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Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Chessack » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:27 pm

A clean sweep sounds great and all, but... honestly I can't imagine them being able to mend fences at this point. They have dug themselves so deep that it's like they started in NYC and they can see daylight coming through from China. It's not like just putting the shovels down will get them back up (down?) to New York.

And what do they do about the even larger issue, which is not their public relations, but the complete hash they have made of the New 52? They seem to have split their fan base right down the middle, with half the people hating the New 52 and wanting to go back to the previous universe, and half liking New 52 and wanting to keep it as is. Do they stand pat? Do they go back to pre-52? No matter what they do they're going to have 50% of their fans angry.

This is why I have said for years that comics companies, instead of rebooting their universes, ought to just start a new one, and leave the old one intact. Stop publishing old-world stories if they want. But leave it intact, so if they find out the new-verse is not liked or not popular, they can still go back... without having to undo continuity yet again. But instead, they keep trying to make the new universe be the result of actions in the old one, which precludes them from coexisting and ticks off all the fans of the previous continuity. This is a mistake DC has been making since Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby David Bird » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:34 pm

There won't be any sweep. As much as people like myself hate it, sales are there. Someone's buying it--and more someones than before! Which means it's a hit, for all my complaining. :cry:

But I agree, they should have moved on and left things intact. What's the point of a multi-verse, if you can't populate it with a diversity of stories.When they started two years ago, they grouped various titles thematically. They could just as easily done it by universe. It's a have your cake and eat it too thing.

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Chessack » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:50 pm

I think some of it has got to be ego. Deep down in places they don't talk about at parties, they're afraid that if they give people "classic DC" as well as "new 52 DC," the old stuff will sell better, and their pet project will be seen as a failure.

As for the sales being there, one can only wonder what would happen if DC put out titles set in their classic universe side-by-side with the new one. Which would sell better? Reminds me of New Coke vs. Classic Coke. Guess which one won.

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby bkthomson » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:53 pm

Chessack wrote:I think some of it has got to be ego. Deep down in places they don't talk about at parties, they're afraid that if they give people "classic DC" as well as "new 52 DC," the old stuff will sell better, and their pet project will be seen as a failure.

As for the sales being there, one can only wonder what would happen if DC put out titles set in their classic universe side-by-side with the new one. Which would sell better? Reminds me of New Coke vs. Classic Coke. Guess which one won.


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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Zechs » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:06 pm

bkthomson wrote:
Even coke knew went to stop and admit their mistake.


Which goes to show you how badly the DC problem is. It's worse than New Coke.
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RE: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Manuel Fernandez » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:54 pm

I just wanted to comment, you know what is the thing I hate THE MOST when someone answers me something that bothers me in a bad way? THAT THEY ANSWER WITH A HAPPY FACE!

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby TimH » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:57 pm

Well, hey, it could be worse.

At least Didio didn't venture down my favorite cliche:

"We are excited by JH Williams III's opportunity to pursue new career avenues, and we are super-pumped about our plans for Batwoman in 2014. We invite you all. It's going to be a wild, fun ride."

At least Didio actually interacts with fans and doesn't sic a greased up marketing exec on them (or maybe Harras was on the toilet).

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby TimH » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:16 pm

Whispered into my hat:

JH Williams III run was great due to the art. Maybe the story will be clearer if I do a straight read-through. ;) I loved the Wonder Woman crossover. Flamebird's hospitalization made for some good drama and character crisis. Kate's relationship with the detective (who I get mixed up with the DEA agent) seemed to move really fast considering they are hardly ever home together. Rucka portrayed Kate not so much as the settling down type. Now she's got her step mom and her dad's dirty dozen team involved in her operations. I liked it better when it was just Kate and Dad. Flamebird as a side kick is fine, but stepmom brings a Brady Bunch dimension I'm having trouble digesting. :smt005

It's unfortunate that this is being blown up into a "gay issue". Even Williams says it's about the editorial interference not about gay issues.

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RE: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby R Romeo Cote » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:13 am

You mean no one buys Animal Man? That title that says right on its cover "New York Times Best Seller"? Yeah no one buys that. And it's not like Batwoman wasn't one of there top preforming titles.

Listen, I get it, they're a business, they exist to make money, and Demon Knight I wont get on there case about... Demon Knight was a great book, they gave it an honest shot and it didn't turn a profit after 2 years, so yeah, time to cancel it. But they close down some series after only 6 issues, well before it has time to really develop a fan base... before the first trade has even hit shelves.

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RE: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby John Paul » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:10 am

DC, you're killing me here! How am I supposed to keep telling people the current management isn't that bad when you keep having my favorite writers leave?

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Juan Cena » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:20 am

David Bird wrote:There won't be any sweep. As much as people like myself hate it, sales are there. Someone's buying it--and more someones than before! Which means it's a hit, for all my complaining. :cry:

But I agree, they should have moved on and left things intact. What's the point of a multi-verse, if you can't populate it with a diversity of stories.When they started two years ago, they grouped various titles thematically. They could just as easily done it by universe. It's a have your cake and eat it too thing.


That's a pretty historically inaccurate comment there. Some books have done a little better than they did before Flashpoint, but 32 out of the Nu-52 titles sell less than 40K copies. There are only three books selling over 100K, and two are written by Snyder, and one by Johns.
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RE: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Loki Freign » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:57 am

Believe it or not, Buck, there are one or two other comics companies out there - and a few that actually don't make a practice of hiring known hate mongers as writers on their most important titles, don't try to program the cultural content of their writers' narratives, that sort of thing. Look into it!

I think there might even be three... maybe FOUR other comic book creators out there! :o

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby achilles » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:10 am

bkthomson wrote:
Even coke knew went to stop and admit their mistake.


Which is what DC needs to do. Clean sweep of management, make sure editorial knows its place, have top management get up in a public forum and acknowledge their past mistakes and promise to do better as well as reach out personally to those creators they've alienated.

And then either relaunch the old DCU, or have a complete and total WELL PLANNED reboot, this time taking into account all the things people liked about DC and its individual characters.

As far as sales go, it may be outselling where Didio had it immediately prior to the reboot, but how is it doing overall? A good case can be made that its sales aren't all that great, that they aren't what they should be.

Personally, I think DC is just a holding company for WB, there to keep rights to characters WB wants to eventually fuck up in other media. That's it, WB probably doesn't care all that much what DC does so long as they keep publishing.
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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Lord Simian » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:09 am

achilles wrote:
Which is what DC needs to do. Clean sweep of management, make sure editorial knows its place, have top management get up in a public forum and acknowledge their past mistakes and promise to do better as well as reach out personally to those creators they've alienated.

And then either relaunch the old DCU, or have a complete and total WELL PLANNED reboot, this time taking into account all the things people liked about DC and its individual characters.

As far as sales go, it may be outselling where Didio had it immediately prior to the reboot, but how is it doing overall? A good case can be made that its sales aren't all that great, that they aren't what they should be.

Personally, I think DC is just a holding company for WB, there to keep rights to characters WB wants to eventually fuck up in other media. That's it, WB probably doesn't care all that much what DC does so long as they keep publishing.


See, that's an argument I've heard before, and don't get. "They don't care what they publish, as long as they publish SOMETHING so they keep the rights."

They own the rights. It's not like they lose the rights to Ace The Bat Hound if they stop publishing Ace Comics Cavalcade.

I mean, Stephen King published IT in what, the 80's? The characters haven't been continually published, but if I put out a book next week called "Pennywise's Tiajuana Adventure", I bet Mr. King is gonna be knocking on my door PDQ...

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Re: Dan Didio Responds to Williams/Blackman Controversy

Postby Chessack » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:50 am

This is a bit tangential, and I'm not a legal expert, but as I understand it, there's a difference between copyright and a trademark.

WB would not lose the copyright to the stories printed in, say, Action Comics, if they stopped making Superman comics. But over time, they can lose the registered trademark of his name, which would open the name up to being used by other parties. In fact, this very reason was given by writer Paul Kupperberg in one of the early issues of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (in 1982) for why they couldn't change Kara Zor-El's hero name from SuperGIRL to something more befitting a grown 20-something woman, like SuperWOMAN (quite aside from the fact that there already was a character by that name, and it wasn't Kara). He took a bunch of flak because he de-aged Kara from mid-20s to 19 years old, because it made more sense to call a younger female "girl." Fans said he should just change the name, and he said DC couldn't because they'd lose the trademark if she stopped appearing in print for too long under that name. The rule with trademarks, he claimed, is "use it or lose it."

Wikipedia seems to agree, stating this about Trademark registration:

"Trademarks rights must be maintained through actual lawful use of the trademark. These rights will cease if a mark is not actively used for a period of time, normally 5 years in most jurisdictions. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark in the lawful course of trade, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to become liable for an application for the removal from the register after a certain period of time on the grounds of "non-use"."


The article goes on to say that

"In the U.S., failure to use a trademark for this period of time, aside from the corresponding impact on product quality, will result in abandonment of the mark, whereby any party may use the mark."


(I'd post the link but I can't due to posting restrictions, so go to their entry on Trademarks to read the full text.)

This entry seems to agree with Kupperberg's claims in the 1980s, that DC had to keep putting its characters into print under their TMed name on a regular basis or they risked losing the registration of the mark, whereupon Marvel, IDW, or anyone else could register it. Note, Marvel couldn't make up a character in a blue and red costume with an S on her chest named Kara Zor-El, from Argo City. But they could have made up a new X-mutant with psionic powers called "Supergirl" if DC stopped printing the character. And register it. Thereby prohibiting DC from using the name later.

I suspect this rule, more than any other factor, is a major reason why we keep seeing characters with trademarked names get resurrected and "never stay dead." If they kill a character and leave it dead for decades, someone else could grab the mark. So they kill Barry Allen, but Wally West is still called "The Flash" and so on. If they had kept Wally as "Kid Flash" instead, they'd have lost the rights to "The Flash" eventually due to lack of use.

So, copyright and trademark are a bit different.

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