This week, The Outhouse reported on the latest ridiculous screw-up from DC Comics when Batwoman creative team W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III publicly announced their departure from the book due to editorial interference. Williams' and Blackman's blog post mentioned, in addition to multiple major last minute changes to storylines that had been in the works for over a year, DC's refusal to allow a protaganist Kate Kane to get gay married. Though all accounts seem to indicate that it was the marriage of the character that DC took issue with, not her sexual orientation, it was enough for the story to hit major media outlets like the Huffington Post and Drudge Report. It certainly saw a lot of traffic here, and it was covered on pretty much every comics and geek-related website out there, big and small.
You can read about the whole thing here. We recommend you do that before continuing further. We'll wait for you.
Okay, so DC, for the umpteenth time, has driven beloved creators from a book with last minute, often nonsensical editorial changes, and they've done so, as usual, in a way that ensures it's as embarrassing for them as possible on as large a stage as possible.
How do they respond?
How would you respond if you were the management in a Dilbert comic?
Let's ask DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio:
Dude. Did it ever occur to you that Twitter is not a live conversation where you're being cornered by reporters with microphones in your face? You don't have to just blurt out the stupidest response you can think of. You could just not answer. You could think about your answer and whether it will sound stupid, and, if it sounds stupid, take your time and think of a different answer.
There are people who work for your company, and even better ones that work for the major media conglomerate that owns your company, who are paid to think of responses to shit like this. You could ask them to do this for you. It's kind of their job.
The response to a publicity nightmare that makes your company look inept, intentionally or unintentionally bigoted, and in general like an unpleasant place to work at, is 99% of the time not to say that you hope the next guys will do a better job on the book. That's a poor response.
I don't know what you say to make it better. Maybe you say that you have no comment right now. Maybe you say that you're looking into how the situation might have been handled better. Maybe you say you're going to try to work things out with the creators. Maybe you say that there's more to the story. Maybe you say you're sorry. Maybe you say nothing at all.
The only way you could say something worse than "we hope the next guys do a better job" is if you said it and then immediately after, tweeted a picture of your dick, and your dick was wearing little coat and hat and a Hitler mustache.
But this is just what DC does. Here's another:
Yeah. He tried to put a positive spin on it ("hey, they lasted 2 years before publicly walking off the title and airing all our dirty laundry in public...") and then tried to act like people disturbed by the constant stream of creators fleeing DC books are being unreasonable, and don't want DC to ever change creative teams on a book. Furthermore, he implies that this was a planned move by DC, not a surprise that made them look dumb in the national media.
Ok, one more for good measure. This time, the esteemed gentleman from Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston, gets involved in the fray.
As Rich points out, DC is constantly trying to misdirect the conversation about this to some straw man argument instead of addressing the elephant that is obvious to everyone else in the room - DC keeps driving creators (and fans) off its books with last minute editorial changes that appear to the public as embarrassing blunders. But worse, when accused of driving Eisner Award winning creators off books that they are largely responsible for the success of, Didio actually tries to act like the failing was the creators', not DC's. The books are not exciting, entertaining, or part of a shared universe.
We can argue semantics over whether he directly said that, but it's the implication here. It's an attempt to sneakily shift blame from DC to everyone else. And we shouldn't be surprised. This is the same guy who once told a group of concerned retailers at their Retailer Roadshow event that creative teams have always changed on books, and the only reason it upsets people so much more now is because of social media.
DC really doesn't see this as their problem. They see it as our problem. We, the fans, the internet, the non-publicity-department-controlled comics media, are only upset because we *know* about this stuff. If we would just stop knowing about it, they would stop looking so stupid for doing it.
And that, in a nutshell, is why DC keeps finding themselves in these PR clusterfucks. Because they just have no clue what they are doing wrong. As far as they're concerned, they're doing a great job.
C'est la DC.