Warner shutting down DC?

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userd1402

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Shinji, from Tomenosuke-syoten is reporting that yesterday most of DC Comics' editorial staff were laid off and that DC Direct which produced DC character figures, with 100% investment by Warner Bros., was being completely closed.
The reason has not been reported in detail, but it seems that the Corona pandemic is largely to blame.
Anyone else heard this?
 

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MattBlack

Active Member
It actually happened on the 10th, but yeah, it's grim. This thread on Twitter by Gerry Conway is a very good summary of what has happened, why it happened, and what will be next.

Long story short; Some of it is COVID19, some of it is Diamond Distribution, and some of it is AT&T (who bought WB and DC) absolutely do not care about comics. So, floppy monthly comics from DC are going the way of the dinosaurs.

This will have impact upon comic book stores, and by extension, Marvel monthly issues. Will the focus change to digital online sales and physical trades? Maybe? The YA market for DC is HUGE, so they may well focus upon that.

This is a more in depth article about what could happen next. Warner Brothers could license out characters to over publishers like Dark Horse (!)
 
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Cephus

Sr Member
I honestly don't care. I was a comic reader for decades, but the time for floppy comics is long gone. I honestly hope Marvel follows them down. Comics haven't been selling in appreciable numbers for a long time. The characters will continue in the movies. It sucks for the comic shops, but otherwise... adios.
 

Lord Boron

Sr Member
The cutting has more to do with the massive debt that AT&T incurred in buying Time Warner than it does Coronavirus. They’re hacking and slashing all through Time Warner to save money and putting all their eggs in the HBOMax Basket.
 

Psab keel

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is the same issue that is plaguing movie theaters as well as physical media when it comes to movies (Blu-ray and the like) as well as music and books. Sure it may not seem like an issue but it's more far-reaching than you might think. If you don't have physical media you're essentially renting it for the rest of your life not to mention if the corporation who holds the rights to said media decides to alter or outright butcher a piece of art then there is absolutely nothing the consumer can do and you have no choice but to watch whichever version they deem fit for consumption. It's a slap in the face to the artists and writers who create comics by means of censorship. It may sound melodramatic but if you honestly care about art and art history then it's an issue.

From a corporate perspective they just view these things as a means to either cut costs (remain solvent during the pandemic) or its a marketing issue where they see sales drop off so they nix industries because it's not profitable. It might be good for business but it's not good for artistic expression or the enjoyment of said art by the public.
 

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George

Master Member
I think it's disrespectful towards the artists who put everything into their work and they're just dismissed like a used up tissue.Yes, eventually it's business and money needs to be made in order to pay bills, but we're dealing with (dedicated) human beings here who have genuine passion for their work.Treat them with as much respect as you would with your dollar bills; after all: they are the backbone of the bosses' company...and profit
 
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Cephus

Sr Member
I think it's disrespectful towards the artists who put everything into their work and they're just dismissed like a used up tissue.Yes, eventually it's business and money needs to be made in order to pay bills, but we're dealing with (dedicated) human beings here who have genuine passion for their work.Treat them with as much respect as you would with your dollar bills; after all: they are the backbone of the bosses' company...and profit
Not any more, the comics industry has been losing money hand over fist for years. It was going to come to an end eventually. You can't just keep throwing away good money after bad. Those artists and writers will have to take their talents elsewhere. DC is toast.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
On one hand it's a shame and on the other, I completely agree with Cephus. Comics and the comic strips in the newspaper were the early sources that got me reading. Comics haven't been the same since the bubble burst in the industry in the early and mid-90's. Even then, they were skewing more juvenile and grotesque (that's why I got hooked).

There's plenty of great stuff to come out since but small, indie titles stay in the small, indie community. Titles like "Y: The Last Man" has been shipped around forever and has never been picked up for any live-action deals that it was positioned for.

As for the big guys, the greatest killer for them was and will continue to be continuity. Despite the numerous reboots in the last two decades of mainstay titles to fit more in line with what the films were producing to make it more marketable and appealing, they always fall back into creating and establishing a continuity, and for the average person wanting to jump in, that's a great detractor right there. If it's not just for a limited series or a serial arc for a title, long-term continuity is a comic killer.

As sad as it is, comics and the comics industry don't have to go, but they are going to go. There's really not a large enough market for it anymore, especially when some trades are going near 10 bucks, for a funny book, it's not good value. It'll always be around and it will be a niche thing even more so now, but as an industry: it's done.
 

Riceball

Master Member
I think it's disrespectful towards the artists who put everything into their work and they're just dismissed like a used up tissue.Yes, eventually it's business and money needs to be made in order to pay bills, but we're dealing with (dedicated) human beings here who have genuine passion for their work.Treat them with as much respect as you would with your dollar bills; after all: they are the backbone of the bosses' company...and profit
While it does suck that Warner/DC has to lay people off, I'm not sure that disrespectful is really the appropriate word for it. A shame, yes, disrespect, no. If they're changing business model or are hurting because of the COVID shutdown, then they have to do what they have to do. Even if it's just a matter of slowing down and cutting back on titles then what are they going to do with all of the extra artists that they'll have? They can't afford to keep them around doing nothing nor can they just keep them on some unpaid stand by status in case they're needed.

The hard truth of the matter is that personnel is probably the number expense in any business in any sector. This is true not just for businesses but for the military as well, people cost money. So it's natural for companies to cut people when money starts getting tight. Hopefully, in the case of Warner/DC this was a measure of last resort and not something done without any real thought.
 

MattBlack

Active Member
As sad as it is, comics and the comics industry don't have to go, but they are going to go. There's really not a large enough market for it anymore, especially when some trades are going near 10 bucks, for a funny book, it's not good value. It'll always be around and it will be a niche thing even more so now, but as an industry: it's done.
Monthly comics might be on the way out, but graphic novels and Trade paperbacks continue to sell well, and are in fact are increasing. The following links are an interesting read from over the last year:

Bleeding Cool article on Graphic Novels Sales Up 43% in Bookstores

Comics Beat article on Comics and Graphic Novel Sales top $1.21B in 2019

Forbes article on the diminishing sales of Superhero comics. <---------really worth a read

There are two takeaways from the above that are of note -

One; Graphic Novel sales are hugely up compared to comic book sales, to the tune of $765 million vs $355 million in 2019. The readership demographic is changing dramatically: Monthly superhero comics and graphic novels are massively in decline, and the huge box office movies have no impact in bringing in new readers to the monthly comics. Instead, in the market, Juvenile market graphic novels (none superhero specific/indies etc) MASSIVELY outsell superhero properties.

Of the entire market:
41% of sales: Juvenile Market graphic novels,
28% of sales: Manga graphic novels, and
10% (!) of sales: Superhero graphic novels

So lots of people are reading graphic novels, but they're not interested in ones about superheros.

And two; the majority of graphic novel sales come from book stores, not comic book stores. This was also an advantage over the pandemic lock-down, as a lot more bookstores stayed open than comic book stores.

So a thing of hope is there is huge readership and demand out there for comic creators and artists, and publishers/companies should focus upon these new customers more so than trying to sell superheroes to a tiny fraction of an audience.
 

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George

Master Member
While it does suck that Warner/DC has to lay people off, I'm not sure that disrespectful is really the appropriate word for it. A shame, yes, disrespect, no. If they're changing business model or are hurting because of the COVID shutdown, then they have to do what they have to do
I stand corrected
 
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Cephus

Sr Member
One; Graphic Novel sales are hugely up compared to comic book sales, to the tune of $765 million vs $355 million in 2019. The readership demographic is changing dramatically: Monthly superhero comics and graphic novels are massively in decline, and the huge box office movies have no impact in bringing in new readers to the monthly comics. Instead, in the market, Juvenile market graphic novels (none superhero specific/indies etc) MASSIVELY outsell superhero properties.
It doesn't because they've never even made an attempt. I always thought that there needed to be an in-line ad during all Marvel movies, calling for people to read the comics and having an on-screen address for Comic Shop Locator or something similar. Try to drive people to the comics instead of using the comics as a loss leader.

Of course, that requires that Marvel (or DC or whoever) actually makes comics like the movies. Most people will walk into a comic shop, look at the latest issue of X-Men or Avengers and put down that hopeless mess of absurd miscontinuity. It's not going to make any sense to anyone walking in off the street. So that would mean they'd have to have a line of comics just for people trying to transition from the MCU side to the comics side and they have no interest in that. Marvel has Disney. Disney doesn't care if Marvel Comics completely fails. They are just fodder for the movies anyhow. DC had that with Warner, but now... they don't. And that's why they're dying. If we expect these companies to carry their own weight and pay their own bills and make a profit, they can't. They haven't been able to for decades. Their management has been making all of the wrong decisions for a long time. That's reflected in their sales. They deserve to die.
 

Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'd much rather buy a graphic novel that has the equivalent of 12 issues of content and is a complete story. For one thing I don't have to go back to the store every month, and it can go on my bookshelf rather than in a box when I'm done with it. They should keep one monthly comic for each major property (one Superman comic, one Batman comic, etc.) and have that available at grocery stores and pharmacies, (and made on cheaper paper to reduce the cost to promote impulse buying by kids). Everything else gets graphic novels.
 

Riceball

Master Member
I'd much rather buy a graphic novel that has the equivalent of 12 issues of content and is a complete story. For one thing I don't have to go back to the store every month, and it can go on my bookshelf rather than in a box when I'm done with it. They should keep one monthly comic for each major property (one Superman comic, one Batman comic, etc.) and have that available at grocery stores and pharmacies, (and made on cheaper paper to reduce the cost to promote impulse buying by kids). Everything else gets graphic novels.
I agree, I used to collect comics on a monthly basis when I was younger but now a days I much prefer graphic novels and trade paperbacks for the reasons you mentioned. I also find graphic novels/TPBs much easier to read than individual issues.

As for putting more cheaply printed comics at grocery stores and pharmacies, that's a really good idea. I seem to recall that being done when I was a kid in the '70s. I think that would be a great way of expanding exposure to comics, esp. since not everybody lives near a comic book shop while most everybody lives near a grocery store or pharmacy. They should also sell them at big box stores like Target and Walmart, Target, at least, already sells trading cards at their stores so comics would be a good fit.
 

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Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
As for putting more cheaply printed comics at grocery stores and pharmacies, that's a really good idea. I seem to recall that being done when I was a kid in the '70s.
That was one of my favorite things as a child. I’d go with my mother to the drug store and pick up an issue from the spinner rack. And as I got older, I’d ride my bike to the local convenience store and buy candy and a comic off their rack. To me, that was the comic book experience, not going into a specialty shop that sold just comic books.
 

Cephus

Sr Member
I'd much rather buy a graphic novel that has the equivalent of 12 issues of content and is a complete story. For one thing I don't have to go back to the store every month, and it can go on my bookshelf rather than in a box when I'm done with it. They should keep one monthly comic for each major property (one Superman comic, one Batman comic, etc.) and have that available at grocery stores and pharmacies, (and made on cheaper paper to reduce the cost to promote impulse buying by kids). Everything else gets graphic novels.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work. Comic companies didn't leave the grocery stores, the grocery stores threw out the comic companies. Comics simply do not have a high enough price point to make it worth wasting the space on. There are far more profitable things to put in the check out lanes than comics. Even if they made the comics really cheap, that is unlikely to resort in enough additional sales to offset the losses. Kids don't want to buy comics. There are lots of other things that they're doing instead. That's why your average monthly comic buyer is 35. They buy it out of habit, not because the comics are any good.

And the comics just aren't good these days. You might be able to find a couple of decent indy comics, but the big boys suck. I haven't bought a comic in close to a decade, and I used to buy them by the ton. Every time I've looked at a modern comic, I've put it down because it's crap. The writing is terrible, the art is uneven and they're all agenda-driven and that means I won't buy it. Neither will anyone else. It's why sales are down across the board for comics. The best-selling comics today are selling at below cancellation numbers from 10 years ago.

The time for comics is gone. Let them die.
 

Ron

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Unfortunately, that doesn't work. Comic companies didn't leave the grocery stores, the grocery stores threw out the comic companies. Comics simply do not have a high enough price point to make it worth wasting the space on. There are far more profitable things to put in the check out lanes than comics. Even if they made the comics really cheap, that is unlikely to resort in enough additional sales to offset the losses. Kids don't want to buy comics. There are lots of other things that they're doing instead. That's why your average monthly comic buyer is 35. They buy it out of habit, not because the comics are any good.

And the comics just aren't good these days. You might be able to find a couple of decent indy comics, but the big boys suck. I haven't bought a comic in close to a decade, and I used to buy them by the ton. Every time I've looked at a modern comic, I've put it down because it's crap. The writing is terrible, the art is uneven and they're all agenda-driven and that means I won't buy it. Neither will anyone else. It's why sales are down across the board for comics. The best-selling comics today are selling at below cancellation numbers from 10 years ago.

The time for comics is gone. Let them die.
You mean you're not into Squirrel Girl?! :lol:
 
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