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Sunday, August 11, 2013 

Darker tales might appeal to Hollywood studios, but what about widespread audiences?

The Motley Fool reported about Neil Gaiman's return to DC to write a prequel to his Sandman series from 1989-96 (how odd that this is one project they're allowing with connections to the previous continuity). But how uninformed they are, and how poor is the information they're giving to their readers in turn:
Vertigo is important for DC because of how much mature material is flowing through the comics channel right now. (Think of Image's The Walking Dead, which AMC has adapted into a top-rated TV show.) Having a separate imprint allows DC to sell to older readers while reassuring kids that its core titles feature the (mostly) idealistic superheroes they've come to know.
Where have they been all these years? They don't sell to children any longer, don't put a high priority on the lines they occasionally published for them (the last one I remember was called "Johnny DC"), and the heroes aren't recognizable anymore either. Even Vertigo doesn't sell very high numbers on the charts.
Darker indie titles have also proved attractive to studios. Later this month, Kick-Ass 2 comes to theaters in what amounts to Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) third try with a comic-book adaptation this year. R.I.P.D. bombed, while 2 Guns exploded in their respective debuts. Kick-Ass 2 is adapted from the comic book series of the same name, published by an independent imprint of Marvel Comics.

Vertigo and Gaiman can be the same sort of source for Warner Bros. studios, Tim says. That's a good sign for a media company that should be benefiting more from the comic-book renaissance that's sweeping media right now. Do you agree? [...]
The answer is decidedly "no". Without saying that some of the darker output in movies is terrible, I'll still say it's ruining entertainment as a whole, and it's a shame if a lot of filmmakers and particularly comic publishers have reached the point where they plain outlaw brightness and optimism.

I'm not even sure WB deserves to benefit from any renaissance taking place, if they have no interest in taking proper care of their DCU publishing arm. I'm also not sure The Sandman would make a great movie either, even if they did make it a suitably R-rated product. Even if a dark-themed movie is well written, it shouldn't set the tone for any and all comic adaptations, nor for other movies. All they're doing is signaling they don't have faith in their ability to shepherd an optimistic adaptation, and they sure haven't hired the right people to do it.

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The only reason Marvel and DC are still around is so Disney and Warner Bros. can use them as a "story farm" for other media. If not for their movie and TV divisions, they'd have gone out of business long ago.

Makes me laugh that the comic companies think they sell to Kids. The only kids I see in comic book shops nowadays are buying Yu-Gi-Oh cards and Harry Potter Wands.

90% of comics on my pull list are by Image, IDW and Boom! The only DC comics I buy are Animal Man and Swam Thing. The only Marvel book is Hawkeye.

James

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