Newsarama has a long interview with Paul Pope up which is centered almost entirely around the quote that made headlines all over the net last week from "the head of DC Comics" which said that the company only publishes comics for 45 year olds, and that if Pope wanted to make an all ages comic, he should make a Scooby Doo comic. The quote originated in a CBR panel recap and was first specifically reported by Robot 6. Of course, we picked it up and ran it on the Has DC Done Something Stupid Today Counter, and it was reported at Bleeding Cool and other sites as well. I don't know how well the story circulated for the other sites, but if our article was any indication, the story trended all over social media for days.
Basically, Pope wants to clarify that he has a pleasant working relationship with DC Comics and harbors no ill will toward them, but the general message of the quote - that DC prefers to market their superhero comics to adults and prefers to do all ages books only in their licensed kids lines - is correct. Here's what Pope has to say:
Nrama: Given what you said about the sarcasm – are you willing to say on the record that no one actually said, “We make comics for 45-year-olds?” Because that’s what’s really been latched onto in these comments.
Pope: Well, from my recollection, that was pretty much an accurate statement. It was an informal conversation, so there was some humor intended in the delivery, but the clear gist of the statement was, “We’re making comics for adults, we’re marketing comics for adults.”
I’m almost 45 myself, I read comics, I don’t have any problem with the grim and gritty direction of comics. It’s just that I would like to see a wider spectrum. So my artistic response is to go off and create something entirely new and different, which hopefully has a blend of Kirby and Moebius and all those things I loved as a kid, and which I want to see more of in American comics.
The reader in my head now is that little kid who loves superheroes and science fiction, 10 or 11, and I wouldn’t give that kid many of the comics that are being published today, outside of Adventure Time or something. So Battling Boy is for them.
Nrama: But did DC actually say that “We make comics for 45-year-olds?”
Pope: Pretty much. It might be a he-said/she-said kind of thing, but that’s my recollection. What that had to do with what would become Battling Boy was that from those discussions, I simply realized that book wasn’t going to happen there. And there were no ill feelings about it. It was just a rational discussion between adults, “What can we do together?”
Pope spends the rest of the interview pointing out that he doesn't harbor ill will toward DC for their decision, insisting that he wasn't mistreated and that the exchange was intended in good humor, but we're not sure that any of that was ever the point of the fan outrage in the first place.
The point is that DC doesn't see young readers as a target audience for their superhero comics, which is pretty damn stupid, considering most of the current adult readers they are marketing to got into comics as kids. If they don't get kids into superhero comics now, what 45 year olds will they market comics to in the future? It's a short-sighted business strategy that may maximize profits right now, but is damaging to the industry in the long term. But then, with all of the focus on 3D variant covers and constant crossovers and events and other 1990s speculator-baiting nonsense that dominates mainstream comics, this should come as no surprise.
Pope still does not name the person who actually made the quote, though he does say that it occurred around 2005, but this was still during the Dan Didio regime so we're sticking with Didio as the most likely quotee. Pope is welcome to clarify that if he likes. :)
Go and read the interview for yourself if you want to know more.
Now onto more pressing matters. In the same interview, when asked about young readers, Pope makes another shocking revelation:
Nrama: Well, if Battling Boy does well, especially with that young audience –
Pope: “Problem Readers.” That’s what they call them. I hear that term a lot.
Problem readers?! Oh man, and we were almost in the clear! So time to ramp up the speculation engine again! Who in the comics industry is referring to young readers as "problem readers," and what amount of angry tweeting and tumbling will serve to adequately punish them for the crimes?! Stay tuned to The Outhouse to find out.