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Thursday, July 27, 2017 

How does DC expect to improve themselves with men like DiDio still in charge?

Movie Pilot's got an article where DC's heads seemingly admit the industry's on the verge of collapse - something they're no less guilty of leading to themselves - and supposedly know how to fix it:
"We have to stop the collapse of the comic book industry." It's a quote that staggered the comic book community, and was originally attributed to industry veteran Jim Lee at the DC Meet the Publishers panel at San Diego Comic Con. It's since been hotly debated, with other reports attributing the quote to Lee's fellow publisher Dan DiDio. Whoever said it, though, the quote is deeply disturbing.
But why should we trust Lee and DiDio to have what it takes to save the industry? They may not admit it, but they had a hand in bringing things down to where they are now - by ways of stories laced with nasty violence, shock tactics, leftist politics, SJW pandering, lack of continuity coherence, a constant stream of crossovers every year and, lest we forget, raising prices to nearly 4 dollars on several of their titles. Those last two are just some of the most alienating problems for new readers, along with their lack of morality. I've also mentioned before that DiDio, if not Lee, is just one reason why a lot of people could still stay away from their output - he managed to make himself one of the most disliked figures in comicdom; why should anybody want to fill his pockets so easily? Why, even at Marvel, Joe Quesada's still an alienating figure, and even if they decide to restore the Spider-marriage tomorrow, Quesada's continued employment could discourage people from returning.
The comic book market isn't in a good shape; sales are dropping, and market leader Marvel is repeating short-term sales strategies that caused the '90s comic book bubble to burst. Flagging comic book sales are at the heart of the paradox of San Diego Comic-Con 2017; superheroes have never been more popular, and yet the comic book industry is in trouble.
This is actually disputable. The movies may be taking in big bucks at the box office, but are superheroes popular? Informed wisdom suggests the opposite. If the moviegoers by and large won't buy the source material, then true popularity is doubtful. That's why IMO, despite all suggestions to the contrary, I can only conclude the medium is a failure on its own. Furthermore, if DC plans any more company wide crossovers, then aren't they repeating the same mistake to boot?
Spearheaded by Geoff Johns, the #DCRebirth initiative has been a tremendous success. DiDio openly admitted that while the company's previous 'New 52' relaunch had allowed them to reexamine characters and try new things, they realized that something had been lost along the way.
It happened long before, yet they won't admit their shock tactics like Identity Crisis were bad moves. Not to mention Johns was part of the problem too, what with his own reliance on the same, and he was part of their whole editorial mandate, not unlike Brian Bendis being part of Marvel's. And again, no sales figures given, so what do they mean by tremendous success?
As comic book fans noted when Johns's DC Universe — Rebirth was first published, the whole arc is in part a repudiation of everything comics have been doing for the last couple of decades. It rejects the pessimism and darkness that was en vogue in the aftermath of Alan Moore's Watchmen, and positioning the characters of Watchmen as the villains who've stolen life and hope from the DC Universe is a glorious meta-narrative.
Oh please. The addition of Alan Moore's Watchmen into the DCU proper is even more superfluous than putting Captain Marvel/Billy Batson into the same. Besides, as mentioned before, Johns was a major contributor to the dark and gritty mess they put out for more than 2 decades, and it's laughable how some of his apologists were trying to claim his work was a critique of grimness. If he really wanted to prove otherwise, he'd have avoided the repellent violence he wasted time with long ago, and if he had to write stories with it, he'd at least have put in some clearer educational value about why criminal violence is bad. But his approach is so obnoxious and sensationalized that as a result, he never left anything to think about at all.

And say, what's this:
Since April this year, DC has been teasing the importance of a new line that they call 'Dark Matter.' Introducing a whole swathe of new characters, and featuring top talent like Lee, John Romita, Jr., Greg Capullo and Andy Kubert, the line will focus as much on the artists as on the writers. The last few years have seen comic book writers essentially become celebrities, while artists remain seemingly undervalued. In contrast, DiDio stressed that the partnership between the writer and the artist will be key to the success of 'Dark Matter.' He's got a point; comics are a visual medium, after all.
Even if this is some kind of separate line for indie comics, the focus on darkness is a head-shaker. If they're going to concentrate so deliberately on darkness in any manner, it only has the stench of pandering to more of the same. And writers as celebrities is putting it lightly. Most of the writers they've hired are hacks who don't care about coherency, just about money. The artists they cited may have talent, but they've wasted it mostly products lacking feeling for the original visions of the early superhero creators.
Retailers will breathe a sigh of relief; DC is avoiding a lot of the gimmicks that create a temporary sales boost, but seem to be damaging the industry. Take, for example, one of the most common; for every first issue to be supported by a wide range of variant covers, many of which have different prices to indicate their rarity. While these are loved by collectors, they typically lead to the next issue's sales dropping like a stone. Worse still, DC has noted that the inflated prices actually drive casual fans away. As a result, the publisher is literally not going to do any variants in support of the new 'Dark Matter' line.
Wait a minute. Do they mean this only applies to the Dark Matter line? If they intend to keep doing it with their mainline superhero titles, then I don't see what the point is here.
The last year has seen DC reverse years of decline, leaving their biggest rival Marvel struggling to catch up. Still, the comic book industry as a whole isn't in a good place right now. [...]
Then how come they won't clarify that point with sales figures? The truth is that neither DC nor Marvel are doing very well if so many of their titles sell way below 100,000 copies, with tons gathering dust in bargain bins since they didn't do well on the store sale level to begin with. This is but one reason why I've advocated abandoning the pamphlet format and publishing even the superhero tales straight to paperback; it shouldn't be just miniseries and/or specials that count.

I could even add that, if DC won't fully restore Superman's red tights, that's another detractor. Some might even dispute whether they should keep putting such a huge emphasis on Barry Allen as a resurrected Flash. Crisis on Infinite Earths wasn't the grand classic some claim it to be, but since Barry's death there was depicted heroically, and avoided shock tactics, that's why that in itself made it a far more legitimate demise for a superhero than what we see today. Putting Barry back in his Flash role was all done at Wally West's expense, and even Linda Park's. On which note, interesting how SJWs never complain how she was marginalized by the editors for the sake of weak nostalgia. In fact, they didn't complain about Mary Jane Watson's marginalization either.

The only way DC's going to save the medium is by admitting their own wrongs, and not via metaphors as Johns did with his take on Watchmen. And they'll have to part ways with DiDio too, because his name alone is reason enough to stay away from them.

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