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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Default Burbankology, or the State of DC

    What happens within the DC offices comes up now and again, usually after Bleeding Cool posts news about cutbacks. But when I opened up the former Ink story Raven, I found rather clear evidence of DC streamlining, slimming, or downsizing its staff on the management side.

    "Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale", published earlier this year listed three people directly involved with the book on the editorial side, Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase as head editors and VPs, DiDio and Lee as publishers, and then no less than eighteen other VPs and senior VPs. The list was very similar to the one in "Mera Tidebreaker".

    The list in "Teen Titans Raven" looks very dissimilar.

    Michele R. Wells has gone from VP of content strategy to VP & Executive Editor, Young Reader, so I guess she is responsible for what was under Ink, Zoom, and whatever new stuff DC comes up with in this area.

    Bobbie Chase has gone from VP & Executive Editor, Young Reader & Talent Development to VP New Publishing Initiatives & Talent Development. She's also not listed as prominently anymore, so I would guess she is not as involved in production anymore.

    Harras, DiDio and Lee remains.

    Falletti and Gill have their old jobs running manufacturing and operations, and Gill is the only one of three with the title of Senior VP (compared to eight earlier).

    Ganem went from VP Editorial Administration & Talent Relations to VP Talent Services. Not sure how that will impact his actual duties.

    Kanalz went from Senior VP Editorial Strategy & Administration to Senior VP Publishing Strategy & Support Services. Sounds mostly like a name change.

    Dan Miron is a new name, and VP Publishing Operations.

    Napolitano went from VP Manufacturing Operations to VP Manufacturing Operations & Design. Also sounds mostly like a name change.

    Spears went from VP Mass, Book Digital Sales & Trade Marketing to VP Sales. Since a whole slew of VPs involved with sales and marketing disappeared, that's unquestionably a promotion for her.

    Meanwhile the following VPs are no longer listed: Amit Desai, Mark Chiarello, John Cunningham, Briar Darden, Anne DePies, Jason Greenberg, Jay Kogan, Lisette Osterloh, Eddie Scannell, Courtney Simmons, and Jim Sokolowski.

    Let the Burbankology begin!
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    What happens within the DC offices comes up now and again, usually after Bleeding Cool posts news about cutbacks. But when I opened up the former Ink story Raven, I found rather clear evidence of DC streamlining, slimming, or downsizing its staff on the management side.

    "Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale", published earlier this year listed three people directly involved with the book on the editorial side, Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase as head editors and VPs, DiDio and Lee as publishers, and then no less than eighteen other VPs and senior VPs. The list was very similar to the one in "Mera Tidebreaker".

    The list in "Teen Titans Raven" looks very dissimilar.

    Michele R. Wells has gone from VP of content strategy to VP & Executive Editor, Young Reader, so I guess she is responsible for what was under Ink, Zoom, and whatever new stuff DC comes up with in this area.

    Bobbie Chase has gone from VP & Executive Editor, Young Reader & Talent Development to VP New Publishing Initiatives & Talent Development. She's also not listed as prominently anymore, so I would guess she is not as involved in production anymore.

    Harras, DiDio and Lee remains.

    Falletti and Gill have their old jobs running manufacturing and operations, and Gill is the only one of three with the title of Senior VP (compared to eight earlier).

    Ganem went from VP Editorial Administration & Talent Relations to VP Talent Services. Not sure how that will impact his actual duties.

    Kanalz went from Senior VP Editorial Strategy & Administration to Senior VP Publishing Strategy & Support Services. Sounds mostly like a name change.

    Dan Miron is a new name, and VP Publishing Operations.

    Napolitano went from VP Manufacturing Operations to VP Manufacturing Operations & Design. Also sounds mostly like a name change.

    Spears went from VP Mass, Book Digital Sales & Trade Marketing to VP Sales. Since a whole slew of VPs involved with sales and marketing disappeared, that's unquestionably a promotion for her.

    Meanwhile the following VPs are no longer listed: Amit Desai, Mark Chiarello, John Cunningham, Briar Darden, Anne DePies, Jason Greenberg, Jay Kogan, Lisette Osterloh, Eddie Scannell, Courtney Simmons, and Jim Sokolowski.

    Let the Burbankology begin!
    #

    Here's the last list change - does it coincide?

    https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/05...o-the-old-one/

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    But wouldn't a smaller team be better? I would think so.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Yeah, the two lists looks rather similar, and any differences might come down to time of collation and the different type of sources used. Only real difference is that my list includes Eddie Scannell among the people dropped.

    I can't comment on any of the names, never having met any of them nor having followed comics enough.

    What I think DC did right:

    Cut down on the many VPs with sales, marketing, or strategy mandates. You don't need that many, and they are likely to get in the way of each other or create little turfs of their own.

    The Ink and Zoom imprints were lost, but the young reader initiatives gained their own executive editor. I hope that lets them keep the editorial independence they need.

    The gender disparity at DC's top level didn't improve, but neither did it worsen (it went from 16 men and 7 women to 9 men and 4 women). More importantly, Spears was promoted, and so was likely Wells.

    What I'm unsure about:

    Kogan used to be VP of legal affairs, which I imagine is a major concern for an entity like DC with their abundance of IP and merchandising stuff. Maybe it has been consolidated on the WB level?

    What I didn't like:

    No changes at all on the very top level: it's still Harras, McCallum, DiDio, and Lee. That means that the editorial direction of DC is unlikely to change anytime soon.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

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    No changes at all on the very top level: it's still Harras, McCallum, DiDio, and Lee. That means that the editorial direction of DC is unlikely to change anytime soon.
    No you are missing the larger picture here: nobody at the very top gives a crap about the editorial/publishing aspects of DC Comics unless it's embarrassing stuff like Bat-penis or Tom King's snuff comics. The movies, tv shows, games, etc aka the merchandising and tie-ins are the main priorities of the corporate leadership and editorial/publishing isn't despite these parts being an IP content farm for the movies. Also you might want to bust out your back issues, but if you count all the editors they have on all books, overall I think the number of editors at DC has seen a large decline from the Jeanette Kahn era (the Post-Crisis), which has contributed to a decline in quality control. But not sure about that one.
    Last edited by Bruce Wayne; 07-05-2019 at 07:09 AM.

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    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    No changes at all on the very top level: it's still Harras, McCallum, DiDio, and Lee. That means that the editorial direction of DC is unlikely to change anytime soon.
    That probably won't change unless someone from Warners or AT&T steps in and takes over. Which may very well be what this is. I think Didio has someone protecting him somewhere. Either that or he has embarrassing pictures or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    That probably won't change unless someone from Warners or AT&T steps in and takes over. Which may very well be what this is. I think Didio has someone protecting him somewhere. Either that or he has embarrassing pictures or something.
    Or the higher ups don't care as long as Batman and his entitlement friends are selling.

    When you have book no matter how bad or offensive the story is that are assured of shelf space and orders at comic book stores-you can overlook a LOT of things.

    Sooner than later someone at Warners or AT&T are going to start asking where is our counter to Black Panther, Miles, Ms Marvel, Saga, Hulk, GOTG and so on. Because shelves at stores don't tell lies.

    Someone is going to ask why is the DC stuff getting tossed on clearance faster than Marvel (something that has been going on at some stores for years). Why is no one talking about our characters?

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    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    DiDio, Lee, and Harras have long overstayed their welcome in their positions, in my opinion. It's really fascinating. Despite being heavily involved with literally the most popular comic ever, I honestly believe that Lee and Harras have no idea what they're doing. Jim Lee is a term I call a "dumb artist". There are a lot of these out there. A "dumb artist" can draw and...that's it! Despite perhaps being able to set up panels, lay out pages effectively, and convey information through art, which, admittedly, is very important, they have absolutely no idea how to tell a story, and aside from what they can do in the visual arts, they aren't all that creative. They definitely don't have it in them to build a captivating world people will really want to escape to. Now I don't take anything away from Jim Lee's achievements, but, I mean, Wild CATs is the best you can do? And I'm sure a lot of that was Brandon Choi. Why is this guy running the company!?

    And DiDio, he's just ridiculous, thinking people want content like Identity Crisis, Heroes in Crisis, and these absurd storylines that more or less destroy your favorite characters. I'm really surprised he's lasted as long as he has in his position. It's mind boggling.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post
    No you are missing the larger picture here: nobody at the very top gives a crap about the editorial/publishing aspects of DC Comics unless it's embarrassing stuff like Bat-penis or Tom King's snuff comics. The movies, tv shows, games, etc aka the merchandising and tie-ins are the main priorities of the corporate leadership and editorial/publishing isn't despite these parts being an IP content farm for the movies.
    You might very well be correct in your interpretation of how the levels above DC views it, but it doesn't change that the top creative leadership at DC was left unchanged.

    Now, will the VP downsizing impact how DC does things creatively? That's the more important question to me. Who stayed and who went was of course one huge factor of that, but I think the general downsizing can mean two different things.

    The first is that DC gets less of the office wars, where everyone defends their own little turf of characters (see also why Donna Troy won't appear in the Wonder Woman comic). Even the non-star writers get a little more creative freedom, and DC won't act like it's controlled by two (or more) brains anymore.

    The second is that the current top creative leadership (Harras, McCallum, DiDio, and Lee) now has greater leeway to put their own stamp on what DC will publish. A lot here will depend on personal knowledge of the VPs still remaining and what creative visions they have. But I think it's rather clear that what used to be Ink and Zoom looks like Wells's creative and publishing vision for DC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post
    Also you might want to bust out your back issues, but if you count all the editors they have on all books, overall I think the number of editors at DC has seen a large decline from the Jeanette Kahn era (the Post-Crisis), which has contributed to a decline in quality control. But not sure about that one.
    Nice research project, for someone not me!
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

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    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire Savior View Post
    DiDio, Lee, and Harras have long overstayed their welcome in their positions, in my opinion. It's really fascinating. Despite being heavily involved with literally the most popular comic ever, I honestly believe that Lee and Harras have no idea what they're doing. Jim Lee is a term I call a "dumb artist". There are a lot of these out there. A "dumb artist" can draw and...that's it! Despite perhaps being able to set up panels, lay out pages effectively, and convey information through art, which, admittedly, is very important, they have absolutely no idea how to tell a story, and aside from what they can do in the visual arts, they aren't all that creative. They definitely don't have it in them to build a captivating world people will really want to escape to. Now I don't take anything away from Jim Lee's achievements, but, I mean, Wild CATs is the best you can do? And I'm sure a lot of that was Brandon Choi. Why is this guy running the company!?

    And DiDio, he's just ridiculous, thinking people want content like Identity Crisis, Heroes in Crisis, and these absurd storylines that more or less destroy your favorite characters. I'm really surprised he's lasted as long as he has in his position. It's mind boggling.
    Lee, I kind of understand how he got the job. He's Jim Lee! Helped run Image and founded Wildstorm! But he clearly thinks the Image model works everywhere and it doesn't. The "let the creators be creators" mindset is too loose for a major company like DC. Didio, I have no idea how he got this job. I don't know if he knows someone and they just hooked him up or what. I don't know much about his background prior to comics. I just seems like a guy who came out of nowhere and they put him in charge for some odd reason. But it's obvious he's pulling a Quesada where he wants the official canon to be the versions he grew up with. I still believe the bosses at AT&T/Warners don't give a crap about the publishing end so much as they see DC as an IT farmhouse for movies and TV shows. They'd let the DC end die if it becomes too costly to keep doing print.
    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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    Lee, I kind of understand how he got the job. He's Jim Lee! Helped run Image and founded Wildstorm! But he clearly thinks the Image model works everywhere and it doesn't. The "let the creators be creators" mindset is too loose for a major company like DC. Didio, I have no idea how he got this job. I don't know if he knows someone and they just hooked him up or what. I don't know much about his background prior to comics. I just seems like a guy who came out of nowhere and they put him in charge for some odd reason. But it's obvious he's pulling a Quesada where he wants the official canon to be the versions he grew up with. I still believe the bosses at AT&T/Warners don't give a crap about the publishing end so much as they see DC as an IT farmhouse for movies and TV shows. They'd let the DC end die if it becomes too costly to keep doing print.
    Even without looking up Didio's career, I know that he was in the TV business. Ever watch the groundbreaking computer animated TV show ReBoot? He's in the credits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Even without looking up Didio's career, I know that he was in the TV business. Ever watch the groundbreaking computer animated TV show ReBoot? He's in the credits.
    He also worked on Beast Wars (Season 3) and Beast Machines. For the former, he apparently told Marv Wolfman to cut loose and do what he thought would work, then told the main writers for Beast Machines to ignore continuity as much as possible.

    I think that best summarizes his tendency towards trying to have his product line as “new audience” friendly as possible, as well as his ability (when he wants to) to let creators he trusts do what they want.

    I think the great contradiction with Didio is how he will sometimes personally and often indirectly allow that marketing-based “new audience doesn’t want continuity” philosophy to get in the way of letting artists cut loose, and how he just doesn’t seem to have good storytelling instincts himself and doesn’t realize it. It leads to contradictory decisions that seem to get in the way of his strengths.

    For instance, Peter David’s Young Justice seems to have succeeded exactly at its mission statement of being an introductory comic for young and new viewers... and yet Didio was extremely dissatisfied with it because of the way it handled Lobo or something, and had it canceled and ended somewhat spitefully in Graduation Day... then handed the characters over to Geoff Johns for the highly successful Teen Titans run.

    He also despised 52 for not following its designated plot outline and praised Countdown for doing so... even though the former is universally praised (and an example of letting creators do what they do best) and the latter is generally reviled.

    I think if he sticks to business ideas, he seems to do okay. Just DON’T let him decide any story ideas. The man’s idea of a good idea for Superboy in the final issues of his 100-issue volume was to make him a building superintendent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    Didio, I have no idea how he got this job. I don't know if he knows someone and they just hooked him up or what. I don't know much about his background prior to comics. I just seems like a guy who came out of nowhere and they put him in charge for some odd reason.
    IIRC he was hired as an editor by Paul Levitz. Then he got fast tracked to the Executive Editor position (the equivalent to Marvel's EiC position around that time) around the time of Identity Crisis. Much like Quesada who started out as an editor on Marvel Knights and won the favor of Bill Jemas.

    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    I think if he sticks to business ideas, he seems to do okay. Just DON’T let him decide any story ideas. The man’s idea of a good idea for Superboy in the final issues of his 100-issue volume was to make him a building superintendent.
    Except he doesn't stick to the business side. From all accounts, creative hires have to go through him. For example Robinson on Wonder Woman had to follow his plot mandates to get the job.
    Last edited by Bruce Wayne; 07-06-2019 at 06:29 PM.

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    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Didio seems to have a lot of good ideas for reaching out to new readers. Like Ink and Black Label and all the stand alone GNs. If they would just stick him on new reader outreach, he'd do fine. But it's obvious he just wants to run the store. It's not like he doesn't have a place there. It's just the wrong one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    Didio seems to have a lot of good ideas for reaching out to new readers. Like Ink and Black Label and all the stand alone GNs. If they would just stick him on new reader outreach, he'd do fine. But it's obvious he just wants to run the store. It's not like he doesn't have a place there. It's just the wrong one.
    I've always kind of seen Didio as someone who would fit more on the corporate side then the creative side, but even that might not end well...

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