I've been hearing more about how the reaction to the publication of Batman: Damned#1 is affecting other books, creators and employees at DC Comics. But over the weekend at MCM London Comic Con I heard a tale from comic book writer Chris Claremont that put in it perspective.
He recalled the publication of Superman #75, which featured the Death of Superman. He was working for DC at the time, on Sovereign Seven. The Superman storyline was planned as a big comic book event, but it escaped the confines of the comic shop and became major news, with headlines in newspapers across the world, sometimes the lead, and featured on TV shows. The lines for the comic wrapped around the blocks with comic stores in them and it was estimated DC Comics sold around three million copies of the black polybagged comic. Decades later it, along with the Dark Knight Returns, would inspire the Zack Snyder movie Batman V Superman.
But on the day itself, President of DC Comics Jeanette Kahn was being driven to meetings, only to get a phone call from the Head of Warner Bros which reportedly turned her ashen-faced. And in the next half hour, he expressed just how displeased he was that he only received the news that one of his companies was killing off a major trademark brand. Jeanette explained the temporary nature of the storyline but that wasn't the concern.
It was all about potential damage to the brand and a change in the way the public saw the character, but also that Warners PR was unprepared for the reaction. That this threatened licensing deals worldwide and they had had no time to prepare for this worldwide reaction.
DC Comics has a new President this year, Pamela Lifford. Much of the internal reaction and changes at DC Comics after Batman Damned's publication has been pointed in her direction, representing Warner Bros concern about the comic. We'll talk about what we've been hearing later.
But, thanks to Chris Claremont, I thought I'd share the realisation that we have been here before…
Batman Damned #2 will be published on December 5th. Final orders from retailers are due a week today.
BATMAN DAMNED #2 (OF 3) (MR)
(W) Brian Azzarello (A/CA) Lee Bermejo
As Batman's descent into the madness of Gotham City's decadent underbelly continues, he must try to exorcise some of his demons…and who better to help than the Demon, Etrigan himself. And where there's demons, there's also a Deadman, a Spectre, an Enchantress and a host of other supernatural friends and foes-it's a veritable Grand Guignol! In Shops: Dec 05, 2018
Final Orders Due: Nov 05, 2018