DC Comics In Upheaval
In a statement released this morning on DC’s The Source Blog, DC Comics is continuing to clean house and as they put it… “Build a company for the future.” Let’s take a second to see where exactly the axe is falling, and what that future may look like.
The first major change Lee and DiDio mention is the increase of production over at MAD Magazine, which now publishes on a bimonthly schedule. In addition to the increase there, obviously they are branching the brand out with the aforementioned new cartoon show.
Past this bit of news though, it seems DC is ending an era or three within its offices and engaging in some heavy corporate streamlining.
First, everything non-comics will be making the move to the left
coast. The folks at ComicsBeat covered it well, but the basic gist is simple: many folks may be looking for new work come the new year as anything related to the development and production of feature films, television,
digital media, video games and consumer products (all of DC Direct, for example) as well as the
company’s administrative functions moves to a Warner Bros.-managed
property in Burbank, where they can consolidate all the overlap of those departments with WB Consumer Products and the like. It’s not clear yet whether this will include comics sales and marketing.
Next, Wildstorm is closing down and being absorbed into DC. As they said:
After taking the comics scene by storm nearly 20 years ago, the
WildStorm Universe titles will end this December. In this soft
marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what
made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final
issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we
will see of many of these heroes. We, along with Geoff Johns, have a
lot of exciting plans for these amazing characters, so stay tuned. Going
forward, WildStorm’s licensed titles and kids comics will now be
published under the DC banner.
Essentially this means that the Wildstorm Universe will simply be known as “Earth 238” or whatever number Grant Morrison assigns it. DC will allow time for readers to forget about Grifter, Maul, Spartan, Fairchild, and the other lost boys and girls in the Wildstorm Universe… and come back with a few Brand New Amazing Mini Series with hope that those feeling nostalgic for big biceps, bigger guns, and really big boobs will revive the now dying universe of characters.
Also, let’s not forget the other imprints of Wildstorm, including Homage Comics (Astro City), and the Alan Moore founded America’s Best Comics (Tom Strong, Promethea)… all of which is currently up in the air. Astro City creator Kurt Busiek was quoted as saying: “They haven’t said anything yet about creator-owned Wildstorm books.
Presumably they want to talk to us first. And right now, they’re busy
absorbing what this means for them. So I doubt I’ll know anything for a
day or two.”
Bleeding Cool has the best take I’ve seen on Wildstorm’s death of a thousand cancellations.
Note also that with this move, the editorial staff at Wildstorm will be undergoing a “restructuring” as well. It will be “folded into the overall DC Comics Digital team, based in Burbank…” While we don’t know specifically what restructuring will occur, obviously, it seems the team will shrink in its cross country move from Manhattan to L.A. Makes us wonder if DC was promised a shot at The Tonight Show as well.
Next to fall? To no one’s surprise, ZUDA. The webcomic imprint, which had its site shut down back in July, will cease to be after this week. As they said:
After this week, we will cease to publish new material under the ZUDA
banner. The material that was to have been published as part of ZUDA
this year will now be published under the DC banner. The official
closing of ZUDA ends one chapter of DC’s digital history, but we will
continue to find new ways to innovate with digital, incorporating much
of the experience and knowledge that ZUDA brought into DC.
ZUDA, which had very little going for it by way of mainstream popularity or attention, doesn’t come as a shock to anyone. With webcomic giants like Scott Kurtz and the boys at Penny Arcade doing just fine, the ZUDA project never really found its legs, past the success of one of it’s initial offerings, Bayou, by Jeremy Love.
The DCU Source Blog in question ends with a long blurb about the future of the company, and it’s increased focus on the “digital initiative”. They even go on to note their happiness at the success of their current digital offerings, which bring in “…anecdotal stories of lapsed readers returning to the art form and
of brick and mortar stores gaining new customers who sampled digital
comics.” We here at ComicMix would love to talk to some of those folks and hear said stories, because we’ve not been privy to any “I gave up paper comics with the Death of Superman, read Action Comics #701 on ComiXology, and rushed back to my local brick and mortar store that stayed in business during those 18 or so years, to start buying comics again!” stories.
As more turns up on this, we here at ComicMix will let you know. Stay tuned…