Despite all the whispers, shouts and murmurs, all indications are that far from having his job on the chopping block, executive editor Dan DiDio’s contract has actually been renewed and he’ll be running the DCU for a while. Now, before everybody pisses and moans about this, just stop. There are many behind the scenes reasons for this, and we’ll do our best to parse a few of them, but the bottom line appears to be that DC management clearly feels that there is no one better equipped for the job and has confidence that DiDio can return to his early, sales-boosting ways.

Matt Brady also refutes the popular Jimmy Palmiotti options with the crisply titled news story: PALMIOTTI: NOT REPLACING DIDIO which analyses Palmiotti’s “No comment’ at the DC Nation panel.

The comment was though, according to Palmiotti, a joke.

“We were at a panel, and I was trying to keep things lively, and everyone goes ‘Ooo…’,” Palmiotti told Newsarama Sunday. “Dan and I giggle, and everyone giggles, and that’s the end of it. Of course, when you make a joke like that, how does it translate to the internet? It’s typed as a straight sentence, and then some reporters on the West Coast thinks it’s news and start their engines running, but in reality it was a joke to everyone in the room. I work for DC and Dan, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. He’s a friend, and I like that he’s there, and I hope that he stays there for a long time, but no – that’s not a job that I ever want.”

When asked if he had been approached about the job, Palmiotti answered with a firm, “Absolutely not.”
Although the truth of the matter is something less than many people would hope, that didn’t stop a lot of press. Over the weekend rumors over DiDio’s job security reached Hollywood analyst Nikki Finke who claimed that her sources indicate that DC parent Warner is concerned over the turmoil at DC esp. in re the movie slate:

With DC Universe so much a part of Warner Bros’ bottom line, getting DC Comics back on track has to be a top priority. For one thing, the movie studio’s biggest DC characters remain in development limbo — Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League. Only Batman has an ongoing live action franchise. But whose fault is that? Warner Bros Pictures Group prez Jeff Robinov and Warner Bros prez/COO Alan Horn (who still retains greenlight authority and therefore has to share the blame for this) remain paralyzed by indecision, chaotically starting and stopping work on scripts for the biggest DC characters. Meanwhile, Marvel is about to exploit the hell out of its characters, primo or not. Right after Iron Man’s success, Marvel Studios announced an ultra-ambitious film development slate through 2011, culminating in an “Avengers-Themed Summer”, introducing a Captain America film and then uniting heroes Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor in a single film. Heck, if I were Bewkes, I’d shake up Warner Bros as well as DC Comics.

Comics pundits also took issue with DiDio, with Laura Hudson’s summary of all the reasons DiDio looks like a lame duck:

Back in 2004, DiDio was a new leader who declared his editorial modus operandi by saying, “let’s really concentrate on what makes these characters great, what makes these characters strong, and what we love and remember most about them.” Today, he’s an apparent lame duck whose recent comments bordered on resignation: “We have the same characters… There’s only so much you can do with them. You’ve seen it all, you’ve heard it all.”

Hudson also posts this little gotcha from an interview with Grant Morrison from the print magazine:

Comic Foundry: You’ve done several big event books for DC. What’s the hardest part about writing them?

Grant Morrison: Trying not to disturb continuity too much, particularly in cases where said continuity is best described as a car wreck. Back in 2006, I requested a moratorium on the New Gods so that I could build up some foreboding and create anticipation for their return in a new form … instead, the characters were passed around like hepatitis B to practically every writer at DC to toy with as they pleased, which, to be honest, makes it very difficult for me to reintroduce them with any sense of novelty, mystery or grandeur. So in cases like this, where fellow creators have overlooked my carefully established additions to DC continuity or ignored my pleas to hold certain characters in reserve, my intention is to follow the through-line I’ve established in my own work so that there’s at least some long-term consistency.
Syphilis, eh? Funny stuff. One awaits the shoot interview with Morrison some day far in the future about all of this.

Now, it is very possible that Finke is correct and the very real turmoil at DC has reached higher echelons at DC, so there could be some shake-ups over the summer, but, frankly, that would surprise us greatly. It’s not really Warner style, New Line aside, especially when the relatively tiny contribution of publishing revenue to the bottom line is taken into account.

As regards John Nee’s departure, our sources indicate he did it of his own accord and was not dismissed or fired. Although it does seem to reflect in some part the ongoing upsets at DC, it is in no way related to the DiDio rumors, and we’re told the timing of the announcement was absolutely coincidental.


  1. “Now, before everybody pisses and moans about this, just stop.”


    DC’s output is dreadful, and it is that way because of Didiot’s mismanagement and contempt for both DC’s characters and readers. Criticism of him is fully justified and attempts to quash it are laughable.

  2. And attempts of the opposite are just as laughable.

    For every general statement from a comic “pundit” that says DC is impenetrable, that their events don’t bring in new readers or that they are pandering to aging fanboys there is proof positive of the complete opposite. Both Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis were the first comics (not just DC) read by friends of mine. Both of them women. There are 15-19 year olds just getting into comics – some of them from even the movies! And even the mishmash that was Countdown brought over readers from Marvel and introduced them to DC.

    When was the last time anyone actually polled a group of comic readers? We do it regularly on our forums and continue to get pretty interesting results against every “the sky is falling” generalization. Granted it’s far easier to just point fingers.

    Anyone remember the excitement from DC during the con season of 2005 and 2006? That was all Didio. And while I don’t disagree that there’s been missteps along the way, the general white noise circling all of this has been pretty silly.

  3. “DC’s output is dreadful, and it is that way because of Didiot’s mismanagement and contempt for both DC’s characters and readers. Criticism of him is fully justified and attempts to quash it are laughable. ”

    What the fuck are you talking about? DC has been putting out some of the best comics they’ve put out in years. Stop assuming that everything they put out is Countdown quality. God damn ignorant Zombies, I swear.

  4. Yeah…syph isn’t the same as hep…the excerpt was from the Comic Foundry website (which Laura linked back to) and others discussed before (like 4thletter.net).

  5. “DC’s output is dreadful, and it is that way because of Didiot’s mismanagement and contempt for both DC’s characters and readers. Criticism of him is fully justified and attempts to quash it are laughable.”

    Christ, you are dumb. Didio’s made a few mistakes in his tenure at DC (among them Countdown, Amazons Attack, Identity Crisis, Resurrecting Jason Todd, allowing Judd Winick to write, the like.) but as of now, DC’s putting out better books than they ever have been. About half of Morrison’s Batman run has been great, and the other half just mediocre. Dini’s Detective Comics run has been amazing so far. Johns runs on Booster Gold, GL/GLC, and JSA have revitalized the books. Rucka’s run on Checkmate was quite possibly one of the best books DC has ever put out. Superman and Action Comics are better than they ever have been, and Superman only shows signs of improvement now that Robinson is writing it. Sure, the Wonder Woman revamp wasn’t spectacular, but ever since they got Simone on the book, it’s been golden. Blue Beetle and Manhunter are two of the best monthlies on the market right now. There’s also the handful of Year One books that have come out during his tenure (Green Arrow: Year One is the best Green Arrow story we’ve seen in years, Teen Titans: Year One is the way that the Titans are meant to be written, Huntress: Year One is also surprisingly good). They have a large amount of good monthlies being released, and a scant number of bad ones (Hell, The Flash isn’t even that bad, it’s pretty mediocre, it just gets lumped in with Judd Winick’s bile because of how great the other monthlies are).

    The problem lies in the fact that DC has bad marketing. They always have. They hype their big events and their terrible books ad nauseam, but their smaller books are left alone in the marketing department.

  6. JFC Says:

    George Carlin has only just died. I don’t think that’s appropriate at all.

    He probably meant Mike Carlin.

  7. As a huge DC Universe fan, I have enjoyed quite a bit of DC’s production since Dan has signed on with DC. Yes, there have been a few missteps, but Dan has spoken at numerous conventions about fixing things like lateness and continuity. The Final Crisis debacle with Morrison was put into motion a few years before the recent pledges of changes.

    I admit I have been frustrated at times with certain events/books/decisions from DC, but if I had to look at it, I’ve enjoyed many DC books.

    Action Comics, Green Lantern, Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, Manhunter, Blue Beetle… these are all solid books. I agree with the anonymous person’s sentiment on marketing… they could do a better job, but I enjoy the stories.

  8. If “everybody” is going to piss and moan about Dan DiDio getting his contract renewed, wouldn’t the amount of disappointed people alone justify said pissing and moaning?

    The resentment and disappointment for those who disapprove of DiDio at the helm is already there and while I can understand the desire to keep childish name-calling in check, this seems like the right time to utter a few choice colorful metaphors.

  9. Given Grant Morrison’s considerable knowledge of DC history, he should’ve known that the New Gods would get passed around like (fill in name of preferred sexual disease).

    After all, DC is the company where editors once took turns passing around the privilege of putting talking apes on their covers.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m just sayin’.

  10. I find it very sad and pathetic that the people at DC (and Marvel) are celebrating and happy as a pig in slop because a small (and shrinking) group of older teens and adults are reading their superhero comics. Like I have said numerous times before on these boards, aiming their superhero titles at the existing (and shrinking) older teen and adult comic book readership and the near mythical older teen and adult new reader, is what has been killing the sales of DC comics for years now.

  11. OMT, according to a couple of very reliable sources, I have been told that their are many people currently working for DC who DO NOT like Dan Didlo.

    For the record, treat the above info I just posted as a RUMOR.

  12. I’m glad to see this for 2 reasons. #1 I think Didio has done a pretty good job from what I can tell. No job is perfect, and I’m sure he’s made his mistakes, but DC’s line of books has been fun and interesting to me under his tenure. #2 I’m glad this should stop some of the ridiculous speculation from people that have absolutely no idea what is really going on behind the walls of either DC or Marvel.

  13. Wraith wrote:

    “OMT, according to a couple of very reliable sources, I have been told that their are many people currently working for DC who DO NOT like Dan Didlo.

    For the record, treat the above info I just posted as a RUMOR.”

    Good thing you said that – I was going to alert the president.

    Seriously – you coulda just made that up. In fact:

    Wraith, I can safely report there are people you’ve gone to school with and worked wtih that don’t like you EITHER!

    Wait…you say that could be said of all of us???

    OMIGOD THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!!!!! How will I nerdify now???


  14. “Anyone remember the excitement from DC during the con season of 2005 and 2006? That was all Didio.”

    Really? I thought it was people retching. :)

    You know, short-term hype can only succeed SO FAR until it’s finally seen as the usual SONG AND DANCE without SUBSTANCE; and that is pretty much what Dan DiDio has accomplished. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

    Seriously, today’s ‘comics news’ seems more like a severe case of DAMAGE CONTROL from all interested parties on the inside. Time Warner’s stock isn’t all that improved by Dan DiDio’s continued meddling at the FAILING DC Comics.

  15. Eh … I think I’ll keep pissing and moaning, thanks. I’m entitled to not like what DiDio has done with the DC Universe.

    And with a few exceptions, I’ll continue to withhold my money from DC Comics.

    Since sales are down across the board for DC, I don’t think I’m alone, either. DiDio supporters may pretend it’s just a few isolated cranks on the Interwub who loathe their man, but it goes a little deeper and wider than that.

  16. I believe that it was Bill Jemas who expressed the opinion that criticism from message boards and comments sections on the internet was meaningless. That it amounted to nothing more that whining from a couple of dozen people and was completely irrelevant to the operation of Marvel. I think that his attitude was that the most vocal internet critics simply weren’t worth paying attention to because they were such an incredibly small number of people (and that is why he enjoyed getting them riled up). I believe he focused on Marvel’s numbers (sales and profits), and for most his run the numbers were pretty good (as they have been for Quesada’s continuing run). So what if a hundred people hated him, he was making money for the company.

    I think DC likely has the same attitude toward internet criticism of Didio. So what if a hundred people hate him, what do the numbers say? Now, just lately, it looks like the numbers may be softening and are not turning out as good for Didio, but if those recent numbers are the beginning of a trend, there likely is not enough of a trend to upset the Powers That Be (™ © Joss Whedon) at DC, yet. I’m not sure where the numbers will be in a year, but I think it is reasonable for the management at DC to give Didio the opportunity to bring the numbers back up, over the long haul.

    People need to remember that bitching and moaning on the internet just doesn’t matter much to suits in offices. All they care about are numbers on spreadsheets, and I would bet that Didio’s spreadsheets have been generally pretty good since he came to power, even if they have just started to slip. His position will only be in jeopardy if his numbers go down for an appreciable period of time, just like any other manager selling widgets or whatever. It really is all about the numbers.

    Didio’s numbers, however, may continue to slide. I’m thinking of waiting for the trade of Final Crisis because it now looks to me like Final Crisis is really just Seven Soldiers of Victory Part Deux, and I didn’t read Part I. Maybe it will be a good story when it is done, but maybe it won’t. The poor coordination with the rest of the DC universe makes me believe that nothing truly important will really happen in Final Crisis, since it appears that most of the other writers at DC (or their editors) ignored what Grant was going to be doing in Final Crisis anyway. It will be “Grant’s” version of the DC Universe, but it won’t really effect the DC Universe I’m reading. It may be like a really good Elseworlds series, like Kingdom Come, but it may not. The first issue of Final Crisis just didn’t grab me, and because it no longer feels connected to the rest of the DC Universe to me, I just don’t feel like getting it (although Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds looks super sweet to me, so I do plan on getting that).

    Just my 2 cents.

  17. Let’s be fair- it’s not JUST some guys on Newsarama bitching about the books they buy every month sucking. DC is getting trounced by Marvel in the head to head- it’s not just that they’re number 2 but they are consistently number 2 and way behind. And now Marvel seems poised to roll out a string of high profile movies while DC can’t seem to do much with the exception of Batman (Watchman I guess has to be counted but it’s not a cross-platform, merchandised company-owned product). If it was JUST message board chatter it could, and should, be ignored. This “chatter” was based on real numbers AND fan discontent, leading some to think the two had a connection and maybe someone higher up at DC/AOL Time Warner would come to the same conclusion.

    Whatever happens, I just hope DC figures out how to create the same enthusiasm for their titles that Marvel seems to. IN the end, when you count Vertigo I actually think DC has more quality titles but they seem unable or unwilling to promote them effectively. The million dollar question is: Is that Dan Didio’s fault?

  18. I would hazard a guess that people at Marvel/DC probably discount internet complaints because they feel the critics gripe all the time, but still buy the books.

    It likely means that unless there’s a demonstratable campaign where hundreds, if not thousands, of people pulled a Howard Beale, said that they were mad as hell and not taking it anymore, and stopped spending their money, to really get someone to notice.

    It seems to me that the stereotypical DC/Marvel fanboy/girl is too emotionally attached to these characters to go cold turkey from the product in order to make their point tangible about the gripes.

  19. I love it when lazy fanboys accuse DC of being “impenetrable”.
    Have you taken a look at the X-Men lately? You need a Phd in X-Men lore to figure out the Summers family line alone.

    When I was in the 10th grade, the first comic I ever read was Crisis on Infinite Earths #10, six years after the series hit the stands. Somehow, I managed to get the jist of what was happening. The villains were rioting, there were multiple heroes from multiple Earths with different histories, the Spectre was a big kahuna, the Anti-Monitor was a psycho.
    Long gone are the days when actual footwork and researching through comic book store back issues were the rule of the day. I couldn’t track down all of the issues (only 10-12) until DC released the trade years later, but it was from the original Crisis, a continuity-heavy, continuity-cleaning crossover, that I began familiarizing myself with the DCU.

    It just seems to me that a vocal minority of “new readers” are either retarded or just lazy.

  20. Has there ever been a significant period of time over the past thirty years where Marvel wasn’t number #1 and DC #2? Looking at this week’s books, Marvel is putting out nearly twice the number of books that DC is. Marvel has always won with volume.
    And DC’s numbers are up over the past four years, which means that DiDio, regardless of what you think about his decisions, is doing his job. So saying that Marvel’s “trouncing” of DC is reason for Didio’s dismissal is not enough. TW doesn’t care whether DC is number #1 or #2 as much as it cares if it is making more money than it was–which appears is so.

  21. What’s sad is when sales continue to slide, i.e. more and more people stop buying DC Comics, people will blame either comics as an industry for no longer being a relevant medium or the characters for being stale and not connecting with consumers.

    Characters are like puppets, they are only as stale or good as their puppeteers.

  22. You know what I’d like to see Didio do to increase sales? An across-the-board price cut. I would so increase the number of DC books I purchase every month, and most of my books are DC anyway. But dang it, it’s too freakin’ expensive! I’m old enough to remember when comics cost as much as a candy bar, so seeing that a new book goes for 3 or 4 bucks (or more sometimes when it’s from Marvel!) really makes me second- and triple-guess my purchases.

  23. Maybe I myself have been hard on DiDio. (Though I never did call him DidIdiot, I did post pcitures of a guy from Plan 9 From Outter Space as him.) Yet maybe I’m looking at the glass as half empty. I’ve focused on his mistakes and ignored his successes. I’ve chalked the successes up to the writers alone and the failures up to him and editorial. Then again, from the recent Dixon bit to Bart Allen to Winick and Jason Todd to Batgirl’s fiasco to damn well killing Nightwing; those are some big gripes I’ve had. A head honcho thinks a favorite character is useless and has his poster boy writer ready to replace him with a dead character, I may hold a bit of a grudge.

    Though also some of the pitches and attitude I see in con interviews, that DC Nation bit, and even promo videos I haven’t been impressed with DiDio. Of course, “if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?” I got complaints but no answers, no replacement for him.

    Well, seems we’re stuck with this commander in chief for four more years, or however long the new contract is.

    Richard Pachter (a/k/a Rockin’ Rich) Says:
    “I won’t believe this until I hear about it officially… from Warren Ellis.”

    Yes! It is not true until the prophecy of internet Jesus himself has confirmed it! :p

  24. Christopher Moonlight—

    The emphasis goes on the second ‘Di’… diDIo. dih-DEE-oh.

    Sorta like P.Diddy (who is now just Diddy), only stressed differently.

  25. I don’t read DC comics, but I like Dan DiDio. His “Sunday Conversation” panel at Heroes Con was great fun. I’m glad he has a job for a few more years.

    It’s all a crap-shoot, people. Don’t just blame DiDio and call it a day. He makes the big decisions, but he can’t make people buy the books.

    The things people will choose to spend their money on are hard to predict. If you had told me a new Mike Meyers comedy would only gross $14 mil. on opening weekend in the middle of the summer, I would have laughed. You really can never tell until the work is out and the people vote with their wallets.

    Also, if you don’t like what’s going on in the DCU, buy Brave and the Bold. From what I understand, it’s not tied into anything and tells a complete story in every issue. Stop ranting about “event fatigue” and take some done-in-one medicine to get you through the summer.

  26. well, in sports if your team doesn’t play wel and win games, it’s the coach that gets the boot.
    In business if the quarterly results are going down and the company’s name has a negative image, they fire the CEO

    In comics…

  27. Why piss and moan? Stop buying. Exercise your choice as a customer. You want Didio gone? Stop buying the things you piss and moan about yet continue to buy… so you CAN piss and moan.

    You do that, he’ll be out of a job next Friday.

  28. People claim that readers shouldn’t piss and moan about Didio, they should just vote with their wallets.

    As the numbers have indicated, many people have stopped buying DC Comics and DC sales are in the toilet.

    It didn’t help.

  29. Except that sales figures in a vacuum are meaningless. Are we comparing them to Marvel’s sales, or DC’s sales from pre-2004? Because if we use the latter, then DiDio is doing his job, and doing it well.

  30. I think to many folks are throwing the baby out with the bath water here. DC has made a few mistakes, the biggest and most obvious being Countdown and it’s intersection with Final Crisis. But there have been others, but at the same time they are putting out some great titles right now. Action Comics, JSA, Green Lantern, Batman, Detective and Superman/Batman are really good books with solid creative teams.

    Not all their out put is bad and their are some creators that are pouring their hearts out over there.

  31. People have been saying that Marvel has been kicking DC’s but for years and this has to have put Didio’s job in jeopardy, but has it occurred to anyone that the DC bottom line is not even remotely related to being beaten by Marvel aside from the minor PR it creates? I think DC’s bottom line from Didio is “Are we selling more books now than before you got here?” Based on Marc Oliver Frich’s numbers, while numbers have decreased over the last few years, DCU is still up 9.4% over five years ago, which was when Didio started. Taking into account the current economy, the lack of a major civil war like event last year, which if anything was probably their biggest mistake, I’m fairly sure that the fact that their sales are still up almost 10% (and who knows how much they are up over before that…I don’t have the numbers for that anywhere that I can see…but one would imagine they are up even more than that from the years preceding Dan Didio’s first years) is more than likely what fostered their extension of his concept.

    People can complain about Countdown (I personally thought it was inconistent at times but was by no means unreadable), and sure it wasn’t as sucessful as 52, but it still sold 70,000 a month and did conistently better than most of the rest of their books conistently coming in the top 20 that was hugely dominated by Marvel. And since 52 by all accounts over-acheived from what they expected, the “Paul is dead” type of announcements about Countdown being ac omplete failure are just that. The fact that people thought it was “so bad” and it still outsold most of their line shows me at least exactly what they buying base is compared to the extremely vocal “base” on the internet.

    Bottom line is, in a year, when the hardcover comes out for Final Crisis, are we going to be talking about the inconcistencies between two stories that are going to mean nothing to the DCU as it stands at that point, or are we going to be talking about this brilliant story Grant Morrison has written..blah blah blah. The latter I guess remains to be seen by many of the reviews of the first issue, (I ersonally thought it was a brilliant beginning to an awesome story, and the instant gratification generation showed itself in spades in some of the reviews that came out) but still exists.

    At the end of the day story is going to always win out long term over small continuity gaffes. If you can’t get over the small stuff, and ejoy what’s out there, well then, I really feel sorry for you.

  32. But mainstream comics have become impenetrable, both Marvel and DC. I bought a tradepaperback of Brad Meltzer´s JLA – the one where they resurrect some Flash or whatever – and had to spend half an hour on the Wikipedia because I virtually didn´t understand the story.

    Of course as a reader I used to more informed on things like continuity, but I cut back drastically. It is a difference if you pay 6 USD for a story you feel disappointed with at the end or 18.

    There are so many things which leeches the fun out of DC´s or Marvels output. The ever faster revolving writers and artists, the more often than not ill-conceived editorially dictated storylines, the sheer hypocricy of today´s editors. You can´t dismiss the vocal internet critics as meaningless fanboy whining on the one hand if you hype your product across the boards nearly weekly as the best ever. Why do all that work for a few hundred idiots in the first place? If that is you idea of marketing, you really have a problem. Back before the Internet the editors didn´t give press releases at the drop of a hat. Why today? Are the Didio´s and the Quesada´s and the Millar´s that desperate for attention?

    And if you as EIC insist on doing event-driven comics only, fine. It is your call. But if you are unable to cordinate your series that the key-points of your story match – as so aptly demonstrated with the whole New God´s debacle – you are not doing a good job. It is that simple.

  33. My guess is that DC measures Didio’s performance based on past DC numbers, not comparing DC’s performance to Marvel’s. Because DC is in an entirely different structure than Marvel, I think DC management would consider comparing Didio’s DC to Marvel would be apples to oranges. Also, because DC doesn’t have a fluctuating stock price to measure management’s performance, I believe it would take quite some time before declining numbers would be considered significant by DC management (they don’t answer to stockholders, they answer to Time Warner suits who just look at spreadsheets). So Didio has a longer leash than someone like Quesada as (and with Time Warner’s other management problems, slightly lower sales at DC probably do not look all that bad). I think it would take years of declining sales before Didio’s position would be in danger.

  34. “But mainstream comics have become impenetrable, both Marvel and DC.”

    I fundamentally disagree with this statement. There’s a difference between wanting to know and needing to know information to understand story. It could just be difference in comprehension of the material or understanding of history in characters, but these are sequential comics and they are going to continue ongoing stories of the characters.

    For every person who claims that “The Lightning Saga” or “Secret Invasion” or “Final Crisis” as indecipherable, I can tell you about people who have picked it up as their 1st comic in months, years, or ever (I work in a comic book store) and had no problem following the story based on the exposition in the piece and their basic knowledge of the characters (not to mention the fact that many of these things aren’t complete stories as of yet and so of course it’s not a completely story and maybe confusing because the STORY ISN’T FINISHED YET!)

    There is a huge difference in basic comprehension needed to follow a story and wanting to know every detail or “easter egg” place dinto a story to understand how it all ties in. THey are two completely different things, and sometimes I feel like people overread things to the point of a lack of comprehension.

    Again, there is a seeming need in everything today for instant gratification instead of being able to wait for things to play out. This especially ends up unfortunately in the negative kerfuffle (borrowed with thanks to Greg Rucka) that occurs over the last week. I mean, people’s need for instant gratification had Jimmy Palmioti installed as the new E-I-C of DC by Friday afternoon.

  35. I just need to drop my two cents that mainstream comics, from both publishers, are not impenetrable. I’m a 31 year-old woman who started reading them about three years ago, and pick up new ones all the time, and now I blog and podcast about them. Yes I’ve had to go back and do some research and resort to Wikipedia and all the rest of it, but that’s what makes it fun. If people don’t find that kind of thing fun, then they wouldn’t appreciate giant-universe comics anyway.

    Like everyone else I think that both Marvel and DC have had some triumphs, tragedies and everything in between in the past few years, and the industry clearly has some issues, and maybe fresh blood would fix some of them. But I’m still enjoying myself, even if I occasionally complain about the wedgies in JLA, etc.

  36. Look, it is just good basic customer service to listen — REALLY listen — when customers have a gripe. And any manager with any experience will tell you that while one complaint may signal only an isolated incident, many, many complaints usually signal a fundamental problem with the product.

    And, as any successful business manager will also tell you, a business generally doesn’t enjoy success by FORCING customers to “like it or lump it.”

    In short, if a significant percentage of comic book customers are complaining that many of today’s stories are difficult to follow, than I think it would be wise to analyze the situation further, and if true, fix the problem. Trying to point fingers at the customers (i.e., inferring they’re just dumb), or rationalizing the issue away, is a recipe for failure.

    I was complaining on a message board recently that the first issue of “Planetary” I decided to try (coincidentally, one of the final issues) was not only incomprehensible, but extremely boring. The response from one poster? “You were unlucky to probably pick one of the least new-reader friendly issues of it.”

    Jim Shooter supposedly once said that every issue of every comic is always someone’s first, and I agree with that. I should be able to buy almost any comic book on the rack and be able to take it home, read it, and enjoy it.

    I’m having a hard time doing that these days.

  37. “I should be able to buy almost any comic book on the rack and be able to take it home, read it, and enjoy it.”

    Not neccessarily. Comics have changed fundamentally from the time Jim Shooter was a heavy hitter. The fact that most arcs within a storyline are setup as part ___ of ___ is just one example. IF your picking up part 4 of 5 on a book that clearly states it there should be some expectation that you are maybe not going to understand all of what is going on as it is stands. Expecting anything short of this is lofty at best.

    Reading and enjoying are different from being able to comprehend. I comprehend the Fountainhead but I don’t enjoy it.

    I know this is heresy in some circles, but the storytelling in comics has changed, good, bad or indifferent. THe days of the one in done stories, hell even the days of Levitz and his triangulkar storytelling in Legion are over becaus ethe nature of the business with trades and all has changed. This doesn’t mean the story telling in these books is bad, it’s just different.

  38. It’s also important to separate out people in general, and those on the internet. People on the internet complain. About everything. And they are certainly not, in any way, representative of the general public.

    I’d also add that manga–which sells exceptionally well–is exactly the same. A new reader would be just as lost in the 40th volume of Naruto as in the 40th issue of Green Lantern. It’s the nature of sequential stories.

  39. Think about your logic from a business standpoint.

    You are in effect saying that because of the way things are now, no serialized book should realistically expect a significant amount of new readers after the first issue is published.

    If that’s the case, then for the publisher, there is no reason to overprint any subsequent issues beyond the first one, because that first issue sets the readership bar for that series, and the circulation for every issue after that will have the same circulation or less. As a matter of fact, it will always be less, because, as you point out, such a serialized title is not designed to attract new readers, and there will always have readers who drop a series after initially being on board. From a retailer’s standpoint, there’s no reason to order any more copies than the previous issue of any given title, and little reason to have large amounts of rack space.

    Can’t you see that this is the antithesis of good business practices, which emphasizes growth — i.e., increasing one’s customer base?

    This is why I think rampant serialization in comics is bad for business — especially in the long term. You and some others may like it because it makes you feel part of an exclusive clique, but such exclusionary practices, if widespread, kill one’s customer base.

    It would be one thing if a miniseries or a six-, 12- or 18-month-long story arc were done only occasionally, but they now appear to be the norm. And this new norm, I say, is not conducive to the health and growth of the industry.

    Imagine if Marvel had such an “anti-growth” philosophy in 1961 – one that eschews new readers and focuses almost exclusively on serialization and a relatively small and select readership base. If they had, the “Amazing Spider-Man” miniseries would have come and gone, and no doubt, the character would now be long-forgotten.

  40. “Dan Says:
    06/24/08 at 2:22 pm

    It’s also important to separate out people in general, and those on the internet. People on the internet complain. About everything. And they are certainly not, in any way, representative of the general public.”

    right because internet users aren’t real people at all and comic book fans especially never EVER use the internet.

  41. “DC’s output is dreadful, and it is that way because of Didiot’s mismanagement and contempt for both DC’s characters and readers. Criticism of him is fully justified and attempts to quash it are laughable.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. DC is the only company where losing customers and pissing off the old faithful fans is a business model. Marvel will continue to CRUSH them as long as they have morons running the company. Just look at the new Lobo. A ship of fools.

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