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  1. #1
    (Formerly ilash) Ilan Preskovsky's Avatar
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    Default The Death of Vertigo... Will DC itself follow suit?

    Bleeding cool just ran a story about how DC has received word from on high to close down their Vertigo imprint. It is just a rumour but Bleeding Cool is normally correct about stuff like this. It's not massively surprising as they seem to have had trouble giving the imprint its own identity ever since Karen Berger left (I've long said, it should go back to its origins and do adult stories about DC's occult or more esoteric characters) but this is a huge deal. It was Vertigo that moved the medium forward in the '90s, that was home to some of the best and most innovative comics throughout the '90s and early 2000s and made the whole idea of selling graphic novels through major book chains a thing.

    You know, all this talk about how Dan Didio is screwing up DC obscures the fact that no one has done more damage to DC than those several paygrades higher than him. From the Black Label "controversy" (adult content in adult comics, how dare they?!) to gutting DC's trade paperback and hardcover line to ending what is certainly the most acclaimed line of comics DC ever put out - I don't think people have to worry about whether Didio will still be at DC in two years because, at this rate, there won't be a DC Comics in two years! AT&T will keep something alive as a source for their IP but their hands-on approach to the comics side of DC is looking more and more like a culling of the entire division.

    Am I the only one increasingly worried about the future of DC Comics?
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  2. #2
    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilan Preskovsky View Post
    Am I the only one increasingly worried about the future of DC Comics?
    I am not worried about the future of DC because I don't give a rat's ass about it's present, BUT: there's a big fat chance that what is coming is not a culling pér se, but a massive restructuring. Considering the current level of satisfaction of the reading audience (not that great) and the mixed bag that is the DCEU, AT&T is probably trying to reposition DC as a brand. They may be able to do so at the movies, who knows, but the comics side... let's just say that this giant media company had never butted heads with comic-fans.
    ConnEr Kent flies. ConnOr Hawke has a bow. Batman's kid is named DamiAn.

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  3. #3
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    No, you're not. An internet company has no use for a print division. At least when WB owned DC alone they just bought it for the movie and TV show IPs. So they more or less left the comics division alone. We have no idea what plans AT&T has for the company. If any. I don't think they will close up shop entirely, at least not right away. Superman and Batman are still popular characters. But when they see that their movies aren't doing nearly as well as Marvel's, who knows what they will do with the comics side. This is something I've worried about ever since they bought WB. What will they do with DC? My guess is the success of the movies will determine the fate of the comics.
    Now listen to me, Clark! This great strength of yours--you've got to hide it from people or they'll be scared of you!

  4. #4
    Boisterously Confused
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    Will they operate comics? Who knows.

    Will they throw away the IP power of The Superfriends? Not bloody likely.

    Will the rest of DC get pulled along? Almost certainly.

    There's been a reckoning coming for print comics since Netscape came along. This is not the end of DC Comics. However, the business is shifting. How these properties reach customers in the future is the question.

    That it won't be in the same manner as those whose hair is progressively grey (if we have hair at all) are accustomed to doesn't matter. The only sad thing is that there will be some stuff left by the side of the road as thing change.

    As has always been the case (anybody heard from Captain Compass or Jonny Peril lately?).

  5. #5
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    Nah, DC Comics will continue.
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  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    What I care are the story and characters and if the people in charge care about the story and characters (side-eye-ing some of their decisions lately) so will this affect that?

    For example, Rebirth, the concept of bringing back the things that were missing in New 52, came about because DC lost a lot of market share at that point. They feel the need to change and appeal to people they once ignore to bring them back.

    Will this change give them similar incentive to care more about their decision-making process when it comes to the world, story and character they've built or does it even affect that at all?

  7. #7
    Fantastic Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    Hopefully. What DC is doing now doesn't make a lot of sense business-wise. I would like to see a new model employed. And if DC stops making comics altogether, I don't really mind because that just makes more room for people like me who create comics. I don't believe we're riding the wave of DC's success because DC doesn't have much of a wave going on. So it might be better for us if DC wasn't making comics, because some people will still want comics and may be more open to trying alternative sources when they aren't getting their fix of DC.

  8. #8
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    I only buy comics from dc for the most part and if they go under the comics industry will collapse. DC has the better characters than Marvel. From my pov the industry along with some fans and retailers actively hold uo Marvel while keeping DC low. And this practice from a business sense is counter productive and hurtfull to the comics industry overall. If I had a comic book store I would never bad mouth a comic from any publisher. This is what some stores are doing. There more like fan boys instead of a retailer that sells a product. In some stores the only DC books they sell are Batman. Which is probably why DC publishes a ton of Batman books.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    But, what has Vertigo had to offer in the past few years?

    What many people use to think of as "Vertigo" probably disappeared years ago or just showed up under a different label, whether it was published by DC, Image, or somewhere else.

  10. #10
    (Formerly ilash) Ilan Preskovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    Will they operate comics? Who knows.

    Will they throw away the IP power of The Superfriends? Not bloody likely.

    Will the rest of DC get pulled along? Almost certainly.

    There's been a reckoning coming for print comics since Netscape came along. This is not the end of DC Comics. However, the business is shifting. How these properties reach customers in the future is the question.

    That it won't be in the same manner as those whose hair is progressively grey (if we have hair at all) are accustomed to doesn't matter. The only sad thing is that there will be some stuff left by the side of the road as thing change.

    As has always been the case (anybody heard from Captain Compass or Jonny Peril lately?).
    Oh yeah, they will certainly keep the IP's around in some form. I'm just worried about what that form would be. The great thing about DC and Warners' relationship for years - and DC has been part of that huge conglomeration since 1989 - was that 99% of the revenue they made from these characters was from merchandise and the occasional TV or movie adaptation so they clearly just saw DC Comics itself as an extra bit of income for them that crucially keeps the IPs alive and owned by them, which meant that there was never any reason for them to get involved with the comics side at all. During this period, we had what I would say was DC's true golden age creatively (that started a few years back with the publication of Watchmen and DKR) and they were able to put out some seriously boundary-pushing comics like Preacher and the Filth.

    This clearly changed well before AT&T came around with superheroes being the biggest thing in movies and rather than doubling down on allowing the comics people to do their thing - which is all the more reasonable when you consider that the comics themselves represented an even smaller profit for the company than it used to - they decided to start intervening with the comics side as well with the creation of DC Entertainment. Things have reached a fever pitch now with the corporate side butting into even the creative side of DC Comics and, despite some very fine comics still coming from the company, the overall health of DC hasn't been this worrying since, what, the fallow years before the Silver Age?

    Which is why...

    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    It honestly sounds like the people at DC just don't know what they're doing. Didio wants to turn the company into his own private fanfic. Superman has had something like 5 origins in the last 20 years. Vertigo ran off all the independent talent after they wouldn't give up the movie rights to their properties. Their "adult label" line caves the moment someone complains about something adult in it. What the hell is going on there? By the sound of it, most fans aren't happy with the direction DC is going in and haven't been for a while now. If AT&T is going to do anything, it sounds like the first thing they need to do is get new management in there.
    ...I just don't agree with this. Is DC being mismanaged? Definitely. Blaming Didio for it, though, is to miss the forest for the trees. I've liked some of what Didio has done, hated some of what he has done but however much his weird personal biases sometimes screw up individual properties, at least creatively, (the Flash anyone?), he has little to do with the major existential problems facing DC now. The "corporate overlords" at Warner-AT&T are sticking their noses where they really don't belong. Blame Didio for the New 52 or the ruin of Wally West? Sure. But these all have easy enough fixes and are balanced by Didio's better aspects like his push to give certain creators the freedom to create lasting works. The catastrophic mess that is Black Label, the sinking of Vertigo and whatever the hell DC is currently doing with their increasingly sporadic graphic novel/ collections line? That's got nothing to do with Didio and everything to do with a bunch of, well, suits who don't have the first clue about the industry coming in and trying to micromanage everything and constantly constraining actual comics people from doing their jobs.

    This is a problem that is much, much harder to overcome than simply firing an unpopular publisher - especially because, for all of his problems, Didio is probably much better than whoever his replacement might be, if AT&T have their say.

    I've generally scoffed at the "doomsday is coming" mindset when it comes to the comics industry (I've heard that comics are dead ever since I started reading them regularly in the early 90s) but the threat posed by these massive corporations to the comics companies that they own is both unexpected and far more lethal than the problems of the past few decades.

    Ironic, isn't it, that it's the gigantic success of comic book movies that is proving to be the biggest threat to the comics themselves?
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  11. #11
    (Formerly ilash) Ilan Preskovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire Savior View Post
    Hopefully. What DC is doing now doesn't make a lot of sense business-wise. I would like to see a new model employed. And if DC stops making comics altogether, I don't really mind because that just makes more room for people like me who create comics. I don't believe we're riding the wave of DC's success because DC doesn't have much of a wave going on. So it might be better for us if DC wasn't making comics, because some people will still want comics and may be more open to trying alternative sources when they aren't getting their fix of DC.
    I agree that the business side of comics can do with an overhaul. This is just a bad way to do it.

    As for the rest of your point, I'm a fan of non-Big 2 comics and I obviously hope that side of the industry continues to thrive. The fall of Marvel or DC, however, will cause such shockwaves throughout the entire industry that they would probably take just about everyone else down with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wakeneuron View Post
    I only buy comics from dc for the most part and if they go under the comics industry will collapse. DC has the better characters than Marvel. From my pov the industry along with some fans and retailers actively hold uo Marvel while keeping DC low. And this practice from a business sense is counter productive and hurtfull to the comics industry overall. If I had a comic book store I would never bad mouth a comic from any publisher. This is what some stores are doing. There more like fan boys instead of a retailer that sells a product. In some stores the only DC books they sell are Batman. Which is probably why DC publishes a ton of Batman books.
    Agreed on all points. Shockingly, though, these awful practices by the direct market are far from the main threat to comics right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    But, what has Vertigo had to offer in the past few years?

    What many people use to think of as "Vertigo" probably disappeared years ago or just showed up under a different label, whether it was published by DC, Image, or somewhere else.
    Absolutely. But that's because DC lost its good faith relationships with creators and editors by being forced to introduce crappy new contracts and being muzzled and controlled by larger interests that they never had to worry about before. The folding of Vertigo in and of itself isn't unexpected but it represents some of the worst fears that many of us have about what's happening with DC right now.
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  12. #12
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    Vertigo had 2 relaunches both of which bombed. It's a dead imprint in today's market and even in the 90s, whilst it published some superb stuff, it was hardly groundbreaking.

    Better to see it shut and preserve the legacy than watch it fade into meaninglessness.

    DC comics on the other hand is going nowhere!

  13. #13
    Incredible Member SixSpeedSamurai's Avatar
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    ATT views DC as IP's only, they don't care about the comics at all. DC (and Marvel) are not the home to new characters. Why should a creator give up the rights and the $$$ to make a new, interesting character for DC (and Marvel) when there are plenty of avenues for them to try it themselves.
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  14. #14
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    If DC hadn't run off Karen Berger...

    If DC hadn't shut the doors to DC characters in Vertigo...

    If DC hadn't fired Shelly Bond...

    If DC had put Grant Morrison as editor instead of him going to Heavy Metal to be their editor...
    "There's magic in the sound of analog audio." - CNET.

  15. #15
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    Or if Alan Horn hadn't screwed with the Vertigo creator contracts in his desire to give WB greater control of creator owned properties...

    But seriously does this mean Mark Doyle is out of a job? Or can he go back to the Batbooks? It's a shame though since a chunk of DC's best editors were at Vertigo and this means DC is losing some of their best while keeping people like Cunningham and Cotton around.
    Last edited by Bruce Wayne; 06-04-2019 at 02:42 PM.

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