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September 18, 2019

DC Discontinues Comic Shop Co-Op Ad Buying Program

I can't tell if this is simply a programming's results becoming obsolete or if it's the first scene of Roland Emmerich film, but DC is apparently discontinuing its comic shop co-op ad buying program in early 2020.

Longtime Direct Market observer as both press and publisher Eric Reynolds has a take with which I largely agree here.

The reason this feels hinky is I don't really know where DC Comics is going within its new corporate infrastructure. DC has traditional been a responsible big brother to comic shops, while Marvel wrecks the corvette and screws the senator's daughter but still makes everyone smile because of the Kirby-Lee-Ditko legacy, which has just enjoyed a colossally profitable superhero movie phase. I have no sense of where DC is going because of some the directions they have been taking seem to have worked and yet this hasn't mattered as I once thought it might. It seems to me some of the TV shows were doing exactly what one might hope it would do and remained canceled, shortened or shrugged at. Blockbuster thinking serves very modest sales goals. Creative energy is out; structural syergy is in. Traditional comic books is at a place, and DC Comics with it, of being so cheap and self-sustaining as a long-term licensing-development avenue that it still seems like an irresistible place to invest, but also slightly modest in return, if only in the context of a home-run entertainment economy, in a way that makes broad investment less appealing than it might have been 20 years ago.

What losing a program like this makes me question in such a rudimentary way that I may be missing the point entirely, is what that company wants to look like five, ten years from now and what role its direct market relationships have in making that happen. I'm still betting on slow transitions to a reduced version of the across-the-board swell that once seemed possible, but enough reductions and changes in a row without a counter-build in another direction, whatever that may be, increases my belief that a really bad morning to end all mornings for everyone in that segment in comics isn't yet out of the question.
posted 5:35 pm PST | Permalink

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