Comic Book Resources has announced that today’s B&B column, wherein DC E-i-C Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase answer fan and journalist questions….has been put on the shelf after four outings:
When CBR proposed the idea of a regular column with DC’s executive staff, our stated intent was for the feature to be a place to connect the decision makers at the publisher with the wider comics community. Aside from product and story information, discussing the industry news and debates of the day was something we always planned to focus on both in the regular interviews with Harras and Chase and the monthly fan Q&A. However, the DC team has made it clear to CBR that discussing some of the more controversial debates surrounding the company and the comics community is not something they feel comfortable doing in this format, and ultimately they decided to no longer participate in this feature.
Specifically, Harras and Chase declined to comment on questions about DC exclusive talent Jerry Ordway in regards to his statements about his work with the publisher. (Though it should be noted that DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee did discuss the matter in a recent CBR TV interview)
After ensuing discussions on the matter, CBR regrets that DC has decided not to continue what we consider a valuable discussion for readers, retailers and creators. We will however continue to cover the company’s comics, editorial moves and broader impact on comics to the best of our ability – including future interviews with DC executives and editorial staff as they are willing and available.
The final outing does include B&B confronting some actual issues:
Vicvega inquired, “I know the issue of diversity of gender and race in the workplace is a controversial topic, and I wanted to know, are you actively seeking out more diverse creators to write and/or draw your comics? ”
Chase: Can the woman say something? [Laughs] That’s always, of course, part of this. We want diversity, we respect diversity, we’re always looking for diverse voices, in our minds we want diverse characters and diverse creators, always.
Harras: The word ‘always’ has to be stressed — we’re always looking for new people, we’re looking for new talent and we are looking to create diverse products and to have a diverse talent base as well. That’s our credo.
Chase: We want that reflected in our comic books as well, and on the creative side.
But in its memorable four outings, the coluamn also featured such bizarre things as the two industry vets sort of acting like Gail Simone had never been removed from BATGIRL, and chatting about other removals and creative changes that could only be confronted by tip-top tip-toeing skills.
This isn’t the only DC exec fireside chat that has been ended. Sales gurus Bob Wayne and John Rood also did a monthly blog tour to ICv2, CBR, Newsarama, and Publishers Weekly to talk about the month’s sales. DC confirmed that this had been halted after the February editions.
On the plus side, The Source blog has debuted a new What’s New in the New 52 column by Bob Harras. And Harras is confronting some well known internet nontroversies, like the change in this Constantine Page from preview (top) to printed (bottom) version:
Case in point – CONSTANTINE #1. Some of you eagle-eyed readers saw the preview pages we ran in the back of our books a few weeks before the first issue hit. You may even recall this panel, that featured some of the notable mystical characters that populate The New 52 universe.
Before you start asking me what the deal is, I’ll explain. We saw the panel and it was great. But this was the first time we were seeing these characters in The New 52. That doesn’t mean change for the sake of change, but it does mean looking at things differently, trying new things and keeping everything – concept, character,location – fresh. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that, no matter where in the process we are. We have to keep ourselves on our toes, too.
What was that I was saying about tip-toeing?
Before everyone jumps in with outcry, I want to point something out. This is corporate America. It’s very rare for major execs like Chase and Harras to be subjected to public questioning every month. The fact that it happened at all is more an aspect of the comics industry’s “we’re all at one big picnic” attitude. So, the ending of B&B isn’t a big surprise..it’s more of a surprise that it ever happened in the first place.
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.