight -- is having to be assisted by Carlos Pacheco from issue 4 of FINAL CRISIS? DC stalwart Chuck Dixon kicked out of their creative stable? And FINAL CRISIS placing a fairly distant second to the second issue of SECRET INVASION?

People like talking shit about Dan Didio online. The truth is that he's actually a smart guy who, on
entering the company, had to make some tough decisions fairly quickly. It's also true that some lifers at DC editorial are very resistant to any kind of change. Are some of them just plain nasty and dumb enough to say, "screw Morrison, we'll do our own story, and if it blows his big reveals, well, fuck ím''? I would hope not, but it does seem to have happened anyway. Interesting thing about Joe Quesada: he likes to ''win,'' sure, but he doesn't like it when a big DC project fails. He thinks it hurts retailers, and therefore harms everybody.

I've been out of it for too long. What the hell is going on up there, people?”

I hope Final Crisis and all the ancillary books help get DC back on track. I have high hopes for the Batman RIP story line, Johns and Robinson on Superman. Busiek on Trinity and Johns on GL and JSA, but more needs to be done right.

I don’t know if it is Didio or not. The company has certainly been more exciting in some ways since Didio and has also been almost chaotic at times, but Mike Carlin is still there and I for one would not feel comfortable running the place with the guy who used to have the job still sitting there. When you come in to run a place you should have carte blanche to clean house. This year was the first time the Orioles allowed their new manager the ability to hire his own staff and the team has been over achieving in baseball’s toughest division.

This month we saw DC was only at about 30% or the market to Marvel 50%. Now I know we are only seeing comic book numbers and such, but the events around DC have not been good when compared to Marvel. Marvel has re-launched Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy and both have started very well. They have put Millar and Hitch on FF, personally I thought the book tanked under them, but I’m guessing the sales went way up.

DC had the biggest selling book of recent history with the Loeb/Lee Batman run and if the All Star Batman book had not become so ridiculously late it would have maintained insane sales also.

Paul Levitz is now the man who runs DC comics and Paul has always struck me as a level headed smart man and I think he needs to step in and set things right before the market becomes Marvel and everyone else.

Hope always springs eternal, but right now it has become easier and easier to pass on many new projects from DC. This month the Decisions book is such a bad idea and was an easy pass for me. I do not need to read a book by Winick to let me know he is for Obama and I’m guessing no one at DC is for McCain and is anyone for Ron Paul, but I don’t care who they are for, that is not why I read comics. Hell in the DCU Lex Luthor was President. This sounds as bad as Countdown Arena.

Where are the projects like New Frontier, Kingdom Come and Watchmen?

DC needs to shake things up and look at what they are doing right and leave it alone and cancel anything that is not working.

I want to see DC succeed, but there have been too many things that from an outsider's perspective scream chaos.

That’s my view of DC at the moment. It’s saving me some money and allowing me to get deeper into independents, so it all works out for me, but I want t see DC do better. To me a healthy Market Could be Marvel 40%, DC 35%, leaving 25% to the rest.

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