Before we talk books, I get into the sad eventual departure of the Wildstorm imprint in DC. It’s never good to see good people get let go, but it’s the way business goes, I’m afraid. All the best to them and keep your chins up. More on all the DC changes here.
This didn’t come out this week, but I had to talk about the first issue of Morning Glories from Image. There was lots of buzzing last month when this came out and the fact that I picked up the 3rd printing of #1 backed that up. Think Harry Potter, only a much more adult take (and a sacrificial goat – I’ll leave that carrot dangling over you there to go get the book now).
I was thrown a curveball when I picked up Avengers #5. It was not supposed to improve for me after slowly plodding through 4 issues, but I was glad to be proven wrong. Not an excellent book (I still have issues with the way Bendis writes some characters and Romita Jr.’s work is taken down a notch by ugly inking), but we at least get more insight into this time-traveling adventure that keeps me intrigued for the next issue.
Lastly, I can’t get enough of Francis Manapul’s art in Flash #5. Geoff Johns could have just phoned in the story and I still would have rated this an excellent book on the art alone. And that makes it all the more special when you consider how well-done this time-traveling mystery (lot of this going on nowadays) is. The duo are really making me wish I picked up Johns’ first run on Flash many years ago.
Around this time last year, we saw many groundbreaking changes occur for the major comic book publishers. Marvel, of course, grabbed the bigger spotlight with the news of their purchase by Disney for $4 billion.
DC, however, had made it a point to slowly show its hand by first unveiling the new division known as DC Entertainment. Rumors came about the rest of the year of new positions and changes that would involve putting more focus on the creative direction of its TV and movie properties. As 2010 dawned, we then came to learn those changes involved Diane Nelson heading up DCE, Paul Levitz stepping down as president, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee as co-publishers, and Geoff Johns as Chief Creative Officer. DC and Warner Bros. were making it a point to mean business when it came to making the most of the many years of characters and storylines they had under their belt.
Then yesterday, the kid gloves came off:
1) DC first announced a bi-coastal move that involves relocating the multimedia portion of their business to Los Angeles while keeping their comic publishing division in New York City. Says Nelson, “Our two offices will stretch and build their respective areas of focus, while prioritizing and aggressively striving to connect and cooperate more strongly than ever before between them and with their colleagues at Warner Bros.”
2) We then learned that Wildstorm, the long-standing studio that helped get Image off the ground running in ’92 and was then purchased by DC in ’99, would close shop by the end of the year and fold into the DC Comics imprint.
3) Lastly, as one would expect from a big move to LA and shutting down one of its studios, there’s talk of an estimated 20% layoff in DC’s divisions. Whether this includes the predicted current employees who would not want or be able to make the trip to the West Coast remains to be seen.
My two cents? It’s no surprise it would come to this. Re-structuring always involves shifting positions and studios and unfortunately also means layoffs. The minute we heard DC Entertainment was created last year, this was bound to happen. One will only hope this results in a more focused direction for its TV, film, and, of course, the comic properties. TV is definitely not an issue if you look at how well their DC animated offerings have been as of late and you can make a case that Smallville has had somewhat of a mini-revival after Geoff Johns put his influence into play.
Films are a different matter. The Green Lantern film coming next summer might change the perception that DC and Warner Bros. can only do Batman flicks as of late, but we’ve known for the longest time that the focus was lacking on what else they could turn into film properties. Marvel is definitely ahead in that chess match, but if you hear what Nelson has to say about the competition, there doesn’t appear to be one. Probably the best thing to say at this point.
As for Wildstorm? I’ll confess to not being well-versed in that universe, so it’s hard for me to judge whether I’ll be missing out on anything. Its early days gave us Alan Moore’s imprint, America’s Best Comics, which had a great impact in the beginning with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong, and Promothea. It also brought The Authority and a more adult tone to the superhero team-up book. Warren Ellis and John Cassady’s Planetary explored a great deal of comic book history and pop culture. In recent years though, I can only recall Ex Machina as the one book that stood out to me. Granted, this doesn’t mean Wildstorm’s characters will go away forever, but it’s hard pressed to say how much can be done to create interest for future generations.
One thing’s for sure – I’m sad to see much amazing talent be let go. I wish them the best in finding future work and hope the gifts and skills they bring to the industry overall will not go unnoticed.
What’s your thoughts on all the changes?