Famed Batman writer Chuck Dixon recently claimed that DC Comics and Marvel Comics are intentionally attempting to destroy American comics.
Dixon’s comments came in his latest YouTube episode of Ask Chuck Dixon.
Dixon was asked by a fan, “What do you think do these big two need to do to save their decline of popularity?” and “And lastly: What are your thoughts on Comicsgate? Do you think it’s a useless movement that’s overdoing it or a necessary thing to wake up Marvel DC?”
The current scribe on Arkhaven Comics’ Something Big and Go Monster Go! responded to the question stating, “These questions are very much interrelated. So you’ve got DC and you’ve got Marvel. They’re the big two. They’re the big cats in the cage. They’re the stars. They’re the marquee. And they float all the boats. All of the comic industry goes up or down with the fortunes of DC or Marvel. That’s the just way it is.”
He continued, “I don’t see it ever changing. Particularly, since DC and Marvel seem to be in some sort of a suicide pact with themselves to destroy American comics. I’m beginning to believe that they are doing it intentionally. And I don’t think in a year from now DC or Marvel are going to exist as we see them today or as we ever remembered them.”
“The parent companies can’t keep carrying these comic book companies that simply don’t deliver any kind of earnings. And I know in the new economy, as NPR always tell me, earnings don’t matter. But they do. They do in the end. You gotta pay people. You gotta make enough money to pay everybody and keep the lights on,” he asserted.
Dixon then turned his attention to the first question saying, “What can they do to turn around? Honestly, I think at this point it is too late. They’ve screwed the pooch on all of this stuff so much. They’ve chased away so many rumors.
“At this point, if DC and Marvel said, ‘Well, we’re going to go back to doing things the way we used to.’ At this point, would you believe them? Because they’ve certainly said it enough times,” he declared.
Dixon then proceeded to provide an example, “As the steam ran out of the Ultimates at Marvel, it seemed like every three months the companies would say, ‘We’re gonna return to more traditional ways of comics. We’re gonna do a soft reboot and basically go back to the way we were doing business before.’ But it turned out to never be true.”
As for why their promises were never kept he posited, “I think partly because they had chased away the talent or barred the talent from working that could have actually accomplished that, that could have returned to them to greatness. There’s rare exceptions. Dan Jurgens continues to do terrific work at DC, but that’s a rare exception for the most part. All of the contemporaries of Dan Jurgens, they’re not working in comics or they’re doing their own thing.”
Dixon then turned his attention to Comicsgate, “This is where Comicsgate comes in. Because what happened was…Because Marvel and DC chased away 60, 70% of their readership, and no new readers came in to replace them because why would they. Comics aren’t that interesting. They’re not that engaging. They’re not that attractive. And they feature characters for the most part that people couldn’t even recognize anymore because they’ve either been completely changed or altered in such a way that the general public no longer recognized them.”
“So kids going to see a Marvel or DC movie wanted a comic book like those characters, they couldn’t even find anything like those characters. So sales cratered, continue to crater. Death spiral,” he noted.
He then questioned, “But what happens to all of those comic book readers? People like you, people like me. We want to read comics. We don’t want to stop just because they suck.”
“So into that gap comes Comicsgate. I don’t even like Comicsgate as a term because it started out as a pejorative. ‘Oh you’re part of Comicsgate’ like it’s some conspiracy. Like we all live in the same house,” he opined.
“And I don’t even know what Comicsgate is. I’m not even sure what Comicsgate means. I’m always included in Comicsgate when they make a list of Comicsgate people. I’m always on it, often near the top, which is why I jokingly say I’m the Jesus of Comicsgate. I was the first. I was blacklisted by the industry and outed as a conservative,” he states succinctly.
Dixon then does his best to define Comicsgate, “I’m not even sure what Comicsgate is. It’s like this loose affiliation and it’s a very loose affiliation because a lot of Comicsgate people don’t like each other. But what it is is a bunch of successful pros and some amateurs who are now pro very much, who through crowdfunding or whatever other means created their own comics, did away with the gatekeepers. Said, ‘Hey we don’t need the Big Two’ and reached out to that underserved comic book audience that no longer read DC and Marvel. ”
“And DC and Marvel, their editorship, and their creator people deeply resent this. And so they make it into something political. It’s not accident that the majority of the Comicsgate people or the majority of these new independent creators tend to be conservative. Because so many of them no longer work for the Big Two because they were blacklisted,” says the creator of Bane.
The Arkhaven Comics writer then stated, “So what were they supposed to do? They supposed to go become greeters at Walmart? Or they find a way to keep doing what it is they do best, which is create comics. And we know the names: Billy Tucci, Ethan Van Sciver, Graham Nolan, Richard Meyer. These guys have been incredibly successful. There’s others as well. Brian Pulido. Brian Pulido is a rockstar of crowdfunding, working outside the system. Of course Brian Pulido has always worked outside the system. He’s always found a way.”
Dixon continued, “So that’s what Comicsgate is. And I find it funny that some of the big critics of Comicsgate tried to do what the quote-on-quote Comicsgate people were doing and they fell flat on their faces. Because they didn’t seem to understand it. They mistook it for a political movement. It’s not really a movement. It’s not like we all got together in a castle somewhere and say, “well you are going to do this and I’m going to do this, and you’re going to do…”
“This was organic. This was people making their own efforts, figuring out how to do the comics they wanted to do, figuring out how to continue their careers, figuring out how to keep food on the table for their families, and also to serve their fans, the people who had supported them all these years and didn’t want them to go away,” he detailed.
Later Dixon states, “So like I said Comicsgate was a pejorative, it’s an insult. But some of the Comicsgate people embraced it like this is a badge of honor. I don’t really see it that way. I just think it’s kind of a dumb term. I don’t think it accurately describes what’s going on. I see it more as an independent creator revolution; a creator-owned revolution.
After noting his own role in Comicsgate or the creator revolution with his contributions to Arkhaven Comics and Arktoons, Dixon addressed the question about waking up Marvel and DC.
He said, “As far as waking up Marvel and DC, let them sleep. Let them stay asleep.”
What do you make of Dixon’s analysis on the comic book industry and specifically what’s going on at Marvel and DC Comics? What about his comments on Comicsgate?