On playing at being DC’s editor-in-chief

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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10 Responses

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    "Cracked" and "Mad", who cares! I'm still upset that DC canceled "Plop!" When will they collect those issues in a TPB!

  2. Brian Alvey says:

    I think she was looking for suggestions like "get Frank Miller to do a series called All-Star Alfred and Aunt Harriet" — not actual DCU/comic industry solutions. Great column, though!

  3. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    I wish hard every night I'll be called up to the majors (DC). They have done SOME things very "right" lately… and I don't think it's DC's place to be "cutting edge" as much as they need to entice reader by identifying what they've done right. Examples? Tiny Titans. Green Lantern. Where are things not going so well? Grant Morrison… Trinity in general? I don't know. As a would-be-creator… I think it comes down to the quality of the books, and the ability to market them to the proper audience, which DC needs a swift kick in the patoot. ZUDA was a good idea that wasn't pushed in the right areas smartly.DC Direct pre-releases everything so early when it's time to debut, you're sick of it.and I could go on. But then again, I'm just a nobody.

  4. Al Cowens says:

    Going after the example, not the argument:Comparing properties like MAD and Cracked.com is specious. They're different animals. For starters, MAD actually commissions artwork, something Cracked.com doesn't do. It's also a print magazine, which has been pounded like everyone else. (Playboy is cutting its issue total in 2009; and the previously economically impregnable New Yorker has lost over a quarter of its ad pages in a year.) When Cracked revived its print magazine 2+ years ago, it flamed out in 3 issues. Also, Cracked v.2 was a Maxim-type production that no resemblance whatsoever to the longtime MAD imitation. And today, they're maintaining a website that has nothing to do with either of Cracked's two dead incarnations. We can't even usefully compare Cracked.com with Cracked, let alone MAD. These minor distinctions apparently weren't lost on most of the commenters on that "Cracked Feels Sorry" thread you linked. The one-way MAD-Cracked "competition" wasn't even heated when it actually existed, 35 years ago. It's imaginary now.

  5. Rick Taylor says:

    Q: How many DC Vice-Presidents does it take to change a lightbulb?Although having worked at DC, she can probably guess the punchline:A: I don't know, you'll have to ask Paul.Narf!

  6. Paul1963 says:

    Looking at the Mad question for a moment, I don't really have a suggestion so much as an observation.My first exposure to Mad was via the paperback collections they used to have, around 1972. The material in those paperbacks was from the late 1950s and early 1960s ("He knows the names of all the players. He doesn't know who Kennedy is."). I was reading this stuff at the age of eight or nine and laughing at it. I asked for, and received, a subscription for Christmas. It started with issue #157 in 1973, and I read Mad every issue for the next twelve years. The material worked for me, consistently, as I grew up. Looking back now at age 45, that material still works. That was the magic of Mad for a long, long time: It was satire that could be appreciated by a ten-year-old and by a 45-year-old.I bought Mad for about a year in the mid-'90s after a revamp and it still worked for me at 30-whatever-I-was. It had material and references that I'm sure worked for 10-year-olds in the '90s, too, but it worked for a reader in his 30s at the same time.Today, however, I'll occasionally pick up a new issue and page through it. The real ads were jarring the first time I saw them, but I can accept them as a necessary part of magazine publishing. What I find off-putting is that the overall tone of the magazine seems much more juvenile than it did before. Before, it did a good job of targeting both adults and a younger audience, but now it seems more precisely-targeted to 12- to 18-year-olds. It's snarky and flashy and, frankly, the publication design is sometimes chaotic–but it's not as smart as it once was.You could take the position that my sense of humor has changed over the last 36 years, and it has–but the older material that drew me to the magazine at age nine is still funny to me at age 45. Conversely, the material in today's Mad would probably appeal to me if I were 15 today, but it's got very little to draw me in at 45 ("Monroe?" Really? Every issue?).I'll bet I'm not the only one who feels this way, and that just might be a part of why a magazine that once sold a million copies per issue with no advertising and no internal color now has to be cut back to a quarterly with lots of ads and color pages.

  7. Al Cowens says:

    While that may be true for Paul1963's particular case, that's not the dynamic at work here. Playboy has also lost a ton of circulation, and the Hefner family has publicly discussed selling. Are adults no longer interested in naked ladies? TV Guide has plunged. Are adults no longer interested in television? Entertainment Weekly is down the tubes. Are adults no longer interested in show business? U.S. News and World Report divebombed, and is now a monthly instead of a weekly. Are adults no longer interested in politics? Sales for Men's Vogue are down 40%. Are adults no longer interested in fashion? Cosmopolitan, down. US Weekly, down. Newsweek, down. O (Oprah), down. and so on, and so on.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Are adults are less interested in reading?

      • MARK WHEATLEY says:

        I know a good number of people I meet day-to-day and socially are not reading much. I do have my reader friends – and in contrast to the others – they are usually very intense about their reading. But my impression is that most adults are not reading. When they do read it is usually connected to their work. I've also noticed that they don't go to movies. But they do tend to watch TV. But they do not pick up on new shows. They tend to stick to sports, reality and long-running shows that they formed attachments to many years ago. This reminds me of just about everyone I know (except for a very few) and their music listening tastes – what they listened to in high school and college is all they ever listen to now. The really adventurous ones will keep up with a band's new releases, might follow a band member to a new band.I think one of the charms of news, sports and reality programs is – the viewer doesn't need to know anything special going in – there is no continuity to confuse.I'm not sure our culture currently can support an entertainment institution for longer than a decade or two. At least not without a "reboot" that essentially transforms it into a new institution aimed at a new generation.Anyway – I'm aiming for readers who are Readers with a capital R. But they might be casual readers of comics and graphic novels – so far.And I have to believe the Harry Potter Generation represents a wave of consumers who are readers, with a capital R.

      • Glenn Hauman says:

        They aren't less interested in reading, but they do read in much shorter and staccato bursts. Twitter, blog posts, etc. Pacing has had to change a lot, and not all authors are able to adapt to it. Some authors, on the other hand, have found the new form to more suited to their style and have prospered, much as what happened to some actors when the switch from film to TV happened.