Speaking of Warners/DC…

6 Sep
DC Comics

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The big DC relaunch is underway, and it seems to be a hit so far. But as good as the New #1s are selling, they should be doing better.

(Insert grumbling about the state of the market, low sales across the board, blah blah blah…)

Okay, shut up. Here’s what I mean: DC already shit the bed months ago with its handling of the publicity surrounding Action Comics #900 and the story of Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Yes it was just one story of many; yes there’s no indication of whether it was in a now-nebulous continuity; yes the context of the story made perfect sense. The Geek Population is already tuned in to what’s happening, they read the InterWebs, they watch Fresh Ink on G4’s Attack of the Show, I get it.

But the General Non-Comics-Reading Public, especially the middle-aged and seniors, still get their information from TV and radio. They don’t bother with social media, or really understand it; they still think emailing jokes is hilarious; and they believe the news analysts on 24-hour news channels and talk radio. So when the Big News Story of the day is that there’s a new comic where Superman renounces his U.S. citizenship, the Old People immediately think Superman is anti-American and DC Comics (and parent company Warner Bros.) are run by communists. Old People don’t process and filter the flood of information (and misinformation) that the modern world throws at us in the same way as us younger, more savvy types. When there’s a story about Superman, they don’t immediately go to Comics Alliance.

Okay, so the Public is in an uproar over a Superman comic. What should DC do about it? Well, DC did the right thing by immediately reprinting the comic as sellouts were reported across the country. (Though DC probably should have warned retailers to increase their orders ahead of time.) It was certainly the first Superman comic book that interested me in a long time…

But then Fox News starts printing slanted, ignorant pieces like this and this. Shit’s getting stirred, DC: time to step up!

Ohwaitno: instead, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio issue this bland statement: “In a short story in ACTION COMICS 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville.” I wonder how many executives signed off on that?

Nope, not good enough! Warner Bros is freaking out, and the next Superman comic to be printed gets a hastily rewritten ending in which Superman mouth-loves America. And nobody cares or bothers to report it. It’s not the story; it’s the backpedaling – and there’s never nearly as many people who want to read about that.

Congrats, DC: the Public still thinks Superman’s a pinko! And how many of them are going to line up to see the New DC now? (I’m guessing nada.)

So what should have DC done differently? How about this: tell Fox News to Go Eat A Dick. Just send a memo to Fox that reads, “You don’t know shit about Superman or comic books. Shut up, jerks.”

That would’ve gotten DC a lot more press. The Murdoch-owned press would’ve redoubled their coverage of DC to bitch about Superman, and the non-Murdoch press would’ve loved writing about someone standing up to Fox News. It could’ve stayed in the news cycle for weeks, like comics’ own As Nasty As They Wanna Be, with everyone wanting to read what all the fuss was about. Action #900 could have been a half-million-plus seller, easily, if DC hadn’t stuck its head in the sand and tried to make it go away. At least it wasn’t recalled and pulped, right?

It was actually a pretty good comic. It would’ve been a great way to get more new readers hooked on comics, and certainly more excited about this month’s New DC launch. So, next time, DC: Own it. Don’t pussy out.

(And seriously, Old People: use Snopes.com before you forward your emails…)

9 Responses to “Speaking of Warners/DC…”


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