DC Comics “News” and The Press

If you’re a regular follower of this site, you’ve seen that there hasn’t been much posted in the way of DC news as of late. This was done accidentally on purpose. Accidentally because life outside of the comics page got in the way of regular updates. On purpose because, well, what news out of DC is worth covering these days?

As a journalist, you want to ask questions, provide readers with inside information, and tell an intriguing story that falls in between the comic panels and outside the panels that is worth discussing.

Sometimes, journalists will ask the tough questions that hit hard. About a month ago, DC stopped their regular column with CBR news. The column was an interview with Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase, DC’s Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Director, respectively. They would talk about the latest and upcoming comics, with answers ranging from serious to tongue-in-cheek.

Then CBR did a big no-no according to DC, by doing something that any Journalism 101 class would teach you: ask the sometimes hard questions. A poster by the name of LGBT_Fan asked in CBR’s fan questions column of B&B about the Orson Card controversy. Neither Bobbie nor Bob answered the question and instead a note to the column stated “Note: A DC spokesperson referred CBR back to their previous statement on that question.”

By sheer coincidence, Harras started a column that day on DC’s main website. Harras started contributing what he thought readers should be made aware of and excited for when he started his the column. The column has mostly been some behind the scenes look at newly created and re-designed villains.

DC has a right to reveal what information and discussion topics they want regarding their company. That’s not the issue. The issue is that they acted as if they could control the comic book press and treat them as a PR department. When CBR didn’t abide by these rules, they got cut off.

DC is under no obligation to connect to their fans through these types of interviews or answer the fans’ questions, but comic book companies have reached out to their readership since the days of Stan Lee publishing Bullpen Bulletins in Marvel comics, a strategy all comics have followed with great success when connecting with fans.

But the tide is changing.

With the advent of social media, news about anything can reach anyone, anywhere,  at anytime. Even if you believe the adage that any press is good press, there still had to be a moment for you when you stood in awe of just how viral something could become. The reaction from DC and their parent company Warner Bros is to try and protect the image of the brand and intellectual properties they own. This led to an attempt to control any aspect of social media/news/information that came out about their company their characters. Non-disclosure agreements are a sign of this practice.

Withdrawing from interviews.

Referring to press releases instead of making any original comments.

Ignoring criticism and pushing forward only with a smile and positivity.

What this means is that you won’t be seeing much in terms of regular coverage for DC Comics “news” in the pages of this site. Being a PR machine isn’t the job of a free press. Finding the whole story, giving the details whether good or bad, discovering the truth and getting it out there is the job of a free press. Asking the tough questions and finding the right answers.

Here at Capeless, we will continue to review the latest releases and take a look at some of the old trades. However, until DC Comics stops this practice of using the press like an unpaid PR department, then they better look elsewhere besides this site. We will continue to watch DC with hopes that this practice changes soon.

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Sometime in the late 1980s, a Batman comic fell into David Jetter’s hands and he hasn’t put it down since. Jetter dove into sequential storytelling headfirst and is a fan of any creator that will use the uniqueness of the medium to tell a great story. News Editor, fan, and an eye to the history of the industry is what Jetter brings to the table for Capeless Crusader. Catch him on Twitter @djetter0801, or via email at djetter0801@gmail.com