The Companies Need the Press

Don MacPherson ponders how Marvel and DC deal with the press. He says:

“No comment” … invariably means “There’s something we’re not telling you.”

Is that really true? Could it just mean “I don’t want to bother talking to you”? There’s a lot of ego involved with what’s ever-more-erroneously called “the big two” of American comics. I can see a perception that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to wrongly taking root.

Don goes on to say (and this part I strongly agree with):

What the comics-journalism community … needs to realize is that Marvel and DC (and Tokyopop and just about every other publisher, big and small) need access to it more than the community needs access to them. Brady was the one who broke the news that the late Jerry Siegel’s family sued over the rights to Superman and Superboy. He still has access. DC (and every other publisher) still wants readers to know about its new titles and initiatives.

Based on his own experience in a day job as a “real” reporter, he concludes:

Eventually, people let go of the anger or realize that the story had to be told, that there was nothing personal about it.

Unfortunately, as I said at the comics journalism panel, people in comics hold grudges and have very long memories. Some of them have no real-world experience in any other business, so they can tend to act in a more juvenile fashion than you might expect. That’s one of the things that I hope goes away as comics is forced to grow up as an industry in order to deal with more competition and outlets.

7 Responses to “The Companies Need the Press”

  1. Don MacPherson Says:

    I’d just like to point out that in regards to the reference above to me as a “real” reporter for a newspaper, Johanna’s the one who placed the “real” emphasis.

    I think comics journalism can be as “real” as any other kind of journalism. Not that Johanna was suggesting otherwise, but I just wanted to be clear. :)

  2. Johanna Says:

    Sorry, yes, that was snarky. I’m tired of both comic journalists and readers using the excuse “it’s only comics, journalistic rules don’t apply.” I agree with you.

  3. Dalarsco Says:

    While “no comment” might actually mean there is nothing to say, it has connotations of some spokesflak doing bad damage control in the middle of a scandal. A good PR guy should know that it sounds bad to say it and find a way to say the same thing without using that phrase.

  4. Don MacPherson Says:

    I suppose there are times when “no comment” is an understandable and wise response to media questions. If someone accused of murder, for example, is pushing his or her way through a throng of reporters, just trying to get to his or her car and leave, “no comment” is probably a wise course of action.

    If a company receives a polite phone call or e-mail and replies with little more than “no comment,” that’s a completely different situation.

  5. Evie Says:

    As I commented on Heidi’s related post, the companies do need the outlets and are certainly not holding all the chips. I work for a publication that covers an entertainment industry, one that is rife with arguably far more crybaby egos than comics, and there’s always that balance to maintain. Plus, you may not want all your stories told, but you don’t mind if your competition’s are, so you have to accept the risks and rewards of having outlets that do it.

  6. Johanna Says:

    That reminds me of people who speak out against gossip columns while feeding them stories about competitors.

  7. Evie Says:

    Well people, as a general rule, are inconsistent bastards. :)




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