Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DC and the Format Wars: Giving up before the first shot is fired

I was fascinated by th3e idea that DC would be doing original graphic novels next year on superman and batman as a way to introduce new readers to the continuity without having them struggle with just where to begin. Overall, i was willing to wait for what i was sure was going to be a spectacular failure.

As Johanna Draper Carlson points out, DC is already backing away from the original version of the OGNs, which brings us right back to a subject that i feel i've covered ad nauseaum over the last few years: the format wars.

How to present the material hat you have to a diverse clientele is a tricky one, especially since you have such different markets with Borders and Barnes and Noble in competition with the Local Comic Shop.

But how many cross over customers are there? The large bookstores that are in my area essentially eschew the weekly pamphlet format in favor of TPBs, while the LCS tends to carry a mix of both. How many people are really shopping both at this point?

DC has become, with the cancellation of essentially every experimental line that they have, from Minx to their manga line, relentlessly conservative. They have retrenched physically and mentally, deleting the new versions of their heroes in favor of the silver age versions, why should it surprise anyone that they've also deleted all the different formats that they've experimented with?

DC Comics has returned to the Silver Age. Unfortunately, their audience is living in 2010.

Doing manga? nope. Digest books? nope. Diversity in heroes? nope. Comics for girls? nope. Keeping Vertigo running? barely. Original Graphic Novels? nope. Monthly pamphlets about white males? Yup.

How's Milestone doing these days?

What's fascinating is that pretty much everyone else is able to make interesting things happen with the OGN market except a company with the greatest outreach and resources to do it. If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps corporate resources are the father of conservatism here.

1 comment:

nilskidoo said...

I'm hoping it's just a matter of DC clearing the slate a bit to allow room for whatever they have planned.

But these rumors of phasing out Vertigo better be a lie.

(And howdy! Great blog, sir.)