Over the past few weeks I’ve been hearing disquiet emanating from the offices of 1700 Broadway.
You may have thought that the unquestionable success of the relaunch would have been cause for celebration at DC Comics and amongst its freelance creatives. And I’m sure some people are very pleased indeed.
But more and more, from creator upon creator, I’ve been hearing horror stories. No one is prepared to go on the record, those NDAs hold strong, and people would actually like to keep their jobs. For now.
Because I understand that at least one high profile creator will be making the jump to Marvel. As will quite a few slightly less-high profile creators with an opportunity to play up their new higher profiles in the wake of the relaunch. And that Marvel has also had to turn down a number of enquiries.
One common criticism being heard from a number of sources concerns the micro management of Dan DiDio, compared repeatedly to that of Bill Jemas*. Repeatedly asking for changes, then asking for changes to those changes. And then more changes to those that take them back to where they were in the first place, except now they’re up against an impossible deadline, which must be met…
But here’s the thing. The relaunch is a success. And much of that can be put down to Dan DiDio who has been pushing for approach this for years, and has been completely validated in the success gained. The question is, is it a success because of such management or despite it?
It has been observed by some that Dan DiDio has placed his personal reputation within the company on the relaunch. As a result, right now his stock within the company has never been higher – quite a jump from three years ago when Nikki Finke was telling everyone he was about to be fired. But there’s the viewpoint that he can’t quite believe his recent success and is insistent on running a Red Queen’s Race to keep everything the way it is, spinning as many plates as he can to keep them in the air. And smashing any plate the second it looks like it might have a hint of a wobble.
But all that spinning may see certain plates flying off somewhere else…
*It might be worth recalling that despite criticism, Jemas gave Marvel the Ultimate Universe and co-wrote the first issues of Ultimate Spider-Man.**
**Admittedly he also wrote Marville.