ComicsPro 2019: DC’s Demise is Greatly Exaggerated and Just Wrong
If you read some blog reports coming out of ComicsPro, DC Comics is slashing their line with one clickbait site claiming “RIP DC” and another falsely claiming DC would cut their line to just 20 titles! We’re not linking to them because we don’t support clickbait. Instead of spin and lies, we talked to individuals at ComicsPro about what was said to bring the straight honest truth.
In his presentation for DC, Dan DiDio addressed the rumors that they’d be cutting their line. Multiple attendees felt DiDio did so to address the ridiculous rumor their line would be cut to 22 titles. Instead he estimated it’d be about 10-15% of the line. With between 50-60 comics released a month and 30-50 graphic novels, that comes out to 5-9 fewer comics a month and 3 and 8 fewer graphic novels. So maybe 20 fewer graphic novel and comics total, not 20 comics totally published. As usual, comic rumors have turned into a horrible game of telephone so sites can claim first!
The titles being cut? The lower selling comics. They’ll be replaced with new titles which will hopefully sell more. In other words, business as usual. In the end, DC will be producing around the same amount of product they usually do.
From those we talked to, it was also emphasized this cut wasn’t presented as due to struggling or necessary but instead as a way to shift talent and resources to growing categories, something retailers have asked for. An example would be DC’s upcoming young readers lines DC Ink and DC Zoom. Young readers continue to be an explosive category which has seen increased sales. It also helps build the next generation of readers and fans. It’s a move that’s well received by our sources.
There’s hundreds of comics released every week and impossible for retailers to support them all from every company. The goal it seems isn’t fewer comics but to focus on quality and talent and not spread resources too thin.
In fact, DC said they’d be attempting to expand their successful program with Walmart providing the same material to the direct market once more original material was included. Again, an expansion of what’s working.
But, what was interesting and the biggest concern was the break in trust at ComicsPro. An article, with false exaggerated claims, was posted by a clickbait site while DiDio was still talking. As said by multiple attendees ComicsPro is closed so that publishers and retailers can be honest and exchange ideas and concerns. The article was posted without “context” and before DiDio was done talking, angering retailers in the room towards those that broke the trust of the event. As emphasized to me, the ComicsPro meeting is “extremely important for the health of the industry” and the spin and outright incorrect information erodes that trust.
Yes, cuts to the line were mentioned by DC in their presentation but other publishers mentioned the same thing without the hyperbolic coverage (if coverage at all). As an example, BOOM! Studios in their presentation said they’d continue to cut their line, exactly as they did the year before. 15% to be exact. But, where’s the stories about the sky falling for them? They don’t exist because it doesn’t get clicks.
The story coming out of ComicsPro isn’t that the industry is crumbling. The tone, especially after Diamond’s report of explosive gains in January, is rather positive. Instead, the story seems to be that we should expect not just better comics but better and more responsible reporting as well.
Update: It’s such non-news the cut already happened and no one really noticed beyond every month comics are cancelled.