This weekend, DC Comics execs were doing little more comparing their phones with each other, at WonderCon and Fan Expo Dallas, for the latest Bleeding Cool headline about the Marvel retailer summit, that seems to have been the definition of a public relations disaster.
With the news that Marvel are pulling back on linewide crossovers and events after Secret Empire, I understand that Dan DiDio and co think they are bulletproof and are going to push the event stuff like crazy again.
Have they realised why Rebirth worked for the company? The word from DC Comics editors and creatives is that they are terrified they’re going to kill the golden goose right after they got momentum back.
Rebirth placated comic retailers – and they’re the ones who hand-sell books to customers – just as Marvel was trying to last week.. They are what is great about comic retail but also are the bottleneck, as Marvel have struggled with. Trying to please hundreds of unique stores with unique problems with hundreds of products every month, it’s hard.
What DC did right was put solid talent on books and give them room to build a story on each title on their own instead of immediately pushing events and gimmick variants. Normal sales attrition happening now so execs can’t help but start pushing for events and start the hamster wheel again. Dark Days and Metal is just the beginning.
There is, however, the argument being expressed that events need to be special and not the norm, crossovers need to be special not the norm, variants need to be special not the norm – and series launches need to be special not the norm.
To paraphrase The Incredibles, if everything is special, none of it is. Marvel’s failure of late is normalizing everything that used to “move the needle” so that it no longer does.
There’s lots of drama at DC Comics right now. More than there is on the page…