Here in the comics media, websites are constantly competing for clicks in the cutthroat click economy, always looking for that next big article to fuel the nonstop churn of the 24-hour comics news cycle. Here at Bleeding Cool, we certainly do our best, but we do like to recognize even our competitors when they innovate in ways that advance the entire medium of comics journalism. Take, for instance, the stunning new clickbait technology developed by our friends at ComicBook.com, who published an article this weekend headlined George Perez’s Corporate Clash over Superman: ‘They Made Me Not Care’.
Now that’s a headline! How do you make one of comics’ most revered legends stop caring about his work? Well, this occurred during the Nu52 reboot, one of the most hated comic book reboots in comic book reboot history. And Perez referenced it at a recent appearance at Niagra Falls Comic Con.
I think the only time I had any bitterness or uncomfortable feelings working was more recently. Because the fact the industry has changed so much, and now it’s corporate comics. We’re sometimes being asked not to create comics, but to manufacture comics And that bothered me during my run on Superman, the New 52 Superman. It was a book being done by committee, and I don’t think I really got a chance to really create as opposed to, you know, ‘follow the dictates of what we have in mind, put your name on it,’ and yet they couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted from day to day. So that started to sour me I would send in the script, and then they would do the editing and whatever changes and send it back to me, until finally I just said, ‘Here’s your script. However it’s printed, whatever the final product is, it’s your job. If the fans love it, fantastic, my name’s attached to it. If they don’t like it, I can’t help that, even though my name’s still attached to it And that was, for me, the nadir of my career, because for the first time working in the industry, I didn’t care. They made me not care. And I don’t blame the people at DC for it — they’re following the dictates of Warner that now has a much more hands-on policy.
Stunning to hear, even if it describes events that happened nearly a decade ago. Except, it’s not actually the first time Perez has gone on the record with this. Perez first described his feelings on the Nu52 back in 2012, as an article linked in the ComicBook.com article by Robot 6, which itself links to an article on Bleeding Cool, reveals.
DC approached me, actually it was Dan Didio who specifically approached me, at that point I was going through my preliminary eye surgery, and my wife was getting concerned I was having trouble focusing on artwork, and maybe doing something where I didn;t have to draw all that detail would have been a way for me to earn money and give my eyes a chance some recovery, so writing, I was loathe to do, because my last experience with writing,,. Unfortunately when you are writing major characters, you sometimes have to make a lot of compromises and I was made certain promises, and unfortunately not through any fault of Dan DiDio, he was no longer the last word, lot of people making decisions, going against each other, contradicting, again in mid story. The people who love my Superman arc, I thank you. What you read, I don’t know. After I wrote it… I told them here’s my script, if you change it, that’s your prerogative, don’t tell me. Don’t ask me to edit it, don’t ask me to correct it, I don’t want to change something that you’re going to change again if you disagree. No no, Superman is a big character, I was flattered by the responsibility, but I thought this was getting a little tough.
I didn’t mind the changes in Superman, I just wish it was the same decision issue 1 or issue 2, and I had to kept rewriting things because another person changed their mind, and that was a lot tougher, it wasnt the same as doing Wonder WOman, I was given a full year to get Wonder Woman established before enfolded into the DC Universe properly, I had a wonderful editor Karen Berger who ran shotgun for me. They wanted me to recreate what I did through Wonder Woman, but it’s not the same age, not the same atmosphere, I couldn’t do it any more, and the writer who replaced me, Keith Giffen, was very nice. I’ve known Keith since we both started in the industry, he called me up when they asked him to do Superman to make sure I wasn’t being fired off Superman. And regrettable I did have to tell him I can’t wait to get off Superman. It was not the experience I wanted it to be.
The fact that so many people enjoyed… I hope they enjoyed what I wrote, and I hope that if they enjoyed what I didn’t write, that they don’t tell me. I don’t want to know, “I like what they changed”, oh gof they like their job better than mine, but what I enjoyed, going back to you guys, putting in friends into the story, I just got a text from a friend of mine, Billy Mcloy, for those who read it he was that muck raking reporter in the Daily Planet, constantly after Superman who constantly after Superman, that was my birthday gift to him I made him a character in Superman, a dear friend of mine who passed away I made him a character in Superman enormous Superman fan I made the major of Metropolis, and because I’m on Facebook, I got to see the reaction from everybody…
It was what they had promised me in the New 52 version of Superman,
I had no idea Grant Morrison was going to be working on another Superman title, I had no idea I was doing it five years ahead, which means, my story I couldn’t do certain things without knowing what he did, and Grant wasn’t telling everybody, so I was kind of stuck,who exists, DC couldn’t give me answers. Oh my gosh, you’re deciding all these things and you mean even you don’t know what’s going on in your books… so I became very frustrated…
So sure, all of this is old news. Or so conventional wisdom would tell you. But thanks to ComicBook.com, what’s old is new again, and that’s to the benefit of all of us on this slow news weekend. And seven years is like a century in the entertainment media business. We can barely even remember what we reported on yesterday. Plus, we never miss an opportunity to say, “Pip pip, you heard it here first.”
So pip pip, ComicBook.com, and cheers! It’s breakthroughs like this which will help sustain the comics media through the darkest of slow news times. And in fact, we’re already planning out our articles for the sure-to-be-slow July 4th weekend. We’ve got “Jack Kirby Leaves Marvel, Speaks Out” in the works. “How Are Comic Creators Reacting to Jim Shooter’s Reign as Editor-in-Chief?” is another good one. Oh, how about “Marvel to Relaunch the X-Men with All-New, All-Different Creative Team…” Actually, you know what, maybe what’s old really is new again.