Chuck Dixon and the DCU — UPDATED

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DCNATIONAMBUG tm Chuck Dixon and the DCU    UPDATED
UPDATE: Well well well. The Diamond figures for the month are out, and Secret Invasion #2 came in at #1 with Final Crisis #1 coming in at #2. We can’t imagine anyone at DC is very happy about that.

The recent departure of Chuck Dixon as a writer at DC has spawned a cottage industry of speculation, but Dixon himself spoke out on The Dixonverse:

Just to counter some nonsense I’ve seen “reported” on other sites.
I did not quit.
I do not believe it had anything to do with politics.
My involvement with Robin ends with issue 174.
I think my BATO run is over with #10.
My Booster two-parter will still be appearing.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Storming Paradise continues on schedule.
For those keep score, yes, I was way ahead on both of my monthlies. Down the road perhaps I’ll offer those scripts and you folks can help out Books for Soldiers as you so generously have before.


Presumabely the “politics” above refers to Dixon’s generally conservative leanings, whch have sometimes gotten him some hear. However, a long, well-written post by Greg Hatcher speculating on various recent DCU editorial gaffes draws much speculations from fans, and even a few comments from Dixon himself:

Don’t blame my editors.
DC, currently, is run from the top down in a way that makes Jim Shooter’s aegis at Marvel look like a hippie commune.


Oh snap! Dixon continues on with several comments in this vein, closing with:

I’ve worked under tyrants and I can say that I’d prefer to work under a talented, knowledgeable tyrant with a successful plan than a directionless gladhander with a ouija board any day of the week.


Rumors that the state of DCU editorial resembles something out of a Smiths song are pretty much common knowledge these days. So much so that the upcoming Ambush Bug mini even makes fun of the rumors as shown in an upcoming DC Nation editorial page (above, click for larger version, and on link for the whole thing.) Speculating on potential replacements for Dan DiDio are a common pass time around town: A recent column by Todd Allen even ran down a scorecard for candidates:

You may have heard rumblings that DC is in the market for a new Executive Editor. Dan DiDio’s contract is up this year, and its common knowledge on the street that DC has been looking for a replacement. The last rumor I heard was that DC wasn’t happy with the candidates they identified to replace DiDio and are talking with him about a one year extension, while they do a more exhaustive search to find his replacement.


We can state with some certainty that at least one of the most popular candidates —at least in the comic book version of the Hot Stove League—to take over DC should DiDio move on to greener pastures isn’t on Allen’s scorecard, but it’s all pure speculation anyway — as Joe Quesada said long ago when he took over the Marvel EIC job, running a comic book company is a job that comes with a shelf life. There’s a 100% probability that both Quesada and DiDio will be gone someday…it’s just the time frame for someday that’s the question.

Comments

  1. Seems to be a chunk of text missing and accidentally converted into HTML link-age when you link to the Hatcher post.

  2. The Beat says:

    Fixed, thanks!

  3. Kenny says:

    American superhero comics are dead. At this point, it’s just dinosaurs passing time waiting for the vegetation to die out from the dust cloud.

    I know that sounds harsh, but seriously, the sales numbers *suck*. We’re talking about what, .0005% market penetration against the country’s population? DiDio being replaced is a tree falling in a forest with no one to hear it.

  4. Allen says:

    Dixon’s politics?! If the man was a left-wing loon attempting to restart the Bolshevik Revolution or a right-wing nut attempting to rebuild the Confederacy, I still could care less about his politics unless he was trying to push them intrusively ::cough::Judd::cough::Winick::cough:: through his work.

    Dixon’s comics work speaks for his integrity regardless of his personal politics whatever those may be.

    DC is losing out in so many fan based areas; losing a fan favorite writer in Dixson is merely another chapter in their free-fall.

  5. “American superhero comics are dead.”

    Mmm, no. They’ve been counted out before, but it’ll be a long time before they are dead. They are evolving, and there are a lot of old fans that don’t want to evolve with them, but I think that Marvel is headed in the right direction. Even there bad comics are interesting. Who knows what will happen at DC. No matter what becomes of Dan DiDio (and I just have a feeling for no reason at all that he’ll go and start his own company) I hope he takes a few weeks of in Maui what it’s all done. I get tired just reading about his job. :) Dixon is a talented man. He’ll do fine.

  6. moose says:

    Palmiotti would be a great executive editor.

  7. Jesse Post says:

    “Mmm, no. They’ve been counted out before, but it’ll be a long time before they are dead.”

    God, I so hate the sarcastic “Mmm” and “Umm” of blog comments all over the internet! Sorry, off topic. But I wish everyone would stop using “Umm” to mean “you’re stupid” and just get on with the comment. Sheesh. So insulting.

    Oh, and I agree with everything Chris said after “Mmm.”

  8. The Beat says:

    Ummmm……Jesse!

    Hm, just trying it out,. How about this…

    JESUS CHRIST IN A TREE, JESSE!

    Hm….dunno which I like best.

  9. Alan Coil says:

    Todd Allen is quoted as saying: “You may have heard rumblings that DC is in the market for a new Executive Editor. Dan DiDio’s contract is up this year, and its common knowledge on the street that DC has been looking for a replacement.”

    Strange that no one has mentioned on the internet that DC is looking to replace DiDio. There have been quite a few who grab onto the “Fire DiDio!” meme and repeat it everywhere, but no one else has mentioned that DC wants to replace DiDio.

  10. Scott says:

    Kenny is 100% correct in his assessment. DC Editors have been dictated as to who really runs the show and what they can do. As on a previous post somewhere on The Beat, I told people to not blame the editors for all these issues.

    If Didio is gone, I can figure the most appable and decent guy to do it is Jimmy Palmiotti. That’s the name I’ve heard bandied about for over a year. I work for DC and I think he could right the ship as it were. And I’ve only talked to him a few times but got a vibe that was genuine.

    Somewhere in heaven, comics greatest editor/writer Archie Goodwin is crying over the lousy state of comics and how they are run!

    Archie, we miss you…

  11. Jimmy P. is the best and most obvious choice as next in line, no question. Having just dropped my last DC pull, that might be the one move that could make me interested in the company’s output again.

  12. Lawson says:

    I’d like to see Dan DiDio replaced at DC — I’ve not enjoyed or read many mainstream DC titles since DiDio took the helm a few years ago — but I’ll believe it when I see it. Sure, sales are sinking across the board for DC, but how much does owner Time Warner care? By and large, DC’s value to Time Warner is for research and development. DC owns this great source material for movies, TV shows, games, toys and so on. Whether the actual comics are any good or sell seems almost besides the point.

    But I’d love to be proven wrong!

  13. The Beat says:

    I’m sure if Jimmy were here he’d be flattered and say “READ JONAH HEX!”

  14. From what I understand about his reputation and abilities, Palmiotti would probably be the best choice. OTOH, I remember hearing – just total gossip, mind you, nothing serious – that the Marvel EIC job would have been his if he wanted it but he didn’t want it. Quesada wanted it so he was the one that got it even though Palmiotti was the guy that was regarded as the true power at Event/Marvel Knights.

  15. Kenny:”American superhero comics are dead. At this point, it’s just dinosaurs passing time waiting for the vegetation to die out from the dust cloud. ”

    So true.
    At the present rate of decline there’s no way most superhero-centric shops will be around 10-15 years from now. Many wouldn’t still be around now without Magic cards and the like to shore up their bottom line.

    Kenny: “We’re talking about what, .0005% market penetration against the country’s population?”

    The figure I’ve been told is less than 1/10th of 1% of Americans read comic books on any kind of regular basis.
    So teeny tiny the entire industry could collapse tomorrow and it probably wouldn’t make the nightly news except as a novelty story.

    The vast majority of comic shops are poorly lit, disorganized nerd dens preaching to an ever-dwindling choir.

    If only they could all somehow morph into miniature versions of Comic Relief, Comix Experience, Austin Books and Comics, Flying Colors, etc, ALL readers would be better served. Stores like those are our true comic shops.

    I tried to read Final Crisis #1- twice. Half the time I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on. (The supposed death of Martian Manhunter was so poorly done, I’m still shaking my head.)
    Can’t say much good about Secret Invasion, either. (Except it made me long for the era of the Thomas/Adams Kree-Skrull war.)

  16. jimmy palmiotti says:

    Andy, joe wanted the E.I.C. job and went after it while we were doing Marvel Knights…and he was the perfect guy for the job…Its obvious to everyone. I never wanted the job then because i wanted to create new characters and start writing…and to do that, i had to start from the ground up again to make it work.

    Joe is doing a great job with another good friend of mine right there with him…Dazzling Dan Buckley!

    Personally, i am not a fan of huge crossovers…so heidi is right in saying ” please buy jonah hex”

    jimmy

  17. John Warren says:

    Scott–What is this “appable?” I can’t find it in the dictionary.

    Marcus–Oh, stop making stuff up. You haven’t visited the “vast majority” of comic shops. Stop hating. And FYI, Magic cards sell worse than comics these days….

  18. JACK RANDOM says:

    Thank you, Mr. John Warren!

  19. “Making stuff up?” I’ve visited HUNDREDS of shops over the past 20 years.
    And yes, the majority are superhero-centric, poorly organized and mostly uninviting establishments. They’re fetishistic, closed-clique geek dens that few mothers would feel comfortable taking their children in.
    Of course there are exceptions, such as Comic Relief and the other establishments I mentioned above. But they are very few and VERY far between.

    I doubt many of the crap shops’ customers realize they’re going to a crap shop.
    They’ve simply never been in a good one.

  20. Jesse,
    I try to wright like I talk. I’d never do anything to make Kenny feel like an idiot, because if that’s the Kenny I think it is, he’d kick my but. :) “Mmm,” is an inflection I use to make myself sound unsure of what the last person said. As in, “Mmm, try reading that a different way, and see if it sounds less insulting now.” This in one of the many trappings of the internet, that we must always try to be aware of, to avoid letting our blood boil, over nothing.

  21. David says:

    marcus lusk said:
    “I doubt many of the crap shops’ customers realize they’re going to a crap shop.
    They’ve simply never been in a good one.”

    I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. I know my LCS is crap. That’s why I work around it (mail order, mostly, but also trips to other, out-of-town comic shops).

    Although given these other available options, I guess there’s really no excuse for continuing to support a crap shop…

  22. These are two great examples of what comic shops should be.
    They’re fairly large, but their approach would work for even the smallest of shops.
    It’s not about inventory, it’s about cross-the-board appeal and friendly service.

    Eisner Award winner ZEUS COMICS:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3uOt-l4YJs

    AUSTIN BOOKS AND COMICS, another Eisner winner:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heGE9WkHJwk

  23. Scott says:

    To John Warren:

    Scott–What is this “appable?” I can’t find it in the dictionary.

    It was affable. I mistyped it as I was typing fast. It means being friendly, pleasant and at ease in talking to others.

  24. Lawson says:

    Jimmy P.: JONAH HEX is probably the only DC title that I buy outside of the Vertigo imprint. Very nicely written, with a jaw-dropping collection of artists, and I like the done-in-one concept.

    Now if it isn’t too much trouble, please take over DC, too.

  25. Thanks for the link and the kind words, Heidi… I just wish all the traffic on this week’s entry was over something less depressing.

  26. timothycat says:

    Axel Alonso strikes me as the obvious choice.

  27. I say, Jimmy Palmiotti for President. Or maybe VP.

    Draft Palmiotti! Put an inker in the White House.

    And he can script, too.

    Two for the price of one! Yeah!!

    I’m sure he’ll be endorsed by Murphy Anderson, Bob Layton, Terry Austin, Joe Sinnott and the estate of George Klein. And maybe Todd Klein, too.

    Todd Klein for Attorney General…..

  28. Hey, that Ambush Bug sequence is pretty darn funny. Some good may come out of this DiDio debacle yet.

    I still remember when Marvel passed up DC in sales in the earlier 1970s. I thought the roof was gonna cave in. I remember when Marvel was assaulting the nation’s newsstands in late 1972 with a gazillion titles and DC was struggling to keep up. I thought the room was gonna cave in. I remember when Kirby left DC (and Kamandi!) in 1975. I thought the roof was gonna cave in. For some reason, I don’t feel the roof is caving in on DC right now, so maybe this time it’s REALLY caving in. Doubt it, though.

  29. Bring Back Zot says:

    Would Mark Waid be a candidate? He’s a solid writer, and certainly knows the DC Universe.

  30. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Shooter! Shooter! Shooter!

  31. Tom, you’re such a card.

  32. Hang the blessed DJ, because they music they constantly play, says nothing to me about my life. Hang the DJ. Hang the DJ. Hang the DJ. Hang the DJ. Hang the DJ. (Or should that be hand the DD?)

    How wodnerful and hilarious would it be for Plamotti to wind up there at DC with Quesada in the Marvel role? Ha.

    Mark Waid would be amazing, but I think that ship sailed. I heard it made a Boom as it headed to the horizon.

  33. The only 2 Smith songs I can think of are “Meat is murder” and “Mother, I can feel the dirt falling over my head”.

    Oh, those and “How soon is now?” So 3 Smiths songs.

  34. “Big mouth let it all out. As the flames roes to the Roman nose and the hearing aid started to melt.”

    Okay, I think this thread has officially died.

  35. brett says:

    “I’ve worked under tyrants and I can say that I’d prefer to work under a talented, knowledgeable tyrant with a successful plan than a directionless gladhander with a ouija board any day of the week”… Chuck Dixon on ??

    I think Mr. Dixon should be applauded for having the courage and bravery needed to be so brutally honest. Hey, the truth hurts that’s why so many prefer living in a delusion.

    Mr. Dixon also should not be penalized in any way for saying what 97% of the comic buying public has been saying for over 5 years.

    Not that anyone at DC has been listening since Dan Didio always said, “Online readers don’t matter.”

    I guess talented, intelligent writers don’t matter either so Mr. Dixon should feel very proud to be dismissed. His work clearly was unfitting with the rest of the amatuer, fan fic drivel known as DC’s product output.

    There IS a Secret Invasion going on but it’s not at Marvel, its at DC. It’s an Invasion of the Amateurs and this one began 6 or 7 years ago. It’s being promoted by DC as The Great Disaster and they should know since they’ve been digging their own graves. It’s also known as the Day Evil Won and in this instance, with the abrupt dismissal of Chuck Dixon, it did.

  36. brett says:

    BTW, not all of DC’ product output reads like Amatuer Fan Fic drivel, just most of it and those that do, are so bad, its made anything with a DC bullet an eyesore, turning readers away from even the handful of professional work they do release.

  37. My picks to replace Didio:

    Keith Giffen

    Grant Morrison

    Alan Moore ; )
    (sweet, sweet revenge)

  38. Oh joy…now we can look forward to all of the online fans throwing out their picks for Didio’s replacement.

    “Hey, I’d love for it to be this guy who’d never take the job in a million years!”

    “You’re stupid. It should be this guy who’s inability to properly manage his own schedule arsed the relaunch of a whole universe! He’d totally be better at that sort of thing if you gave him the top job!”

    “You’re high. It should be that guy who seems to have contempt for all things commercial and capitalist, because he’d definitely take over the top spot from Marvel.”

  39. Kenny says:

    I actually didn’t take any offense to Christopher’s “Mmm, no.” To me, it read like he intended it to, like someone saying, “Ummm…” or whatever while they collected their thoughts. I mean, I know this is the internet and all, but it’s not Kay Slay’s radio show, no DJ Drama here!

    And while I agree a lot with what Marcus says, I intended my comments to be more in line with Scott. It doesn’t matter who takes over for DiDio; at this point, it’s changing the captain on the Titanic.

  40. I don’t think so. DC’s problem at the moment is that there’s widespread disillusionment with the direction of their superhero line. Fortunately (for salvage purposes) there’s also a perception that much of this is attributable to a garbled, overcomplicated, and ineptly executed Grand Plan. In other words, it’s not that readers have turned on DC’s creators or characters; they just don’t like the direction of the line.

    An incoming EIC would be in a good position to make a clean break and send the signal that DC is now doing Something Else. The classic strategy here is to de-emphasise the big continuity-shaking events, and focus for a while on saying “Look at the awesome creative team who are taking over this title.” That’s what Quesada and Jemas did for the first couple of years that they were in charge, and it worked very well for them.

  41. As a retailer, I have access to a feature on Diamond’s website that spotlights a different comics retailer every day. In my one-and-a-half years of being open, that means I’ve seen pictures of roughly 400 different comic shops that are currently open.

    The vast majority are NOT “poorly organized and mostly uninviting establishments” or “fetishistic, closed-clique geek dens that few mothers would feel comfortable taking their children in.”

    While there are still many elements of many shops that are remnants from the old days when that WAS the norm, a majority of comic stores I have seen are coming closer and closer to looking like the professional, clean, neat, organized, and well-lit mass-market stores like Waldenbooks or Sam Goody than ever before. There still are some “Android’s Dungeon”s around, but many are gradually transforming into a better breed of store. The ones that aren’t are slowly being replaced by better stores.

    One of the great things about the CBIA is that many stores, when it’s their turn on Diamond’s website, actively seek out criticism and suggestions from their fellow retailers. I know that for my store, while I started out far ahead of the curve in relation to the stores around me, I am aware of many other things I can do to improve my store thanks to being able to see what other stores have done. I know that other stores in my market have also started to improve their stores, and they are all better than they were 2 years ago.

    Comics retailing has had the bar raised by some terrific retailers around the country, and many of us are striving to reach for that bar.

  42. Back on-topic…

    I think Dan Didio has done a decent job for the past several years. I also think he has made a few decisions that in hindsight, were bad:

    1. One Year Later was a great opportunity that was not taken. It was a chance for a “soft reboot” for the whole line that was almost totally not promoted or coordinated. This was something that should have made everyone want to read more DC.

    2. Countdown. While I really enjoyed many of the related titles (Countdown to Adventure and Countdown to Mystery especially), the core series changed directions too many times, killing any chance that it would be meaningful, or even make sense. Most of the titles branded with Countdown had NOTHING to do with the Countdown series.

    3. Not doing any real major crossovers. While some of the smaller “big events” were VERY well handled (The Sinestro Corps War, Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul), Infinite Crisis had a few, and Countdown wasn’t a crossover, it was more of a brand, looking at my Marvel numbers, a majority of super-hero readers actually WANT every title to be impacted by big events. the only issue of Irredeemable Ant-Man I sold more than 4 copies of was the World War Hulk tie-in, and I sold about 7 times a normal issue. People who read Universes of titles now EXPECT them to be heavily interconnected. They want to read the meta-story, not just the individual stories. While bloggers (and some other store owners) talk about “event fatigue”, I have a higher percentage of people picking up ALL the Secret Invasion crossovers or all of the Final Crisis minis than I had for World War Hulk. Some people are tired of it, but most are not.

    It’s not too late to save the DC ship, nor do I think it’s sinking, for that matter. It’s just that Marvel’s ship is floating SO high on the water right now, that DC’s LOOKS LIKE it’s taking on water.

    Gotta go, I have a store to run…

  43. The number one attribute i’d like to see in the for now fictional new executive editor at DC is:

    They have good taste. This was evident in many of the choices for creative teams when Marvel Knights started and continues to this day. It’s a no brainer that the superstars will deliver the good, but it takes a keen mind to pick out people like Jason Aaron and put them on Ghost Rider or give Paul Cornell a Captain Britain title. Palmiotti’s time at Marvel Knight’s shows that and I’m assuming he’s had some input into who his artists on Jonah Hex have been.

    Mark Waid’s a good choice too, but I’d pick him solely on the basis of the fact that he’s such an expert in the form and knows how to tell a good story. I don’t really have a sense for if he’s got great taste, but you’d have to assume so based on his comics work.

  44. Jesse Post says:

    Do people really think the superhero genre is dying out? To me that seems as odd as it would be to say that the murder mystery genre is dying. Superhero comics far and away drive the most revenue for Direct Market stores, if not most comics revenue for the book trade as well. It’s true that the superhero audience is a very tiny subset of the population as a whole but isn’t that tiny audience alive and well and flush with cash and keeping stores open?

    Also, I’m not sure what Dan Didio’s job security has to do with the health of the genre he works in. Surely the ship keeps sailing regardless of the captain, yes?

  45. Jesse Post says:

    Now, as an exercise, read the first sentence of my last post with an “Umm” at the beginning. I’m right! All of a sudden it makes me a snarky bastard! This is my new crusade. Although I have to admit that throwing in a “Jesus Christ in a tree!” instead is really funny.

  46. “Mmm,” Jesse. I said “Mmm.” I’m also just going to say that a crusade against racism, or world hunger may be more worth your while. “Mmm,” is such a small harmless thing, but if it’ll help you to move on, I’m truly sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt, uh, Kenny’s feelings. How about a hug?

  47. John Mayo’s estimates are up….

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=16836

    …and the result is a shellacking. Not only did SI #2 sell better than FC #1, it sold over 25% better. I believe the word is “ouch.”

  48. As much as I’d like to believe Brian Jacoby is right (and he does have a great-looking store) I don’t think a year and a half in retailing and viewing Diamond’s retailer pics is enough to provide one with the full picture. Most any half-decent shop can clean up a corner or two to put on their best face. (I’ve been in a few that have been featured.) But that’s no indication of selection or customer service.
    Yes, I would agree that better-looking superhero/gaming shops are popping up these days, but this seems to mostly be in larger cities. The great majority of readers out there live in smaller towns and most of the shops there tend to be exactly as I described.

    Also, most of the giant superhero/gaming shops (however well-lit or friendly) that I have been in recently shelve virtually nothing outside the long underwear genre.
    And what little they do carry outside that genre is generally downplayed, stuck off to the side where it will likely go unnoticed by the average, curious visitor.
    Again, it’s preaching to the choir. And the choir is dying off. The sales figures on superhero material (the so-called “mainstream”) tell a tale that simply can’t be refuted: Fewer and fewer comics are selling. Circulations on virtually every DC and Marvel title are less than half what they were just 15 years ago. Amazing Spider-man sold 372K in 1969; 261K in 1989 and a whopping 112K in 2005. That’s a drop of over 70% since 1969, and that was before the direct market even existed.
    I don’t believe superhero comics are doomed. But comic shops that cater only to superhero fans probably are.
    I believe people will always love comics and that comics will always be around in one form or another. But the Direct Market Titanic we’re all sailing on simply can’t endure if the downward sales trend continues.

  49. re: Christopher Moonlight’s big mouth comment
    “And now I know how Joan of Arc felt. Now I know how Joan of Arc felt.”

    On a related note, I don’t think Chuck should be burned at the stake for his comments. Heck, even Morrison’s been badmouthing DC editorial. How the hell do you have continuity errors between Countdown to Final Crisis and Final Crisis? He gave them the first script a year in advance to avoid that. DC editorial seems to be run by a bunch of monkeys with ADD tossing around typewriters.

  50. Jonathan says:

    But isn’t all mags, no matter what type: as in news mags, celebrity trash, and etc.

    Tv Ratings are down and they continued to get worst.

    CD Albums sales are down and they continued to get worst.

    The problem is that ALL old Media is dying. While everything connected to internet and digital is rising. It’s a new generation and new generation what’s new things.

  51. Much of “the old media” is dying, true.
    But the direct market -and superhero comic sales- were headed south long before the internet came along.
    That being said, I think digital delivery is the only hope traditional, serialized superhero comics have.

  52. Christopher Z. says:

    One thing that Marcus overlooks is that the superhero comics are making more money now than ever before. Using his Amazing Spider-Man numbers:

    1969 – 372K @ $0.12 = $44,640
    1989 – 261K @ $1.00 = $261,000
    2005 – 112K @ $2.50 = $280,000

  53. All that indicates is that superhero comics *grossed* more money in 2005 than they did in 1969. (Unless you know someplace one can get a 32-page color comic printed for less than 12 cents…?)

  54. Xenos, you got all that from Big Mouth? Cool and funny, but not what I meant. That was just the first Smiths song that popped into my head at that moment. I love that song. How about a hug. Hugs all around!!!

  55. sleeper says:

    pulphope: “The only 2 Smith songs I can think of are “Meat is murder” and “Mother, I can feel the dirt falling over my head”.

    Oh, those and “How soon is now?” So 3 Smiths songs.”

    That second song is called “I Know It’s Over”

    Truly, now Dan Didio knows how Joan of Arc felt… as the flames rose to her roman nose and her CGC-graded copy of INFINITE CRISIS #1 started to melt.

  56. I have an opinion on the main topic here but won’t be posting it. Instead I’d just like to say that I have been reading comics since the early 70’s and have been to comic shops in the Boston area, Pittsburgh, State College, PA, New Jersey, Phoenix, and probably every place I’ve ever visited on vacation. I can’t think of one truly bad one and that includes the shop that was half for comic books and the other half was a dry cleaner.

  57. Alan Coil says:

    Obviously, Baal, you’ve never been to Toledo, Ohio.

  58. Louis Lane says:

    >superhero comics are making more money now than ever before.

    After adjusting for inflation and higher costs (better page rates, incentive payments, etc) I suspect super-hero comics are less profitable than ever.

    DC and Marvel are making much more from licensing (toys, movies, etc), though.

    LL

  59. Not that I have any particular pony in this race, but there are all kinds of interesting and unproven presumptions in the above commentary. Just to name a couple:

    About DC being upset that Final Crisis was #2 to Secret Invasion. I’ve heard by about 40,000 copies. It wasn’t that long ago that if DC comic hit #2 in the listings at only 40,000 copies less than the Marvel comic in the #1 slot, DC management would have sent out for champagne, strippers and 8 foot cakes. It might not have beaten Secret Invasion, but it did beat everything else Marvel published and Secret Invasion wasn’t launched coming off Countdown. So all things considered Final Crisis hardly counts as a failure.

    Nobody likes to get bad reviews, but DC’s no stranger to them and as far as I know usually doesn’t make decisions based on them.

    People seem to think that because we’re politically diametric Chuck and I hate each other, but as far as I know that’s not true, and I think Chuck’s a pretty good writer. There’s no doubt he deservedly has his fans. I don’t know that he’s any more a “fan favorite” writer than, oh, Joe Casey is. I don’t know that Chuck’s name on its own merit sells books any better than mine does. That’s the mark of a “fan favorite”; someone whose NAME ALONE sells books. You know, like Frank Miller. Are there any real fan favorites these days, people whose names alone sell books? (Selling to one’s own fanbase doesn’t count unless that fanbase is big enough to buy lots and lots of copies.) I don’t pretend to be privy to why Chuck has all his DC assignments pulled but unless he was advocating the assassination of foreign dignitaries or American government officials or something along those lines I wouldn’t think politics would play any part in it. But, y’know, in the realm of work-for-hire comics, abrupt replacement of the talent happens. Hazard of the trade.

    As for Jimmy… again, I like Jimmy and his work just fine. But what makes anyone think Jimmy, who’s a freelancer, would be “next in line” for anything anywhere? Why would anyone even think that if DC decided to replace Dan – which is still a pretty big If – it wouldn’t go outside the comics business again? One of Dan’s pluses as far as DC was concerned was his experience in other media and businesses, and never forget that DC views itself as a media company these days, just as Marvel does. If we’re measuring Dan’s “failure” against Marvel, pretty much no head of editorial in the last 35 years has done anything but fail by that measure. If we measure Dan’s “failure” by how angry DC readers have been about the material, failure by that standard has been familiar to DC going back at least 30 years. DC has mostly been in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation re: their readers for ages, since DC readers in particular tend to react badly to change, but if DC doesn’t do stories that “will change ____________ forEVer” they get lambasted as stagnant and retrograde, and get ignored by a wider audience. Which isn’t denying that coordination between Final Crisis and its many pre-series (some of which even contradicted each other) couldn’t have been a lot better — I’ve commented on this in my column – but a prevalent attitude at a lot of comics companies is now to shrug off complaints like that from the hardcore comics fans because if they weren’t complaining about “that” they’d find something else to complain about. While I think that attitude’s a bit on the stupid side, I wouldn’t say it’s unjustified. The core fans tend to feel a sense of entitlement because they’re the ones keeping the ship afloat, without acknowledging that they aren’t of sufficient mass, and within their own ranks no single taste is universal enough, to keep the ship afloat. If those factors were in play, it would be a different matter.

    At any rate, entertaining as all this low-rent hysteria is, it’s a bit presumptive…

    – Grant

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