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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.

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11 comments

  • Not true. Bleeding Cool did run a story reporting industry rumours that the DC superhero line would be cut to 22 titles because that indeed was a rumour amongst high ranking comics industry individuals, but we also pointed out how this was likely exaggeration and that we would likely learn what was going on at ComicsPRO

    The story we wrote coming out of ComicsPRO was that the DC line would be cut by 10-15% – which you just what you report in this article. If you actually read the articles you refuse to link to, your readers would see that the pieces coming out of ComicsPRO were accurate. We also reported how talent was being used elsewhere in the publisher. We also reported the Boom story in a similar fashion. Not spin, nor lies.

    The only issue was that Bleeding Cool, not being a PR-approved media partner of DC Comics, was able to report news before embargoed and approved versions arranged with compliant websites were published elsewhere.

    • Rich you’re site is nothing more than clickbait nonsense.

    • Hey Rich, do you know where I got the 10-15% number? From store owners pissed you ran both stories. ComicsPro is closed to the press. A store owner fed you the info while DiDio was speaking breaking the trust of the show and other store owners.

      The fact you ran the 22 issues to start is a joke. It’s one of the most absurd rumors I’ve ever seen and you ran it because you’d get clicks.

    • Rich- I was at the meeting, you weren’t. Your reporting was flawed at best, and when I pointed it out on Bleeding Cool my comments were deleted rather than listened to or addressed. And defending your initial reporting signifies that you missed the point completely. Reporting rumors and hearsay isn’t reporting, it’s clickbait. There is no way you properly vetted the info from the meeting as you published the article while the meeting was still underway. It’s worse to double down. Apologize and retract.

  • Brett, not true. I ran the 22 number as that’s what was being passed around by major comics figures at the time. Heidi writes she heard similar. But I put it in the context of it being a rumour and nothing more. I got the 10-15% figure from the people in the room, from Dan DiDio’s address, you seemed to ignore that in your article above as if you saying 10-15% was correcting what I’d reported from that address, rather than repeating it. Rather than correcting me, you are confirming what I reported.

    Roger, it’s generally the first draft of history, I did not see your comments, but you didn’t e-mail me, tweet me, use the contact form or anything else. BC has moderators which remove some abusive posts when pointed out to them but I have no idea what you writes.. And no, reporting rumours and hearsey is not clickbait, it is reporting rumours and hearsay. I’ve been reporting comic book gossip online for 27 years, before the word clickbait had been invented.

    Nevertheless, it ran past three sources at the show before publication.

    Apologise and retract what? That I wrote that Dan talked about the line being cut by 10-15%? Just as Brett did above? You can also email me on richjohnston@gmail.com

  • Brett, I got the figure from the people in the room too. Your report seems to be framed as correcting what I wrote, rather than repeating it.

    Roger, I never saw any comments. You can email me on richjohnston@gmail.com if that helps. But no, reporting rumours and hearsay is not clickbait, it is reporting rumours and hearsay and I’ve been reporting comics industry gossip online for 27 years. Before the word ‘clickbait was invented.’ Nevertheless, I ran the piece passed a number of people who were at the meeting before publication.

    • Clickbait is the modern version of tabloiding, so you went from a tabloid reporting to clickbaiting. All you’re telling me is that you’ve always been a poor journalist. He is correting what you reported, because your reporting was done in lieu of context, which makes it erroneous. You also wrote specifically that Dan implied Marvel lacked talent, which is absolutely false, and when your article was discovered during the meeting several retailers exclaimed that it wasn’t even accurate.

      You are not a popular man at the meetings Rich. The opinion of you among retailers and publishers is not positive. I know some will say those things about you in private and continue to do things like engage you in non public discussion or share your articles that are favorable to their perspective, even I have been guilty of that one, but no longer.

      Your publication, among the vast majority of those within the industry that I have conversed with, is not popular and is widely believed to harm the industry as a whole.

    • No, my report is setting the record straight and clear. You admit the rumor wasn’t likely happening, yet you ran it anyway? Do you run every thing that’s clearly bullshit? Or just DC since you have an axe to grind with them as you hint at above? You’re not a “shill” after all.

      Do you know they laughed at you in the room when Dan asked if anyone believed the 22 number? And the fact Heidi didn’t run it shows she has a better nose to smell bullshit than you. That doesn’t help your case. You ran it because it was inflammatory and would get clicks. That’s clickbait. So, you’ve just run it for 27 years before the term was coined. Congrats, you’re a trailblazer at lowering the bar.

    • You also keep overlooking the fact you ran the article during ComicsPro which is supposed to be closed with no press so that folks can be honest and open. You, and your mole (we all know who it is), broke that trust. You seem to be clueless about that or just don’t want to admit it.

  • I think someone needs to rewatch a certain scene in Almost Famous. Imagine if press never reported from places they weren’t ‘supposed’ to be. Nevertheless, I’m in oft contact with ComicsPRO board and no suchr requestwas made. I broke no trust, no embargo, no agreement. Also what’s with this singular ‘mole’ thing? As for no press, the guy from Nerdage was live tweeting from the event…

    And no of course I don’t run everything. But if it’s prominent, from high comics industry sources, then I will report on it, yes. Possibly the very nature of a good gossip column.

    I have no axe to grind with DC whatsoever. But I am most definitely a tabloid reporter.

  • DC should cut 22 books, if not more.