DC Comics were scheduled to appear in strength at ComicsPRO being held at Portland, Oregon right now. However, I am told by connected individuals that DC cancelled most of their ComicsPRO appearances. No one showed up on the first day, and DC Comics missed their hour-long presentation shot. ComicsPRO gave DC the chance to make it up and they have sent familiar faces Vince Letterio and Adam Phillips for a twelve-minute presentation.
Why the change? Asking around, I am told that DC made the decision to pull back on ComicsPRO, and also for that matter pulling back on DC's presence at the upcoming Diamond Retailer Summit as well. Instead, DC publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee were to return to their favourite practice of doing retailer roadshows across the country in June, going directly to the retailers in a more personal way to explain the changes coming to the business. Not just 5G (sorry, Generation Five) but the whole approach to comic book storytelling.
Now, of course, this was before the scoop today that Dan DiDio had gone at DC Comics and everyone reacted in shock. Because, whatever went down today, this wasn't why DC and Dan weren't at ComicsPRO. Indeed, I am told that once the news broke on Bleeding Cool, that both DC executives present, left the ComicsPRO meeting pretty sharpish.
I also learned that in 2020 and 2021, DC is planning to move away from the traditional comic book talent pool. There is a quiet, concerted and deliberate effort to woo writers from the fields of TV and animation. The new, upcoming roster will include writers who have had success in those fields and are true fans of comics – but right now DC is courting new voices with different writing backgrounds. But only those who DC believes understand 'story' – and without the bad habits that may have doomed such outreaches in the past. The recruitment of novelists for their Kids and YA original graphic novels have proved very successful for the publisher, this will be the next step. No more returning to the same creative well…
Will that change now? I don't know. Dan DiDio was, and is, a massive fan of comics and comic creators. It could well mean that there is less resistance to change now.
Bleeding Cool hopes to find out more details over the weekend. We're still calling it DC's Big Change, and we'll look to dig out as much as we can for Monday. You can also catch up with the rest of our ComicsPRO coverage with this handy tag.