§ The monthly fencing match between Vaneta Rogers and DC’s Bob Wayne and John Cunningham has a meaty outing this month, and Cunningham lays out a bit of the strategy for the post-Berger Vertigo:
1 think the way we conceive of Vertigo both up to this point and going forward is that it’s the place in house where we do the most cutting edge, critically acclaimed titles that DC publishes. And as we talked about last month, we spent the summer, especially around San Diego and New York [comic conventions] announcing a lot of new series. ENLARGE So when we look at 2013, we’ve got a new series from Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, The Wake, Jeff Lemire’s Trillium, Neil Gaiman returning with Sandman. We’ll have new volumes of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as some new things that are coming that Bob and I are aware of, that I can’t announce here. I think, once we look down that slate of 2013 to see where it’s going, I think we have the stories and the books there, and we’re going to have to do the work to make sure they get out to the readers. Karen was an extremely valuable member not only of DC’s family, but the entire comic book community. And everyone’s going to miss her. But we’ve got a 2013 line-up to go forward with, and we’ll develop where it’s going from there. But I do think Vertigo readers are going to see, regardless of the situation, they’re going to see a plethora of great books to read in the next year.
§ We’re writing this in the small hours, and by the time we wake up, we expect a ton of commentary on Gail Simone’s departure from BATGIRL, but here’s a few early arrivals. J. Skylar at Comic Book Bin:
This raises so many questions, such as why would such an accomplished writer (and one of the regrettably few female writers in comics) be so readily dismissed from one of the world’s most iconic characters, especially considering she has already proven her merit depicting Barbara Gordon in Birds of Prey? However, for the sake of argument, let’s just forget her critically acclaimed runs on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool or DC Comics’ Secret Six as well as Birds of Prey. After all, politics and sociology aside, DC Comics is a for-profit organization and whether we like it or not, the bottom dollar is the variable that speaks the loudest in editorial or executive decisions. Since the relaunch of DC Comics’ New 52 in 2011, Simone’s run on Batgirl has generated an estimated two million in sales (and I’m rounding down) starting with issue #1 (September, 2011) – #13 (October, 2012). Granted, that figure is not nearly as large as sales for the likes of Justice League or Avengers vs X-men, but it is not scrapping the bottom of the barrel either. Factoring in all the information presented above, this editorial mandate makes absolutely no sense. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are aflame with reprimands for DC Comics, as readers far and wide furiously hit their keyboards in defense of Simone.
Of course, timing can be a tricky thing; Gail Simone did nothing to hide the fact that her DC exclusivity deal wrapped last weekend, leaving her free to pursue other opportunities. She also discussed online having conversations with editors and artists — and while she certainly didn’t specify that they weren’t DC’s editors and artists, the company would certainly know that. If the decision was made a while back — say, when Simone left The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Men in what’s reported to have been an acrimonious split — that she’d be relieved of her duty when her exclusive contract was up, it’s understandable that DC would have an impulse to follow through on that. Still, as suggested above, it seems that given the problems they (and the comics industry in general) have had alienating with female readers and creators in the recent past, this move was poorly timed from a PR standpoint.
And of course, Sue at DCWKA:
Doing anything like that by email is pretty shitty. But the thing is you have to wonder why a writer whose book is selling better than 40 or so other titles in the new 52 would be removed from a book. It doesn’t make a lot of business sense. But this is DC and you can make a long list of stupid ass decisions they’ve made.
§ Among suggestions for books to offer to brand new comics readersthis one is often suggested.
§ Would you PAY to get a webcomic more often and in color? That’s why God invented Kickstarter:
We can do this… but it won’t be cheap. In fact, for a year’s worth of professionally colored pages (150-160) we’re looking at around $10,000. And that’s at his reduced rate. Let that sink in a little. M’kay? Good. So here is the $10,000 question: If we could promise you pages of that caliber at least three times a week without fail for a year, would you be in support of it? And if we took it to “vote” so to speak, with, say, an IndieGoGo campaign… would you feel it’s something worth backing?
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.