By Todd Allen
It’s time for ICV2’s annual sit down with the DC publisher, or in this case, co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. As is usually the case, DiDio is more the quotable provocateur. And boy, did he drop a bunkerbuster of a bomb in this one…
When asked about continuing the sales momentum, Dan says the following:
I’d love to be able to celebrate the anniversary of “The New 52” with something that feels so special and something that unifies the line thematically (maybe not story-wise). We’re leading to probably our first crossover event in the latter half of next year, but you’re going to see a better continuity developing through the line.
That’s interesting. DiDio seems to have a different definition of crossover event than many people. For instance, would you call Night of the Owls a crossover event? One storyline crossing into all the Bat-books? Or the upcoming Joker arc that appears to be doing the same thing? How about the event they’re leading up to in the Green Lantern books?
Sounds like he’s talking about a line-wide event, not just in a family of books. You figured one was coming eventually. And if it’s in the second half of next year, that sounds like they’ll have restrained themselves for 2 years before going back to the well for a Big One. The big Events do tend to work better if you aren’t doing them all the time. Is 2 years enough rest? And the quality of the Event counts as well. Sounds like we’ll be finding out soon enough. (This also makes it sound like the much-hyped, but not-yet-revealed “Trinity War” will not be a line-wide event. A Justice League version of Night of the Owls, perhaps?)
All around that little tidbit was hype for the September #0 issues and with the stated intention that the zero issues should be a good place for readers to revisit comics they’d sampled before or try them for the first time.
Jim Lee takes the point for digital questions and points out that anti-piracy efforts are handled by Warner’s corporate, which could theoretically put pirating comics in the middle of the video and music enforcement. He also talks about fancying up the digital files/presentation in ways similar to what’s going on with Thrillbent, the Tall Chair/Disney Brave comics app and Madefire.
It requires you touch the screen to move the story forward. Maybe it wouldn’t have sound or sound effects because that can take you out that kind of experience. Hearing that can distract you from the world you’re creating as you’re reading and seeing the pictures. Those are going to roll out in the next couple of years.
It sounds like there’s some internal development going on. It isn’t clear whether or not this involves Comixology. Speaking of Comixology, 40% of the sales on the Smallville digital comic were to people just opening a new account. Might be print readers dipping their toe in digital for the first time. Might be fans of the show. Either way, that’s a pretty healthy recruitment number.
I don’t feel we need react to criticism about our relationships, because we have a very strong leg to stand on in how we’ve always dealt with them. One thing that DC has always been on the forefront in is trying to develop strong creator rights within the body of our work and within the characters we create. We give equity in characters, we do creator owned series, we do a whole lot of things for creators that if they’re looking to publish their original thoughts they feel they have a proper forum and then can be fairly compensated for it.
The creator experience at DC does have two sides. You have the Superman lawsuit and the the ongoing saga of Watchmen on the one hand. On the other you have all the work Paul Levitz did to get creators some payments when their creations do move to a different medium. I’m not entirely sure what the state of creator-owned is at DC with Wildstorm getting folded in and Vertigo’s deal structure changing a bit. I’ve been waiting for Astro City to return to gauge part of that.
Jim Lee, being an Image founder, is extremely qualified to speak on the give and take between creators and publishers:
The great thing about being a comics professional today is you have that option–it’s no longer that you can only work for one company or the other unless you choose to. Decades ago there was a stigma crossing company lines and going out and doing something on your own was not even something that was a valid option financially.
A very valid point and we’re starting to see a lot more people working with multiple publishers.
The whole 3-part interview starts here and is worth a read.
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.