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Monday, April 29, 2013 

When major publishers become insular, they even blacklist all who dare criticize them

The Outhousers tells that DC Comics has blacklisted them from interviewing their contributors, not just because they've had the guts to be objective, but also because the publishing staff can't even stand their satirical articles, and during a convention, the staff of the website:
...was formally informed by DC Comics we've been blacklisted for posting satirical articles critical of their company, and that until we discontinue this criticism they would deny us access from any of their creators.

We first caught wind of the blacklist when a marketing representative from DC turned down a request from Eric Ratcliffe a couple of weeks ago to bring a creator onto his long running “Why I Love Comics” podcast. Unlike the dozens of interview denials DC had sent us in the past, their marketing rep wanted Eric to call him to explain exactly why the interview was denied. We never followed up and dismissed the unusual request as one of the many, many weird things coming out of DC over the last few months.

Fast forward to this weekend, when one of our staff writers was told to go through DC’s marketing rep to talk to some of their creators. DC’s marketing rep scheduled a meeting, brought our staffer into an office and then told him that our interview requests would be denied because he didn’t appreciate the satirical articles criticizing DC’s recent editorial decisions.

He also offered to rescind this ban if our staffer agreed that our site would stop publishing articles critical of DC, despite our staffer explaining that we make fun of every aspect of the industry and that our satire wasn't unique to DC. This message was repeated to a second staffer when she walked into the room after she jokingly asked “Uh oh, are we in trouble?” The look the marketing rep gave her made it clear that we were.

Now, I’m not going to pretend to be heartbroken by DC denying us interviews. They’ve been doing a fantastic job of that over the years. While we had some success with the Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints, DC Comics has consistently either not responded to interview requests or straight up denied them when we’ve gone through the proper channels over the last few years.

Even worse, DC has shut down interviews that we independently set up, with creators apologetically explaining that we couldn’t run interviews because DC had given exclusives away to the likes of CBR. So, I’m content with not having access, because they never really gave it to us in the first place.
We can learn a lot from this experience, and it's that their staff is so thin-skinned, they won't even put up with satire. This is how low they've sunk, to the point where you either follow in lockstep with their pseudo-visions and keep your interview queries fluff-coated or you'll be refused any conversation with them.

And it's not just DC that's capable of doing this. Even Marvel may have blacklisted news sites and interviewers who took objective positions and forbade them to ask nary a challenging question about whether the directions they're going in are healthy or not; is it any wonder Brian Bendis has been able to get away with his own misuse of the MCU all but unscathed?

As part of this clampdown they've imposed on free speech, they even quit running a feature on CBR where Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase, who didn't exactly prove themselves masterful assets when they worked at Marvel in the 1990s, would converse with the audience. Obviously, they don't put much value in what anyone thinks, even if it's people whose own politics they might agree with. I've wonder if this explains why they're still hanging onto the conglomerates who own them, because they think it can give them the leeway to get away with these kind of acts. But as sales sink, and many contributors finally decided to split, that's why these tricks won't work forever.

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In many ways, this doesn't surprise me one bit, given how closed-minded comics creators are toward any criticism of their work. We've seen it with individual creators like Slott and now we're seeing it with companies like DC.

Hey, Avi, hear about this?


Yeah, thanks, I'll work on a topic about that too soon.

This is extremely interesting. It just further opens the curtain into the world of thin-skinned comic creators.

Thanks for posting this, and thanks to Carl for linking to it on his own blog.

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