You know how what goes around comes around. Or, to put it another way, comic book fans love to bitch and moan. It is impressive to look at this DC New 52 Timeline of Departures, Firings, and Bridge-Burnings, a long list of high traffic comings and goings. I had forgotten half of them and it isn’t even a complete list. But it’s also easy to stir up outrage. The Harley Quinn thing was, to be honest, a badly written script, but for everyone who was tut tutting “how could they do it the week before Suicide Prevention Week??!!?!??” I’d like to point out…it wasn’t even the week OF Suicide Prevention Week…it was the week BEFORE Suicide Prevention Week. it’s a bit much to expect the DC Nation bloggers to sit with a calendar of awareness events and plan their coverage. In other words…you were reaching, people. Plus, just as Black History lasts right into March 1st, and women get breast cancer on December 12th, suicide should be prevented year round.
Perhaps with that in mind, and with tweetrage over DC’s Dan DiDio growing, everything has come around, and pundits are now saying, “Wait a minute, do we really want someone to lose his job?” On a more practical level, wishing and hoping that Warner Bros. execs will somehow be influenced by fan tweetrage to make major business decisions is just childish.
Besides, even while sales show some attrition, the New 52 DC is way more successful than the old 47 DC, or whatever it was. The New 52 was the kind of game changing success story that gives you a ton of leeway for all kinds of later missteps and setbacks. That’s just how the game works.
The Outhouse ran their own ode to DiDio and concluded:
4. The old DCU ain’t coming back. No matter how much you wish for it, DCE is not going to come around, two years later, ‘admit’ they were wrong, put things back to the way they were. Sales-wise, the reboot has been a success, and, in fact, reboots in general are a standard practice in the entertainment industry. You see the same kind of thinking about iconic characters and the ‘illusion of change’ at Marvel as well, and it reflects the attitude of pretty much all corporate intellectual property owners in the age of cross-branding and global marketing. Warner Bros. is not going to change their minds to suit the whims of a relatively small readership. There’s much more money to made in movies and TV, and the Batman franchise alone has been rebooted, what… four times now?
As I’ve often noted in private conversations, as co-publisher, Dan DiDio has one of the qualities that companies love in an executive: he’s a decision maker. In fact maybe he makes too MANY decisions, and many of them are highly debatable, but nature abhors a vacuum or a hemmer and hawer. DiDio is anything but.
The reality, as I outlined in my “Coloring Book Theory” post, is that Big Two comics are now editorially driven. Period. The End. If top notch talent calling the shots on corporate icons sells more copies, eventually it will become more the norm, but sales will have to slip a lot more than they have for that to happen.
And yet, the current craze for the 90s in comics—from aping the art styles of 90s Image artists to lenticular covers to no name talent on top books—shows no sign of slowing down, even though the 90s were the lowest ebb for corporate comics since Wertham. Even with the corporate realities I just outlined, homogeneity is a big wet blanket that tends to dull excitement. The New 52’s biggest breakout has been its own brand, a brand that will eventually chip away in standard attrition.
These trends take a looong time to play out, however, and hashtags aren’t going to speed things up.
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.