Everyone has been wondering what DC would do to shore up its line, and now Bleeding Cool has a rumor that is sure to heat up the hot stove league: a June relaunch with a focus on more media-centric titles:
And the new line even more dominated with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn/Suicide Squad-related titles.
Anything tying in with a film and/or TV show like Flash, Green Arrow will be okay, anything that’s not is less so. I haven’t heard about Green Lantern…
NOW, you can say this is just a rumor, and I’m hearing a lot of disbelief among my own contacts, but Rich usually has at least a thread of truth in these big-picture reports, and, to be honest, this fits in with the increasing importance of DC properties to the WB’s TV and movie efforts, and the general trend to top-down management of these properties. Remember my “coloring book” theory from 2013?
My metaphor for corporate comics throughout the year goes back to my days working at Disney in the ’90s. I remember some of my friends working on a lot of branded books for Aladdin or Pocahontas or Mickey or whatever like kids picture books and audio books and coloring books… the gigs usually paid very well, but it wasn’t like they went in to the editors’ office and said “I have an idea for a Mickey Mouse Audio Book that’s going to change Mickey’s world forever.” They just got a call from an editor and went in and pitched “Mickey Mouse is trying to mow the lawn” and a book got written. There was no ego involved. It’s pretty clear that corporate comics are going in that direction. You get the call to write Firestorm or Firestar and the cheat sheet with the event of the quarter and that’s it.
Now if this IS true and there is a relaunch, what could drive it? Simply a new #1 Superman is only going to go so far. In the above link from 2013 writer Paul Jenkins pointed out that creators are most important when things are going badly, and that is undoubtedly true for DC now. But who they gonna call? The big writers of the Crisis era–Millar, Bendis, Johns, Morrison–are all busy elsewhere. DC already tried indie/bookstore darlings –Gene Yang, Becky Cloonan. Kevin Smith is a Variety show host now, and celebrity comics fan writers only go so far.
So you have only a few options:
1) Hire BKV. Unlikely.
2) Hire Ta-nehisi Coates.
3) Have Scott Snyder oversee his writing students as “The Snyder-verse”
4) Put the emphasis on artists again — which would require a totally realignment of editorial thinking.
This is all still developing, but a few Twitter pundits have already declared the worst case scenario:
Sounds like DC Comics is announcing an exciting, new jumping off point this summer.
— Chase Magnett (@ReverendMagnett) January 22, 2016
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.