Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010 is DC's year to fire everybody

Once again both and The Beat provide the comic book industry a great monthly service in posting and analyzing publishing numbers from both Marvel and DC Comics. By any measure, 2009 was a dreadful year for DC.

Yes, Blackest Night performed very well but this arm of Time/Warner needs much more than just a short term storyline to work for them. Dan Didio and his team of editors and creators have torpedoed all the core books in its arsenal. All the bread and butter Hero books have been just slaughtered. Consider:

1 Year comparison declines for core team and icon books...
JLA -7.5%
Wonder Woman -19.1%
Detective Comics -19.5%
Batman -25%
Titans -33.9%
Superman -41.3%
Action Comics -44.3%

Superman titles down nearly half (!!!) of where they were a year ago and DC is betting the farm on a major Superman title Summer event. An event that is supposed to at least match Blackest Night sales numbers. When you have lost half of your audience already, how can you expect everyone to return to follow a saga that is basically the ending of the crappy, overblown saga that has been crippling your sales all this time? The answer of course, is that it won't.

On top of this graphic novel sales are in decline and not likely to improve soon. The economy certainly has played a part in the general audience malasie and a year of awful stories in 2009 sure won't help trade sales in 2010 but another pending issue could make things even worse. Indications are Borders Books retail chain will either fold or soon dramatically change purchasing practices that won't make any publisher happy. The Comic Book industry has a major interest in Borders staying healthy and rely on them for serious trade stock support.

We are watching a four alarm fire going off in DC's New York offices and there Dan and his crew lounge, blissfully unresponsive. How many other American companies can sit around and watch any of their commodities take these kind of double digit drops month after month for a solid year with no relief in sight and not eject everyone in charge? Well, yeah, that happened in the auto industry I guess for decades but look where that got 'em.

Warner Bros West Coast execs are bound to act in 2010. The question is, can the industry hold out until that happens and will anyone care by that point?

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