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DC Comics and Milestone

Disclaimer: These here opinions are solely the province of MarkAndrew, and do not reflect the views of Comic Book Resources or even Comics Should Be Good.

Let’s just get THAT out of the way.

DC Comics and Milestone.  Kind of a MESS, huh?

I’ve wracked my brains about this and I can only come up with two options: Bad planning bordering on incompetence, or someone or someone at DC comics… Excuse me, DC ENTERTAINMENT… are going out of their way to fuck with their creative talent for precious little benefit to themselves.

I’ll run through my thought process in detail down at the bottom, but that’s what all the options I’m seeing boil down to.

You guys got any other ideas?

Let’s recap. The Milestone Comics line (or Dakota Universe) was originally launched way back in the halcyon days of 1993. The objective was to up the profile of minority (not just black) characters in superhero comics. The line was, yes, published through DC comics and had a respectable – albeit not bestselling-  run before closing up shop in 1997.

Then, in 2000,  one of the Milestone characters broke out big; the Static Shock animated series enjoyed a four year run on the WB – and continues to be shown in syndication.

Simultaneously, based on general comic nerd word-’o-mouth, I started following the defunct Milestone line.  Hooray for the fifty cent bins!

And they were GOOD.  I’ve read… I’ve read a lot of comics, people.  And the Milestone books are some of my favorite favorite superhero comics ever.  (Except for Blood Syndicate, which never did much for me.)

So, yes, I am biased here. I AM a fan of these properties.

Sidenote: In theory I’m all for diversity in comics. In practice this doesn’t affect my buying or reading habits in the slightest. I thought the Milestone comics were an engaging ‘an well-put-together line of books, especially good at slammin’ together some cool and unique character dynamics. (ESPECIALLY Icon. Man, I love Icon.)

Fast forward. At the ’08 San Diego comic convention, DC executive editor Dan Didio announced that DC comics has reacquired the license to the Milestone characters and will be publishing new comics featuring them. Didio is effusive in his praise for the line, all – “always a fan” and “great addition to our line.” The Milestone characters were coming back, albeit absorbed into the DC Universe.

As a fan of these properties, I’m excited and hopeful.

Then…. Not much.

Static ends up in the Teen Titans. There are a few guest appearances from Milestone characters in Justice League and Brave and the Bold. Static and Icon trades are re-printed, and a Hardware TPB is due on the schedule for March, 2010. Also, a Dakota-verse wrap-up mini-series is underway.

Then,  on August 24th, this.

SHIT!

In a fan-question based interview Dan Didio announces there are “No New projects” involving the Milestone stable  in the works.  The best he can offer is the possibility of a  Static-centric story in Teen Titans at an unconfirmed date in the future.

As a fan of the Milestone line, I’m pissed. Is DC SPECIFICALLY trying to jerk me around?

But I get over that.  And start thinking as a writer with a big ‘ol historical interest in the comics medium.

Now, I’m confused.

What’s the POINT of shepherding the deal through for such little returns? Is DC happy with this?   Milestone editor and Chief Dwayne McDuffie wasn’t, and publicly expressed frustration.

I KNOW that a decent amount of time, expense, and money was spent by the Milestone creators. I assume that a goodly amount of same was tossed around on the DC side of the fence.  All this for a POSSIBLE Static-related storyline?

What. The. Hell. Were. They. Thinking?

So in the interests of research I trundled around the net and came up with some possibilities.

I gotta tell you.  None of these make DC editorially look pretty good.  At best it feels like extraordinarily poor planning on DC’s part.  At worst, it feels like a downright malignant brush-off to the creators and fans of the Milestone properties.

Let’s head down the depressing list.

Possibility 1) Simple miscommunication.  Didio is wrong, and the door is, in fact, open for new Milestone-related comics project at DC. I’d *like* for this to be true, and – The Dakota wrap-up series – is in the pipeline.  And DC will probably release it.

Still, overall, this is unlikely, given the unhappiness on the Milestone side, this is extremely unlikely.  McDuffie certainly doesn’t think this is the case.   But maybe?  Please?

Possibility 2) DC HAD big plans for the Milestone characters.  These plans were changed due to the vagaries of corporate publishing..

(Which doesn’t ABSOLUTELY mean “bad or incompetent planning.”

Probably.

I guess.)

OR these plans were changed to “punish”Dwayne McDuffie for comments made on his message board regarding his work writing Justice League of America. Here’s a quote from McDuffie on the JLA firing, via his message board via the Beat:

Nope, it was my own doing. I was fired when “Lying in the Gutters” ran a compilation of two years or so of my answers to fans’ questions on the DC Comics discussion boards. I’m told my removal had nothing to with either the quality of my work or the level of sales, rather with my revelation of behind-the-scenes creative discussions.

Honestly, I don’t have much of an opinion on the above. DC can fire anyone for whatever reason they want, and I’m sure that all experienced freelancers understand the business and the risks.

Still, these are two completely separate projects, with different editors, creators, and fan-bases.  If this is true we’re assuming that DC is capable of screwing over EVERYONE involved with Milestone to punish one guy.    If so – and remember, this is all absolutely hypothetical -  this is both incredibly petty, and potentially damaging to the quality of future DC projects:

“Dear freelances. If you tell the truth about your experiences working at DC, we will do EVERYTHING in our power to fuck with your life” is not a corporate attitude that results in a happy, productive work environment.

Possibility 3) DC REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted Static in the Teen Titans and didn’t care about the rest of the line at all.

If so… Well, mission accomplished, in an extremely inefficient and  round-a-bout way.  McDuffie considered this possibility on his forum.

Based on their actions, they never really wanted to publish the Milestone stuff, they wasted my time. We could have done a little deal for them to use Static without me having to spend so much money on lawyers.

Of all the likely possibilities, this is the one that casts DC in the best light.  It makes them seem silly and muddled, but not actively out to screw with people’s lives.

Sidenote, for what it’s worth: I just read both the Terror Titans mini-series and the most recent Titans TPB. Writer Sean McKeever and artist Joe Bennett are doing a fine job with Static. No complaints.

Possibility 4) DC’s publishing strategy is “Let’s throw crap at the wall and see what sticks.” (Granted this is, to some extent, EVERYONE’S publishing strategy.)  DC was hoping for a huge sales/publicity bump on the first few Milestone appearances. When this failed to happen, they decided to shelve all plans and pool their resources into more potentially profitable venues.

Like a Magog series. Or relaunching the Doom Patrol for the 16th time this year.

(OK, I bought both of these.  But still….)

In other words:  Poor planning and bad faith lying.

Possibility 5) Was, I believe, originally floated by Tony Isabella over on Dwayne McDuffie’s message board.

Call me cynical, but I still think the main reason DC makes deals to publish characters like the Milestone characters, the Archie super-heroes, Doc Savage, etc. is to keep someone else from publishing them. They already get their butts kicked by the Marvel super-heroes and they don’t want any more competition.

So. DC management is saying, here “WE don’t want to play with these toys, but we damn sure don’t want anyone else to play with them, either.” This would obviously make them assholes, but worse…

STUPID, too.

(A) By screwing the Milestone guys over, DC has clearly and obviously reduced it’s chances at this kind of future publishing deal. DC, unsurprisingly, seems much more concerned with the profitability and visibility of the characters that they own than the characters that they don’t. Which is, on a corporate-greed level sensible enough, BUT it doesn’t make them a particularly inviting home for folks who want their active characters to appear in actual comic books. The DC/Milestone alliance was an epic failure. The DC/Wildstorm alliance certainly wasn’t a success – Among other things, editorial meddling from DC led to Alan Moore seeking employment elsewhere.  At this point it seems like the height of idiocy for any outside company to want to function as a DC imprint.l

You keep this up, nobody’s gonna want to work with you.

(B) I don’t, honestly, see any other superhero universe posing much of a threat to DC and Marvel in the near future. DC HAS to know this too. Given the near-impossibility of selling non DC/Marvel superhero titles in the current direct market, all of this seems like wasted effort. In the last ten years there’s been, what? Invincible? And…. Yeah. I’m tapped.

Possibility 6) DC Comics is actively trying to alienate minority readers/hates black people/has an actively racist agenda. I’ve seen this one tossed around on message boards a decent amount.

I’m not seeing any corroborating evidence, so let’s let this one go.

Possibility 7)   (Suggested by Rob Tevis below.)

<blockquote>

McDuffie changed the deal after getting fired and DC’s hands are tied. He is big on creative control. If he felt like he wouldn’t get that after being let go, he could have decided to change things at the last minute. Dan D. probably ran his mouth too soon on the news before things were officially set up.

</blockquote>

Possibility 8) Some combination of the above.

So.  That’s what I came up with.

I fully realize that even if DC had given the Milestone line it’s full support it could have crashed and burned creatively. (I’m all-sorts of unsure about the creative potential of mixing the Milestone and DC universes together.) And the odds strongly favor that it would crash and burn and explode and salt the earth commercially - It’s incredibly rare for Marvel or DC to successfully launch ANY new in universe title, and the few that do succeed tend to be re-brandings of existing titles. (See: Dark Avengers.) Most fans prefer to stick with their favorite characters, and even modestly successful re-launches like Outsiders and She-Hulk are rare.

Of course, DC could have just avoided the whole deal in the first place.

And the Milestone line seems to be designed to target y an audience DC feels they don’t understand or have no real chance of reaching in decent numbers.

And, really, I’m not sure the REASON matters as much as the result:  A lot of people -  Creators and fans, including yours truly, – feels jerked around, fucked with, and angry.

So that’s my spiel.  Let me end with four questions:

1) Is there ANY way that DC could have dealt with the Milestone characters like they did that isn’t stupid or shady?

2) Can McDuffie and the other Milestoners pull out and work with a company that actually seems to like and WANT to produce Milestone comics?

3) Who has the merchandising rights to the Milestone characters now? Is DC in any position to make money off Static Shock lunchboxes?

4) Am I missing anything that might possibly result in new Milestone products? Throw me a bone here!

I am genuinelly curious here.  If anyone at DC or Milestone wants to respond with comments or clarification, please e-mail me at MarkAndrewCSBG at gmail.com.  Thanks.

57 Comments

8. DC is running out of their own heroes to kill off, and buying the Milestone characters means that they can off one or two at a time in every companywide crossover for the next few years and pass it off as meaningful since the characters have a pre-built publishing history.

They need to get on good terms with mcduffie.

Personally, I think the most likely possibilities are Numbers 4 and 5 — DC throws stuff up hoping they’ll get a sleeper hit, and if it doesn’t work out, at least they can then claim ownership and keep anyone else from using the characters.

If I’d been running things, I would’ve kept Static in the Titans and added Icon (and probably Rocket) to the JLA. I’d throw in a four-issue “Shadow Cabinet” miniseries to get them established as underground anti-heroes competing with Checkmate in trying to shape the world from behind the scenes. Get the characters blended into DC’s continuity, even if they’re just as background characters or occasional guest-stars.

And I think that’s probably the best option for dealing with the new Red Circle characters and Doc Savage and whoever else they decide to add — if you don’t get them blended in with the rest of your universe, you’re just doing stunt publishing. That’s okay for the short-term, but it’s no way for a serious publisher, with interests in long-term success, to operate.

In my opinion, I think trying to blend that many new characters into an established superhero universe is too much work, for too little payoff. It’s an effort doomed to failure and frustration. It’s why throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks is a rotten way to develop good comics.

(My favorite Milestone comic was always “Blood Syndicate” — loved the characters, loved the setup, loved the plots. “Blood Syndicate” is what actually got me back collecting comics again.)

I would guess that possibility 4 is most likely.

1) I don’t think a non-stupid, non-shady option exists for DC’s handling of the Milestone characters. I firmly believe that Dwayne McDuffie’s involvement with DC Comics (Entertainment, whatever) dictates Milestone’s involvement. When Dwayne was on JLA, and we were seeing the Shadow Cabinet set up as a team to rival the Justice League, that was a major push. Unfortunately, editorial derailed it (along with that embarrassingly stupid Faces of Evil tie-in month). McDuffie’s rise and fall on JLA seemed to directly reflect the profile of the Milestone relaunch in the DCU. It’s very similar to Possibility 2 above, but it’s not so much a “punishment” as it is a lack of McDuffie in the meeting rooms.

2) I don’t see Milestone going anywhere other than DC after this. McDuffie seems comfortable with DC’s animation ventures, and moreover we don’t know the full details of the agreement that is keeping Static in the Teen Titans. If McDuffie could pull the plug, would he? If so, where would he go? Surely he’d be “punished” again and taken out of the animated projects, which I’m sure would cause much less income in his direction. Marvel’s definitely not going to jump on the universe, so any other option would be a smaller company with less payroll. If Milestone was that important to McDuffie at this stage of his life, he’d have made the move years ago.

3) Again, we need to see the agreement between McDuffie and DC. My best guess would be that DC pays McDuffie a percentage of whatever they do, IF they opt to do something of the sort.

4) I wish. Personally, I’ve been hell-bent on finishing my collection of the line’s original books. I’ve finished Xombi (the best Grant Morrison book that he’s never written), Kobalt, Shadow Cabinet (except the final issue, which seems to be really hard to find), and various mini-series. I’ve had the full Blood Syndicate for years, and I’m trying to decide whether to tackle Hardware, Icon, or Static next.

With that said, thank you for writing about Milestone. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one that read or remembers their great books. :)

Craig

You know, I had originally written a very long response to your post disagreeing point-by-point, but I realize now it’s just easier to say that I generally disagree with your reasoning behind the lack of future Milestone character publications.

What I think, as I’ve pondered this more, is that DC’s highest ups are really trying hard to increase sales and, quite honestly, just aren’t doing a great job of it. They thought the Milestone characters would help — they didn’t. They seem to think that the pulp characters and Red Circle characters will help (and they likely won’t). They’re spinning off JSA All Stars, after Magog and Power Girl already got titles (not to mention Doom Patrol/Metal Men) and these will all be lucky to last 24 issues.

They SEEM to be trying something and it’s JUST NOT CONNECTING with fans.

I think the reason why Milestone is back on the shelf is simply a matter of decreasing sales during their JLA appearance plus McDuffie’s revelations of editorial interference. DC probably doesn’t want to work with someone that shows them as being meddling and incompetent. Would you?

Anyway, to answer your questions:

1) Yes, DC could have announced the reason why they’ve scuttled their plans for the Milestone characters but, since they haven’t, it’s likely not a “public-consumption-friendly” reason.

2) Probably not. Again, since we don’t know the details of the deal. DiDio seemed gung-ho to use the Milestone characters to “strengthen the DCU” but then things changed. We don’t know exactly why they changed, but I’m reasonably certain that the deal hasn’t changed despite things.

3) DC does, through a licensing agreement with McDuffie and the Milestone copyright holders.

4) No, I think you’re absolutely right on that point. We’re likely not going to see any new Milestone stuff. I’d say it’s a shame but, honestly, did anyone really think this was going to work out well? It never does…

Anyway, this is something I had noticed before you posted it, and part of a bigger topic that Greg Hatcher discussed in greater detail a previous time. A lot of what DC seems to be doing doesn’t make much sense. The problem is, we’re probably not going to know the real reasons.

Ah well. Maybe things will change and we’ll see more of Milestone at DC. Maybe.

(One other thing, it’s still “DC Comics.”)

How about the most likely scenario

Possibility 8: The economy is forcing a minor constriction, and this would not be the best time to launching new products…

Duh…

The “punish Dwayne McDuffie” theory seems highly unlikely given that he still gets paid when they use Static. Granted, he might get paid more if they used the other characters, but still, “punishing” a guy by giving him money seems like an odd strategy.

And buying up the properties to keep them out of the hands of the competition makes DC stupid nor assholes. It is, in fact, a common business practice. And, contrary to what fans want to believe, comic book publishing is a business.

In general, I find the underlying premise of this whole argument suspect. The phrase “screwing Milestone over” appears several times, but I find it hard to see how Milestone is getting screwed over by DC paying them for the right to use characters/properties that Milestone itself was doing absolutely nothing with. No matter how you cut it, Milestone ends up coming out ahead, in that they’re getting money and exposure for their properties that they weren’t getting before this deal. The fans can grumble that they’re not getting enough exposure/money, but whatever they’re getting is better than the none they were getting before the DC deal.

As for DC “needing” to explain their decision or show us the agreement . . . no, they don’t. Would you expect them to show us their tax records or their annual employee reviews? Those are business documents that they are under no obligation to share them with the public. Just because anyone can ask a question on the Internet doesn’t make anyone else beholden to answer it.

The JLA crossover was poorly written following a poor writing stint on JLA itself. Yes, I’ve read the comments that it is the fault of editorial screwing with the storylines set forth by the writer, but overall it should not have been JLA used to push the Milestone characters; it should have been Brave & Bold or a standalone or two. Maybe a major multi-title event issue crossover like the original DC/Milestone crossover would have worked, with the agreement to possibly incorporate a guest character into ongoing storylines or return guest-spots, as opposed to them vanishing going forward.

In lighter conversation, with a Milestone Universe wrap-up in the wings, could there be an !mpact wrap-up (penned by Waid???) in the future? Let the speculation begin.

Possibility 4) DC’s publishing strategy is “Let’s throw crap at the wall and see what sticks.” (Granted this is, to some extent, EVERYONE’S publishing strategy.) DC was hoping for a huge sales/publicity bump on the first few Milestone appearances. When this failed to happen, they decided to shelve all plans and pool their resources into more potentially profitable venues.

I fail to see how this is either wrong, a bad idea, or worthy of condemnation. It’s actually a pretty common sense business decision.

The other consideration is that they simply haven’t figured out what to do with them yet. Just because they didn’t rush a Milestone line into production the minute the ink was dry doesn’t mean they’ll never use the characters.

I think that there is an explanation that you are missing. If you look at this chart (http://tiny.cc/NMnbG), then you will see that the periodical business has been flat in dollar terms for over a decade. This is despite rising prices. However, sales of trade paperbacks have exploded.

In acquiring Milestone, DC bought a good sized back catalog of quality comics that can be re-packaged in trade. That business is much healthier than the business of selling new comics in floppy form. I am sure that we will ICON and STATIC trades following the HARDWARE one.

I think Basara is closer to the truth than any assumptions about DC cruelly planned to “buy all the toys so nobody else could play with them”. Kalorama and Dean have brought good points too. I believe the Milestone characters will have to wait for some creator to come forward with an actual sellable pitch before any of them gets a chance at the spotlight. In my opinion DC doesn’t want to risk publishing a bunch of Milestone-character books just to see if one of them magically becomes a hit, especially in a depressed economy. At some point in the future someone will have a good idea for an Icon or Static ongoing, and hopefully they will have a chance.

It’s like Kalorama mentioned; the fact that DC didn’t hurry to give all the Milestone heroes their own ongoing books doesn’t mean that those characters will never be used again. I know the Internet practically invites us to have kneejerk reactions, but I see no reason so far to accuse DC of purposely screwing with anyone. Didio is not Darkseid in disguise.

By screwing the Milestone guys over, DC has clearly and obviously reduced it’s chances at this kind of future publishing deal.

I wouldn’t call it clear or obvious at all. Sure, someone who cares creatively about their characters would be unlikely to make such a deal, although I’d be surprised if they would have made such a deal before. This is hardly the first time something like this has happened. But someone who cares commercially about their characters, and it isn’t just corporations that can be greedy, must see this as a pretty good deal.

it doesn’t make them a particularly inviting home for folks who want their active characters to appear in actual comic books.

Yeah, but that isn’t everybody. Only some creators are going to care.

At this point it seems like the height of idiocy for any outside company to want to function as a DC imprint … You keep this up, nobody’s gonna want to work with you.

Yes, the only exception being those companies that like to make money.

My gut feeling is that the projects got pulled or canceled in a panic when the initial offerings didn’t set the world on fire. Never assume malice when incompetence or cowardice can suffice for an explanation.

Although to be honest, apart from the reprint rights and the Static property, I’m not really seeing why DC made such a big deal about going after the Milestone stuff in the first place. It never was a big marquee value in comics. (Understand, I don’t mean the quality, which i thought was really high overall considering how hard it is to just launch an imprint with a whole line like that. But it wasn’t that big a success and you can pretty much assemble a Milestone collection out of quarter boxes.)

But what seems like it would make more sense would have been to leverage the success of Static Shock into a series of Milestone cartoons, the way Dini and Timm did with Batman leading to Batman and Robin Adventures leading to Superman and Batman Beyond and The Zeta Project and Justice League and so on and so on. I have to think that McDuffie and company must have tried. I wonder why that never happened.

I totally agree with the 4 & 5 combination platter. They will give something a shot and if it works, it works…and if not it gets shit-canned. Then you have to be really aggressive with protecting your rights to characters and they aren’t going to let anything slip through their hands at this point. You can never tell when a minor character is going to be worth some bucks in the future. Look at what Marvel stumbled upon with the Blade character.

I must be missing the big problem here. Things change. It happens with just about any business. By all means, DiDio likely was excited to get his hands on the characters; that doesn’t mean things exactly worked out as originally planned. Even the Red Circle ordeal hasn’t happened as it was originally planned and has seen shuffling around; first it was supposed to be JMS in Brave and the Bold, then it was JMS in a bunch of one shots, then it was JMS writing a couple of them while co-writing the other two. Something might have come up and DC editorial may simply have decided to hold off on Milestone – keeping Static in Teen Titans, at least – and focus on Red Circle first. We don’t know; as the saying goes, s*** happens.

I think the racial bias remarks are frankly stupid; DC and DiDio have pushed ethnic minority characters in the past and currently. See the new Blue Beetle, whom Dan DiDio himself has thrown his weight and support behind on several occasions, for one example. The new Tattooed Man, Black Lightning, The Great Ten, Super Young Team. DC has been pushing characters like this and making projects with them. So just because original plans with the Milestone characters fell through they must be racially biased. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it; it comes off as angry speculation to me as to why this just hasn’t come about.

Also, it’s not like MacDuffie was singled out for this. Chuck Dixon pulled similar business in the past and it got him fired. Hell, he came back and then subsequently found himself not working for DC after a pretty short period recently. Jim Shooter has always been an abrasive figure and he sure didn’t last long for it. In the old days, you didn’t hear about this stuff. I still think we have no real business knowing most of it. But that’s the information age for you.

Point is, it happens and Dwayne lost his JLA gig over it. But he’s still working pretty heavily with WB/DC.

On Cry for Justice, what are they supposed to do? This is a story James Robinson wanted to tell – good or not, mind you – and it was announced with a push behind it. What would they do? Announce it halfheartedly? With James Robinson coming back? I doubt it. Spin-off’s happen. It was supposed to even be an ongoing in the vein of a second Justice League team before Dwayne was dropped. Do you announce something like that without making a big deal of it?

I really think people are looking into this way too much right now. I’m sure it’s frustrating for fans of Milestone. But really, projects and ideas fall through. It happens. I don’t see why it suddenly means DC is racist.

You mentioned Invincible, but forgot to mention Atomic Robo (R5)! Or Proof (Image). Or any of the Hellboy (Dark Horse) titles. Those titles kick some serious ass. Although I’m honestly not certain as to how well they do in terms of sales.
Buffy counts as a superhero, doesn’t she? That title from Dark Horse has consistently been one of the top performers saleswise since its debut.

As a Milestone fan, I for one was ecstatic that Didio was too incompetent to plan and pull off anything with them. I shudder to think of how they would have been treated. It would have been craptastic at best. As a Milestone fan, the fact DC will not be using them in the near future is great news.

Well, DC editorial seemed to think Milestone should be folded into the DC Universe proper. OK, but rather than do it during a big event like Final Crisis (which had all sorts of reality-altering whatzis, and would’ve been the time), didn’t they halfass it and just say Dakota and all the Milestone characters had been there the whole time, you just never noticed and they kept missing the other DC characters by five minutes. Weak, and it undermines the Milestone characters by just making them another batch of faces in the crowd, like the Challengers of the Unknown or the Sea Devils or something.

As I posted when you accidentally posted an earlier draft a couple of days, my default position is to attribute anything conspicuously stupid as regards DC to Dan DiDio’s obvious, repeatedly demonstrated idiocy. More analysis that that is certainly warranted, but I’m happy to leave that not only to you but the other folks posting here — I’m too tired right now.

(Did I mention that DiDio is an idiot? Isn’t it neat how “DiDio” is “idiot” spelled sideways, except for a single letter? It’s enough to make me demand he surrender his neato keen first name & go with whatever his middle name is.)

Seriously, this gives DC way too much credit. The DCU as a whole has been directionless and editorially incoherent since Infinite Crisis.

If we are talking about a business (and we are), you always look at money as the biggest motivating factor. DC must not believe they can make money of the characters at this point (that being true or false can be argued). They have another stable of characters that they launched fairly recently and that fell flat (even with strong talent on more recognizable characters) and they probably will fail with the Red Circle as well. Hey, it’s better to own a property and not need it than to need a property and not own it.

i would say its a combination of all the things mentions dc is just throwing stuff to see what sticks they decided to punish dwayne not to mention DC really does know how to use other characters that orginaly are not theres the right way . for they only got them to keep any one else from having them and maybe prove how much of a hit they are back in comics as for merch sadly any one who wants to merch the milestone unvierse now would have to talk to dc for the lincense since separate universe means separate license and that would include Mattel wanting to add them to their dc toy lines.

Dan Bailey and Matt D are right. Occam’s Razor and all that. Also, that rule that says never blame conspiracy for a problem when incompetence and stupidity will do. I mean, the only thing in the mainstream DCU that was a hit with both critics and fans under Didio’s regime was 52, and thanks to Mark Waid’s recent interview we discovered that Didio absolutely HATED AND LOATHED it the whole time it was running and would complain to anyone who would listen about how much he hated it. Not only does he botch everything, the one unqualified storytelling success under his watch turns out to have come out in SPITE of his best efforts, not because of them. Waid said not only did he try to constantly undermine them on 52, he took more of an active role in the weekly Countdown in order to show people “52 done right.”

And we’re supposed to be disappointed that the guy in the previous paragraph didn’t actively use those wonderful Milestone characters?

A little bit of 4, a little bit of 5.

Big corporations need to acquire properties and hold on to them. This is why any time you get a novel published or a comic that gets reviewed positively anywhere, somebody calls your agent and tries to option to movie rights. Corporations have learned that even tiny, indy properties can hit it big some day, so snatch up the rights early and just hold on to them. If it hits, pump the crap out of it!

But if it doesn’t hit, if there isn’t a big fan response, etc., well, those are the breaks.

DC isn’t going to take a leap of faith on a comic just because it is inherently “good”. The fan base needs to be there. So, I’m saying MOSTLY #4 above.

The thing is, I don’t know why you’d be ANGRY about that… it’s just how businesses work. It’s why we hear about all kinds of movies and comics that never happen. All the conspiracy theories (DC is trying to punish so-in-so, DC is racist, DC is run by idiots) are just silly. They’ve got a business system, they’ve got a way of handling properties. It is in tune and in line with how Marvel, Disney, or anyone else manages their properties. They aren’t going to pay for ink and paper for a character unless fans are buying that character.

They’d sooner kill Superman again. Or make the Joker come out of the closet as a repressed homosexual. Or, you know, some variation on dead Superman and gay Joker.

All the conspiracy theories (DC is trying to punish so-in-so, DC is racist, DC is run by idiots) are just silly.

Saying DC is run by idiots is not a conspiracy. It’s actually the opposite. You have to be somewhat smart and something of a planner to run a conspiracy. What we’re saying is that they’re simply incompetent and lack common sense. They don’t have the coordination and brainpower to ever conspire to do anything.

I don’t know why such an assertion is silly, they have the track record of ineptness to back it up.

basara
Possibility 8: The economy is forcing a minor constriction, and this would not be the best time to launching new products…

duh

Man, you have NO IDEA how much work it takes me to respond to this without being sarcastic.

But here goes.

I follow your theoretical logic, but it’s not even remotely reflective of the actual comics climate right now.

(A) Comic sales are surprisingly steady.

(B) DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, and IDW have all launched multiple recent series based on properties that aren’t known and recognized by millions of people – most of ‘em even less well known that the non-Static Milestone characters.

I did briefly consider what your saying but it seemed so out of touch with the way comic publishers are currently thinking that I didn’t even list it as a possibility.

Sure, if DC in specific or the comics industry in general were engaged in a line/industry wide implosion, your position would absolutely make sense.

But they’re not (really far from it, in fact) so it doesn’t.

kalorama
And buying up the properties to keep them out of the hands of the competition makes DC stupid nor assholes. It is, in fact, a common business practice.

In film, sure, but not in comics. And in film – Well, did I miss a memo? Is anyone NOT arguing that this is an aberrant, immoral practice that’s hurting movies as an art form?

And y’know, I honestly think I explained this decently clearly…

But WTH, one more time.

What’s the logic from DC’s POV? How can they say that spending money to NOT use characters – And we’re not talking particularly high-selling characters – is a shrewd business move? If you want to put that argument forward, you need to explain how this makes any kind of economic sense for anyone.

I’m not sure where your faith that this is a logical “common sense business decision” stems from, frankly.

acespot
You mentioned Invincible, but forgot to mention Atomic Robo (R5)! Or Proof (Image). Or any of the Hellboy (Dark Horse) titles.

I generally think of “superhero” as more “derived from Superman” than any action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi character with roots in the pulp tradition.

>>All the conspiracy theories (DC is trying to punish so-&-so, DC is racist, DC is run by idiots) are just silly.

For all I know, DiDio is a prince of a man, but even so … in what way is “DC is run by idiots” a “conspiracy theory”? Every now & then, no matter how much one worships at the altar of corporate capitalism, I would venture to say that companies are run by people who, y’know, aren’t really very good at their jobs. Sorry, it’s true. (Ever hear of, say, Enron?)

Ahhhh … what is it they say on the interwebs? I owe T. a coke.

Ditto 4 and 5. I doubt any personal attacks involved: this is business, and money beats vendettas.

It’s hard not to get a little upset, because Icon and Static in particular were SO good, and it’s just a shame to see good characters that inspire good writing ignored or wasted. Of course in the perfect world in my head, certain titles would always remain in print regardless of profitability just for good will. I mean, Wonder Woman will always be a title regardless of sales because she’s one of their big three icons. I don’t want to question why Jonah Hex is still around: is it because of the movie on the way? Because European reprints are doing well enough to justify it? I just know it’s a great title and I want to keep reading it.

I’d say it was more of a corporate investment, rather than a publishing one. I think future movie rights are what they were looking for, and unless a major talent (Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller) comes up with a proposal they’d rather sit on the rights than go through the awkwardness of trying to integrate the Milestoners into the DCU.

Hmm. Good thoughts.

Still, I can’t help thinking that this comes down to a difference in values, not a lack of common sense. They might make choices that turn out badly, but they aren’t blind.

Comic “producers” have different values than comic artists, which are again different from those of comic fans. We think they lack common sense; they think we don’t understand how businesses make money and protect long-term properties.

Mark’s expression of exasperation (How the heck does this make sense, even from a business standpoint?) is valid, but some pretty smart guys sitting around a big table somewhere ironed this out and decided that the numbers just weren’t there. They made a choice to re-acquire, and then later they made a choice to table the projects, and each of those choices were made with the best information they had in hand at the time. Tomorrow they’ll do something else inexplicable to me, I’m sure.

They get up every morning, pay their bills, and tie their shoes. They aren’t idiots, they just see the world in some way that we don’t. If their choices are BAD, then they’ll sell fewer comics, grind their properties into the mud, and they’ll fade away.

A different train of thought: I’d rather they table Milestone or any character or line of comics rather than give it a crappy production. We all know about crappy productions that spoiled a character or left a bad taste in our mouths for a whole set of characters. (I’m sure there are better examples, but the one that jumps to mind for me is Ultimates 3, which caused me to stop reading the entire universe.)

Sasquatcha
The JLA crossover was poorly written following a poor writing stint on JLA itself. Yes, I’ve read the comments that it is the fault of editorial screwing with the storylines set forth by the writer, but overall it should not have been JLA used to push the Milestone characters; it should have been Brave & Bold or a standalone or two. Maybe a major multi-title event issue crossover like the original DC/Milestone crossover would have worked, with the agreement to possibly incorporate a guest character into ongoing storylines or return guest-spots, as opposed to them vanishing going forward.

In lighter conversation, with a Milestone Universe wrap-up in the wings, could there be an !mpact wrap-up (penned by Waid???) in the future? Let the speculation begin.

That makes a heck-of-a-lot more sense then what DC actually did with the characters.

Greg Hatcher
But what seems like it would make more sense would have been to leverage the success of Static Shock into a series of Milestone cartoons, the way Dini and Timm did with Batman leading to Batman and Robin Adventures leading to Superman and Batman Beyond and The Zeta Project and Justice League and so on and so on. I have to think that McDuffie and company must have tried. I wonder why that never happened.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! There’s never been a better time to launch a superhero franchise in LOTS of media that AREN’T comics! That’s what I’d concentrate on if I owned the Milestone line.

beta ray steve
I think future movie rights are what they were looking for

Yeah, now THAT would make sense. I just haven’t seen anything that says this is more than a publishing deal.

Dean
In acquiring Milestone, DC bought a good sized back catalog of quality comics that can be re-packaged in trade. That business is much healthier than the business of selling new comics in floppy form. I am sure that we will ICON and STATIC trades following the HARDWARE one.

I see whatcher saying, but it all seems kind of piddly. Shared-Universe superhero comics aren’t what’s driving the Trade/Graphic Novel boom, ESPECIALLY reprints of material that didn’t sell all that well 10-15 years ago.

But they might have a reason: I can see DC targeting the young, minority, bookstore audience or something.

Personally, of course, I’m really happy to have the trades and I’ll keep buyin’ ‘em as long as DC keeps making ‘em.

Hey Doug!
Mark’s expression of exasperation (How the heck does this make sense, even from a business standpoint?) is valid, but some pretty smart guys sitting around a big table somewhere ironed this out and decided that the numbers just weren’t there. They made a choice to re-acquire, and then later they made a choice to table the projects, and each of those choices were made with the best information they had in hand at the time. Tomorrow they’ll do something else inexplicable to me, I’m sure.

Absolute agreement with the last part, although situations like this with active properties the original creators are still invested in are really rare in comics, which does make the Milestone situation a big ‘ol anomaly within the field.

I haven’t seen much in the history of mainstream comics that was inxeplicable in this particular way.

How can you say “The numbers aren’t there” at this early juncture? If there was a sound business plan and a huge push and DC launched multiple Milestone related series and advertised the hell out of them and THEN nobody was buying them…

sure, they’re headed for cancellation right quick.

But a handful of appearances in floundering – Read: Not Batman, Green Lantern or Vertigo reprint – titles?

You only have, like, seven numbers! The numbers aren’t there for 80% of DC’s line!

>>They get up every morning, pay their bills, and tie their shoes. They aren’t idiots, they just see the world in some way that we don’t. If their choices are BAD, then they’ll sell fewer comics, grind their properties into the mud, and they’ll fade away.

I’m glad — & I say this utterly without snark, believe it or not — that you obviously haven’t worked for a company &/or in an in industry in which idiocy is just … undeniable. As someone who spent most of us adult life toiling for newspapers, I can assure you that at least *one* field not only keeps idiots (a) employed (b) in high-level positions, it (c) promotes them time & again. For that matter, there’s a bit of that going on now in my post-newspaper place of employment. (And no, it’s not just me. That, or it’s just me & everybody I talk to. Granted, maybe they’re all just humoring me & have been doing so for years … but *that* would require the conspiracy theories you decry, wouldn’t it?)

Whether that’s true of comics in general & DC in particular, I have no idea. But having seen it done, time & time again, makes me think that it’s hardly inconceivable. Again, that’s obviously where we differ.

They get up every morning, pay their bills, and tie their shoes. They aren’t idiots,

I’ve known plenty of people capable of getting up every morning, paying their bills and tying their shoes who managed to be utterly incompetent idiots nonetheless.

Re: Dan Bailey – I agree, and there’s a reason why there are rabid followings for movies like Office Space, strips like Dilbert and TV series like The Office both in the UK and the USA. Obviously many people can identify with a workplace run by incompetent dopes.

And while all this nonsense is going on, I can’t help but notice a distinct lack of Static Shock boxsets in stores…

PUT THEM OUT ALREADY, WARNER BROS! COMPLETE THE DCAU COLLECTION!

In film, sure, but not in comics. And in film – Well, did I miss a memo? Is anyone NOT arguing that this is an aberrant, immoral practice that’s hurting movies as an art form?

Whether or not it’s been common practice in comics until now is irrelevant to the point. The fact is that it’s a common, valid, and proven business tactic, the kind that is not industry specific. Which is not to say that it’s guaranteed to work, or even necessarily the best way to do business. But the suggestion that it’s somehow stupid or morally-bankrupt is invalid. It’s a tactic and strategy that has its place in the business world.

What’s the logic from DC’s POV? How can they say that spending money to NOT use characters – And we’re not talking particularly high-selling characters – is a shrewd business move? If you want to put that argument forward, you need to explain how this makes any kind of economic sense for anyone.

It cuts down on the amount of potential competition in a shrinking marketplace and faltering economy where the fight for consumer dollars is getting harder and harder to win every day. That simple, really.

I sort of wonder if part of the lack of Milestone projects is DC wanting McDuffie to lead the new projects, and McDuffie’s TV interests preventing him from putting more time into the effort. (With the caveat that DC’s treatment of McDuffie would make him more likely to drift away from them.) DC editorial strikes me as having a tendency to say “Only X can write an interesting project using idea Y, and X is busy so we won’t touch Y until X is ready for it.”

And, for the record, I don’t actually think that DC bought the properties with the specific intention to bury them. I’m simply pointing out that, if they had, it would be a business move with clear precedent. The simple, obvious fact of the matter is that they ARE using the properties. Shadow Cabinet appeared in JLA. Hardware and Static appeared in Brave and the Bold. Static is appearing every month in Teen Titans, so it’s not like they spent money for nothing. The characters have been/are being used, and may well be used more in the future. But, in typical fashion, when fandom doesn’t get exactly what it wants exactly when they want it, then someone must pay. And, of course, the penalty for noncompliance is an Internet tongue-lashing.

I would agree that it has everything to do with DC scooping up properties to keep in their back pocket. Short term, yeah, they wanted Static on the Teen Titans, but that’s about it. I really believe that if McDuffie had not gotten the boot from JLA, it would be Icon and Hardware in the new Justice League, instead of Mon-El and Guardian.

They are stockpiling the characters for ideas they haven’t had yet. They will make some bucks and generate interest on the properties through the trade paperback market and go from there. Maybe Grant Morrison will have a great idea for Superman in 2 years that’s too controversial, so they ask him to substitute Icon. Or maybe some upstart has a Shadow Cabinet story they have been sitting on since they were a kid and want to tell it – now that story comes to DC.

That sort of thing. It’s all a property grab.

Great points everyone…. (I don’t think I’ve ever gotten into a comic book discussion thread before.) I’m still going to say that the dopes who get promoted are only dopes from a certain point of view… and, if they’re truly, objectively idiots… well, sometimes, a dope is exactly who a company needs in charge. We don’t pick CEOs because they’re geniuses.

But the more interesting conclusion from this might be old CW: Creativity and storytelling by committee, using massive properties, is really, really hard. And frequently sucks.

I really liked Cisco Kid’s comment: “Maybe Grant Morrison will have a great idea for Superman in 2 years that’s too controversial, so they ask him to substitute Icon.” DC execs know (or should know) that some of the greatest stuff ever comes from a surprising, skilled writer or artist being handed an old character to chew on. (Sandman, Swamp Thing, etc. etc.) So they gotta keep a good bunch of old characters to chew on. :-D

But like you, I’m impatient. Because, dang it, there just aren’t enough good comics. (IMHO, as always.)

kudos,
d

kalorama
Whether or not it’s been common practice in comics until now is irrelevant to the point.

No, it’s really not.

Screenwriting for Hollywood strikes me as analagous to writing (and getting fired from) Justice League comics. If you’ve bothered to do a modicum of research, you KNOW that your work is probably gonna sit in a drawer somewhere, and if it makes it up onto the screen it’s probably going to be changed from what you wrote.

Screenwriters, like hired corporate comic scribes, have studied the market, and understand the procedure.

(Note that this STILL strikes me as a shitty and disrespectful way for the studios to do business.)

With the Milestone group the situation is different. DC strongly implied that they had huge publishing plans for the Milestone line, and McDuffie (at least) clearly believed this to be true. In comics, in virtually every case “We want to license/publish your intellectual property” MEANS “we want to license/publish your intellectual property.” There’s no reason, based on a working knowledge of the industry, to assume that your project is gonna be shelved.

So when DC makes a huge announcement that they’ve acquired the rights to publish your characters, and seem excited about publishing your characters, industry precedent (almost without exception) suggests that they are going to publish your damn characters.

So, obviously, when DC strongly goes against industry precedent, people are gonna feel jerked around.

The fact is that it’s a common, valid, and proven business tactic, the kind that is not industry specific. Which is not to say that it’s guaranteed to work, or even necessarily the best way to do business. But the suggestion that it’s somehow stupid or morally-bankrupt is invalid. It’s a tactic and strategy that has its place in the business world.

This would make total sense to me if we were dealing with the merchandising, film, or video game rights to the Milestone characters, which could be a potential gold-mine for someone.

But penny ante l’il comics? How much did DC seriously expect to make on the deal, anyway? How can this even be worth there time?

It cuts down on the amount of potential competition in a shrinking marketplace and faltering economy where the fight for consumer dollars is getting harder and harder to win every day. That simple, really.

And here we’re at an impasse. I don’t see any significant demand for non-Marvel/DC shared universe superhero comics. A quick glance down the top 300 sales charts here at CBR should prove my point here. Given that, spending any more than a negligible amount of resources acquiring the Milestone properties feels like a mistake.

And *IF* this is there thinking, then why the big ‘ol announcement? It’s like Universal (or whoever) splashing a front-page ad on the cover or Variety (or whatever) saying they’ve acquired the film rights to Twilight (or some-such similar) and not doing anything with it. Gonna make ‘em look a little silly.

(Ok, I’m far from an expert on movies, and everything I know comes from hanging out with a couple screenwriters in a bar.)

No, it’s really not.

Screenwriting for Hollywood strikes me as analagous to writing (and getting fired from) Justice League comics. If you’ve bothered to do a modicum of research, you KNOW that your work is probably gonna sit in a drawer somewhere, and if it makes it up onto the screen it’s probably going to be changed from what you wrote.

Screenwriters, like hired corporate comic scribes, have studied the market, and understand the procedure.

(Note that this STILL strikes me as a shitty and disrespectful way for the studios to do business.)

With the Milestone group the situation is different. DC strongly implied that they had huge publishing plans for the Milestone line, and McDuffie (at least) clearly believed this to be true. In comics, in virtually every case “We want to license/publish your intellectual property” MEANS “we want to license/publish your intellectual property.” There’s no reason, based on a working knowledge of the industry, to assume that your project is gonna be shelved.

Again, not really hitting the mark. To the extent that that explanation has any validity, it’s only valid in explaining why the decision may be a puzzlement to the people at Milestone (and, quite honestly, I doubt they’d be that puzzled by it, being that they’re all veterans of the entertainment industry and media). But that has nothing to do with my point. I was talking about the decisionmaking process by DC Comics. From their end, there are potentially valid reasons for buying up properties to stick on the back burner. Whether or not anyone else agrees with that reasoning or has encountered it before is irrelevant. The only thing that matters from DC’s perspective (and the whole, apparent, point of your commentary was to figure out their reasoning) there would be valid reasons for buying the character with the intention to keep them off the marketplace. But, again, I don’t believe that was their actual intention.

Also, this:

There’s no reason, based on a working knowledge of the industry, to assume that your project is gonna be shelved.

Is just wrong. Comic book projects get announced only to be later delayed or shelved quite frequently. Not even close to a new or rare occurrence. There’s no reason for creators to assume it’s going to happen, but it’s certainly happened enough that there’s no reason for them to be shocked if it does.

So when DC makes a huge announcement that they’ve acquired the rights to publish your characters, and seem excited about publishing your characters, industry precedent (almost without exception) suggests that they are going to publish your damn characters.

And, again, unless I missed a memo, there’s been no announcement from DC that they’re not planning to ever publish the Milestone characters, period. As I’ve already pointed out, they have published/are publishing some of them now and, last I heard, plans were still in place for the Milestone wrapup miniseries to be written by McDuffie, so they will be publishing them in the future.

So, obviously, when DC strongly goes against industry precedent, people are gonna feel jerked around.

I don’t see how that’s “obvious” at all, beyond the fact that, by its very nature, Internet-based fandom has a high probability of loudly complaining about any and everything at the drop of a hat, regardless of the validity of the complaint. But, in that case, (as in most cases) their outrage has little substantive obvious connection to the severity of the actual “offense.”

This would make total sense to me if we were dealing with the merchandising, film, or video game rights to the Milestone characters, which could be a potential gold-mine for someone.

I doubt the Milestone comic characters have any real “goldmine” potential. If they did, then Milestone Media would have put at least a modicum of effort into mining it over the past decade, rather than letting the properties gather dust in a corner of their closet.

But penny ante l’il comics? How much did DC seriously expect to make on the deal, anyway? How can this even be worth there time?

You’re completely missing the point. Assuming that we’re still talking about the hypothetical motivation of DC licensing the Milestone characters just to bury them, then the issue wouldn’t be how much money DC stood to make on the deal. The issue would be how much could they save/avoid losing by restricting the competition. In this hypothetical instance, the reward would not be generating profits, but rather avoiding losses.

And here we’re at an impasse. I don’t see any significant demand for non-Marvel/DC shared universe superhero comics. A quick glance down the top 300 sales charts here at CBR should prove my point here. Given that, spending any more than a negligible amount of resources acquiring the Milestone properties feels like a mistake.

And what makes you think they spent anything more than a negligible amount acquiring them? The characters have been sitting dormant, generating no revenue for a decade. And even when they were being published, they weren’t blowing the doors off sales records. What reason is there to think DC spent a small mint acquiring this stuff? None that I can see.

And *IF* this is there thinking, then why the big ‘ol announcement? It’s like Universal (or whoever) splashing a front-page ad on the cover or Variety (or whatever) saying they’ve acquired the film rights to Twilight (or some-such similar) and not doing anything with it. Gonna make ‘em look a little silly..

And, as I have already said multiple times, I don’t actually think that burying the characters was their prime motivation. I was simply stating that, if it was, such a decision would not be so unprecedented or illogical, or evil as you were working so hard to make it sound.

I think DC, in the constant “who copied who first rivalry with Marvel” remembered that Marvel bought out the Ultraverse many years ago and has still yet to do anything with it. DC went out shopping for their own universe to do nothing with.

RE Kevin, (I think “doing nothing with my universe” should be a line in a poem)

Kevin – Ha! (Although there was certainly a bigger Ultraverse push from Marvel and Marvel was essentially buying their coloring department with the characters thrown in. That, at least, I get.)

Kalrorama – I’m just not following your logic, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be – You don’t even seem to be arguing that this is justified or sensible or that this was good launch, just that behavior like possibility 3 happens in film all the time.

Which is absolutely true.

But that’s a long way from a moral or logical justification for what’s happening here.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 23, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I’m not sure if this is a reason DC had or not, but you know where those characters could really work in DC’s favour?
That DC Online game they’ve been planning for ages.
That way, suddenly there’s a lot more characters who aren’t white Caucasians to choose from, for those who’d rather play as someone else.

I agree with the theory about the “no one else can have them” mentality. There are a ton of Hollywood studios (hell, almost all of them) that operate on this principle, and it’s easier than getting your ass kicked seven ways from Sunday by another company. Hell, Dark Horse or Image could probably do good things with the Milestone books if they were marketed properly.

I truly, honestly loathe the idea that every character has to co-exist with the DCU and get crammed into the multiple tiers below Superman, Batman, etc. There’s a reason we haven’t had a great Captain Marvel comic in decades until Jeff Smith’s.

[...] that whole thing together! He has trouble tying his shoes/running a publishing company, from what I hear. We should give him a special Eisner for [...]

Kalrorama – I’m just not following your logic, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be – You don’t even seem to be arguing that this is justified or sensible or that this was good launch, just that behavior like possibility 3 happens in film all the time.

Well, if you’re really interested in following my logic, the first place to start would be to separate what I said from what you said. I never said anything about how often it happens in film. That was you. I never considered anything about the film industry in my argument. Again, that was you. What I I said that a company buying up assets to keep them off the market and out of competitor’s hands is a common business practice whose applicability is not limited to any particular industry. It’s done frequently in all kinds of businesses to curtail competition. And it often works. Therefore there is no reason why it cannot or should not be done in the comics industry. It’s a bottom line business decision and the comics industry is a business. Period.

Which is absolutely true.

And absolutely irrelevant to my point (And, really, doesn’t do much to help yours, either, so I don’t see why you keep bringing it up).

But that’s a long way from a moral or logical justification for what’s happening here.

If that had been DC’s strategy (and I reiterate that I doubt that it was) its use would be wholly justified by the simple and obvious fact that such a strategy (A) has proven effective in a number of business settings and (B) violates absolutely no legal, moral, or ethical business codes. And as long as that’s the case, no other moral or logical justification is needed. Again, the fact that it pisses you off or deprives you of the comics you want to read is not a breach of logic or morality. And really, that’s what all of your arguments boil down to.

Kalrorama – I’m just not following your logic, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be – You don’t even seem to be arguing that this is justified or sensible or that this was good launch, just that behavior like possibility 3 happens in film all the time.

Well, if you’re really interested in following my logic, the first place to start would be to separate what I said from what you said. I never said anything about how often it happens in film. That was you. I never considered anything about the film industry in my argument. Again, that was you. What I said is that a company buying up assets to keep them off the market and out of competitor’s hands is a common business practice whose applicability is not limited to any particular industry. It’s done frequently in all kinds of businesses to curtail competition. And it often works. Therefore there is no reason why it cannot or should not be done in the comics industry. It’s a bottom line business decision and the comics industry is a business. Period.

Which is absolutely true.

And absolutely irrelevant to my point (And, really, doesn’t do much to help yours, either, so I don’t see why you keep bringing it up).

But that’s a long way from a moral or logical justification for what’s happening here.

If that had been DC’s strategy (and I reiterate that I doubt that it was) its use would be wholly justified by the simple and obvious fact that such a strategy (A) has proven effective in a number of business settings and (B) violates absolutely no legal, moral, or ethical business codes. And as long as that’s the case, no other moral or logical justification is needed. Again, the fact that it pisses you off or deprives you of the comics you want to read is not a breach of logic or morality. And really, that’s what all of your arguments boil down to.

What about this option?

McDuffie changed the deal after getting fired and DC’s hands are tied. He is big on creative control. If he felt like he wouldn’t get that after being let go, he could have decided to change things at the last minute. Dan D. probably ran his mouth too soon on the news before things were officially set up.

Change happens.

karlorama -

(B) violates absolutely no legal, moral, or ethical business codes

I’m not sure what a “business code” is in this case, but this is probably the crux of our disagreement. I’m sure that this kinda thing CAN be done in a way I’d consider moral. But if it’s done by (say) giving a false impression that leaves someone jerked around and lied too, or (say) shooting the president of a rival company in the head, then I would consider that immoral.

I’d judge morality on a case-by-case basis.

Again, the fact that it pisses you off or deprives you of the comics you want to read is not a breach of logic or morality. And really, that’s what all of your arguments boil down to.

No. It’s not. I was annoyed at first, but I do have thousands and thousands and thousands of comics on my “to read” list, so it’s not gonna make a huge impact on my life. “Not getting the comics I want to read” wouldn’t make the top two million on the “things I’m pissed off about” list.

Rob – That… that’s certainly a possibility. I’ll edit it in.

@scott

I think Rocket would be a better fit for Teen Titans then JLA. She is Icon’s Teenage side kick after all.

[...] that many. That aforementioned afro-diasporan metahuman contingent isn’t much bigger today. The promise of revisiting the Milestone Media characters curdled into a frustrating purgatory and the dearth of current A-list black characters makes Voodoo’s moment in the spotlight even [...]

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