Every year, Bleeding Cool runs its Top 100 Power List of members of the comics industry. And every year we get told how wrong we are. Somehow, it's always for completely different reasons and from completely different directions. Why was X in when Y was not? Why is Z is high when W is so low? And neither U or T should be on this list after that incident involving V…
But that's part of the fun. This attempt to list the most powerful people working in the English-speaking comic book marketplace is, of course, flawed. It is judged by all manner of attributes, the ability to influence what comics exist and sell, but also the willingness to use that power in the industry to affect things, and the ability to retain said power if a job is taken away. Which is why you will see a number of people on a higher spot than their bosses.
The Power List rewards those who combine roles, creator, publisher, distributor, retailers, those who are double and triple threats, and also where power is concentrated in one person rather than being spread out among many. Some powerful organisations or groups, where power is diffused amongst many individuals, drop down or drop out altogether.
It does not measure talent or likeability, and it does not intend to represent diversity. All it does is note power, used for betterment — or detriment — in comics.
The list was created in consultation with a number of senior figures in the comics industry, and I thank them for their help. Although because they all disagree, they'll all think the final list is wrong, too.
But this… is the last one.
1. Dan DiDio – co-publisher of DC Comics, this was his year, as DC Comics titles soared to the tops of the chart, and gained critical acclaim as well. DC Rebirth was more than just a rebirth for the DC characters but for Dan DiDio as well, as Geoff Johns concentrated more on the films, leaving Dan DiDio to spearhead his own New Universe with the New Age Of DC Heroes, featuring the biggest creators Dan DiDio can muster. And Dan DiDio.
2. Isaac Perlmutter – Chair of Marvel Comics, still involved in the nitty gritty of the comic book line more than anyone would expect. He also has the ear of the President of the United States, which will come in very useful when looking at extending those copyright dates for Marvel and Disney. No danger of Captain America going into public domain any time soon.
3. John Cunningham – SVP of Sales, Trade and Marketing, what's good for the Dan is good for the John — and vice versa. Cunningham has proved himself the marketer of the year in comic books, getting DC Comics titles everywhere, even in an international market where Marvel is more famous.
4. Eric Stephenson – Publisher of Image Comics and the central gatekeeper of the comics that make it. A tastemaker for much of the comics industry, and thankfully he liked Walking Dead, Saga, Bitch Planet, Montress and Mythos...
5. David Gabriel – Marvel VP Sales, master of all he surveys, and a few loose words in an interview are enough to turn all of culture against Marvel Comics. He's been holding the fort together as best as he can, from overprints to tiered lenticulars to digital discounts. He's been running the Red Queen's race on the treadmill. What happens in 2018 may be in the hands of others…