Today, Bleeding Cool’s Jude Terror published the Top 5 Marvel Screw-Ups of 2017. But, like Fox News, we are fair and balanced. So here’s how it’s looking from the opposite side of the coast in Burbank. The cancellation of The Legend of Wonder Woman over some tweets by its creators about other DC titles would have made this list — if DC hadn’t decided to fire Renea De Liz and Ray Dillon before Christmas in 2016. That particular decision not to wait until after the holidays saved them from being added to this list.
So what did make it?
5. Publishing Doomsday Clock. It remains the ultimate raised middle finger to comic creators. Something that says, “yes, you know that deal you and DC Comics have made, the one we promoted as a creator-owned deal, well, when circumstances change in a way no one can foresee, rather than succumb and renegotiate the deal like Warners did with the Writers’ Guild when DVDs came along, we’ll just employ more lawyers than you, and do our level best to destroy any dignity of your original work, and make your characters fight The Smurfs.” There are many other supposedly creator-owned series still controlled by DC Comics, and when a creator asks about getting the rights back, DC will rush through a fat comic reprint on standard paper of the run, to make sure they keep controlling it… just in case you wonder why DC Comics still does that sometimes.
4. The New Age Of DC Heroes — the diversity, the delays, and the lies. In the wake of the success of Geoff Johns‘s Rebirth relaunch, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee dedicated all their resources to everything but. Dan DiDio launched a brand-new, exciting future of the DC Universe with a bunch of new characters and new books… all written and drawn by men. In doing so, he also created massive friction within the publisher by giving those chosen few far more attractive terms for their work than other DC creators got. This pulled them away from editorial groups who were relying on them for their own titles, pinning plenty of company resources on the new promotion — only to then cancel it all and reschedule it for 2018, stating that the reason was that retailers would be able to see how the books span out of the Metal event (which DC also dodged a bullet on by Snyder and Capullo stopping them from calling “Dark Crisis”) rather than just being really, really late. I mean, Jim Lee’s book The Immortal Men was delayed a further six months. They were meant to move the needle, instead they pushed comics revenue out of 2017 and into 2018. Which may have led to…
3. Not Beating Marvel Comics in Sales. Because despite everything on Jude’s Marvel list, the House of Ideas still sold more comics and made more money than DC Comics across the board. That may not have been true for all stores and in all markets, but in the vast majority, Marvel still came out on top. So despite all of Marvel’s PR problems, and with DC Comics seemingly on a revival with Metal, Rebirth, and Doomsday Clock, getting books like Flash, Teen Titans, and Superman to sell well again, Burbank couldn’t beat Manhattan.
2. Not Publishing a Wonder Woman comic that capitalised off the success of the movie. When the first X-Men movie came out, it didn’t do much for then-Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics Bob Harras, as the X-Men comic book published in Entertainment Weekly alongside promotion for the movie was as inaccessible as all the X-Men books at the time. That one publishing decision led to the rise of Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada and created the Marvel we have now. Well, the Wonder Woman movie did very well this year, but neither the Earth One graphic novel nor the Wonder Woman comics had an appropriate tone or attitude that might have appealed to the audience of the movie. Instead, courtesy of current DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, we got a Wonder Woman ongoing comic by James Robinson about Wonder Woman’s brother. And sales of the comic, in the wake of the movie, fell. And in 2016, DC had already cancelled the two books that could have had a chance of benefitting from the movie, Sensation Comics and Legend of Wonder Woman. Ah, it made it in after all. Also, while we’re talking movies, there was the Justice League movie flop, the performance of which also saw a rift emerge between DC presidents Diane Nelson and Geoff Johns…
1. Waiting Until Buzzfeed to Deal with Berganza. Pretty much every comic book and media culture website, including Bleeding Cool, had reported at some time about allegations of sexual harassment against Superman group editor Eddie Berganza over fellow staffers. DC Comics told everyone the matter had been dealt with. Berganza had been demoted and lost significant salary in the process. But it continued to taint decisions. Creators refused to work under Berganza. When women staff members were dropped, the overwhelming response was asking why they had been fired and not Berganza. And he was unable to host any DC Comics events, promotions, or appear on panels for fear of the public response. But it took Buzzfeed to run an article, quoting many women ex-employees of DC that saw DC Comics forced to drop Berganza earlier this year, and spinning that this was all down to the toxic nature of the New York culture, which was not replicated at Burbank. As long as no one remembers the art director at San Diego Comic-Con the previous year…
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