The inner turmoil and antics happening inside the DC Corporation is comics’ worst kept secret at the moment. All sense of management and fair play seems to have been thrown out the window, and unlike the superheroes we love and adore, the poor souls being thrown out the window cannot fly. With countless redundancies of personnel and titles and an obvious dip in product quality, the publisher seems to be shooting themselves in the foot. What is going on at DC comics?
Well from a fan standpoint and the general chatter galloping across the internet, DC seems to have employed a strict micromanagement regime. Editors appear to be steering the ship and not allowing their creative to breathe as they frantically try to respond to Marvel Now’s obvious success. They want results, and they want them now, and it seems the framework for the New 52 is already beginning to buckle and bend. Whatever’s happening, there is a real sense that DC is a very claustrophobic place to work right now, and it’s showing in their comics.
The frustrating thing about the company is that they seem to be going completely against the grain and refuse to move forward with new and proven trends. If 2012 was to be known for one thing, it had to be the year of the creator. Creator-owned work set the comic industry alive last year with a host of fresh and innovative ideas and stories. Spearheaded by Image comics, the publisher showed what can be achieved when you allow your creators to create and create whatever and however they see fit. Marvel showed that this outlook can be applied to superhero comics with titles like Daredevil and Hawkeye, taking a new, unconventional approach, taking risks. When the New 52 arrived it seemed DC was prepared and brave enough to take the big risks but they have already reverted back to old ways.
Case in point, Ron Richards was recently employed by Image comics as Director of Business Development, rewarding his outstanding work in the comic industry. Richards was one of the driving forces in the creation of the highly successful iFanboy comic website and brings a wealth of experience and a more youthful outlook to the company. While Image notices the need for fresh faces with a real understanding of the current, comic climate and its readers, the nepotism at DC is obvious. People like Dan DiDio, Bob Harras, and Jim Lee don’t seem to be moving with the times and their company is paying for it at the moment.
DC is desperately in need of some life and soul. It’s worrying when the main topic of conversation related to the publisher involves which title will survive the next onslaught of cancellations or how long a writer/artist has left. Is that what we want to know one of comic’s greatest companies as, a ruthless and callous machine willing to do anything for sales? I understand that the comic industry is a business and all that goes along with it, but there has to be a balance, and from this view it seems DC is severely hanging to one side.