Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DC's new publishing direction

I thought it was about time I wrote up something on DC's new direction.

In case you don't know, come June, DC are ditching the New 52 brand and launching "a bold new direction for the DCU that is even more inclusive and accessible to a wider group of readers as the publishers continues to evolve comic storytelling for it's next generation of fans."  I've seen talk about them wanting to make their series more diverse too.  This doesn't necessarily mean in term s of characters race, disability, sexual orientation age or gender though.  Instead there's an emphasis on telling a variety of types of stories, using different types of art and on emphasising story quality over continuity.  The series will still run in the New 52 universe.

25 of the current titles will continue, 24 new ones will be added.

I think this is great.  For me the New 52 fails because most of the books have the same tone, in art and type of story.  They feel grim, serious.  They feel like teenagers trying to be grown up.  they feel that excessive violence makes them mature.  There hasn't been much sophistication in the stories themselves.  So yeah, I really like that they are going in this new direction.

However, I find it mightily strange that they are ditching the New 52 brand so soon, not even 4 years since it was launched.  Assuming this new era is meant to be permanent and isn't just planned for 1 or 2 years, that's a massive U turn on what they've invested a lot of time and money into.  If this really is the end of the New 52 then I imagine someone is in deep shit for having come up with a rebrand that is so unsuccessful it's being abandoned so soon.

I suppose it's possible that one person isn't being held responsible, and that the whole company is still desperately trying to make a profit.  Are there profit and loss accounts published for DC and Marvel comics?  Where would I find them if they were?

I'm pretty sure that I've written before on how I thought the New 52 was DC's last ditch attempt to save the company.  I thought that Warner was putting pressure on it to improve and if it failed it would be stripped down and just the big names would continue to be published.  If I haven't written about this I've certainly thought it.  Clearly this wasn't the case.  If it was, this rebrand wouldn't have happened.  I'd love to see DC written up as a brand and marketing case study one day.  I'd love to know what was happening internally in the company, both in 2010, last year and now.  I've found two articles about them here and here, which I shall read later.

I noticed last year that lesser known writers were getting gigs at DC, for example Landry Walker is doing the last few issues of Red Lanterns before Convergence, which is what takes place before this new brand starts.  This happened before the New 52 was launched too.  Smaller names got a few months worth of comics to write and draw, then were ditched in favour of the streamlining of the new brand.  I'm kicking myself I didn't see this coming beforehand.

I wonder what role, if any, the relocation of the offices from the East coast to the West coast is playing in all this.

I wonder how these new books will tie into telly and film universes.

So, in terms of the books to be published from June.  I shall continue to get the occasional Aquaman, Batgirl, possibly Action Comics, Batman/Superman, the occasional Harley Quinn and Justice League United.   Of the new books I shall get Black Canary (finally a Canary solo ongoing!), I shall try Harley/Power Girl, investigate Justice League of America, try Starfire, consider Robin; Son of Batman and We Are Robin.

I'll also be getting all of Convergence, because I'm a sucker.

Of these new books, there are several minis.  If I recall correctly, these are Bizarro, Harley/Power Girl and Prez.  I can't find a link at the moment to confirm this though.  Of the current titles that are dropped, one of Supergirl which I am naturally very pissed off about.  However given that some new titles are minis, I'm anticipating that more titles will be added later.  Meanwhile I hope Kara remains in JLU.  Fingers crossed they don't decide to reboot her again...
Edit - news on Supergirl Comic Box Commentary says that DC have plans for Kara from June.

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