The last 20 years of comics follow-up

This post is just a follow-up to my last post, where I was ruminating a bit on comics, based on an article from Polygon. After I posted that, a friend mentioned that Dan DiDio had just left DC Comics. Dan was definitely a big part of the last 20 years of comics, having started at DC in 2002 and becoming co-publisher, with Jim Lee, in 2010. I’ve seen him at a bunch of con panels over the years. He’s really been the main public face for DC over the last two decades, at least in terms of communicating with the fans. He’s always been a high-energy guy at his con panels, and I generally look forward to them and enjoy them. He and Jim Lee made a good pair at their “Meet the Publishers” panels, with DiDio playing the “carnival barker” and Lee being more laid-back and understated.

DC hasn’t officially said much about DiDio’s exit, but it sounds like he was fired, according to Bleeding Cool. BC also has a couple of articles (here and here) rounding up social media reaction to his departure. Most folks have had only good things to say about him, though of course there’s some negative stuff in there too.

Mark Evanier has a blog post about DiDio’s exit that is really more about how large media companies work these days than it is specifically about DiDio. It does put things in perspective. This may lead to a bunch of changes at DC, or… it might not. This article from the LA Times gets into the business side of things. I occasionally forget that DC is now just a part of AT&T. If you told me 20 or 30 years ago that, some day, my long-distance phone company would own Batman, I’d have laughed at you. But, yeah, AT&T owns Batman now. And there’s probably no one there, above a certain level, that really cares about the comic books. They care about the “intellectual property” and whatever value they can wring from it, and they might see the comics as a key part of that, or they might see them as outdated and unprofitable.

I’m looking at the March Westfield catalog now, and I’m seeing at least one new thing from DC that I’m interested in: a new Batman Adventures mini-series, written by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett! So that’s cool. But, looking at the fine print, I see that it’s a “digital first” series, and also that the main purpose of the series is as a tie-in to a new action figure line. So this does back up my feeling that the comics are, more and more, seen as an addendum to the other stuff being done with the property, rather than the source that makes the other stuff possible. And that they’re continuing to move away from the traditional 32-page physical comic books. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with DC, and the industry as a whole, over the next year.

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