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DC New 52: It’s showtime!


Over at the Source blog, DC’s braintrust shared their hopes for the relaunch hitting tonight. Including
Dan DiDio:

You might not know this, but I am not a very patient person. I couldn’t wait till Christmas morn to open gifts, never knew the need to savor a fine wine, and on most days, fast food isn’t fast enough. So, as you could imagine, the anticipation for the midnight kick-off of FLASHPOINT #5 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 is killing me. Even though its less than two days away.

When we decided to re-launch the entire line, I couldn’t wait to get started. There were books to be assigned, costumes to be re-designed, and continuity to be… reconsidered. I was on the phone daily with Jim Lee and Geoff Johns on the direction, look and tone of the new DC Universe, and an hour didn’t seem to go by without having Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza in my office, or me in theirs, to look over the latest sketches and scripts submitted. And when I wasn’t with them, I spent the time with Mark Chiarello talking covers and costumes, or getting the latest update from John Rood on the Publicity and Marketing juggernaut they had planned. And no day would ever be complete without me checking in with Bob Wayne for the latest sales numbers, which was particularly annoying to him since the comics weren’t even solicited yet.

So here we are, less than two days away. Costumes are locked, scripts are polished and all the first issues complete and ready to be shipped. My mom told me time and again that good things come to those who wait, and I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life. This is going to be spectacular.

EVP of sales and marketing John Rood:

You can count on these 52.

And I can count on the dozens of folks here at DC Entertainment.  It is an honor to work on the Sales, Marketing & Business Development team, which also includes the areas of Franchise Management, Interactive, and Publicity.  Across the DC Comics, Vertigo, and MAD brands.

Many title pages on your new #1’s read, “DC Comics Proudly Presents.”  That’s how we feel today about DC Comics – The New 52.  Pride.  I am so proud, along with our creators and my colleagues and our thousands of retail partners, to present these stories and characters to you.

What we have set out to do, from a Sales & Marketing standpoint, is to make it all bigger and make it all easier for you, no matter who you are.

A favorite definition of Marketing I came across years ago is “removing barriers to a sale.”  So if a barrier was displaced readership, we have tried to remove it – with fresh storytelling and clear narratives so anyone can jump (back) aboard a given title.  So if a barrier was access, we have tried to remove it – with increasing new sales opportunities (i.e. new customers via new platforms) without jeopardizing our crucial core.  So if a barrier was retailer resources, we have tried to remove it – with the most aggressive incentive and co-op program ever.  So if a barrier was consumer awareness, we have tried to remove it – with a big and innovative advertising/publicity campaign.  So if a barrier was price, we have tried to remove it – with keeping all standard issues at $2.99.  So if a barrier was system morale, we have tried to remove it – with a collaborative and optimistic approach to all that we do.
Many in the industry are under the wrong impression that we want to “win the month” at all costs with sales of DC Comics – The New 52.  Sure, we’d love to get our books into more hands than ever before, profitably.  But it’s most important that any industry growth comes in an additive manner, so that all publishers may succeed.  To be clear – DC is not a market-share-chaser.  If we were, we would not be creating a quality lasting direction across a controlled number of titles.  We would instead be flooding the market with over 200 titles a month, changing your prices with abandon, killing off a character every quarter or so, and/or randomly announcing decimal-pointed event-ish thingies.  We haven’t.

So raise a glass – a real physical glass that feels good to the touch and is a lasting part of your collection, or one of those corny little drinking apps you’re temporarily enjoying on your mobile device – to DC Comics – The New 52.

We are just getting started, but we are sure proud of our recent steps.  And we sure do appreciate you being on this trip with us.

Thank you all very much.  See you in the stores.

SVP of Sales Bob Wayne, so pragmatic he plugs his boss’s books — and then points it out:

Hi there. Bob Wayne here, DC’s SVP – Sales. In the time I’ve worked at DC Comics, and in the time I’ve been reading comics before that, I’ve witnessed a number of industry defining moments.

The debut of the Justice League of America in The Brave & The Bold. The launch of the “New Look’ Batman. The comic shop-only version of New Teen Titans. The Dark Knight Returns. Watchmen. Arkham Asylum. Batman: Hush. Green Lantern: Rebirth. (Yes, amazingly, I’m only mentioning DC-related defining moments… Of course, I’m in Sales. And I mentioned projects by two of my bosses… Because I’d like to stay in Sales…)

And of course there are my continuing discussions with DC Legal over the rights to the phrase “Wayne Manor”….

This week’s debut of The New 52 is the biggest, most sweeping change to date. Our characters have often been updated, because our characters are always evolving. But this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in an exciting new way all at the same time.

It all begins at 12:01am on Wednesday, August 31st with the JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. It’s a great read and a lot of fun. I‘m sure of it … I already have a copy here in my office. (Yes, there are some cool perks to this job…)

Just make sure you read FLASHPOINT #5 first. That issue has a great double-page spread that is a really cool bridge into The New 52. Conveniently, it’s also on sale at 12:01am on Wednesday, August 31st. (I did mention I’m the SVP-Sales, didn’t I?)

So get in line now…. And after you read them, let us know what you think.

And please take a look at OMAC #2 in October… Trust me on that one….

VP-Marketing, John Cunningham:

1. Time Is Merely A Concept.

Here in DCE Marketing, time is a fluid and dizzying concept—any given question can address books that came out a year ago, books that came out last week, books that will come out this week, or books that will come out in 2012.

That is what makes today so special. We may not know what day it is—OK, I may not know what day it is—but we are all fully aware of what August 31th means. It marks the day that we—and by that I mean ALL of us—creators, DC staff, retailers and fans—make history.

Which brings me to The Second Point To Make About Comic Book Publishing As It Relates To The New 52:

2. It Takes A Village (Of Crazy People)

If you are a Jim Lee fan or a Geoff Johns fan or a Justice League fan, that’s why you buy the book. And as John Rood said earlier today (see, I read THE SOURCE!), our job is to remove barriers, and if we are doing that job correctly, not only will you get the comic, but you won’t even know that we were there. So on this day only, on the cusp of launching a new series, I ask you to think about the (literally) hundreds of people who touched JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 in one way or another to get it into your hands.

It starts (and ends) with Jim and Geoff, but along the way there are inkers, colorists, letterers, editors, production folks, printing folks, internal DC departments, distribution staff, retailers, media people—literally hundreds of people— who touch that single comic book in some significant way when it launches. That is crazy, really.

And that’s what we all are doing with an ENTIRE LINE OF 52 BOOKS.

And you know what? It’s really the coolest thing I’ve been involved with in my career, and the most awe-inspiring. Every one of those folks has worked with a frenzy and a focus and a sense of coordination rarely seen in this business.

And now it’s (again) almost time. Can’t wait for you all to see these great books!

  1. I love superhero comics. Part of me wishes I could be as excited as DiDio. But I’m not looking forward to one NuDC book. How much of this is because DiDio wanted to be “the guy” who relaunched Action Comics with a new #1? I guess if you can’t say anything nice …

    BTW, I will be checking out some of the new books with a morbid curiosity. GL and Batman (main book) aren’t changing (just renumbering, thanks, Dan!), so I’ll pick up those. Batgirl and I, Vampire (as long as it’s not Twilighted out) are of some interest. But it breaks my heart knowing I’ll never buy a new Superman story again. Not a hater, I just don’t like Morrison’s work. That’s still legal in the U.S., isn’t it?

  2. Not sure how the new 52 will be easiar for anyone to read. Still enough continuity to confuse new fans and enough twists in contnuity to confuse the loyal reader. Did Death of Superman happen? How about Reign of Superman? If Reign didn’t happen, did Emerald Twilight happen? If Twilight did happen, how about Zero Hour? No Zero Hour, no Final Night, no Final Night, no Jordan/Spectre. No Jordan Spectre, no need for Rebirth, which launched the whole current GL storyline. How about Brightest Day? Obviously, with the Swamp Thing book, BD did happen. How could it? If Martian Manhunter is with Stormwatch and Final Crisis did not happen, how did he die? So Hawkman, Aquaman..etc did die? Their current number ones are flashbacks? Get my point?

  3. Jerry, you’ll buy a new Superman story one day, as soon as they re-relaunch him. This thing won’t stick. None of this stuff ever sticks. Which is fine with me – these are cartoon characters after all.

    I’ll definitely look this stuff over but I think changing someone’s outfit and renumbering the comics are superficial ways to effect change – especially when everyone knows this is comics, and none of this is going to stay. If their goal is to bring new readers into comics, do they really think this is gonna do it? Are teenagers who don’t read comics suddenly going to start just because they got rid of Superman’s trunks? Or are they marketing to other 30 and 40 year olds who read comics but not THESE comics?

    Great marketing speak from DiDio et al.

  4. @Jeff Haas.

    None of those questions will matter to a new reader. They’ll just read the stories and not worry about whether something happened in the past that has nothing to do with the story at hand.

    It’s a relaunch. Read it as a new universe. If something happened in the past that matters, they’ll tell us.

  5. I’ll definitely look this stuff over but I think changing someone’s outfit and renumbering the comics are superficial ways to effect change – especially when everyone knows this is comics, and none of this is going to stay.

    The PR convinced me to buy FLASHPOINT #5, at least, so I can get an idea of the setup.

    In practically any fictional universe, identifying the source of powers will be important. That was a core element in the Ultraverse, in Piers Anthony’s Xanth, in Niven’s mana stories, in fantasy settings, etc., If the powers in use make sense, so will the rest of a story, generally. If the powers don’t make sense, then little else will.


  6. I just had a thought…
    This big media push… if the stars align and nothing happens tomorrow morning (like Muammar Qaddafi is found)… will the comics be found at regular newsstands when the general public seeks out these comics? Will they be “day and date” with comics shops?

    Or will it be like when a bookstore doesn’t have the book, and offers to order it? “No thanks, I’ll get it online.”

  7. The more I read I can only come to two conclusions:

    1) DC didnt think this through
    2) This is DC’s last, best chance effort to stay afloat.

    Whether it’s Bob Wayne insisting its not a reboot (when it is) or DC botching the retailer tie to digital or DC not being clear about what counts in the past or doesnt count in the past or the fact that when issue #10 rolls around they will be right back where they were with heavy continuity…it all smells more and more like they either said “we need a big-splash and we’ll sort through the bullshit later” or “we are going under in a year so what can we do that Marvel or we haven’t already tried?”

    The quotes just point to a clusterfuck over there.

    And I like John Rood taking the high road will all his shots at Marvel…classy to make sure the new 52 is ONLY a DC thing.

    At least they’ll see a bump in sales….

  8. “None of those questions will matter to a new reader. They’ll just read the stories and not worry about whether something happened in the past that has nothing to do with the story at hand.”

    Except that the new stories themselves are explicitly referencing the past stories that they’re seeking to retcon away. The first issue of the “new” Batgirl includes an extended flashback to “The Killing Joke,” in which Barbara Gordon was paralyzed. The Batman and Green Lantern titles are retaining almost all of their existing continuity, which does NOT make for an accessible jumping-on point, and when those mythical “new readers” consult the previous issues of those same ongoing story arcs, they’re going to find an impenetrable mess of out-of-date continuity.

    Then again, if we’re talking about what TRULY “new readers” would think about the new DC, I’ll say it again: The first thought 90 percent of them will have is, “Why is Green Lantern a white guy?”

  9. Ya know. I just made a hard decision today at lunch! I’ve been trying to figure out how I can purchase more of these DC titles, but I couldn’t make it work (unfortunately I’m not one of those fans who appear to have an unlimited income source.) And I finally drew the line. Marvel is getting a huge hack job done to it. I’m tired of $3.99 comics, I’m tired of point one issues (which are really just another way of making a book bi-weekly); speaking of bi-weekly, I’m sick of those as well, and Marvel is flinging them out like hotcakes (Punisher, Daredevil, Red Hulk, FF, Journey into Mystery, etc. etc. they’re all bi-weekly now!) They’re killing me with all these books! So I’ve decided, today it ends.

    A large number of Marvel titles I currently collect are getting cut. I’m giving DC more of a try here. They aren’t perfect, I hate their new “on time/screw the creative teams to make it happen” approach, but they’re working with the prices, and trying to do something different(ish) and new; so I’m gonna see what happens. And save a little money as well.

  10. Nathan, why don’t you just buy the good comics regardless of their schedule? If you’re enjoying Daredevil, isn’t it a good thing that it comes out more often?

  11. NadaMucho, no, it’s not. I have a LIMITED budget. If a great comic comes out eighteen times instead of once a month, it might still be a great comic, but suddenly I can’t afford the other seventeen great issues cause uh, my budget hasn’t grown, has it?

    If Marvel just put out great comics, ONE issue of each a month, it would work wonderfully! But they glut the market, and suddenly you’re having to drop OTHER great titles, because Daredevil comes out multiple times a month now. Where else is that money gonna come from?

    AND then also Marvel realizes “whoa, we can’t keep the same creative teams on bi-weekly titles, the artists can’t keep up” so you end up with random artists on random issues, and the consistency and quality drop slightly (Hello, FF. I’m talkin’ to you.)

    Obviously, NadaMucho, you must have unlimited income. Otherwise, it’d make more sense to you.

  12. I find it easier to drop books in blocks, too. In the past I’ve dropped all Batman books, all Superman books, all Marvel books, etc. Going cold turkey on a line (or sub-line) makes it easier to withstand the insidious tendrils of crossovers and the like.

    Daredevil is the first monthly book I’ve bought from Marvel in years, actually. But as soon as it crosses over with something, I’m dropping it like a hot rock. My budget can’t afford me getting tangled up in Marvel again — no matter how good specific books might be. I can wait for a deal on trade paperbacks, I can get em from the library, or I can just ignore them and be pleasantly surprised when I encounter the story years down the road.

  13. @GlenSimpson

    I think it does matter to both new and old. New readers will still have to figure out a stream of continiuty. Much of which, if they do find those stories, wont make sense. This is unless they fill the lead-up issues with tons of exposition which would make for a horrible narrative. Old readers, know the stories, which creates the same problem. Yes, we all know its a fake universe, but its still OUR universe and I think most readers not only feel a sense of ownership of it, but want it to make sense.

    DC, if they wanted to do this, should have just started completely from scratch. No continuity. Lose the fans all at once who are angry that so and so character no longer exist, and go all out for the new readers. I think the only reason they did not is because of the power and influence at DC being wielded by Morrison and Johns who did not want to lose their stories.

  14. Nathan, just keep tabs on what pleases you each month. Surely there’s a book you like less than another, so if you’re getting 2x Daredevil, drop whatever’s your least favorite book. I do that all the time.

  15. @JeffHaas,

    Except it doesn’t have to be like that. If they had launched a new book with a new character in the old DCU, and it was established that he had been around for a while, just had never interacted with the other characters, then over the course of that series you would find out about the past of the character as it related to the new stories beging told about him. It’s no different with the DCNu – they tell new stories, and if they need to tell you something about the past, they will. I’ve seen the preview for Batgirl #1 and they spend 1 page letting you know that Barbara was shot by the Joker. That’s all you need. And it’s not like there’s not a clear point of demarcation where the old history ends and the new launch starts. So if you’re reading something from before the relaunch and it doesn’t make sense, then it’s kinda obvious where the problem is – you shouldn’t be reading something from before the relaunch and trying to make it make sense.
    I do agree that a clean break would have been, well, cleaner, but considering the goal is to maximize sales, disabling the stuff that you have that is already selling really well isn’t a very smart idea.

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