At C2E2 in Chicago last weekend, DC Comics sent a crew to calm people's nerves about DC's future. DC Publisher Jim Lee took point at his spotlight panel, as Bleeding Cool reported, telling people "DC has been around for 85 years and will be around for another 85 years… We're a huge important part of Warner Bros, we've been with Warner Bros for decades, when you look at DC, the strategy of DC is to put publishing at the centre of everything we do, it's the source material that drives the media engine, all these movies and TV shows and video games and merchandise and all that kind of stuff. They see the value we bring to the greater whole."
And regarding the much-rumoured and occasionally-leaked 5G, that it's "hard to talk about what we haven't officially announced but I realise we have teased somethings out… our intent is not to do a line-wide reboot that ages up characters and kinda shuffles them off to the side, our focus is to continue what we've done best, which is to really create character-driven stories, pairing the right creators on the right characters, organically developing a universe that is inclusive, diverse and can tell amazing stories that you guys love."
But not everyone at the show seemed to be singing from the same songsheet. And it seemed to come down to the seniority of the person to whom they were speaking. Younger, newer, less senior editors were telling the hoi polloi of comic book creators that everything was fine and ticking along as normal. But certain senior DC creators at the show, who got more private meetings with the DC bigwigs got a different story.
They were told that things were now totally up in the air with 5G/Generation Five, plans that had been previously outlined under Dan DiDio were being put on hold, and artists already drawing projects were being told to pause for now. There were assurances that everyone would be paid for the work they had already done, but that the scope of the plans were being re-evaluated. The phrase used repeatedly was that the original plans for 5G were intended to be the new status quo at DC as long as Dan DiDio was publisher. And now, totally unconnectedly, this was no longer the case. This division of message may be why I was getting a few mixed signals coming out of C2E2
As for the new writers for 5G and other projects, some of whom Bleeding Cool profiled recently, it appears DC has stretched out further than animation showrunners, production assistants and Oscar-winning screenwriters. They are also looking at writers who may have been cast aside in recent years, including their New Talent initiatives for comic book writers that seemed to lead to very little work for them at DC, with other publishers being the beneficiaries of their slightly raised profile.
And 5G, what remains of it, may be the way to get them back and show that the programmes that DC ran for them were worthwhile after all. So who out of Michael McMillian, Hena Khan, Joëlle Jones, Emma Beeby, Vita Ayala, Adam Smith, Chris Sebela, Erica Schultz, Michael Moreci, Owl Goingback, Erica Harrell, Desirée Proctor, Al Letson, David Accampo, Aaron Gillespie, Ryan K. Lindsay, Tony Patrick, Sanya Anwar, Ryan Cady, Joey Esposito, Robert Jeffrey, Phillip Kennedy Johnson or Magdalene Visaggio will be a part of DC's 5G? Those who aren't already working at DC? Or will some of them be quite happy to keep working for Marvel, or at other publishers, TV and movie studios instead?