San Diego Comic-Con 2019 has officially begun. As is always the case the comic book industry makes sure it has a strong presence at SDCC. The first day was admittedly light on news about new projects. Marvel, while a presence, only had a video game panel as they are saving their big comic book panels for later on in the weekend. Making up for them was DC Comics who had several big spotlight talents for their creative teams and editors. These spotlight panels made it clear that DC Comics is well aware of the recent backlash they have faced. At the same time they are not just letting that bring them down and are finding solutions for this.
TOM KING RESPONDS TO HEROES IN CRISIS BACKLASH
Heroes In Crisis was one of the most controversial stories that DC Comics has published. We talked about why Heroes In Crisis faltered so badly in our retrospective for the event. With Tom King and Mitch Gerads having a spotlight panel at the biggest show of the year there was no doubt that the controversy around Heroes In Crisis would come up. That is exactly what happened and to King’s credit he was very honest with his thoughts on how Heroes In Crisis turned out.
Even though I wasn’t a fan of Heroes In Crisis I appreciate how King and Gerads are not backing down from the controversy. It speaks to how strong they are as creators that stand by the work they put out to the world. They both could’ve easily dodged answering anything related to Heroes In Crisis and moved the attention to their other big work. Especially with City of Bane just starting this week that would’ve been easy to do. While the damage to Wally West’s character can’t be forgotten so easily at least King and Gerads are moving forward as creators. Seeing how Batman #75 turned out it looks like King is back on track to what made him a fan favorite creator at DC.
DAN DIDIO FRUSTRATION WITH COMIC BOOK SALES
The most interesting thing to come out of the Meet the Publishers panel that DC Comics held was Dan Didio’s frustrations over the Facsimile reprints the company continues to do. It was quite surprising to find out how much the sales numbers of these reprints got on Didio’s nerves. Not because they weren’t selling but because these reprints were actually, as Didio put it, outselling a lot of their new monthly comics. It may speak to a greater problem that Didio, Jim Lee, other editors and creators at DC have been talking about. Because if it wasn’t than I wouldn’t think that Didio or anyone else would make it a point of contention at the biggest convention of the year.
Didio’s reaction to the reprints strong sales numbers when compared to the new monthly comics they publish says a lot about their current ongoing series. DC knows that comics like Batman, Justice League and Superman will always be big sellers for them. But where they are struggling is having readers connect with all their secondary and below comic book series. There are a lot of comic books that new readers aren’t connecting with as strongly as DC would hope.
Rather than being angry about this DC needs to look further into why these reprints sell better than their new comics. One change they could make is having more creators tell quick one to two issue long stories. Because having every storyline be six issues long isn’t going to appeal to new readers who just want to read ongoing adventures of characters they aren’t familiar with. A lot of these reprints tell stories within the pages of the single issue and DC can learn from that.
DC COMICS CREATING AN OFFICIAL DCU TIMELINE
Being aware that they need to create solutions to help increase their sales numbers one of the most notable things they are doing is creating a new timeline for the DC Universe. This was something that Didio and Lee spoke about towards the end of their panel. Having an official timeline is an incredibly smart idea. There is way to many confusing aspects with the state of the current DC Universe. From how the Batman Family history to Superman and Lois relationship to how Wally West works with Flash’s history, there are a lot of questions to when things happened.
From everything we know about the current DC Universe, it is clear that the current superhero age is not five years old like it was when New 52 relauched everything. Several years have passed since the relaunch given all the events that have happened. In addition there are things that have been brought back into the fold that throw the continuity for a lot of characters off. DC Comics now working on clearing things up with an official timeline will go a long way in answering timeline questions and simplifying their universe for more new readers to get into.
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