While the whole Comic-Con thing was gearing up we totally missed this important column by Comix Experience retailer Brian Hibbs who recounts a meeting at the WB offices, where DC’s top executive team invited about 20 top retailers and went over the whole DC Digital thing with them. We’re going to give an extensive quote because it kinda explains Where Comics Are:
DC’s upper management team (Jim Lee and Dan Didio, Bob Wayne, Steve Rottendam, Vince Letterio, Hank Kanalz, John Rood and Diane Nelson) invited twenty retailers to the Warner’s offices in Burbank – the retailers were a good mix of single stores and chains, rural and urban, providing a fairly reasonable cross-section of stores and sensibilities. This was a fairly last-minute meeting, arranged with just about two weeks notice. DC paid all of our traveling expenses, as well as meals and lodging.
I arrived on Friday morning (being that San Francisco to Burbank is a short hop at an under-hour flight), while virtually all of my peers came in on Thursday evening. The entirety of the ComicsPRO Board of Directors was invited, as well as another thirteen major retailers – though, as it turned out, a full 75% of invitees were ComicsPRO members, something I don’t believe DC was aware of until we were all face-to-face.
I stroll into the hotel about an hour before the meeting start time and wander over to the restaurant to see who is sitting down for breakfast, and the very first people I see are…Marvel’s Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley?!? Turns out they were in LA for a completely unrelated set of meetings, and they just happened to be staying in the same hotel. Comics can be an insanely small world!
An insanely small world if that world is Burbank, the new headquarters of the comic book industry. (WB and Disney are just a few blocks apart, after all.)
There’s much more in the post, including the fact that the DC comics app has been downloaded 300,000 times. (although just what that means is open to question.)
As usual, there is one thing in the piece that kind of made me go hwa–
Here’s the thing: outside of a small wedge of “no brainer” kind of projects (e.g. Jim Lee drawing Batman for a year) virtually every other mid-to-long success that virtually any comics publisher has had in the last two decades has come from bottom-up with the “tastemaker” stores driving the buzz and initial success before the large chains get on board. That is to say that the remarkable numbers of, say, Sandman trades that DC has managed to sell is a result of stores just like mine adopting and promoting those titles – the chains do not want these products until after they’ve been “proven” in stores like mine.
Does that include Naruto, Crumb’s GENESIS and BABYMOUSE? Cuz I’m just wonderin’. I love you, man, but the idea that the rise of graphic novels in bookstores has not had an impact on how comics are sold and read in the US is just…not true.
Anyway, I advise everyone to go read this piece, because it shows The New World Order bringing The Old Guard into the fold, and This Is How Things Are Going To Be from now on.
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.