DC Comics' December solicitations note that Brian Bendis' runs on Superman and Action Comics are ending in December – and this was after statements Brian Bendis made in June saying he would be staying on the Superman titles at DC "for a looooooong time."
Grant Morrison's run on Green Lantern was truncated, then, extended, but he won't be continuing on Green Lantern, with no replacement project lined up.
Scott Snyder's Death Metal is coming to an end. He has his creator-owned American Vampire at DC, but nothing else announced.
Tom King has the Rorschach, Batman/Catwoman and Strange Adventures series for 12 issues each, but don't expect any similar big deals to follow.
Geoff Johns brought the noise with Doomsday Clock and Three Jokers but, again. nothing lined up to follow.
These are all writers who DC Comics wooed, and threw money at, to write for them. These were expensive deals, but they helped DC grab market share and get headlines. That is what is changing, however, the big trucks of cash are stopping. DC Comics will not be matching or exceeding former deals on upcoming projects. This is the kind of thing agents will always ask for and advise their clients not to accept lesser deals going forward, for fear of diluting their going rate.
But it's a rate that DC Comics isn't going to match going forward. What does this mean? Well, some creators want to do the work anyway and won't care if they knock their going rate. We speculated that Mark Waid may be taking Superman from Brian Bendis, but we have also told he has been offered Green Lantern after the end of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp's run, and Waid and Morrison go back to the Doom Patrol days together.
James Tynion IV's run on Batman was at a lower rate than both Tom King and Scott Snyder were paid, he was not at that stage as big a name – though the success of Something Is Killing The Children, Wynd and The Department Of Truth at Boom and Image have changed that equation. The Department Of Truth, with 100,000 + orders for the first issue, will pay Tynion what a year of Batman comics at DC would pay. How long will Tynion be willing to work at such a discount? DC Comics is not paying premium writer deals going forward.
Because these deals were good at driving sales into the direct market. But with digital, mass market and bookstore markets as a greater focus for DC Comics going forward, outside of the comic book shop, these are considered to be less writer-sensitive and more character-sensitive markets. Basically, it matters less who writes them. But more than ever, DC Comics has justified such payments as part of their role as research and development for Warner Bros, and that tap has been turned off. It is no longer being considered as part of the justifying algorithm.
But here's the thing. If so-called premium writers withdraw from DC Comics for better deals elsewhere, even with a reduced number of titles, it provides opportunity for writers who a) the fanboys who love DC Comics characters whatever the salary and b) you may see a far greater diversity of writers at DC Comics, which is where you might see greater appeal right now as well.
As for Marvel Comics representing a financial alternative to these "premium" writers? Well… why do you think they all left Marvel to write for DC in the first place?