A high-ranking DC Comics executive has addressed customer concerns about the company’s decision to spoil Batman #50 in a New York Times article days before the comic’s release. And by customers, of course, we mean retailers, many of whom were not pleased. DC has yet to apologize for spoiling the book for the readers who’ve invested hundreds of dollars in buying Batman since issue #1.
DC Senior Vice President of Sales John Cunningham visited a retailer Facebook group to explain DC’s decision-making, as posted by ComicBook.com. According to Cunningham, it was DC’s sales department who pushed for the spoilers to be released:
DC Sales strongly advocated getting the news out ahead of the OSD, so that the Moment of Realization did not occur hours before events began. We even did our level best to try and spoil it here on this page over and over again (and failed). The NY Times article was posted here at 630 a.m. PST not out of “Pride” — please — but to get you the information as soon as we could.
As for the reason, he says it was to prevent someone else from spoiling it first (even though the spoilers would likely have been more avoidable behind spoiler warnings on comic book websites than in the headline of a New York Times article):
In the abstract, we believed the news would break on Monday morning, given the arrival time of physical copies in store and the reality that a copy or a scan would end up being passed to uncontrolled comic book outlets (much like Marvel’s wedding issue last week and every other major comic book event in the lat decade).
“Uncontrolled” comic book outlets? Which are the controlled comic book outlets, and who would want to read one of those? Anyway, Cunningham continued:
As mentioned here before, any discussion about financial remedies for problematic DC product must occur after the product is on sale.
Cunningham admitted that the NY Times article was more “fulsome” than retailers might prefer, a term which here means “spoiled right in the headline.” However, he promised that the comic also has a shock ending which DC is trying to spoil for retailers as soon as possible.
While The Times piece is more fulsome that [sic] some might like, it does not spoil the shock ending of the book for fans. We’re working on getting this posted here for you.
Finally, Cunningham explained that even if Batman #50 isn’t the comic book people deserve, it’s the one they need right now.
I stand by my belief that BATMAN #50 is one of the best single issue periodicals of the last decade, that it is a special moment in comic book history, and that if it’s not the book we (think) we want, it’s the book we need.
Of course, none of this is likely to make readers who bought 49 other issues of Batman and were looking forward to reading the ending without being spoiled first, but again, Cunningham’s job is to appease the customers, not the readers. And it’s retailers that are buying these books from DC.
After that, it’s no longer really DC’s problem, is it? Though some might say that itself is a major flaw of the comic book industry.