Diane Nelson, the head of DC Entertainment, WB Consumer Products and many other things at the studio, gave a talk at an industry confab the other day, and it’s probably the longest public talk she’s been quoted at. Most of it was about TV and movies, things that Nelson doesn’t oversee, but the comics were mentioned:
But at its core, DC is a publishing company. The titles published by DC Comics and the Vertigo imprint are the “foundation of the (DC) business,” she said. She credited DC publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio with reinventing the publishing business starting in 2011 when the pair instituted “a total reboot of our publishing line — it’s been hugely successful in the past four years.”
The print comics — which are increasingly paired with digitally published titles — are a vital content source for DC and Warner Bros. at large. Vertigo, which focuses on stand-alone fantasy stories, is an engine “for getting original IP into the company and feeding other businesses as well as our publishing business.”
Nelson acknowledged that the are growing concerns about whether Hollywood is becoming oversaturated with superhero fare. The growth in the amount of comic-based fare only heightens the pressure to ensure that the storytelling at the heart of DC properties is strong and distinctive.
It’s good to know comics are a vital content source for the WB—but this is not just idle talk. DC related properties make up 50% of the WB’s video games business, while bringing in some $8 billion in consumer products sales and over $3 billion in home video. That is a lot of Batman and shows why DC Entertainment isn’t going anywhere.
Nelson also mentioned that the TV and movie versions of DC’s various superheroes won’t crossover — what happens in Gotham stays in Gotham and will have no impact on the movie Batman. For now anyway. Comics fans love that continuity.
Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Rex Shutterstock
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.