Dan DiDio co-publisher at DC Comics spoke at the ComicsPRO retailer summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a new report seemingly confirmed some rumors we have heard about reductions in their publication slate. DC will be cutting its line of comics in stores by another 10-15 percent, believing that is what the market can bear right now.
According to Bleeding Cool, DiDio’s justification is the market is too cluttered at present and needs cutbacks. Though he stated the problem is Diamond Comic Distributors shipping way too many books to stores, the report indicates he really places blame with Marvel.
And Marvel has a greater output than the competition. They had 102 comics on shelves in January and 90 in December. DC put out the apropos number of 52 in December, which only had four weeks. The numbers for DC are expected to shrink lower than that. There was speculation of what some were calling a “New 22” — as in only 22 titles a month — but DiDio shot that down.
Bleeding Cool’s report was blasted soon after it was published. Writers and podcasters like Ryan Higgins said it was full of lies.
Being told the BC article about DC is mostly spin and speculation, and some flat out lies.
— Ryan Higgins (@RyanHigginsRyan) February 21, 2019
In an update, the news outlet cited a report by Heidi MacDonald and her sources on the ground in Charlotte. She verifies Bleeding Cool’s initial story and DiDio’s statement.
Like other sites, I’d heard the rumors that DC publisher Dan DiDio was considering cutting the DC line to between 20-30 titles, a number that would send retailers reeling. Today at ComicsPRO, Didio confirmed that DC would be cutting its line, though not to those levels, to focus on higher sales per title.
I think a lot of retailers thought the market has too many books, but they may be saying “Not like this, not like this.”
DC’s cutbacks are part of a trend going on at the publisher and Warner Bros. since they were acquired by AT&T. DC Entertainment saw their staff cut by 3 percent. Vertigo’s relaunch is going nowhere and titles are being delayed or canceled, like Second Coming. DiDio said the reason was “edits,” and the writer, Mark Russell, claims it was all worked out between him and DC and no controversy led to the decision despite outrage.
DiDio also took responsibility for the fiasco surrounding Batman Damned #3 which is having problems with cancellation and re-soliciting. According to DiDio, he didn’t approve the artwork or content for publication so the book was delayed. As far as what it will look like, no details were forthcoming.
Meanwhile, WarnerMedia property, Machinima and their YouTube channel got scuttled. They cut the cord on the company and laid off all 81 employees. Content on its YouTube was deleted regardless of its popularity and traffic and is now a derelict page. This all comes with a series of layoffs and a restructuring by parent company AT&T who acquired Warner Media assets including Otter Media. There could be a connection to DC’s troubles but no further indications surfaced.
One more person offered his two cents on the culture of DC, and the industry in general, as well as what could be behind the chaos. None other than Ethan Van Sciver predicted DC titles per month would go down, adding comics are in a state of collapse and the big 2 are guilty of price hikes. He made his prediction last month while speaking to CosmicBookNews following the news of the layoffs at DC Entertainment.
“That on top of the fact that the comic book industry is collapsing under the weight of apathy at this point. In 2016, there were 2306 comic book stores, now there are 1900. Comic book stores are closing down and going out of business at a startling and frightening right. Once we reach the critical mass of 1500 retailers, for companies like DC and Marvel to solicit their product to, it will no longer be viable. All during this collapse, DC and Marvel have employed price hikes, they have employed various gimmick scams. I mean I call them scams, that is what I think they are. A retailers job is to look at the product that they are being offered and then kind of decide based on what they know about their customer base, the people who come into their store and what they buy, how many copies of each one of these comic books that they should provide on their stands, for complete sell-through. Nobody wants to be stuck with this product, you know two weeks after its date it has gone cold. At this points comics are like bread, they have a sell-by date, and they go stale and people do not buy them when they go stale. That is the situation with comics now.
On top of this, politics within the comics, divisive politics, and enormous unnecessary… events… these silly events… like ‘hey, this is Civil War 3′ and there are 1200 little spinoffs books that aren’t necessary to read, and it’s just too much. Foot traffic has declined in these stores. Retailers are considering what DC and Marvel are doing as predatory publishing. It is a problem for them to be able to gauge how to responsibly run their own businesses when Marvel and DC are employing tricks like this. It’s catastrophic. This is #comicsgate. As much as anti-comicgaters within the comic book industry would like to marginalize our voices and let people know, gaslight people, that we are wrong, we are crazy, all this stuff, the comic book industry is healthy and will survive forever, this is just a temporary setback, I don’t think so. I’ve been through two different comic book crashes and never felt the way I feel now. I’ve never seen things as so very very very very bleak and those crashes, like the one in 1998, the lowest selling book was like the highest selling book today. At the point, we thought it was extinction. We thought the comic book industry was going to go extinct. That’s what’s going on.
Well, here is another bit of news, DC cut their line down to 52 comics. Obviously, talent is going to get cut as well, and they are laying off seven employees as of today. I’m sure more fat-trimming will be coming. They probably just don’t want a blood bath all at once. We are going to see this get whittled down.”
What do you make of this report that DC Comics will be reducing the amount of comics it plans on publishing each month?