If you're one of the unlucky millions who can't be in the giant steaming San Diego convention hangar this weekend, you probably won't get a chance to get up close and personal with the glass cabinet containing a bit of Ben Affleck's costume from next summer's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Sucks to be you! No proximity to Afflatex for you!
The small DC nation state on the con floor is showcasing a lot of Batmemorabilia to mark the Caped Crusader's 75th anniversary -- including the new movie Batman's actual crusading cape and crime-detecting cowl from Zack Snyder's sure-to-be poignant summer batbuster.
A letter from DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee to the company's freelancers has outlined a new payment policy that offers royalties to the creators of digital-first comics and colorists (previously, payments just a flat rate), and changes the structure of how all creators are paid. The new plan, which will supplant a policy that has been in place for more than 30 years, goes into effect July 1 and is a direct response to a recent survey DC took of its talent pool.
Specifically, payments (DC doesn't use the term "royalties" because that implies ownership) will soon be based on net revenue -- how much money a book makes after costs -- rather than on the cover price. That gives DC "more flexibility to sell our material in new distribution channels that have different pricing models," according to the letter obtained by ComicsAlliance. That seems to point to digital comics and possible experimentation with pricing there.
So is this a positive or a negative for creators? That's a little harder to suss out.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into talking about DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio as a businessman and as a comics creator in their discussion of his new series with Keith Giffen, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Then they pivot to talk about two great starting-point issues in the middle of series runs: Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City #13, and Ian Flynn and Jamal Peppers' Mega Man #37.
Put as succinctly as possible, the Forever People are a bunch of space hippies with individual powers and gimmicks, but when they're in trouble they can combine to form the Infinity Man, who is a gestalt organism. First introduced in 1971, they are part of Jack Kirby's expansive Fourth World tapestry of "New Gods" characters and comics, and the focus of a new collaboration between storyteller Keith Giffen and co-writer Dan DiDio, creators of the New 52's last major Kirby revival, the short-lived OMAC.
Welcome back to the ComicsAlliance podcast, covering the latest comic book entertainment news topics. Joining Senior Editors Andy Khouri and Caleb Goellner for this episode is CA writer Matt D. Wilson for a conversations about the the keynote address delivered by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson to the ComicsPro Retailer Conference in Atlanta. Stephenson made a characteristically iconoclastic and not altogether unassailable presentation, urging retailers to become community leaders, abandon their support of gimmicky, high-priced publishing practices, and draw a distinction between good and bad comics.
We’ll contrast Stephenson’s remarks with those of Dan DiDio, his counterpart at DC Comics, one of the stop superhero publishers, who in an interview this week confirmed plans to double— even triple-down — on weekly comics, crossovers and 3D covers, publishing strategies that are seemingly exactly the sort of thing Stephenson that criticized.
An email from DC publicity states that the 3D covers will again hit stores in September, this time tying into a Futures End-related event that will tell stories set in a possible future, five years ahead of the current timeline (like "One Year Later" did concurrently alongside the weekly 52 event series a few years back... x5). Newsarama reports that the new weekly series will kick off in October.
Thumb through DC Comics' new releases this week and you'll find the above image -- a teaser for the upcoming Batman: Eternal weekly series -- in the back pages of a good many of them (all the books I saw, in fact).
I had to look up the artist who drew it. It's Detective Comics artist Jason Fabok, but it could just as easily be Tony Daniel, David Finch, Guillem March, Ivan Reis, Adrian Syaf, or a handful of other current DC artists. Like it or not, this is, with a few exceptions, just how DC Comics look now.
Fans found out about the panel when DC Comics announced a contest seeking an artist to draw one page of the issue. DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee said they would personally select the artist based on submissions of a single page, and included a description of the page's four panels.
Anyway you look at it, Whoopi Goldberg has had an incredibly successful and varied career in entertainment (homegirl EGOTed, ya'll). But for some folks, her most recognizable role will forever be as Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation, so it seemed perfectly natural that she'd attend last weekend's New York Comic Con. But Goldberg wasn't there to bask in Next Gen fan love. Rather, the award winning actress, and co-host on The View, was on the con floor pitching her idea for a comic.
She got advice from a few celebrities in attendance -- Ronald D. Moore, Seth Green, Clare Grant, Kevin Smith, and Kristin Baur van Straten, among others -- and made her pitch to DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and Marvel Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada.
It's a rough time to be a fan of DC's comics. The publisher has made so many problematic moves in the past couple of years that the brand is now as strongly associated with disgruntled talent and unhappy readers as it is with iconic characters like Superman and Batman.
In the wake of the inauspicious departure of the Batwoman creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, I intended to write something about DC's editorial troubles. I got as far into the opening paragraph as noting, "I have to write quickly because there'll be another fiasco along any minute," before another fiasco came along - the Harley Quinn try-out controversy.
At this stage, talking about any individual incident at DC as a blip seems too narrow. A good week is now a blip for DC. The company has profound problems, and the question we have to ask is, can it be fixed?
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