The day everyone loved Dan DiDio

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FEVIL Cv4 The day everyone loved Dan DiDio
You know how what goes around comes around. Or, to put it another way, comic book fans love to bitch and moan. It is impressive to look at this DC New 52 Timeline of Departures, Firings, and Bridge-Burnings, a long list of high traffic comings and goings. I had forgotten half of them and it isn’t even a complete list. But it’s also easy to stir up outrage. The Harley Quinn thing was, to be honest, a badly written script, but for everyone who was tut tutting “how could they do it the week before Suicide Prevention Week??!!?!??” I’d like to point out…it wasn’t even the week OF Suicide Prevention Week…it was the week BEFORE Suicide Prevention Week. it’s a bit much to expect the DC Nation bloggers to sit with a calendar of awareness events and plan their coverage. In other words…you were reaching, people. Plus, just as Black History lasts right into March 1st, and women get breast cancer on December 12th, suicide should be prevented year round.

Perhaps with that in mind, and with tweetrage over DC’s Dan DiDio growing, everything has come around, and pundits are now saying, “Wait a minute, do we really want someone to lose his job?” On a more practical level, wishing and hoping that Warner Bros. execs will somehow be influenced by fan tweetrage to make major business decisions is just childish.

Besides, even while sales show some attrition, the New 52 DC is way more successful than the old 47 DC, or whatever it was. The New 52 was the kind of game changing success story that gives you a ton of leeway for all kinds of later missteps and setbacks. That’s just how the game works.

The Outhouse ran their own ode to DiDio and concluded:

4. The old DCU ain’t coming back. No matter how much you wish for it, DCE is not going to come around, two years later, ‘admit’ they were wrong, put things back to the way they were. Sales-wise, the reboot has been a success, and, in fact, reboots in general are a standard practice in the entertainment industry. You see the same kind of thinking about iconic characters and the ‘illusion of change’ at Marvel as well, and it reflects the attitude of pretty much all corporate intellectual property owners in the age of cross-branding and global marketing. Warner Bros. is not going to change their minds to suit the whims of a relatively small readership. There’s much more money to made in movies and TV,  and the Batman franchise alone has been rebooted, what… four times now?


As I’ve often noted in private conversations, as co-publisher, Dan DiDio has one of the qualities that companies love in an executive: he’s a decision maker. In fact maybe he makes too MANY decisions, and many of them are highly debatable, but nature abhors a vacuum or a hemmer and hawer. DiDio is anything but.

The reality, as I outlined in my “Coloring Book Theory” post, is that Big Two comics are now editorially driven. Period. The End. If top notch talent calling the shots on corporate icons sells more copies, eventually it will become more the norm, but sales will have to slip a lot more than they have for that to happen.

And yet, the current craze for the 90s in comics—from aping the art styles of 90s Image artists to lenticular covers to no name talent on top books—shows no sign of slowing down, even though the 90s were the lowest ebb for corporate comics since Wertham. Even with the corporate realities I just outlined, homogeneity is a big wet blanket that tends to dull excitement. The New 52’s biggest breakout has been its own brand, a brand that will eventually chip away in standard attrition.

These trends take a looong time to play out, however, and hashtags aren’t going to speed things up.

Comments

  1. Perfectly put.

    Also, every time someone tries to start a campaign to lose someone else their job, I just assume that that first someone has never had a job working for someone else in their LIFE.

  2. “hashtags aren’t going to speed things up” is my new jam.
    Go, Heidi!

  3. One of my most prized possessions is a “fan” letter I got from a kid when I edited comics at Disney telling me I sucked at my job and should be fired. The interesting part is that our whole department was laid off a week later. One of my biggest regrets in life was not writing back and saying, “Bob Eiger got your letter; thanks a lot, Billy!”

  4. Whatever says:

    If DC is so wonderful and Didio is a visionary decision maker why the need to come out and defend every decision and apologize for every mistake? I have hardly seen Marvel enjoy the same treatment here. I would imagine with a visionary leader they would be so far ahead this would be unnecessary. To date you have heralded Didio saving comics, justified Before Watchmen and provided lip service for every DC @&$! up. And when DC used Kubert’s death to sell Before Watchmen you placated that too.

  5. Erik Scott says:

    Well written and very thoughtful piece, Heidi.

    I am among the people who disagreed with many of the editorial decisions that were made with this book. The decision they made on the marriage though is something I actually do agree with, not because she’s gay, but because marrying her seems much less like a natural plot point for how the character has been written and much more of a stunt trying to make a specific political point. There really are two sides to ever coin. A lot of the outrage would make it seem as if this is a top ten selling book month in and month out but it is not. And the simple fact of the matter at the end of the day is that critical acclaim. Could this entire thing have been handled differently…yes. But I feel that is true of both sides. The creative team could have let the book come to their own conclusion before publicly leaving the book, editorial could have let them finish the book (although, much like the whole Roberson incident, why DC would have a team keep working on a book that has publicly decried their experience on it doesn’t really make a whole lot of business sense…I can understand their reaction of tearing the band aid off quick and fast and moving on instead of slowly and painfully tearing that bandage off.)

    The simple fact is seems to really be that DC has set a threshold for what they feel an acceptable readership is for any given title is. And I’m sure people like Dan DiDio and Bob Harras are constantly looking not at how to slow the standard attrition of dwindling people who are reading any given book to stop but rather big picture, how to get all the people who aren’t reading a book anymore or at all to read it. Clearly arguments can be made as to how this being approached (I am a big Marc Andreyko fan since his Manhunter book and am looking forward to what he will bring to this book – he seems like a natural fit…that being said, it would be way more likely that, for instance, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee on Batwoman would vault this book to the top of the charts faster than Andreyko or probably even a Gail Simone would) so while I don’t agree with Heidi’s wording of “no name talent on top books”, I understand the sentiment.

    (I fully expect Heidi to get some argument from people focusing on this term specifically while, like with most everything else with comic fans, ignoring her overall point.)

    The bottom line really is that voting with your wallet is going to be much more effective than trying to vote with a hashtag on twitter. Money talks, everything else walks.

  6. Great article! As readers first and foremost, we tend to forget from time to time that DC and Marvel are companies that are but one division of huge corporations. We must always remember that the first, BY FAR, objective of a business to make a profit. And yes, quality books SHOULD be making that profit for the company. However, a lot of times, they don’t. But, isn’t quality really in the eyes of the beholder? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

    The above being said, yes, I fully admit that overall I personally liked the pre-new 52 DC much better than what we have now. However, I fully understand why we have the new 52. Prior to the 52, DC’s overall sales were in the toilet and sinking fast. Superman and Wonder Woman’s titles dropped under the 30,000 mark. For two of the three of DC’s biggest icons to have sales like that was an outright disgrace. DC simply HAD to do something.

    Two years in, I think that if DC was going to shake things up, they should have went even farther. They should have restarted from scratch—-the very beginning. I know, they wanted 52 titles, but they could have started slower with the intent of eventually reaching 52 books. Just my opinion there.

    This article is about Didio, however, so I’ll say something about him—I’m glad that he gives books a chance to find an audience, along with giving different characters/concepts a chance (Green Team and the Movement are two of my current favorites). I’m not a fan of the multitude of Bat-books, but they sell very well and a lot of people seem to love them.

    In closing, I guess each individual fan out there (myself included) would like to see DC ran a certain way. Didio’s doing the best he can (and doing it well for the most part). Remember, Didio’s got people upstairs to answer to as well, and they’re the ones who are profits first, everything else second. It’s a thin tightrope he walks every day, so even tho he has his misses along with his hits, I’m willing to cut him some slack.

  7. Synsidar says:

    Calling for DiDio to be fired over the BATWOMAN incident would be unrealistic, at least, but the incident also points out how hard it is for people in editorial jobs to justify “illusion of change” as a policy. They generally don’t try, because that would require acknowledging that, to them, the characters are products. A storyline might work perfectly well, up to the point that a dramatic change should happen. Then the person who should have died doesn’t; the person whose mind snapped was under mind control; what happened was an illusion.

    Back in 1981, Shooter had Hank Pym hit Jan in AVENGERS #213. The reaction to that sequence was huge, and changed the way that writers treated Hank Pym, for better or worse, for decades. Back in 1975, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch got married, and for a while, the Avengers had two couples as active members. Changes that are done well yield benefits to everyone.

    Marvel and DC are practically alone in pushing their approach to characters. Other publishers (of original material) push the creator, the concept, the aesthetics, the timeliness, the relevance, the nail-biting suspense, the horror–they push the (creator’s) story, not the characters above everything else. That writers now apparently have less editorial freedom than they did in the ’70s only shows how Marvel’s and DC’s superhero comics have failed to progress in any meaningful way, including in circulation figures.

    If I were in DiDio’s position, and saw what the projected losses from poorly-selling OGNs would be, I might think, OMG, we can’t do that! We have to do stories as serials first! But keeping that approach only means that superhero comics will forever be a niche interest.

    SRS

  8. RegularSyzed Wayne says:

    Writing by corporate fiat is why I haven’t bought a new Marvel or DC title since (ironically) Batwoman Elegy.

    Ultimately the fanboys and girls have to make a choice: Do you want to see your favorite characters look cool and buy their swag or do you want well written, compelling stories? You can’t have both. Not with the Big 2, anyway.

  9. Chris Hero says:

    The New 52 isn’t the huge success you claim it is. Sales are practically at the same place they started at. The only real difference is an over-reliance on variant covers.

    DiDio was the person behind Before Watchmen, an incredibly damaging comic when it comes to bringing in new cartoonists. Most cartoonists aren’t going anywhere near corporate superhero comics anymore; it’s become a place to work for people with no talent or desire.

    Corporate comics are practically dead. The sales numbers, even at the peak of the New 52 excitement, were pathetic. DiDio got one thing right, the only people buying comics are 45 year old men who grew up with them and refuse to let them go.

    If I was in charge of Marvel or DC, I’d fire everyone and just outsource everything to whatever third world country would make them the cheapest. I don’t think the creative people matter at all to the average superhero reader, they just want their continuing adventures of corporate IPs.

  10. #promoteDidio
    Don’t care if he gets promoted away or gets a really lucrative position at IBM, just keep him away from the comics.

    #letHarraswrite
    Harras needs more to write. Somebody alleviate this man of his EiC duties so he can write more!

    #moreJimLeedrawrings
    Jim Lee should draw more comics. Maybe he can team with Lobdell on a WildCATS reinvention…and stay there…to the bitter end.

  11. I doubt Didio cares. As long as the sales hold up, they’re not going to pay attention to any “outrages” – they tend to provide them more publicity after all. You only need to look at the online behaviour of Marvel’s Steve Wacker to see what companies are prepared to pay no attention to – his books of course, are huge critical successes.

    Where this does get problematic is what message it sends out to the wider public about comics. People who already buy them will come and go, and come back again, but incidents like this do push out huge negative press for those who are in the tpb buying market, or the cinema-ticket-buying market. Comic publishers have repeatedly failed to capitalise on that latter market, and are missing opportunity after opportunity in the expanding former.

    Newspapers report on “gay marriage banned” at DC. They don’t do the follow ups of “oh, just marriage in general”. And that’s pretty damaging, in the long term and more financially viable market. Other comic publishers are more savvy about this, but DC don’t seem to care that much – probably because of the Warner connection. But it’s a shame.

    More room for Image, Dark Horse, Black Mask and even Marvel in the trades market I guess?

  12. Gardner says:

    I don’t like any of the “New 52″. A number of titles I had followed for years either vanished or changed almost beyond recognition. I did give the new line up a chance. I followed some old favorites with new story lines for the better part of 18 to 20 issues before giving up hope for improvement. I don’t expect the old DCU to return. This new DCU has cost DC a life long, loyal, PAYING reader. I am sure DC doesn’t missed the money I stopped spending on thier books.

  13. Penny Dreadful says:

    I have to agree with Chris Hero. Sales fell behind Marvel’s a year ago. DC had a market share of 26 percent in April–17 months after the reboot. Ouch. Basically, the honeymoon period is over. I do think sales will be back to pre-reboot levels within a year or so, barring any changes.

    Had the new 52 been better executed and had there been more time to plan it out, it would’ve been better received. And DC might have even maintained its sales edge instead of driving away readers. But the main issue is that it’s so poorly organized and DC is so poorly managed. Anyone who follows the revolving door of creators can see this is true. DiDio and the rest of the brain trust appear to be making it up as they go along. There’s no game plan and never was, it seems.

    Editorial mandate is one thing. Editors have an important role to play. That doesn’t mean that the DC higher ups pull the strings and the writers do a dance. It does mean that the editors and writers have a good working relationship, free of constant micro-managing and last-minute changes to books. And THERE DiDio, IMO, deserves blame. He promised at a writer’s retreat that this would stop. It didn’t. DC’s awful treatment of its talent will harm its reputation in the long run.

    I wouldn’t have minded if the reboot included some elements of the previous universe. OK, we get it. The old DCU isn’t coming back. But hey, why not use the Multiverse to tell different kinds of stories. Why not use Morrison’s Multiversity as a springboard for new stories featuring some beloved characters that are currently MIA. Instead, it seems to operate more as a vanity press for DiDio, Lee, Johns, and perhaps one or two others.

    And finally, there are the waves of cancellations for books and the company’s terrible PR and social media strategy. I mean, admitting you’re going to lose money on covers? Blaming social media for exaggerating creator troubles? And if we’re going to talk about a man losing his job, what do you make of Kevin Maguire being thrown off JL3K because DC wanted yet another grim ‘n’ gritty book? Where’s the concern for his job and his livelihood?

    At this point, I’d rather DiDio simply be moved sideways. Give him another job at DCE. A fancy-sounding figurehead position perhaps. A consulting job. Ditto Lee. Under their watch, DC is a shambles, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were another DC implosion in 1-2 years.

  14. ” I’d rather DiDio simply be moved sideways.”

    I’d rather that Didio be fired outright, and someone with ACTUAL TALENT for management of comics properties comes along to replace him. People with greater talent than he’s ever displayed get fired all the time for lesser reasons. Why should he get special ‘kid gloves’ treatment? WB just canned a better performing suit in their film department recently.

  15. Mikael says:

    Those of you looking at market shares and such – you have to keep in mind that the entire marketshare is up from previous years. So yes, 29% might seem like a low number but you have to ask: what’s the whole market share? 29% of July 2009 might be a lot lower than 29% of July 2013.

    And to say only talentless people work in corporate comics with no desire is just idiotic. Last I looked: Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Brian Wood, Dean White, Amanda Connor, Becky Cloonan, the Allreds – and the list goes on.

    So to Chris Hero and Penny Dreadful (I’m stealing that for a kickstarter book) I say to you: neener neener neener.

  16. Chris Hero says:

    Mikael – The overall market is up a tiny bit over last year. Comics has almost no growth. It’s a bizarre industry because it’s static.
    Matt Kindt does excellent non-corporate work people ignore. The Allreds have done non-corporate work for years and barely anyone cared. Jeff Lemire is flushing his talent away on all the corporate work he’s doing. Wood and Connor aren’t very talented beyond regurgitating the same genre cliches we’ve seen for decades.

    You can say neener neener all you want. My guess is you weren’t hounding Lemire for Essex County minis at various small shows.

    Also, the market, which has been losing all the ground it momentarily gained, is now propped up by variant covers. The losses are getting worse, but we can’t see them because some stores are buying far more books to get incentive covers. It’s really a shell game right now. Eventually someone will figure out it’s cheaper to outsource corporate comics and that will be the end of all this talk.

  17. Penny Dreadful says:

    Chris Hero, where are the exact figures this? As for increasing sales, the economy is getting better, which probably has something to do with it.

    Maybe more indies will eat into the Big 2’s market share, which would be great. Maybe outsourcing corporate comics would be good in the end (for DC, at least).

  18. Johnny Memeonic says:

    People can get as mad at Didio or Quesada as they want, but the fact of the matter is that if corporate says Peter Parker is always Spider-man or Bruce Wayne is always Batman then your only options for never-ending stories are to periodically reboot their histories or to write each new adventure as kind of a one-off with little in the way of continuity.

    I don’t see why they don’t do a reboot every 10 years or so personally, although I guess the average on which they DO reboots is 20-25 years depending on your definition of reboot.

    It would be pretty cool if they also ran a second continuity that goes on forever and builds upon itself, but has characters age and get replaced by new people…sort of like Geoff Johns’ JSA or how the Flash and Green Lantern identities were handed off to new characters.

  19. MattComix says:

    The problem people have with Didio is less his stance on “illusion of change” vs. linear character progression (though people do have their opinions on that in general) than it isspecifically how a buffoonishly crass and cynical world-view has dictated the tone of the entire line. This idea that the only good superhero is a miserable one and the only good superhero comic is basically a horror movie in superhero drag. That any sense of fun or measure of victory even in the heroes personal lives is somehow completely antithetical to having drama and action in the books. He would even seem to view revenge as the only worthwhile motivation for a superhero.

  20. Gianni says:

    Do you know how much money big corporations throw into Research & Developement? A fucking lot. And how much effort they give to make their work enviorement an stimulating one for their creatives? A fucking lot too, since they (Apple, IBM, Kodak, BMW…you name it) know that to keep their products fresh against their competitors innovation and creativity is a valuable asset. I don´t give a shit about the DCU or what happens to its characters but it´s not rocket science to see how Didio´s management is a poor one, that it´s going to cost money sooner o later to Warner, considering how mishandled the concepts of “empowerment” and “innovation” are to be seen nowadays.

    For what I know the guy may be the nicest person on the planet, but he stands as the example of the kind of CEO that´s almost dead and buried in any other corporation. In fact, he makes obvious that people like Jeanette Kahn, Paul Levitz and Karen Berger were not only efficient for making money, but for caring for the medium and pushing the envelope now & then for the sake and health of it. Kindt, Lemire and et al are talented guys and its nice they have some steady income from DC, but under this enviorement you can forget them giving us their best works: they wont produce under de DC regime their Sandman or Watchmen; you can forget about that and get used to the idea of having the same regurgitated superheroe crap over and over.

    I think lots of people agree that Didio´s run on DC is comparable to that of Bob Harras on Marvel in the 90´s: if Harras had been kept at Marvel until the early 00´s you can be sure there would have been no Marvel Movie Universe and no Marvel Studio. That´s where Warner is heading in a couple of years, and its sintomactic of the fucking mess of their actual DC Movie Universe…if you can call it that.

    Put the fan trolling aside and Didio still is a bad CEO by actual bussiness standards. Period.

  21. thunderfinn says:

    Bring back JIM SHOOTER!!!

  22. Erik Scott says:

    ” The overall market is up a tiny bit over last year. ”

    6% is more than a little bit and is far from almost static.

  23. Steve Replogle says:

    Very good piece, Heidi. It seems like you have correctly observed what’s happening. This may be somewhat related… I’m having trouble seeing what’s going on in the cover illustration you posted. Is Lex Luthor sitting on Batman’s lap?!?

  24. Whatever says:

    Take a look at this and then tell us how great things are at DC.

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/09/diamond/

  25. Macario says:

    Creatives are put up with only if they produce or until they become a liability. Not primadonnas with Eisners. Replacements are easy to find. Alot of starving artist out there, some are bound to be willing and even up to the challenge. Even the best CEO will tell you that. The Batwoman thing was a creative’s misrepresenting the truth. They worded things poorly. Writers were they? Every future employer will remember that. These guys may end up having to sign nondisclosure/gag type paperwork if they keep it up.

    Anyway, as Alan Moore said 40yr olds reading stuff designed for 12yr olds, it aint Shakespeare. Who reads superhero comics looking for a good story? Can it be done? Sure, but… it is for 12yr olds, man. The problem is that these creators are not writing comics, they wish thet were writing screenplays and settle for a paying job. I’d like to see Johns or Bendis write the all ages stuff to see if they can get some of the original audience back (12yr olds). That would be a creative worth it.

  26. Synsidar says:

    I don’t see why they don’t do a reboot every 10 years or so personally, although I guess the average on which they DO reboots is 20-25 years depending on your definition of reboot.

    Reboots wouldn’t broaden the market significantly. When a non-comics fan looks at superhero comics, he sees a soap opera approach to the storytelling, and characters with less realism than TV soap opera characters have. There’s no way to overcome the negative reactions to those aspects of the comics except, perhaps, by doing OGNs instead of serials.

    People who produce superhero comics like to make favorable comparisons to TV and movies, but the audiences are different. HBO’s Game of Thrones series, for example–it’s an adaptation of Martin’s novels, and any viewer who wants to can read the novels to find out what’s happened and what’s going to happen, but people are obviously content to watch the series.

    I’d readily pay to see what an established SF writer would do in a standalone (graphic) novel about Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, or assorted other heroes, simply because there would probably be concepts in the story that were worth seeing. Years ago, various SF novelists wrote Star Trek novels that were generally good, because they applied their creative talents to the characters and concepts. Concepts can easily be as interesting as characters, if they’re skillfully developed.

    SRS

  27. Simon Jones says:

    I agree with Mattcomix says above. The sheer cynicism of some comics being published today completely turns me off. Over the last couple of months I have weeded any DC books out of my pull list, because they’re just not fun. That isn’t to say that I can’t stomach a dark storyline where appropriate, but if it’s the only food on the menu, I can eat somewhere else.

    I don’t blame Didio at all though. He is responsible to his management, his Board of Directors and to his shareholders. He owes us nothing. If the company overall is doing well, irrespective of the artistic merit of the product being sold, he has done his job.

  28. MattComix says:

    ..and it would be one thing if it was entirely a DC thing. It’s like having two out of the only 5 restaurants in town where that’s the only thing on the menu,

    Besides how well is “doing well” when you consider that DC’s entire pantheon has potential appeal to a broad audience young and old alike. Yet the comics are aimed not only at the alleged “45 year old men” but if true that would have to be a sub-section of a sliver of 45 year old men who believe “dark” is the one and only way to do a superhero story.

  29. “Heroes shouldn’t have happy lives.” What would “Bro-didio” know about being a hero? Does he have a moonlighting job that gives him such irrefutable insights into the motivations of such individuals?

  30. Simon Jones says:

    Mattcomix, you’re not wrong at all.

    It is staggering to me that DC aren’t being more progressive in seeking out new audiences for their books. Both DC and Marvel are in a better position than any other publishers to progress the medium and put books into the hands of readers who have never read a Batman comic in their life. I’m thinking the sorts of people who couldn’t find a comic shop but who picked up Sandman or Watchmen or Transmetropolitan in a bookshop.

    When DC announced Before Watchmen (and please forgive me because I don’t have the actual press release to hand), they stated something to the effect that they were paying tribute to one of the great works of comic literature. If they wanted to pay tribute to Watchmen, the best approach would be to develop other work which transcends the medium in the way that Watchmen did. But no, that’s not really what they wanted. They just wanted a lot of books with the Watchmen branding on it to stick beside the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons original on the shelf, which I personally find grossly cynical.

  31. Heidi, I’ve also heard he’s a decision maker. But I also here he keeps changing his decision. Jim Lee even made fun of his inability to decide about what to do with Wonder Woman’s contest at SDCC ’11.
    http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/comicsalliance.com/files/2011/07/wonder-woman-pants.png

  32. Time has proven, again & again (in the comic industry all by itself, but pretty much everywhere else, too) that when executives are running the show (as opposed to creative types), there is usually a large flutter of immediate interest & short-term gain, followed by years of dwindling quality product & sales.

    In other words, what is happening at DC right now looks good – but mainly to other business-oriented folk. When the crash comes – and it will, with top creators leaving in droves, the general attitude of style over substance, editorial micro-managing & fancy gimmicky covers – you will see a similar situation of what Marvel went through in the 90’s.

    What may play out differently this time, however, is Time-Warner completely pulling the plug on DC as ‘an acceptable loss’. And if that happens, how many of you are going to be apologizing for Didio then?

  33. Simon Jones says:

    I could easily see that happening. Warner Brothers can still use the characters as fodder for movies, even without the overhead of a comics company.

  34. Why anyone gives a crap about The Corporate Crusader, or any characters driven by media conglomerates, and not just about authors & artists is beyond me.

    These characters are ALL basically interchangeable at this point. They’re a dime a dozen. Good storytellers are not.

  35. MattComix says:

    Why? Because despite who owns them or what idiotic actions those owners may be taking with them they’re still great characters that mean something to people. They didn’t start out as IP #110038, they were characters. A good comic is the fusion of both. Whether that character is one made by a creator themselves or if they are the temporary custodian of one owned by another individual or even media conglomco’.

    But these conglomcos will never change how they are treating those characters or the creators if the numbers tell them they can still can get by.

    I know for some perhaps the only thing more painful than say seeing your favorite hero killed off so a villain can wear him as a bodysock for a over a year in a crass stunt is to actually not go to the comic shop on Wednesday. But your dollar or lack of it is the one and only way to express your opinion to them that actually matters. They don’t give a damn what you think, but they do give a damn about what you buy.

    If you don’t want your favorite characters treated like shit, stop paying for it. Don’t want your favorite creators treated like shit, stop paying for it. Don’t want someone telling you that grimdark is the one and only way any superhero story should ever be done, stop paying for it.

    That’s the point I reached. I love comics as a storytelling medium. I love superheroes as a genre. I love Marvel and DC characters. But I love them enough to not keep paying money seem them dragged through the dirt or to see a favorite creator of mine done the same way. It’s not that those characters are owned by a company that’s the problem as much as it is what those companies to them and to those who come up with those characters and those they hire to continue them.

    Yes they are commercial characters. Yes it’s work for hire. But there’s no excuse for treating either like shit.

  36. Synsidar says:

    Why? Because despite who owns them or what idiotic actions those owners may be taking with them they’re still great characters that mean something to people. They didn’t start out as IP #110038, they were characters. A good comic is the fusion of both. [. . .]

    It’s not that those characters are owned by a company that’s the problem as much as it is what those companies to them and to those who come up with those characters and those they hire to continue them.

    But the characters shouldn’t mean as much to people as they do. The stories should mean more. Take any of Marvel’s and DC’s characters, give him or her to an experienced SF writer to use in a story as he pleases; the result could be a story like nothing the character had been in before, simply because the character and his/her powers were being interpreted in the context of SF. And, in the course of interpreting the character for a wider audience, the reader would learn about aspects of the character that had never been seen before.

    The heroes that are seen in DC and Marvel comics are mere outlines, compared to genre fiction characters. Whether the artwork makes the stories those outlines are in pleasurable to read– In any case, the intentions of the writer will have far more to do with the success of a story than the characters he uses will. If he’s writing a story to make a point, the characters are just tools he uses.

    SRS

  37. MattComix says:

    I guess I disagree with the idea that the characters are merely outlines. There’s too much to them going in to simply view them as a funny hat to be worn by whatever the writer would rather be doing anyway. Ideally what someone working with a Marvel or DC character should be asking themselves is “Can I write good ____ stories.” Rather than “Can I use ____ to tell MY stories.”

    But I agree with you at least in the sense that what a character means to people should not be the thing that keeps them buying even despite not liking what’s being done with them. If you like Superman don’t just buy the comic because he’s in it or because the company waves an \S/ in front of your face. Buy it when it’s a good Superman comic. Something that in quality is worthy of how much that character means to you rather than as a brand loyalty thing or sports team allegiance where even in a bad year you’re still shelling out for season tickets.

  38. Jay Barnet says:

    “The heroes that are seen in DC and Marvel comics are mere outlines, compared to genre fiction characters. Whether the artwork makes the stories those outlines are in pleasurable to read– In any case, the intentions of the writer will have far more to do with the success of a story than the characters he uses will. If he’s writing a story to make a point, the characters are just tools he uses”

    I absolutely agree. Christopher Nolan could’ve made a trilogy of “Brother Power The Geek” films and they would’ve been just as good, because he’s an artist with a voice and things on his mind.

    Also, before Watchmen sucked.

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