Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 23, 2007

Missed It: Dissection of DC's Problems

It says something about the nature of the Internet that I feel I'm coming late to this analysis of DC's recent problems by Valerie D'Orazio, and it's only a couple of days old.

I'm not in a great position to counter any of these observations. I don't follow the mainstream companies with an equivalent level of devotion and passion, and like a lot of editorial analysis, I'm not certain that engaging the points one by one is a useful reaction as opposed to simply noting that they've been made and figuring out for yourself if they're reasonable and accurate or not. However, I do think that you can describe a company's dysfunction during a down period and it's not always those elements that are directly contributing to the market shortcomings they face.

My own take on DC's recent Direct Market mini-slump is that they're simply scrambling a bit after a failed attempt to shift the momentum from a line driven by a succession of big event books (Infinite Crisis) into a line driven by strong, regular, ongoing titles ("One Year Later"). My hunch is that this failure was caused by a little bit of a lot of things: they didn't really hit the landing editorially, they no longer have as many mechanisms as one might wish for to support regular and ongoing titles, and the system overall remains oriented towards big, line-wide events which Marvel, not DC is providing. This puts more pressure on their Countdown series than it's probably designed to handle, sends the market scrambling after more event-ish DC Comics many of which only come out intermittently, and locks everyone's focus in on their next big crisis event series in a way that makes them look like they're pressing. If they had been able to transfer their big event sales momentum to more of the regular titles, a lot of the editorial culture's perceived shortcomings would still be in existence, it would just be swept under the rug of strong sales.

Anyway, it's a fun article, well worth reading, and the fact that a certain segment of people paying close attention to those companies is that highly critical is something worth observing in and of itself.
posted 6:14 am PST | Permalink

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