How DC Comics Killed Wildstorm

In 1998 DC Comics bought Wildstorm. It was generally agreed they wanted it for three things. The colourists. Jim Lee. And Alan Moore.

As a result, they also got The Authority, Warren Ellis’ recreation of the Wildstorm Universe that parodied and satirised much of DC’s. And under Mark Millar would grab news headlines around the world and cause Paul Levitz to personally intervene, changing dialogue and finished art because they offended his sensibilities. It would cost editor John Layman his job. Mark left for Marvel and went exclusive. He would not write for DC of Wildstorm again.

Alan Moore wrote a number of books for Wildstorm, including WildCATS and then his ABC line. DC just managed to keep Moore on board by the skin of their teeth when buying the company, and indeed he would do his first work for hire for DC in ages on the Albion book as a result. However conflict, especially over V For Vendetta and League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Paul Levitz would see him leave, taking League with him. It would cost editor Scott Dunbier his job. Moore would not write for DC or Wildstorm again.

Garth Ennis wrote a number of books for Wildstorm, around his character Kev. He also wrote The Boys for Wildstorm at the behest of Dan DiDio. Paul Levitz so violently reacted to this series on publication, despite sales that started at 60,000 and rose, that the series was cancelled and Dynamite picked it up. Garth Ennis would not, etc etc etc…

Grant Morrison relaunched WildCATS and The Authority for DC/Wildstorm, but with many editors clamouring for his attention, was asked by his bosses to turn his attention to his DC books instead, leaving the relaunch stillborn.

Licensed book Gears Of War #1 was the best selling comic book of the year. DC Comics refused to acknowledge this.

Systematically, time after time, DC Comics has cut the knees from under Wildstorm, leaving a universe of books suffering from relaunch after relaunch, with embittered creators and laughable sales figures, saved until now by Wildstorm’s separate deal with DC Comics that, as long as the company was profitable, individual books need not be.

This appears no longer to be the case. It’s been a long time coming, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. DC has been killing the Wildstorm Universe for quite some time under Paul Levitz. The brand is tainted. And no mouth to mouth resuscitation can save it. Dan DiDio and Jim Lee just put it out of its misery and pulled the plug.

And we pray, one day, for a resurrection. Comics are good at those. Maybe when that Authority movie comes out??

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