By Philip Schweier
November 19, 2020 - 12:04
Fans, retailers and professionals have been stunned by the gutting of DC Entertainment’s editorial staff. With such a significant reduction in staff, many have speculated in what manner the comic book publisher will continue producing its core product.
This year, several monthly titles have been cancelled due to lack of sales, leading some customers to believe it heralds the end of monthly comic books.
One longtime comic book creator suggested that as the narrow market for mainstream comic books continues to shrink, the conventional monthly floppy may price point itself out of business, to be replaced by digital delivery, presumably serialized, to then potentially be repackaged for bookstore sales.
Have these products outlived their commercial viability, destined to become near forgotten relics of a more innocent age, like the many pulp magazines and radio shows of the 1930s?
As characters of both companies have become part of the current cultural fabric, publishing monthly comic books is a lesser priority in the big corporate picture – as unnecessary as new Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny material produced on any regular basis.
I’m confident major properties such as Superman and Batman will continue to be financially exploited in some way, and other associated characters, as well. If the Justice League is expected to survive, it will of course need supporting players such as Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman.
Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics
He also predicted that many retail brick and mortar comic book stores will most likely follow video stores into obsolescence.
“We figured out that for Mile High Comics that new DC's are about 4 percent of our gross sales each month,” he said. “For many other comic book stores, however, DC's were 20-30 percent of their gross. With Covid-19 already decreasing their sales, this is just one hit too many for many stores to survive.”
While the future of retailers is in doubt, so too is the future of DC as a company. I doubt very much AT&T has made a firm decision at this time. Among the possibilities that come to my mind are:
• DC will continue publishing comics in some form, but on a reduced scale;
• DC as a company and it comics will be absorbed into another publishing arm of the company;
• DC will cease to exist altogether, and its stable of characters will migrate to other media.
Thankfully, we have back issues to rely on.