UPDATED: DC to Begin Placing Ads on Story Pages

UPDATED: DC to Begin Placing Ads on Story Pages

UPDATE 2:  According to sources inside DC, the half-page ads will only appear in books releasing this June.  This makes the advertising experiment concurrent with the Divergence relaunch of DC’s comic line.

UPDATE: An earlier version of the article indicated that Chris was upset with the job DC did integrating the art with the advertising.  This is incorrect.  He was displeased with the production of the ad itself.


 

The other day, a rumor started going around that DC Comics would be splitting certain comic book story pages in half, placing half-page ads on the same pages as art.  Well, it turns out that that rumor is true.

This evening, Chris Burnham (Batman IncorporatedNameless) tweeted these photos:

halfpagedc2

 

When Bleeding Cool first broke the story, Rich Johnston indicated that artists had been told to draft their stories with these ads in mind, so they shouldn’t dramatically change the flow of the story.  However, they do change the overall presentation of the book and limit the sorts of panel layouts that can exist on pages designed to be displayed with ads.   Chris isn’t a fan of the ads themselves, either.

I’m not against these ads, but I do worry about the artistic integrity of the comic books they appear in.  Books that don’t use traditional panel layouts like Sandman: Overture couldn’t have these ads incorporated into them, and I hope that if DC continues this integrative practice, that they don’t encroach upon the artistic freedom of their creative teams.

 

halfpagedc1

 

Comments

  1. Johnny Memeonic says

    Now for the real questions:

    -Will consumers be getting less pages of story for the same cover price?
    -How are artists’ rates affected by this?

  2. says

    That looks hideous. If I get books with ads like that, I’ll tape blank paper over the ads, which would be better to look at than that horror. I hate ads in general, but full page ads are easily ignored. I just turn the page, so I suppose this is their way to force me to look at them. I’d sooner give up reading DC comics than put up with ads like that. And why would I want to look at that guy’s face, anyway? They can’t say they’re not intrusive. If they’re on the same page where we’re expecting story, they are intrusive. I’ve been thrown off by full page ads, so this is just going to be worse. Much worse.

  3. Adam Grace says

    I was picking up six titles in June, but I won’t be now. TOTALLY unacceptable!

  4. says

    Guess my days of reading DC are over. I myself have just started a comic book publisher called Ecliptic Comics Publishers. I would never be so money hungry to place adds on the same pages I have story. DC has really stooped to an all time low. Kind of glad, makes it easier for companies like mine to work our way up when DC is ticking off their customers.

  5. Tim pilcher says

    As Bill Hicks said “Once you do an advert you’re off the artistic roll call for life.” I understand the need of advertising to pay for printing etc, but when marketing start to fight, and win, with editorial you know something’s wrong within a company.

  6. Torsten Adair says

    There are few independent ads in DC and Marvel comic books.
    Where they exist is on the covers.
    Inside, it’s all house ads, corporate cousins, or licensees.
    DC did this before, back in the 70s. Magazines do it all the time, although those pages usually aren’t visually dense.

    I suspect these ads will also appear in the digital comics, allowing DC to count those copies sold as part of the total circulation? (And it’s more difficult to strip out that ad from a scan.)

    As for titles like Overture… you did notice that all of the advertising appears in the back, and doesn’t interrupt the story at all? Plus, for an art-driven title like that, DC can eschew the ad and raise the cover price.

  7. John says

    Just going to increase trade paperback waiting. This is like drinking salt water to cure thirst.

  8. Glenn Simpson says

    I can’t believe people are actually claiming they are going to quit reading DC comics over this. Talk about over-reaction….

    There’s no indication here that anyone is losing a page of art. What would normally be one full-page ad and one full-page piece of art are now two half-pages of each. It all adds up the same. And given the theme of Twix’s “left-side vs. right-side” it makes perfect sense. At the same time, unless another advertiser has the same sort of theme to their advertising, I doubt it will happen again.

  9. says

    Yet another sigh-inducing over-reaction to change by the comics-reading audience. You’d almost think someone’s costume had been retconned or something.

    Complaints from the writers and artists who’ll have to accommodate the format constraints … those are legit. Designing an arbitrary page to be split into two half pages is awkward, and may not fit what they’re trying to do at that point in the story. It’s an annoying constraint, like prohibiting the use of double-page spreads for splashes and other two-page story layouts, because they might interfere with repagination in a TPB. Creators have a reason to grumble about this.

    But readers complaining about half of a two-page spread being given to an ad are missing the point that they already see this every time they turn a page and one of them is a full-page ad. DC and Marvel have done this forever. The only difference here is that usually the ad page and the story page are split left/right rather than top/bottom. That’s it. It’s the same amount of story. The same amount of ad space. It’s laid out differently.

    Different. That seems to be real reason behind these fantrums. I remember my cousin with Aspergers reacted like this when the movie theater he went to every Friday night first started running non-movie ads along with movie trailers, saying he was going to stop going to movies because of it. But he didn’t, because ultimately, it’s just another 30-second sales pitch, and once he’d sat thru a couple, he learned to deal with it, ad now he watches them like all the other ads before the movie starts. If he can cope with that, I certainly hope that DC’s audience can cope with this.

  10. Jack says

    Jason A. Quest:

    Readers like myself hate this for the same reasons creators hate it: it breaks up the flow and prevents full page spreads and discourages creative panel layouts, which we like. These are legitimate concerns.

    Off the subject, I am extremely sorry I clicked on your profile. Gross, dude.

  11. says

    I really can’t imagine why they thought this would be a good idea. It disrupts the story and creates more work shuffling around panels when it comes time to release the comic in trade paperback form. There are plenty of good reasons why this kind of advertising hasn’t really been used for forty years.

    DC has made so many blunders and weird decisions like this over the past few years, and it makes me wonder if anybody actually knows what they’re doing.

  12. Brendan says

    why not do what movies have done for years > product placement. Just have people eating twixes inside the comic world. maby batman has a case of them sitting in his house. if anyone has read the comic powers > then you know sony has made the live action version of it. you want to know what was placed all through it ? right , sony products. from computers to tvs. So maby they need ads but there ways around it then to put ads like this.

  13. says

    The most newsworthy aspect of this story is that DC is actually putting creative effort into ad sales. That’s a good thing for the comics biz. For years it was basically a shoulder shrug and 8 house ads. It’s awesome that a national brand thinks exposure in comics is cool.

  14. Charlie Ryan says

    With today’s increased sensitivity to the graphic make-up of comics by both the artists and the readers, this is a pretty yucky and tone deaf move. I won’t lose to much sleep about it, but at three or four dollars a pop, I don’t think there needs to be any more reasons to piss off mainstream publishers dwindling readership.

    And if I may, a couple of historical notes:

    The half page side-by-side ads were a layout of Marvel Comics (not DC) around 1970. This was a cost cutting measure to produce one less page of art, bringing the story page count down to 19 pages (from the previous 20 pages per book.)

    DC (mainly throughout the 1960’s) employed third of a page ads (with two thirds of a story page above it.) This type of ad usually appeared at the end of a story and/or a story chapter. In this regard, it was a bit less disruptive than Marvel’s layout since those ads never appeared on facing pages and would be at natural break points in the book. (And most of the time they were filled by those cool DC house ads!) However, the motive was still the same as Marvel’s — three of those broken pages in a book would equal one less page of story and art that was needed to be produced.

  15. says

    Perhaps we’ll start seeing product placement directly integrated into artwork in the future.

    Or corporate sponsored storylines:
    “Batman meets the M&Ms! The Bitter Secret of Dark Chocolate, REVEALED!”

  16. Ben says

    “UPDATE: An earlier version of the article indicated that Chris was upset with the job DC did integrating the art with the advertising. This is incorrect. He was displeased with the production of the ad itself.”

    If I were an artist at DC I WOULD be upset with advertising being integrated into my art/page/panel layout.

    It’s like placing a commercial mid-scene of a tv show.

  17. Johnni Stanton says

    Goodbye DC …. you don’t care about what the fans want any more. It’s all about the dollar! Besides, a lot of your advertised merchandise won’t be available outside the US. How thoughtful. You still think your country is the centre of the world!

  18. art Bo2shier says

    Pick up an mid sixties DC Comic. I remember fondly the Pallisaides Park tickets inside.What’s old is new again. Maybe they can start doing all the silly stories again. Maybe go back to newsprint comics and maybe get a distribution deal with Walmart and Target with out Diamond involved.

  19. says

    As someone who once oversaw DC’s ad sales business and worked with the team there to nurse it back to relative good health, I second Brandon Montclare’s perspective. If the concept is an extension of the well established “Left Twix / Right Twix” campaign, it’s a pretty smart strategy. And if the creative teams were advised in advance and given time to accommodate (or even make it work for them), the better. And if DC scored a PAID ad (rare these days for them), kudos to all involved.

  20. Andrew Laubacher says

    The only good thing that I see about this is that the pair of half-page ads run next to each other, so the two half-pages of story can be combined on a single page for the collection. Otherwise, this is an awful idea; I was never fond of this when it was done for house ads either.

  21. Henry Benton Jr says

    “Perhaps we’ll start seeing product placement directly integrated into artwork in the future.”

    Well, it’s already happened before with pre-2010 Marvel with the creators being asked to work the products into the comic. Granted, I guess it did lead to that crazy Old Spice issue of Ant Man.

  22. Zach says

    There was also a thing in the early 2000s where Impulse had all the characters wearing Nautica clothing.

  23. Russ Cross says

    Way back in the “Olden Days” of my youth, DC Comics always ran full-, half- and quarter-page ads in all their books.

  24. William Byron says

    These threads are pure gold. Seriously- comic fans just never let you down.

  25. says

    “DC had half page ads from the 40s to the 60s. What is up with these crybabies?”

    Gotta love these people who have no respect for the medium and insult people who do. Remember in the 40s to the 60s when comics were considered trash? When reading comics was looked down on, and working in comics was not much better?

    Cut to the 21st century, where comics are taught in universities, and we have moved beyond news articles titled “BIFF! POW! Comics aren’t for kids anymore!” Either creating a page of comics (or even a two page spread!) is an art, or it’s a story delivery service that can be reassembled for the trades.

    Now, to be honest, I have never considered DC a company with an ounce of artistry. Good material seems to get through by mistake. But, anyone who dislikes this move is simply supporting comics as a medium. Make no mistake, if this didn’t create the little controversy it did, DC would be happy to repeat it in the future. As it is now, they know that 90% of the readership, mainly adults, find it an insult to the form, and will really have a debate if the situation comes up again. But, then again, Batman readers read Batman for Batman, not because they appreciate art, so maybe it doesn’t matter. DC is a crap company.

  26. hamilton says

    lol how do they expect this “experiment” to go? Do they somehow think it won’t be met with revulsion. DC is terrible.

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