You new there were going to be some changes when it was announced that Vertigo was going to be having some changes. Shelly Bond getting elevated to the Vertigo Executive Editor slot was step number 1. Step number 2 appears to be Vertigo now reporting to Hank Kanalz, the new “Senior Vice President of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing.” Bob Harras has also been promoted to “Senior Vice President – Editor-in-Chief, DC Comics.”
Let’s take a look at the Official Statement and then discuss:
DC Entertainment announced today the promotion and expansion of duties for two of its key executives and a new reporting structure created to enhance and strengthen the company’s three imprints: DC Comics, Vertigo and Mad Magazine.
Bob Harras has been promoted to Senior Vice President – Editor-in-Chief, DC Comics, and will continue to oversee editorial for DC Comics. In over two years at the helm, Harras has helped guide DC Comics to unprecedented heights with the launch of DC’s The New 52 initiative and September’s ZERO MONTH event. The string of successes rolls on, as the Batman books continue to surprise and enthrall readers with the BATMAN: DEATH OF THE FAMILY crossover, Superman and his family of books encounter H’EL ON EARTH and the entire New 52 line heads toward the top-secret TRINITY WAR.
“Bob is a respected and talented editor, manager and leader with a keen eye for talent,” said DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio. “He’s been integral to making DC – The New 52 the amazing success it is today. 2013 is going to build upon 2012’s huge successes and we continue to be committed to providing fans with the best comics on the stands. Bob and his team have set the bar high for themselves, and we are all excited about what’s next for DC Comics.”
DC Entertainment veteran Hank Kanalz has been named Senior Vice President of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing. In his new role, Kanalz will oversee Vertigo’s publishing efforts. In addition, Kanalz will continue to manage the company’s growing digital business seeking innovative and integrated publishing opportunities. Under Kanalz’s leadership DC Entertainment became the first comic publisher to offer its entire line on the same day in digital and print formats. Kanalz has also forged innovative industry partnerships including the recently announced deals to offer DCE graphic novels and monthly comic books Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store.
Kanalz’s oversight of Vertigo will further support newly promoted Vertigo Executive Editor Shelly Bond’s vision for the imprint and bring increased awareness to Vertigo’s ever-growing library of characters and properties cross-divisionally.
“Hank’s strong leadership has resulted in triple digit growth among our digital comics business,” stated DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. “In this new role he is poised to continue DC Entertainment’s digital momentum, while working even more closely with the print publishing teams, specifically Vertigo.”
Harras, Kanalz and MAD Magazine Vice President and Executive Editor John Ficarra will report to DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, representing DC Entertainment’s three imprints.
Harras is promoted, but it isn’t clear to me how his duties have changed, based on that statement. While that’s puffed up a little bit, DC’s core circulation is a little more stable than you’d think it is, despite a number of titles being in sales free fall. Harras is getting a pat on the back for that.
The Kanalz situation is much more interesting. Kanalz has been point man for DC’s digital operations. You may have noticed that the print editions of such digital titles as Smallville, Arrow and Legends of the Dark Knight have been outselling some of the new 52 core titles. Which is to say, exceeding a certain number of expectations in the industry. Digital’s been a good story for DC and Kanalz has really been a little more of a transmedia executive than is being discussed, so a promotion isn’t shocking. The Vertigo addition is what raises the eyebrow.
DC Entertainment veteran Hank Kanalz has been named Senior Vice President of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing. In his new role, Kanalz will oversee Vertigo’s publishing efforts. In addition, Kanalz will continue to manage the company’s growing digital business seeking innovative and integrated publishing opportunities.
“Integrated Publishing.” Is that integrating with other fields like film and novels, since Django Unchained and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” are Vertigo projects? Yes, I did say Kanalz was a transmedia executive and while transmedia is usually discussed in terms of digital, film/prose to comics is still transmedia. Kanalz is undoubtedly a better person for Vertigo to report to than Bob Harras. Harras can concentrate on the DCU and Kanalz can think outside the box. Vertigo’s successes have been when they’ve taken that percentage of the DCU audience that reads both and then expanded it outside the DM. Kanalz has practice going outside the DM with his digital experiments and with things like Gears of War at Wildstorm. He’s also had experience in other divisions of Warner Brothers, which can only help with “Integrated Publishing.”
What does that mean for Vertigo? It’s a little bit early to tell, but the initial indications are it will be a little more independent of DC. Considering DC’s already reclaimed all its toys, as of the Hellblazer cancellation, the philosophy may have changed a few month back and it’s just now getting formalized. Expect some new Vertigo news in January as this shakes out.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.