DC Comics has informed retailers that Batman: Damned #1 will not be reprinted. Or did they?
In a communication sent to retailers on September 27th, 2018, the publisher denoted that the issue in question would not be reprinted “at this time” – a key phrase many seem to be willfully ignoring in the reportage of this move.
While DC has been tight lipped on the details, The Hollywood Reporter not only managed to get a solid number of copies printed from the publisher (a hefty 115,000), but also word from a source close to the project who stated that “it was decided later that the nudity did not add to the story and would be removed in future printings”.
Where this information was placed is key. The first site that had specifics pertaining to the current print run of the book and the supposed idea being censoring future printings wasn’t an outlet intended to reach comic readers first and foremost – it was an outlet attached to a larger entertainment mechanism.
With comics being a storytelling industry, those involved tend to choose their words with deliberate care – especially in cases where public relations need to be handled. In this instance, there’s meaning to the words “at this time” appearing in DC’s communication regarding future printings of Batman: Damned #1. What is less clear, is the presence of the information attained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Here are two things to consider that many are ignoring in terms of this move:
1) it would not be a smart idea for DC to deliberately short-stock and remove access to a comic meant to launch such an important imprint for the company.
2) DC is owned by Warner Bros., who bought them for their catalogue of publicly recognizable characters who often appear in and on items branded for all ages.
DC’s communication to the larger media outlet addresses concerns more pertinent to the parent company, in a place where such people will find the information with more ease. DC’s communication to retailers addresses the publishing concerns of the company, directly to those selling the product. The careful choice of adding “at this time” betrays an intent to republish the contents at a future date – it just won’t be happening today. Why? That’s up to supposition.
However, as we all wait for further information that might never arrive, we offer you this: along with telling retailers not to expect a second printing of the first issue any time soon, DC also stated that the second issue of Batman: Damned would be pushed to December 5th, with the third being delayed into March. If the second issue needs the same lead time to print as the first, that means retailers will be setting their final orders for issue 2 on Monday, November 5th. If DC is looking to produce follow-through numbers on their second issue, they will announce a second printing before that moment in time. And if not… well then there is certainly more to this story than a publisher second guessing their content.