Dan DiDio, publisher of DC Comics, has taken to the stump at ComicsPRO, the comics retailer advocacy group meeting being held in Charlotte, North Carolina for the next few days.
Not everyone made it in, due to cancelled flights, bad weather and the like. But they all turned out to hear what DiDio had to say.
We may get a fuller report later. But the headline is that DC Comics is cutting the number of titles they sell through the direct market of comic stores. Bleeding Cool had heard rumours, dubbed 'The New 22', and DiDio directly denied that number in his speech in Charlotte today.
However, he did tell retailers that DC Comics would be cutting their publishing numbers back, by a further ten to fifteen percent, as that's what he believes the market can bear.
He also believes that Diamond Comic Distributors are distributing too many comic books to comic stores right now, diluting sales for individual issues across the board. He didn't mention Marvel Comics, but I'm told that seemed implicit.
Bleeding Cool has previously noted how different creators have fiefdoms within DC Comics and it seems that DiDio feels the same, wanting a greater connective tissue between comic books at DC Comics and wanting creators to work well together. Possibly more than they are right now.
DiDio took full responsibility for the Batman Damned #3 cancellation-and-resolicitation issue, saying he hadn't approved of the content/artwork as it would be published, necessitating a further delay. What changes may have been made were not detailed.
DiDio acknowledged unrest regarding the comics industry right now, but asked comic book retailers not to share their complaints about DC Comics – or others – with their customers. Rather, to hold themselves to a higher standard than the fans.
But he stated that DC Comics have better comic books than their rivals because they pay their "power talent" higher page rates than Marvel. I know there has been some disquiet about that as well of late, looks like DiDio is doubling down. So… who are their power talent?
More as we hear it.
UPDATE: There appears to be some spinning back. I am told that Dan DiDio showed disquiet at how soon this story was reported. Retailer Ryan Higgs tweeted,
With Newsarama's Chris Arrant backing that up.
However, Heidi MacDonald who boasts of having' operatives on the ground at ComicsPRO' and who writes a very informative piece about Nancy Spears being moved to VP DC Sales, reports,
Like other sites, I'd heard the rumors that DC publisher Dan DiDio was considering cutting the DC line to between 20-30 titles, a number that would send retailers reeling. Today at ComicsPRO, Didio confirmed that DC would be cutting its line, though not to those levels, to focus on higher sales per title.
I think a lot of retailers thought the market has too many books, but they may be saying "Not like this, not like this."
Which is pretty much in line with Bleeding Cool's original report earlier today. We will keep our ears open, there is more we need to line up…