Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Wash: 02/18/10

o Reinvent DC Comics

As you may have heard, DC Comics is under new management, so here's a quick run-down of the money quotes.

From the joint statement by Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the new publishers:

"[O]ur mission is to reinvent DC Comics to prepare it for the challenges and opportunities in this quickly changing world [...]; to better position DC [...].

"[T]here’s going to be some easygoing but frank, healthy discussion about how we can accomplish these goals, especially as we get into the specifics of what reinvention means."

From the statement by Geoff Johns, new chief creative officer:

"I’ll continue writing and giving my creative input as I have been in comic books [...] and use it to lead the creative charge on bringing it all to film, toys, television, video games, animation and beyond."

From the statement by Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment:

"Jim Lee [...] is fully adept and experienced at building a publishing program on his own, and will partner with Dan in doing so, but he also brings an affinity and passion for digital that will help the DC Comics business move aggressively into the future.

"Dan DiDio [...] knows how to manage the day-in, day-out mechanics of the publishing program [...] and he has great experience from prior to DC in adapting stories for other platforms.

"Geoff Johns [...] will be instrumental in establishing the tone and culture of creative risk and business growth that we intend for DC Entertainment. [...]

"From Neil [Gaiman] came the eloquently concise assessment that what I was talking about for the future of DC Entertainment was “no fear”. [...]

"And from Grant [Morrison] and [his wife] Kristan was the observation that we’re at the starting point of the next era for DC Comics and DC Entertainment."

I'd be willing to bet a not-small amount of money that this is the first time the terms "reinvention," "creative charge," "aggressively" or "creative risk" are cropping up in a DC Comics press release—certainly all of them together and with Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison standing ready as midwives.

Interesting times: ahead.

o The Needs of All Our Partners

Meanwhile, Marvel editor Tom Brevoort continues to say things that I wish he hadn't said. This week, a reader asks why it takes Marvel so long to add its new comic books to its established Digital Comics Unlimited subscription service. Brevoort's response:

"[W]e need to take the needs of all of our partners into account. As of yet, we haven't offered any of our regular titles through the MDCU until they've been on sale for more than six months. This is to give our Retailer [sic] partners sufficient time to be able to sell the books [...] without facing immediate competition from us with a day-and-date digital edition. I expect that, sooner or later, we're going to begin to experiment a bit more with getting closer to day-and-date, but never in a manner that jeopardizes the livelihood of our retailers. So there's always going to be a bit of delay between when the books go on sale and the soonest you'll be able to access them in the digital collection, I'm afraid."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't all of those comics already out there in good digital quality on the date of release, anyway?

I think they are, which is why Brevoort's stance seems fairly divorced from reality. The question is not—and hasn't been for years, at this stage—whether or not retailers will have to compete with digital distribution. The only question that remains is for how much longer that competition is going to be mainly illegal.

Seriously: Is this anything but Marvel knowingly acting irrationally in order to appease retailers? Is there any rational argument at this point against selling new comics digitally so the publisher can actually make a profit on them?

Marvel is the new DC, evidently, judging from their atrocious sales figures and sudden chickenheartedness.

o This Final Installment

Evidently, contrary to what Grant Morrison has said before, Batman and Robin ends with issue #12, if you believe the preview text.

I take it this means that the Morrison run will continue in Batman #700 instead; I suppose it's fitting, given that it will presumably have the return of Bruce Wayne, the original Batman.

That said, there are exactly five new comics from DC in May that I'm interested in, and four of them are written by Morrison. The fifth is I, Zombie #1, a new Vertigo $ 1.00 launch with art by Mike Allred.

o They're All Here

Not that it's much better at Marvel, mind you.

They've got lots of potentially interesting stuff, certainly, but with four-buck cover prices and the publisher's current everything's-connected attitude, I'm increasingly reluctant to spend my time and money on any of them. Maybe once they've been collected in reasonably priced editions. (Or hey, maybe not.)

Overall, Marvel seems to be adopting DC's strategy: If it doesn't sell, make more of them and hope for the best.

The one I'm getting, though, is Origins of Marvel Comics #1, written by Fred van Lente and Jeff Parker, among others:

"An all-star lineup of creators brings you the origins of Marvel’s greatest heroes! Short, accessible origin stories, all drawn by a roster of the hottest artists, including John Romita Jr., Leinil Francis Yu, Alan Davis and MORE! From the Avengers to the X-Men! From Iron Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man to Hulk, Deadpool, Black Widow and the Punisher! They’re all here!"

Now that sounds like fun.

Oh, and speaking of reasonable collections: If I'd had any interest in a collection of the recent Psylocke miniseries to begin with, a 20-dollar paperback that reprints a 20-year-old X-Men storyline along with the new material would have killed it.

o Something That Matters

An essay riffing on some comments by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort.

o Thanks to My Ingenious Storytelling

A 1,500-word look at a classic of 2000s superhero comics: Cable, by David Tischman and Igor Kordey.


matches said...

It's the "final installment" of "Batman vs. Robin", per the solicit, not the B&R title as a whole.

Tony Daniel has given some indication he's still on Batman post-#700.

Marc-Oliver said...

Quite right, that. My eyesight has been better.