Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DC in September - My Impressions

I didn't have a knee-jerk reaction when I first heard that DC might be relaunching their entire line in September. The comic industry has a history of reinventing itself; I.E. Marvel has launched and/or relaunched the Avengers title 4 times in the last 15 years. The Silver Age of DC was used to reinvent and create new characters following the Golden Age, etc. I wasn't overly concerned about the comics, but I was excited about DC for the first time in along while.

I was worried about how the customers of this store (and others) were going to take the news. I was not happy with how they rolled out the information, especially since it took a couple weeks before anyone got a definite answer on whether this was a fresh start (cold reboot, new continuity) or a soft relaunch (keep previous continuity). I had some questions.

In mid-June, DC Comics hosted a series of Retailer Roundtables across the country. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon in NYC with other retailers, asking questions and getting answers from some of the top people working at DC.

My thoughts:

- Over half the time (the meeting went 3+ hours) was spent discussing the new titles and creative teams. There were half a dozen executives and VP's on hand to discuss the books. Dan Didio and Jim Lee answered all of the creative answers.

- Jim Lee might be the nicest guy in the entire industry. Funny observation: Retailers weren't afraid to ask Didio tough questions, but they softened their tone for Jim. Conclusion: No retailer ever wants to get on Jim Lee's bad side.

- Every one of the DC and Warner Brothers people were enthused about The New 52. There was definitely a feeling of passion and commitment. DC is going all-in on this, in every department across the board.

- Didio stressed how important timeliness was going to be on these books. Remember the old days, when you got a Superman and Batman book every week, the same week of every month? The old days are back. Dan Didio was asked several times about DC's newfound commitment toscheduling. He said, and I quote, "I was personally embarassed when 3 Green Lantern books all shipped the same week." They are focusing hard
on making sure books come out on time. Someone asked him "What happens if someone misses their deadline?" Without missing a beat, he responded, "Someone already has." [They're off the book]. You could've heard a pin drop in the room after that one.

- Speaking of continuity, I got some answers: Batman, Green Lantern and all the characters associated with Brightest Day are continuing what's going on in their books right now, more or less. I get the idea they might be tweaking a couple things in the Batman books (specifically with Tim, if the Teen Titans solicitations are any indications) but that's it. All the Green Lantern titles LITERALLY be taking place after the War of the Green Lantern Aftermath mini-series. Swamp Thing's book will come out of Brightest Day. Deadman will come out of Brightest Day.

- They're integrating some of the Wildstorm characters into the DCU. As a longtime WS fan, I'm not certain how I feel about that. Voodoo has never had her own book, and Ron Marz has been writing Witchblade forever, so that character is in pretty good hands.

- Superman and Justice League are getting cold reboots. I know this might cause some gnashing and wailing, but neither book has sold well. It makes sense that DC wants their strongest and best properties to regain the sales dominance they used to have. Superman is an icon, and is selling very poorly. Justice League sells good, but not great. Putting Grant Morisson, George Perez, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns on this books will change that fast.

- Graphic novel collections of The New 52 won't start until May 2012. Yes, it's really going to be that long before you see collections.

- DC released a video of the top creators and VP's talking about The New 52: http://bit.ly/iIGtHg


More soon.


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