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An Open Letter to DC Comics: Creators Matter

David Uzumeri

Okay, this is going to be fairly short and a bit soapboxy and business-related. I know this is usually Brian’s wheelhouse, but I’m just so annoyed that this keeps happening.

I find that most weekends, scanned covers (with trade dress) of the upcoming week’s books show up on eBay. I was flipping through them this week, and saw that YET AGAIN DC completely changed the creative team from soup to nuts on a comic without making even a token effort to inform the audience. I don’t know if retailers were informed, since the DC Direct Channel mailer never seems to show up online anymore, but a Google search shows nothing and DC’s website still has the old creative team (Fabian Nicieza & Julian Lopez, for the record – and Guillem March as cover artist, when that’s clearly an Adam Hughes piece).

The offending cover:

Now, I understand that sometimes creative teams change – people get busy, scripts don’t work out as well as the pitches, illnesses happen. That’s all fine. But 95% of the time, Marvel Comics has the common courtesy to tell people about it through Diamond’s Product Changes site. It’s a useful resource to let me know what I’m going to be paying money for.

But DC? I’ve ranted about this before, but there’s a serious trend of total creative team changes on titles going completely unannounced. I don’t know the reasons behind this, but it leads to the impression that DC treats creators (and feels their readers do as well) interchangeably other than their frontline talent. Fabian Nicieza and Tony Bedard have both written stuff I’ve liked, for very different reasons, because they’re TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. To treat their involvement in a project as irrelevant to its market appeal is foolish and both underestimates the readers’ savvy and dehumanizes the creators’ effort. I’m sure that there aren’t any sinister motives behind this, but this is the effect it has.

I realize that these books are returnable due to this, but isn’t that a gigantic pain in the ass? I don’t want to have to check my pull bag every time I go to the store and grab it, I don’t want to have to go back later to return a comic, and my retailer sure as hell doesn’t want to have to strip and mail covers and pay for it. They must have known about this creative switch long enough ago to announce it before the FOC date – why not just tell readers and retailers and let them adjust their orders accordingly? I realize this is just three times in the past few years, but that’s still a worrying enough pattern, and I’m not even going into the INCREDIBLY frequent unannounced penciller switch-outs between solicitation and release. It’s like a guessing game as to who’s going to be doing any given DC Comic, since none of the information is reliable.

So please, please, please, DC: Just let us know.

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