Four Months In, DC Makes Some Major Adjustments
The new DC 52, the complete reboot of their superhero comic line that restarted with Justice League #1, began in September 2011, so it’s now four months old. Apparently, that’s provided enough data for the decision-makers to make some changes in the line.
(And for the first delay. Flagship title Justice League will ship issue #5 a week late. Since it’s drawn by Jim Lee, who also has other responsibilities as a company official, this is not terribly surprising.)
The first hints came in a Newsarama interview with DC’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development John Rood and Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne. Marvel had just reclaimed the top spot in sales to the direct market, a position DC had gained with and held since the reboot, so there was a certain amount of “we’re still nicer to retailers” message-spinning, including this quote:
We’re more about the profitability of these titles. We’re more about the media and merchandise opportunities of these titles. And we’re most interested that the retailers are continually excited about the stories and characters.
That’s a reminder that DC is now part of a much bigger company that may not be directly focused on the comics. News also came out that prices were rising on top titles Batman and Detective, accompanied by a page count increase. What many people were curious about, though, were the hints that cancellation notices would be coming.
Shortly thereafter came word that six titles would be cancelled after issue #8 (due in April) and be replaced by six other books. Gone are two war books — Blackhawks and Men of War — two books with black heroes — Mister Terrific and Static Shock — and two books with unusual creative choices — OMAC, written by company Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, and Hawk and Dove, written and drawn by Rob Liefeld. Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras did address the perceived lack of diversity with a statement that said “characters that are not going to be in their own titles will be appearing in other books” and a focus on building the universe.
The cancelled titles will be replaced by these six comics:
- Another war book, G.I. Combat, with a lead feature and rotating backups featuring famous names from DC war comic history
- The return of my favorite Batman book, Batman Incorporated, by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
- The Ravagers, by 90s comic name Howard Mackie and Ian Churchill, spinning off from Teen Titans and Superboy
- Dial H (promo art shown above), written by fantasy novelist China Mieville (promising a new, darker take, which ruins the concept for me, but I’m very nostalgic about it)
- The return of alternate Earths and the Justice Society in Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott
- Worlds’ Finest by Paul Levitz with rotating artists George Perez and Kevin Maguire, featuring Power Girl and The Huntress trying to get back to Earth 2
Don MacPherson has some good commentary on the coming lineup as well as pointing out that the cancelled books were the worst-selling of the line with one exception: Captain Atom, which was saved for some unknown reason. Another weird change that’s coming — Rob Liefeld will be working on THREE books: writing and drawing Deathstroke while plotting Grifter and The Savage Hawkman. I’m just glad I don’t care about any of those titles.
More changes seem to be in store, with the discovery of this redesigned logo, submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It’s unclear what it will be used for, with the idea of an app making the most sense to me.