DC Implosion II: DC Comics in 2020 and Beyond

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As a brief update for the uninitiated: AT&T acquired Time Warner in mid-2018 and promptly showed itself to be somewhere between cool and actively hostile to DC Comics as anything more than a bottomless IP well for use by DC Entertainment.

AT&T proceeded to badly fuck up launching HBO Max and, as of this writing, is in the midst of goof-proof restructuring/re-siloing its ridiculously sprawling holdings - including Warner Brothers Studio, all the Turner networks (CNN, TCM, TNT, Cartoon Network) and HBO - into parcels of territory it thinks it can more ably control. The general industry take seems to be that AT&T is at a loss as to why they are in a dying pamphlet publishing industry and, as no one ever got around to figuring out how to properly monetize digital, they a)want out or b)are happy to deprioritize DC Comics indefinitely.

In August of 2020, following the layoffs of thousands of people in their direct-to-consumer stores, AT&T fired hundreds of staff people at Warner Brothers and DC including much of the latter's senior staff and editorial.

DC Comics is currently canceling somewhere between a third and half of its currently active books before the end of the year.

COVID, of course, isn't helping and neither is the life-support system status of the direct market or DC's recent break with Diamond as exclusive distributors.

In the midst of all this tumult, DC launched a previously-to-the-layoffs-announced first-time virtual "Fandome" convention this past weekend. What exciting DC Comics info could you learn about at Fandome? Well there was an announcement for a new HBO Batman series, a new Captain Mar - er - SHAZAM movie, more info on The Rock's Black Adam movie, a trailer for yet another Batman movie reboot, the cast for the new Suicide Squad movie, a preview for a Flash movie, news about another new Batman video game (based on a specific comic book run, does that count?), a trailer for the "Snyder Cut" of the three year old Justice League movie, some promise that Sandman on Netflix is still in production... and then waaaaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom, two very vague bits of information about actual comics at this comic convention: screenwriter John Ridley announcing he's writing a four-issue series about Batman in 2021 that MIGHT have a Black protagonist ("it's probably a little better than a 47% chance," wake the kids and tell them racism is over!) and a planned reboot of the predominantly Black written/drawn/cast Milestone imprint in 2021... on Black History Month... with two one-shot books... in digital format. Maybe put the kids back to bed?

All in all, a company and a publishing legacy that seems ripe for shuttering or sale. It's a fucking shame considering that the company has been publishing something more than a handful of very good books as recently as the past twelve months: a wacky meta-Jimmy Olsen book by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber, Grant Morrison's space-procedural take on Green Lantern, an excellent reboot of Hellblazer by Simon Spurrier, NK Jemisin's stellar Green Lantern Corp spin-off Far Sector, Mark Russell's admirably kooky and cohesively-structured take on the Wonder Twins, Gene Luen Yang's better-in-concept-than-execution but still completely laudable Superman Smashes the Klan, Greg Rucka and Mike Perkin's loopy Ms Tree-influenced Lois Lane miniseries... heck, if you're of the right mindset, the Bendisverse and Tom King's multiple books have been worth keeping up with too! But it's hard to imagine any extended new work of merit blossoming in 2021 from either established or new creators when your grand vision exists only on a month-to-month basis.

Here's a thread to discuss the corporate and creative future of DC Comics and why/if we should care.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 14:21 (one year ago) link

Thread title reference btw: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_Implosion

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 14:26 (one year ago) link

I literally just yesterday finished reading this:


Recommended. Good reminder that DC has been punching itself in the face/been punched in the face by its corporate overlords for decades.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Monday, 24 August 2020 14:33 (one year ago) link

Also worth noting that the original programming on the DC Universe streaming service (which kicked off less than two years ago) are being moved over to HBO Max, in a move that all but guarantees that the service itself will be shuttered in the near future.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Monday, 24 August 2020 14:41 (one year ago) link

I think they've already talked about moving the comics to a service like Marvel Unlimited.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 24 August 2020 14:53 (one year ago) link

Great recap, ulysses! Thanks for pointing all those great books that DC actually did publish this past year, too. Love Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane was really solid, sort of a throwback to Gotham Central. Plan to read the rest of those, too; been collecting Far Sector for a good sit.

One I would add to the "great if it's your kind of thing" is the Tom Taylor DCeased books. Yeah, I know, it's like, Marvel Zombies did this already, but I love Taylor's fun pulp since his epic Injustice run (also see his current Suicide Squad series which hopefully isn't cancelled already).

Picking up a bit on the Bendis talk earlier, I must give praise to Batman: Universe, fun tale with great art by Nick Derington. Part of a character swap he did with Tom King (doing Superman: Up in the Sky, not quite so good but interesting) for what was originally a Walmart-exclusive book.

Re: Marvel Unlimited - It's already been built, more or less, for DC Universe streaming, wasn't it? I didn't have any experience with it though, and it seemed under-advertised.

Nhex, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:21 (one year ago) link

Yeah. It's just that with the shows all moving to HBO Max they'll rebrand it as a standalone thing

EZ Snappin, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:25 (one year ago) link

I agree that the DCeased stuff is compulsive, pulpy stuff, good toilet reading for sure and it absolutely beats the FOR TEENZ ONLY silliness of the Heavy Metal books.

Batman: Universe WAS good and you're totally correct that Deringer's art is the strongest component there. He hits a sweet spot between Jim Aparo and Darwyn Cooke that really works for me.

I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited for a few years until I got frustrated with the many many technical issues and library restrictions and slow load times. I would honestly pay three times what MU is charging if they would only make the functionality anywhere near the same as torrenting! Can anyone speak to how well the DCU streaming comic platform works? A quick glance suggests the library is anything but comprehensive.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:42 (one year ago) link

for reference: https://www.dcuniverse.com/browse/comics

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:43 (one year ago) link

I know it doesn't speak well to my moral character but this is all popcorn.gif to me based on personal history

and i can almost smell your PG Tips (Jon not Jon), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:40 (one year ago) link

Great summation btw

and i can almost smell your PG Tips (Jon not Jon), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:40 (one year ago) link

FWIW, I imagine someone at Disney is probably arguing that they should drastically overpay for the whole shbang with deferred inheritance of the properties for television/movies? Maybe four times what they paid for Star Wars would get AT&T's attention?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:46 (one year ago) link

sure do wish i could find ZS's Bat-Sicnal.jpeg

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 23:18 (one year ago) link

I gambled on the stupid fucking Three Jokers premium variants and it's annoying that it seems to be an actual hit. At least we won't lose money but this will encourage them.

DC solicits point to them juicing their numbers with incentive variants heavily over the next few months - since Rebirth they'd barely done any but there are 1:25 and 1:100 everywhere. Positively Marvel-esque.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 00:47 (one year ago) link

Actually as much as I hate DC right now, they're still much less embarrassing than Marvel on the variant front

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 00:48 (one year ago) link

if it's a hit, why is that annoying? (and yeah, every single damn DC title has variants now)

Nhex, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 00:51 (one year ago) link

The variant shit is legit annoying. Catering to the pogs crowd imo.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:56 (one year ago) link

xp - I don't like them being rewarded for pushing retailers hard into ordering 450 covers of 9 "premium variants" that sell for cover. It's bad for shops and the industry in the long run.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:01 (one year ago) link

also tbh I may be jumping the gun in calling it a hit, we'll see what happens with the last set of five covers in three months.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:01 (one year ago) link

Based on presold bundles etc. we will at least not lose money so I can't be mad mad I just don't like it

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:02 (one year ago) link

ah, ok. i didn't understand that the pre-order minimums were so high for those

Nhex, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 03:00 (one year ago) link

Yep, 50 per premium variant x 9 covers, plus the A & B - which were a PITA to order because of the commitment to 150 premiums.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 05:50 (one year ago) link

A brief on the past ten years of abuse of power in comics that is about 45% DC focused

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 14:08 (one year ago) link

Wish that could've been stuck to being an informative piece without so much tortured prose and opinion... but yeah, it's good to know

Nhex, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:09 (one year ago) link

TCJ house style

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:10 (one year ago) link

TCJ house style being pretty much the entire reason I eventually stopped buying TCJ but I digress.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:33 (one year ago) link

I wish Abhay had toned down his tumblr's house style about 70% for the series, but I don't think anyone else has ever written for the Journal in its 44-year-history like him (and iirc his only previous credit was the 2015 Spectacufuck, although his drop-ins on Tucker's blog posts were always entertaining) - certainly not in reportage / feature writing, and I'd class this more alongside Groth's '80s op-eds than the factual, asking-questions-on-the-phone news reporting that used to be a hallmark of the periodical version.

Also, all variant covers are an evil in the marketplace, although to a lesser degree on Love & Rockets or Henry & Glenn Forever or Bone.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:45 (one year ago) link

my suggestion there was that TCJ house style is "tortured prose and opinion."

i will always cherish my glenn ganges chromefoil variant

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:55 (one year ago) link

TBF, my POV on TCJ is based on when I was still subscribing like...what, almost twenty years ago now? Fffffuuuuuuck, I'm old... But yes, interviews/main features were almost always solid.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 19:06 (one year ago) link

I still think that clarity of prose was a hallmark of TCJ golden age writers (aside from Ken Smith, whose column was solidly ignored by anyone except Groth - iirc the oral history has at least one editor say they didn't even bother to read it when laying out an issue?). Opinions are what you buy a magazine of criticism, columns, editorials and interviews for, but despite clearly ~knowing some words~, the greatest strength of writers like Fiore and Thompson and Macdonald and Spurgeon was an ability to be clear, personable and funny while conveying their opinions.

too scared to search "glenn ganges chromefoil variant"

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 19:13 (one year ago) link

like...what, almost twenty years ago

*searches to see when Ann3 El!zabeth M00re's brief tenure as editor was*

looks like mid-2001 to early 2002

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 19:21 (one year ago) link

Yeah, that would've been almost exactly the time I let my sub lapse iirc.

the secret of sucess is to know all rules ...and brake them (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:05 (one year ago) link

ganges chromefoil was just sicbait, don't fear the variant

current TCJ online writing is kinda all over the place in terms of writing quality; this bizarre hitpiece on Urasawa is the latest headscratcher

That said, they're one of the few places I still read regularly for comic info and the weekly link wrap up is very necessary.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:11 (one year ago) link

Got a couple of paragraphs in... *sigh* ok, yeah. This is why I am not a fan of TCJ in general. No thanks.

Nhex, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:24 (one year ago) link

They're still posting good stuff!
Try this: http://www.tcj.com/bd-is-my-beat-a-long-hard-squint-at-manchette-and-tardi/

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:26 (one year ago) link

As a DC enthuiasiast, Nhex might enjoy Tom Kaczynski's or Tegan O'Neill's recent essay series on their universes more than a single link to something deliberately pointed to as being bad and incomprehensible

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:42 (one year ago) link

well i wasn't trying to win him over with the Urasawa link!
I found that Crisis piece pretty overwrought tbh.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:44 (one year ago) link

I know, just an observation!

Maybe a bit overwrought but it's enjoying the playful wallow in nerdy nostalgia, and the building thesis about The Event is both fun and meta. Each mention is like another appearance by The Monitor and Lyla!

Tegan's recent-years comics writing has often been too ~personal essay~ for me to fully enjoy the commentary, but re-evaluating the Morrison/Case Doom Patrol in a post-transition perspective is obviously a rich and relevant vein

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:58 (one year ago) link

This Tegan one on Stan Lee was good: http://www.tcj.com/what-he-taught-me/

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 21:04 (one year ago) link

I liked their Doom Patrol piece too.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 21:09 (one year ago) link

*searches to see when Ann3 El!zabeth M00re's brief tenure as editor was*

looks like mid-2001 to early 2002

That was the worst incarnation of the print TCJ, wasn't it? The number of columns and reviews dwindled significantly and M00re seemed determined to turn it into her own personal zine (there were two Ghost World fumettis starring her which served no purpose).

the greatest strength of writers like Fiore and Thompson and Macdonald and Spurgeon was an ability to be clear, personable and funny while conveying their opinions.

I wish Fiore still wrote for TCJ instead of just hanging out on the Greil Marcus site.

And what happened to classic.tcj.com? It disappeared without a trace. They have always been half assed with preserving their online legacy.

gjoon1, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 23:13 (one year ago) link

Oy, that Urasawa piece is overlong, overwrought and a pretty terrible reading t'boot

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 27 August 2020 14:44 (one year ago) link

The fumetti would have been great if they were funny or representative of any greater push to bring weird and playful material back to the magazine. As it was they just made her look disconnected from the aims of the publication and its other contributors.

Kinda delighted to hear that Fiore has an old-man message baord to hang out on!

Yeah, there's never been the institutional will or funding to have a coherent online strategy - dates and times have disappeared off the comments on the current (a decade or so?) version, and Tucker is aggressive about not wanting to repair them. Even when people try and point out it damages the historical record, makes it impossible to track conversations in eg. the long thread where Dave Sim makes Kim pitch him on the reprint rights for Cerebus. Still, that's a step up from the days when they had to periodically delete every single post on the message board bcz they had such a small hosting plan that it took up room needed to add new books to the shop.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Thursday, 27 August 2020 21:37 (one year ago) link

Didn't know these guys started up their podcast again.
McCulloch is my favorite guy who isn't Gary Groth.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 27 August 2020 23:20 (one year ago) link

lol at the DC comics thread turning into a Comics Journal thread

Robert, yeah, both that and Travis Bickle On The Riviera are weekly now, presumably due to lockdown

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 28 August 2020 09:31 (one year ago) link

Interesting that there's been a bunch of reports on Geoff Johns as an abusive boss - well, Ray Fisher's and Abhay's anyway. I wonder if they've been timed to drop now for a specific reason.

In other news, who would've seen it coming that a comics dude with a penchant for writing about limb disfigurement and for remaking every IP in DC Comics history in his own image (even Alan Moore's!) could've been an abusive, narcissistic person to work for

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 28 August 2020 14:12 (one year ago) link

An engaging essay from the proprietors of an Edmonton comic shop about how DC's withdrawing from Diamond has been a stressful net positive for them: https://www.comicsbeat.com/the-coronavirus-journal-dc-comics-distribution-change-aftermath/

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Friday, 28 August 2020 22:21 (one year ago) link

As it stands, every single graphic novel product I can get through other vendors comes into the store faster that Diamond can turn around, in better condition, and at a better price point.

I can only conclude that his was a small store on a lower discount tier or this is a Canadian issue. (This is the case with a ton of people's attitudes - the retail side of the comic industry is about a half dozen different kinds of specialty retail. Some shops survive entirely on back issues, some are in college/artsy areas and can basically be curated book stores catering to a GN crowd, some are 50/50 comics/games)(currently I'm at 33% games/single issue comics/GNs and I don't do back issues as they're usually done).

Penguin Random House offers free shipping for a $150 minimum order but their discount is 7% lower than my Diamond tier was or my DC initial order tier is (I can't restock GNs from my comic distributor, one of the A+ things about this new arrangement) - shipping does not make up that 7% difference. Their ordering system is also hot fuckin' garbage, from week to week it hasn't worked on one browser or another because of back end issues with security certificates or something. One week I had to find an old version of Internet Explorer to install on an old laptop to place my order.)

Hachette (Marvel, etc.) is even worse - 16% lower until one threshold then 6%.

I find his argument regarding Diamond's shutdown a bit squirrelly - retailers were begging for publishers and Diamond to stop shipping, because they weren't open. Books that you can't sell but have to pay for - I don't think that math works very well. (If you could even get them - my drop point was closed for a month.)

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Saturday, 29 August 2020 00:54 (one year ago) link

Yeah, "for them" is key there, and the amount of changes they had to do to get to being happier now is significant.

Already having in-city delivery set up was a fascinating wrinkle.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Saturday, 29 August 2020 01:07 (one year ago) link

Very strange article to read. Probably the only one I've read praising DC for their actions. I mean, it's clear they're pushing to get DC to have their own Canadian distributor, and stop shipping issues from Canada to the US back to Canada, quite openly.

As milo just quoted, and as someone who has struggled to reliably order GNs from my locals, this rung with me:

As it stands, every single graphic novel product I can get through other vendors comes into the store faster that Diamond can turn around, in better condition, and at a better price point. This was even the case pre-COVID. They became, through their own complacency, the worst place to order graphic novels from, and they are in no condition to make that pivot today.

Nhex, Saturday, 29 August 2020 03:09 (one year ago) link

It’s Grant in “What if Millar but bearable” mode

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 13:09 (nine months ago) link

I hope he actually bothers finishing this Authority story.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 21 July 2021 02:27 (nine months ago) link

I think it's only three issues so he should be able to stick it out.

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 21 July 2021 02:36 (nine months ago) link

Was wondering if I wanted to get on board this wave of Superman stories, Bendis just finished his run. There are maxis for Jon Kent (by Tom Taylor), Supergirl (by Tom King) and the Morrison one. Probably just wait them to hit Hoopla in 2022.

Nhex, Wednesday, 21 July 2021 05:18 (nine months ago) link

DC Direct is now a division of McFarlane Toys.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 28 July 2021 01:02 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Rorschach #11, penultimate issue. Excellent work, especially by Fornes. All finally coming together. Definitely going to have to re-read this entire thing.

Nhex, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 02:00 (nine months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I just read Infinite Frontier #1 and I think it put me off comics forever. I can't do it, folks.

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 10 September 2021 21:10 (eight months ago) link

When our heroes saved the Muliverse from Perpetua in Dark Nights: Death Metal, everything was put back where it belonged... is some too much time on ilx shit

adam, Friday, 10 September 2021 21:19 (eight months ago) link

lol they are using the "multiverse being real" like its covid or something - which could be interesting.. the masses are fighting about it. but people say "the multiverse was RESET AND REBOOTED" about 100 times in issue one and it was the first time a ever threw a comic book across the room

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 10 September 2021 21:25 (eight months ago) link

Don't let present-day DC put you off of comics forever. Let it put you off of present-day DC forever.

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Friday, 10 September 2021 22:07 (eight months ago) link

This is the exact thing that I was talking about in the X-men thread...sounds like total blech.

earlnash, Friday, 10 September 2021 22:57 (eight months ago) link

I do need to go pull my file as I haven't been to the comic store in a couple months (maybe 3)...yikes. Should not be all that much as I don't have but a couple titles on pull anymore.

earlnash, Friday, 10 September 2021 22:58 (eight months ago) link

im being hyperbolic of course ill still read things but whhhyyyyyyy do these people think having an infinite crisis every few years is a good thing?!

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 10 September 2021 23:18 (eight months ago) link

that "illusion of change", baby!

Nhex, Saturday, 11 September 2021 00:14 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...


Batman: Wayne Family Adventures is the first collaboration between DC Comics and Webtoon. It heavily features Batman's supporting cast and explores the relationships between Gotham's vigilantes. The series launched with three episodes on September 8 and has since gained over 500k subscribers. The most recent monthly reports for Batman, Detective Comics and Batman: Urban Legends show those books selling roughly 125k, 53k and 44k, respectively. The last time a Batman title sold over 500k units was in 2019, when Detective Comics #1000 sold 574,705 copies.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Monday, 4 October 2021 16:54 (seven months ago) link

I only sold four of these apples but I managed to give away four hundred of these free oranges, I guess we know which is the runaway success.

Donald Fhtagen (Old Lunch), Monday, 4 October 2021 17:00 (seven months ago) link

i will let spotify know that their free orange delivery system stands no chance against sam goody's apple dispensary

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Monday, 4 October 2021 17:05 (seven months ago) link

OANN calling for mass executions, brought to you by @ATT pic.twitter.com/1EIzWHITnm

— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 8, 2021

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 11 October 2021 06:15 (seven months ago) link

Truth Justice and a Better Tomorrow

papal hotwife (milo z), Sunday, 17 October 2021 22:01 (seven months ago) link

Sentiment - good
Actual phrasing - sounds like a microloan startup slogan

papal hotwife (milo z), Sunday, 17 October 2021 22:02 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

weird to me that DC hasn't hopped into the NFT field. Seems like you could sell each individual comic that way and create your own lame ass stock market.

i cannot help if you made yourself not funny (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 05:24 (three months ago) link

they did NFTs "hand-selected by Jim Lee" four months ago

bad luck banging, or Lorna Doone (sic), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 09:19 (three months ago) link

Ah, of course they cid.

i cannot help if you made yourself not funny (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 12:26 (three months ago) link

so.. what does this mean

Nhex, Wednesday, 2 February 2022 14:47 (three months ago) link

I think it’s just a stock thing

False Pretenses Lad (morrisp), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 16:31 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

top leadership have been toying with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical

A turd by any other name

Ward Fowler, Friday, 15 April 2022 01:51 (one month ago) link

Honestly though - how can that get even more vertical? WB already owns the IP and produces all the material which goes to its subsidiary video channels after theatrical.

Nhex, Friday, 15 April 2022 03:37 (one month ago) link

They mean having one person or team in charge of it all (films, tv, etc.), rather than folks from across different divisions of WB.

(lol Ward)

begrudgingly bound by duty of candor (morrisp), Friday, 15 April 2022 03:58 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

DC Universe app just went live in the UK and has a free 7-day trial. Lots of amazing stuff there (Sandman, Invisibles and, er, The Heckler, were the only things I missed) and the app seems slightly-more-functional than MU. No categorising by author or artist, though, which is annoying.

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 29 April 2022 12:13 (two weeks ago) link

I'm off to bury myself in crap comics from 1990

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 29 April 2022 12:14 (two weeks ago) link

Giffen nine-panels look great on iPhone panel-to-panel!

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 29 April 2022 12:15 (two weeks ago) link

I took the plunge with a trial, just to get an idea of what you have access to with this service. I had a suspicion it would be full of nasty digital recolours and it lived up to my expectations on that score, but lack of consistency across the board is really disappointing.

Uploads just seem to be pulled from whatever random version of each issue is immediately at hand, with no-one bothering to check if a better source might be available. This is really evident in a quick scan through of Detective Comics - the earliest issues just have the Batman pages and have not been correctly rescaled for tablet viewing, so they look ugly as hell in portrait mode (this was also an issue with a Perez Wonder Woman issue I looked at). I'm pretty sure these pages have just been yanked from an existing compilation of Bat-material, hence lacking the additional stories, but what's doubly strange is they credit writers and artists whose work doesn't appear as those pages aren't even included!

The further down you go, you find some random issues do appear to've been sourced from original scans(and these *do* include the extra material), which immediately are an improvement on the digital versions, but these will be right alongside some truly grotesque mid-2000s recolour jobs (what they did to some of the Neal Adams issues really is a sin) - it's bafflingly inconsistent. There are also quite large numbers of issues missing, so anyone hoping to do a complete readthrough this way is going to be disappointed.

I will say there are *some* good things about it, the feature that allows you to view specific series like all the "Crisis" stories is a good start, but this is still far from being the best way to read these old comics unfortunately.

"Spaghetti" Thompson (Pheeel), Tuesday, 3 May 2022 01:15 (two weeks ago) link

I'm enjoying it for the basics, i.e. reading comics from the golden era between COIE and Death of Superman, and the brief few years between Gotham Central and Final Crisis when DC seemed relatively interesting again. But, yeah, the app (although marginally less buggy than Marvel Unlimited) isn't great.

The curation of storylines (e.g. being able to read crossovers in one go) seems more carefully curated than in the Marvel app, but -- as with Marvel -- once you finish reading an issue, it sends you to the subsequent issue of that comic rather than the next part of the crossover, which is an annoying basic to fuck up.

I'm less concerned about reproductions, but, yes, the recolouring remains awful and the digitization seems to give everything a slightly more "ligne claire" inked look than I remember in the original comics. Still -- the access to the great 85-92 years is pretty thorough.

I've never been that interested in pre-Crisis DC -- with the exception of Batman, it always seems pretty square and dry. I find the Curt Swan house style deeply drab. What am I missing?

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:19 (two weeks ago) link

Like - does DC have analogues to the Gerber/Starlin weirdo Marvel comics of the 70s, or the Miller/Sienkewicz innovations of the early 80s -- or does all that stuff happen later in the 1980s? I know the Titans are a pretty lame substitute for the XMen.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:24 (two weeks ago) link

Well there's the Kirby stuff but I'm guessing you've read that already?

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:27 (two weeks ago) link

would Shade The Changing Man qualify? i only know the vertigo reboot but the original is Ditko

koogs, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:32 (two weeks ago) link

I have some of the Kirby stuff in print collections. TBH I find them completely unreadable but they're terrific art books.

Unfortunately the Milligan & Ditko Shades are both missing

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:46 (two weeks ago) link

Kamandi and Demon are pretty readable imo.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:47 (two weeks ago) link

Also, I find myself unmoved by LOSH or the Silver Age "Batman turns into a frog and fights aliens" type stories so beloved by GM, but I could try harder I guess

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:49 (two weeks ago) link

I went in hard on those Showcase volumes when they first started coming out and in retrospect a lot of it is unbearably tedious. The Captain Marvel stuff felt like actually well done kid's humor comics, and the Superman volume was best for the WTF moments, but important to just read an issue or two at a time or you just become numb to the insanity.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:53 (two weeks ago) link

def not the same flavour as Starlin or Gerber tho!

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:53 (two weeks ago) link

Demon's not on there. Kamandi is a good shout

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 10:54 (two weeks ago) link

Not really a DC stan - and if you find the Fourth World 'unreadable' we're probs not on the same page anyway - but I would say all of the following are worth a download:

Wonder Woman by Denny O'Neil, Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano - WW becomes Emma Peel.
Swamp Thing by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson - foundational DC gothic - lots of great art in the horror anthology titles like Witching Hour, House of Secrets, House of Mystery too.
Stalker by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood - nice self-contained little fantasy four-parter with a great art combo. Ditko's 60s series The Creeper and Hawk and Dove are essential too. Don't know if Charlton's The Question will be available but it's the apex of Ditko's masked hero work.
The Shadow by O'Neil and Michael Kaluta. I like the Frank Robbins issue very much too, but he is the definition of an acquired taste.
Green Lantern/Green Arrow by O'Neil and Neal Adams. The 'relevance' stories have dated of course, and seem clumsy and corny now, but Adams really elevated the material with his intensity and attention to detail. Deadman, the O'Neil and Adams Batman issues and Superman v Ali also worth a read.
The Brave and the Bold and Batman comics drawn by Jim Aparo in the late 60s/early 70s are clearly influenced by Adams's work and have some of the same energy and excitement, a definite break from the Swan house style. Aparo also drew a very consistent run of Aquaman comics in the late 60s, written by Steve Skeates, and in the early 70s an amazing run of mind bogglingly violent Spectre comics written by Michael Fleisher. Talking of whom ...
Jonah Hex by Michael Fleischer. Very consistent western series with great art from Tony DeZuniga and others. The special issue where Jonah dies and is stuffed and mounted as a museum exhibit is one of the all-time great DC strips, beautifully drawn by Russ Heath (who together with Joe Kubert did great work on the DC war comics, often on some fairly tasty Robert Kanigher scripts (his 'White Devil, Yellow Devil', masterfully drawn by Alex Toth, is another all-timer.)
Captain Action by Jim Shooter and Gil Kane, inked by Wally Wood. Again, a beautiful art combo and not bad stories for one of the earliest toy cash-ins. Just about to be reprinted in book form.
The Angel and Ape by E Nelson Bridwell and Bob Oksner. There are a number of these uncategorisablegroovy 60s titles that are quite unlike anything Marvel was producing at the time - Brother Power the Geek, Anthro by Howie Post (caveman), Secret Six, Metamorpho (drawn by Ramona Fradon), etc.
USS Stevens by Sam Glanzman. Autobiographical war strip that appeared as a back up in Sgt Rock etc throughout the 70s. Again, totally unlike anything else being published in mainstream comics at the time.
Manhunter by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson. Terrific self-contained story that appeared as a back up strip in the 70s issues of Detective Comics that Goodwin edited, all of them worth checking out. There's Alex Toth's only Batman story, written by Goodwin, and an excellent silent Batman strip by Steve Englehart and Sal Amendola.

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 11:27 (two weeks ago) link

Awesome thanks. I bet 90% of those aren't on the app but I'll definitely check out a bunch in... some way or other. "Jonah dies and is stuffed and mounted" sounds like a must-read

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 11:52 (two weeks ago) link

The Manhunter series by Simonson and Goodwin is a high water mark for DC.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 3 May 2022 14:30 (two weeks ago) link

weird to me that DC hasn't hopped into the NFT field. Seems like you could sell each individual comic that way and create your own lame ass stock market.

― i cannot help if you made yourself not funny (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 05:24 (three months ago)

they did NFTs "hand-selected by Jim Lee" four months ago

― bad luck banging, or Lorna Doone (sic), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 09:19 (three months ago)

It’s about time we get some Batman NFTs already! DC Comics and Palm NFT Studio will drop a collection of 200,000 Bat Cowls at $300 each. There is no limit as to how many a user can purchase, but there is a $3,000 daily limit on the platform. The collection will be available on 26 April 2022, with more than 2 billion possible trait combinations. Similar to bats, this will be a blind drop, where purchases will only be revealed in May.

Bat Cowl holders will receive access to exclusive products and collectibles, such as the Bat Cowl apparel collection. They will also get exclusive access and benefits at IRL DC fan events. Furthermore, holders will get the first bite of future DC NFT collections.

In addition, the company revealed a two-year roadmap, releasing new utility every 52 days. Basically, Batman will upgrade the Bat Cowl, rewarding holders with greater access within the DC Universe. By the way, these Bat Cowls are already AR ready, in case you want to flex them on your socials. Last but not least, DC plans to use these Bat Cowls in future DC Comics stories.

If you claimed the free DC Fandome NFTs from 2021, there is some utility after all. Owners will get early access to this Bat Cowl collection. In addition, owners will soon be able to move their assets to non-custodial wallets such as MetaMask.


Yul Brynner film festival on Channel 48... (sic), Wednesday, 4 May 2022 17:23 (one week ago) link

I like the Frank Robbins issue very much too, but he is the definition of an acquired taste.

LOL, I couldn't remember him by name but based on your description I immediately wondered if he was the dude who drew the '70s Invaders series, and wouldn't you know it.

He had a good style for Sunday strips, not for comic books.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 4 May 2022 23:37 (one week ago) link

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