DC New 52: Be Vewwy Quiet, Before We All Start to Look Bad

29 Sep
Patton Oswalt @ Invite Them Up, Rififi - July ...

After Samuel L. Jackson, this is the last comics fan you want to mess with. (Image via Wikipedia)

DC Comics’ reader and retailer surveys are a fantastic outreach program – DC deserves major props for being serious about its audience. Have you taken it yet?

The timing couldn’t be better, with the many Many MANY negative reactions to some of DC’s new titles (Do I really need to link to any at this point? You’d have to be blind or in total denial to miss them…).

DC is going much further than it ever has before with its main lineup of titles. The complete renumbering of every series, the willingness to reinvent a huge number of popular characters, the courage to go day-and-date with digital comics, the outreach that’s reached millions of TV viewers with DC’s commercials, and now a partnership with Nielsen Media to do a national survey: it’s no wonder that so many people are excited enough about the New 52 to try many more DC titles this month than in the past. Has any other publisher had a line-wide sellout in a single month? (Granted, it’s easy to fudge those numbers when DC sets its print runs and has multiple retail channels that it can service and reallocate.)

But the Catwoman/Starfire (and now Voodoo) controversy has left a major black eye on the New 52. Despite having some good (and even great) new titles, the comics media has been talking non-stop about the unnecessarily ugly reinvention of some female characters. And I’ve been worried that it wouldn’t be long before the mainstream media would smell the blood in the water and pounce on this controversy during DC’s moment of triumph, leading to a non-comics-reading public looking at all Comics as trash and hurting the entire industry.

Well, unfortunately, in the last 24 hours DC has inched even closer to this scenario.

The Atlantic has published a piece entitled “Don’t Worry, Not All Comics are This Sexist.” Which at least suggests to people that there are a lot of good comics out there, move along, nothing to see here…

But then comedian and TV actor Patton Oswalt Tweeted about his negative experience with a Nielsen survey-taker at the legendary Meltdown Comics yesterday:

Don’t go to @MeltdownComics today unless you like getting buttonholed into douch-ey, stultifying “New 52” surveys. #jesusFUCK

Neilsen? Read that DC had hired them. // They sure did. I also bought my last DC comics, EVER, today.

I said “no” and walked away. Easy enough. // So did I. The first 3 times.

@MeltdownComics: got love for you always; today is a total derail from our normal Wednesday selves. // Forgiven. Never again? Please?

Everyone — @MeltdownComics is cool, they got fucked just like their customers. But DC Comics? ‘Bye!

I thought the DC survey was online. // Not today. They’ve got pushy Nielsen dick-scrapes in stores, bothering everyone.

Yeah, a “no” should’ve sufficed. Were they being that pushy with everyone, or just trying to bag you? // Everyone.

Why is this a big deal? The problem is that DC’s involved in another P.R. problem, thanks to Nielsen’s treatment of comics buyers and the attention it now has thanks to Oswalt’s Tweets.

But why should we care what the voice of Ratatouille thinks? Because Patton Oswalt is not only one of the best stand-up comedians in the U.S., and not only plays a major character on one of America’s most-watched sitcoms, but he’s also a major spokesman for all things geeky and awesome. He’s one of us.

In Oswalt’s last Showtime special from a few weeks ago, he devoted an entire bit to talking about the X-Men and Green Lantern. Guess who he’s not going to be pimping now?

Granted, DC can put the blame on Nielsen here. But it still happened, and it makes even an awesome thing like the survey look bad.

But DC gets all of the credit for this one:

Dark Knight #1 final page

If you haven’t heard it, here’s the definition of “batty boy.

The term is less well-known than other homophobic slurs, and I’d like to think that this is just an unfortunate coincidence. Even so, it’s yet another book that is guaranteed to offend a certain percentage of its audience, and that’s not what DC – or Comics – needs right now.

DC’s trying hard, but they need to get in front of these kinds of things before they become bigger problems. DC’s given itself an enormous undertaking, and I hope it can recover from these missteps. As the #1 reprints find their way into stores over the coming weeks, hopefully the print comics’ continued availability will create more readers than the few truly awful ones turn away.

4 Responses to “DC New 52: Be Vewwy Quiet, Before We All Start to Look Bad”


  1. Thank You, Mr. Oswalt « All Day Comics - September 30, 2011

    […] Patton Oswalt appeared on Conan last night, and chose to talk about things that had nothing to do with his negative DC survey experience. […]

  2. Off to APE… « All Day Comics - September 30, 2011

    […] DC New 52: Be Vewwy Quiet, Before We All Start to Look Bad (alldaycomics.com) […]

  3. LOTS O’ LINKS: More DC New 52, Even More Other Stuff « All Day Comics - October 5, 2011

    […] DC New 52: Be Vewwy Quiet, Before We All Start to Look Bad (alldaycomics.com) […]

  4. DC NEW 52: The Video Every DC Editor Should See « All Day Comics - October 13, 2011

    […] DC New 52: Be Vewwy Quiet, Before We All Start to Look Bad (alldaycomics.com) […]

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