Big Changes as DC Comics Becomes Part of DC Entertainment
Nikki Finke is reporting on big shakeups at DC Comics in the wake of the Disney/Marvel merger.
Warner Bros Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov is reportedly restructuring DC to report to him under the control of Diane Nelson, who had great success managing the Harry Potter franchise. She’s also President of the direct-to-DVD production arm Warner Premiere, which has been releasing a number of animated movies with DC characters. Existing production deals on DC character films are being “called back”, which appears to be movie-speak for “cancelled”, in order to give Warners more ownership and control.
This isn’t particularly surprising when you consider that the animated films have gotten praise, while the big live-action movies — Wonder Woman? JLA? Green Arrow in Supermax prison? — are known mostly for their missteps and blunders. Plus, there’s that whole “having to share Watchmen profits with Fox” lawsuit thing. It’s embarrassing, especially now that the world knows someone thinks competitor Marvel is worth $4 billion in large part because of their movie development success.
An announcement is rumored to come — we’ll all have to wait and see what happens. Rich Johnston is already speculating that Paul Levitz will step down rather than go forward in this new position.
From a fan point of view, because I hate the direction he’s set for the characters, I’d rather see Dan DiDio go. But from a corporate point of view, they need more people like him, who aren’t afraid to do new things. Paul Levitz grew up with DC, working their since before his college days — I think it’s been his only real world professional job. That makes for a certain kind of comfortable traditionalism that may not fit well in today’s faster-paced new media marketplace.
Update: That didn’t take long. DC Comics is now part of DC Entertainment with Diane Nelson as President. (Link no longer available.) Paul Levitz will “return to his roots as a writer for DC and become a contributing editor and overall consultant … as expeditiously as possible.”
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (WBEI) has created DC Entertainment Inc., a new company founded to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms, to be run by Diane Nelson, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros. … Nelson will bring her expertise and more than 20 years’ experience in creative brand management, strategic marketing and content development and production to ensuring DC Entertainment’s dual mission of marshalling Warner Bros.’ resources to maximize the potential of the DC brand while remaining respectful of and collaborative with creators, talent, fans and source material.
Yep, got all the buzzwords — “across all media and platforms”. Watch for more licensing and expansion deals. The comics are not where it’s at. What matters is using the characters to create income in as many different ways as possible. Yet they don’t want to create a fan rebellion, so they get an acknowledgement.
I found this interesting… next year may be very very different from this one:
DC Comics will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010 (NEW FUN COMICS #1, the first DC comic, began publishing in 1935), at which time more explicit details regarding DC Entertainment’s corporate and management structure, film and content release slate, creative roster and business objectives will be unveiled at a multi-faceted anniversary celebration and press conference in the first quarter of the year.
Update 2: As fans hoped, Levitz’s first writing job has been announced: the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics.
It says a lot about the dismal state of DC’s universe that not even Levitz returning to the Legion inspires more than a “maybe I’ll read the trade if the local library system gets it next year or so” from me.
Well, it is hard to go home again, and it remains to be seen if a story style fondly remembered from the 1970s/80s will translate to today’s more demanding readers.
Curious to see how this all shakes out. I’m betting these are the first of a lot of changes to come.
I remember being shocked for one that in a year where Batman’s popularity was at its highest, with Dark Knight being the movie that year. That the comics replaced Bruce Wayne as the lead character. I’m betting we see a bit more synergy between media. (not saying that’s good or bad)
It’ll be interesting to watch from the sides and see what happens. DC had become so insular, with a small number of people (a few key writers, certain editors and Didio) basically setting the course for the entire line. Wonder if that’ll be part of the change?
Hmm I wonder who will draw that Levitz story? If they really want to try and recreate that era, I’d be surprised to not see Keith Giffen.