§ Dave Itzkoff profiles Karen Berger, now departed from Vertigo, and the changing face of risk-taking at DC. Of course everyone will be quoting this part, so I will too:
Ms. Berger said she noted changes in DC’s priorities in recent years. “I’ve found that they’re really more focused on the company-owned characters,” she said. DC and its Disney-owned rival, Marvel, “are superhero companies owned by movie studios.”
Dan DiDio, the co-publisher of DC Comics, said there was “some truth” to these feelings of a shifting landscape, which he said were industrywide. For comics published by Vertigo and by DC, he said: “There’s not a challenge to be more profitable out of the gate. But there is a challenge to be more accepted out of the gate.”
Mr. DiDio said it would be “myopic” to believe “that servicing a very small slice of our audience is the way to go ahead.”
“That’s not what we’re in the business for,” he added. “We have to shoot for the stars with whatever we’re doing. Because what we’re trying to do is reach the biggest audience and be as successful as possible.”
Oh man, I’ll toss that one over to Tumblr and watch the fur fly. But in the meantime, as has been pointed out here, nearly a third of DC’s “Essential Graphic Novels” are Vertigo or proto-Vertigo books, so there is a path to earning out—but it isn’t a quick one.
§ Across the nation, Kim Masters looks at one of the biggest question in showbiz: is WB Studios head Jeff Robinov on the way out? As everyone has been saying, it all depends on MAN OF STEEL, but there’s a lot of inside baseball stuff as well:
Another factor in this equation: rumors about Robinov’s prickly behavior in the wake of Tsujihara’s appointment. Many suspect — fairly or not — that those are part of a strategy to portray Robinov as unfit for the Warners culture. And there may be other subtle signs that Robinov’s prerogatives are being sapped. In Tsujihara’s recent restructuring following Rosenblum’s departure, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson went from being a direct report to Robinov to being a direct report to both Robinov and Tsujihara. And despite Robinov’s previous opposition, Warners is in talks to change its position on the Producers Guild of America’s certification program.
Masters’ piece is inconclusive—it could go either way, it seems, although everyone I’ve spoken with seems to think Robinov is on his way out no matter how far the Man of Steel soars.
Meanwhile, Diane Nelson isn’t in a terrible position in all this. She’s also been made President and CCO of WB Interactive Entertainment, so her duties are expanding beyond DC Entertainment.
On a hopeful note, the Heroes for Hope campaign using the JLA to raise money to fight hunger in the horn of Africa—an effort spearheaded by Nelson—has won two Halo Awards for excellence in cause marketing. The DC campaign won Silver in both Best Cause Marketing Print Campaign and Best Cause Marketing Video. Exxon Mobil’s “Let’s Solve This” won for print campaign and Ford’s “Warriors in Pink” won for video.
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.