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Tuesday, April 20, 2010 

DC has long given up on finding new readers

This topic on Newsarama's blog talks about how DC is trying to put more emphasis on periodicals. First, I'm afraid the idea it'll actually work at this point is very slim now with prices rising. And I doubt they'll actually try to write stories that aren't as long as six issues so that they can be published in trades more easily. But maybe most important here is that DC is not even pretending to court new readers:
Even at a time when mainstream retailers are accounting for an increasing amount of revenue (those guys don’t stock many floppies, by the way) and the New York Times is finally recognizing graphic novels with their own bestseller list, they want to convince everyone that there’s “something special” about holding that 32-page floppy in your hand. But the phrase “shifting the focus back to periodicals,” along with the phrases “The Return of Barry Allen” and “Fear of a Black Firestorm” suggest to me a company which has ceased trying to court new, young customers and has resigned itself to the conclusion that their target demographic is Geoff Johns and James Robinson: white, immersed in pop culture, young in the corporate sense but quickly aging in the biological and decades behind what’s new and cool when it comes to their personal tastes. These are the guys who still resent John Byrne’s Man of Steel as a slap in the face to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity of their youth.

This is hardly a surprise; the promotions of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee fairly cemented in my mind the idea that the company was not interested in exploring editorial, creative or distribution directions into which they weren’t already fairly entrenched. They’re going to continue pimping the same five creators until their hands fall off or enough of their stories fail to sell that the whole company has to be radically reconfigured—a move that will be much harder to pull off now that they’ve installed a pair of co-publishers, one of whom is an ideologue (Johns—it honestly seems to me that Lee is just trying to help the company, and/or in it for the paycheck).
Johns is no ideologue. He's just a delusional writer who thinks he's actually paying tribute to the much more wonderful adventures of his childhood, when really, he's only embarrassing and insulting them. Nor is he moving forward convincingly, if he undoes Barry Allen's death when it didn't need to be and then sullies his background.

Maybe if DC's book publishing division were bought out by another business that actually cared, it would be possible to reconfigure them more easily. But alas, there's no telling if anyone who could afford it would be willing to do just that.

DC's disinterest in making itself appealing to newcomers is another reason why they're fading, and their failure to make themselves more family-friendly, if not kid-friendly, will also make it exceedingly difficult.

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Technically, Grant Morrison undid Barry Allen's death, but the point is still a valid one.

DC's a lost cause. So is Marvel.

Sadly, Kory, I must agree.

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