Lots of shakeups emerged in yesterday’s DC April solicitations, which you can read about here and here. The swift replacement of Robert Venditti on Constantine and Jim Zub on Birds of Prey got the most comment. How swift? As recently as last week , Zub was doing interviews to promote his run and then…it wasn’t happening. Zub, widely known as a thorough professional, was very gracious about it on his blog
Obviously I’m disappointed, but I also know this isn’t any kind of personal judgement about me, it’s a business and creative decision that came late in the process. I’ve been working in and around the comic industry for the past ten years and know it can be a wild ride. This is still a step forward for my career, just not as big of one as I’d hoped.
Nick Spencer, who writes at Image these days, was a bit more direct on Twitter:
Seeing lots of “that’s how it is in this business,” stuff in regards to the day’s news. It really isn’t, and it certainly shouldn’t be. To be a little more direct: the way DC treats a lot of their freelancers is absolutely abhorrent. When it happened to me on SUPERGIRL, I didn’t say much, because I didn’t want to dwell on the negative. But when you see it happen to so many good people, and the damage it does to their careers, their incomes, etc… it’s just not okay. I don’t understand the need for it, & I wish it were otherwise. I love DC, love the characters, & I know I did some of my best work there. And I’m VERY happy for my friends who have been successful there. But I would tell any creator– especially newer, younger ones– to be extremely careful in doing business there.
Mark Waid tweeted this, although it isn’t clear who he was talking about:
On behalf of dear friends: It is UNCONSCIONABLE for publishers to fire creators through the pages of PREVIEWS. At least pick up a PHONE.
— Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) January 14, 2013
Since the whole New 52 revamp started, there have been a lot of abrupt changes in direction, including Brian Wood, who was also impaled upon the dire thorns of Supergirl.
Looking past the trees for the forest, corporate comics have a lot at stake these days, and promoting the careers of emerging—or even established—writers isn’t the goal. While there are definitely younger writers in the mix at DC—James Tynion IV and Justin Jordan—a lot of seasoned veterans are helming many books. Heck, Tom DeFalco is writing two books in April. Is the current way of the world harsh? Yes. Is it the way it has to be? Your mileage may vary, but it’s clear that it’s a whole new ballgame.
Luckily there are many other stadiums to play in. While many were sad that the great Art Balthazar and Franco‘s Superman Family Adventures was cancelled, they have their own Aw Yeah Comics label and you can expect more from them. Likewise, Venditti and Zub and all the rest aren’t going anywhere just yet.
And just to end this on a positive note: Hey giant SOLO deluxe edition! Here’s the cover by Tim Sale.
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.