Friday, October 08, 2004


Anyone remember the old "Meanwhile.." columns DC used to put in their series. Which had articles, usually by Dick Giordano, about what was going on at DC, their thoughts on the industry and such.

I've been reading some old DC series, and reading these old columns has been a wonderful treat. I sort of wish DC would reprint them, but over the next few days I'll do a writeup on some of the highlights.

First up was Marv Wolfman talking about what would eventually lead to the move to the exclusive direct market that we find ourselves in today. He talks about how the creators wanted better quality of paper for the then super popular NEW TEEN TITANS and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES titles.

Yet DC says that such higher production costs would mean they couldn't sell it at 7-11 stores, so would have to sell them at comic specialty stores only. At the time the books sold evenly well on both newstands and comic shops, so they were at a crossroads as what to do to not lose one audience.

Paul Levitz suggests doing two different versions, one for newsstand and one "super version" with the comic shops having both versions. Suggesting that the newsstand version could later become the reprint book for the main title, though a lesser version given the paper's limits.

I find it quite odd that DC would go into this thinking that fans would only want part of the story, or wait for the rest, and would be happy with an inferior product on newsstand. While reading just the TALES OF LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES issues of this, I was struck by how much I would be missing out on. Including a story resolution here and there, if I didn't have the Baxter series to read as well.

I really think they overestimated how much drive the common fan had to continue reading the series if they felt left out. I wonder if such troubles as going to a comic shop, if they had such a thing, or mail order as worst case to get their books perhaps made many fans decide it wasn't worth it.

It also just doesn't seem like DC had any forward thinking at the time either, beyond what they could offer their current fans by having them go to these exclusive shops. Making me wonder if anyone at DC thought about how they could get their product into the face of people who were not comic fans.

Yet then it was this type of behavior that has left the field in the situation it currently lies in.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I love reading these old columns as well. I also liked the Johnny DC column. I enjoyed Len Wein hyping Watchmen by comparing it to Camelot 3000 and Doug Moench playfully complainging about writing three books at the same time (it's worth it, people are still talking about Electric Warrior).