Well now, didn’t exactly see this one coming: While everyone has been wondering if WildStorm would become the new DC since they were already on the West Coast…turns out that as of December, WildStorm will be no more. Wildstorm titles, licensing and kids comics, all recently coming out of La Jolla, will be turned over to the DC banner.
The Zuda brand is also done for.
In a surprise twist, WildStorm personnel will be reporting to West Coast heads Jim Lee and John Rood under the DC Comics Digital comics team.
Given the horrible sales of the WildStorm brand and complete lack of retailer confidence in the line, this was inevitable, and yet still somehow surprising.
The changes happening behind the scenes this week are part of a greater campaign to reshape DC Comics and build a company for the future. Our responsibility as Co-Publishers is to find a balance between short term opportunities and long term vision; between our strengths in traditional print formats and the infinite potential beyond print; between our characters’ rich legacies in the past and the bright promise for the future they hold.
As we’ve said before, there’s much to celebrate about DC. The foundation for long-term success is already here.
The DC Universe features the modern adventures of the World’s Greatest Superheroes, as envisioned by an exciting mix of new and fan favorite comic book creators. Vertigo is committed to publishing cutting edge, creator owned comic books and graphic novels by a wide array of creative voices.
One of our first decisions of the Co-Publishers was to up the publication of MAD Magazine from a quarterly periodical to a bimonthly one. In the wake of that decision, the magazine has seen increased sell-through growth. And we’re thrilled that MAD’s brand of madcap humor now stretches across media, with a highly-rated television show on Cartoon Network. The Usual Gangs of Idiots are an important part of this company and pop culture.
As we move forward, we also have to acknowledge the need for change.
After taking the comics scene by storm nearly 20 years ago, the WildStorm Universe titles will end this December. In this soft marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we will see of many of these heroes. We, along with Geoff Johns, have a lot of exciting plans for these amazing characters, so stay tuned. Going forward, WildStorm’s licensed titles and kids comics will now be published under the DC banner.
After this week, we will cease to publish new material under the ZUDA banner. The material that was to have been published as part of ZUDA this year will now be published under the DC banner. The official closing of ZUDA ends one chapter of DC’s digital history, but we will continue to find new ways to innovate with digital, incorporating much of the experience and knowledge that ZUDA brought into DC.
We’ll be further expanding our digital initiative and making a lot more news in this space. As part of that transformation, the WildStorm editorial team will undergo a restructuring and be folded into the overall DC Comics Digital team, based in Burbank, which will be led by Jim Lee and John Rood. With nearly two million free downloads and hundreds of thousands of paid downloads, our digital foray is already reaching a new audience worldwide. We could not be more excited by the successful launch of our Digital Publishing products in June, which exceeded all sales forecasts and will be building on our early success with new applications for DC material on all major formats and hardware, partnering with Warner Bros Digital Distribution. It has extremely been rewarding to hear anecdotal stories of lapsed readers returning to the art form and of brick and mortar stores gaining new customers who sampled digital comics.
We remain, as ever, dedicated to working with the greatest creators this industry has to offer, while inspiring generations of creators and readers to embrace this medium that we all love.
Jim Lee and Dan DiDio DC Comics Co-Publishers
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.