It’s the last day of 2011, a year that has seen a lot of changes in the world of DC Comics. Last year I suggested some New Year’s resolutions for DC. I thought I would take a look back at those and see how DC did. And I also suggest a few for 2012.
Here are the resolutions from last year with my thoughts from today in italics.
1. Hire more female creators/writers. I am not asking for a quota or for “affirmative action”. I just ask that you make an effort to expand the writing bench past Gail Simone. Marvel has managed to hire a few great female writers, why can’t you?
Gosh, I wish this issue had been discussed more this year in the comicsphere. DC now has two female writers - Ann Nocenti is now the head writer on Green Arrow. And both Amy Reeder and Nicola Scott will have gigs in 2012. But DC is still way behind other comic companies in creator diversity. DC, you can do better, I know you can.
2. Don’t kill any more minorities or children. Don’t fake us out with the death of minorities. You don’t have the credibility to say, “we treat them like other characters.” You need to add more characters before you start subtracting them.
So far, so good. In fact they undid one of their deaths as Ryan Choi is soon back as the Atom.
3. Move forward with original web content like a Zatanna comic by Cameron Stewart. Just try it. Digital is a sandbox for creativity. Play.
They did this with Arkham City and will going to digital first with Batman Beyond. And I have heard rumblings this year that more may be on the way.
4. No more Bat-books. There is enough for now. Really.
Apparently there is never enough Bat-books at DC. Ever.
5. Do not hire any more “hot shot” Hollywood writers and let them a) make grandiose claims about what they will do b) overextend themselves and miss deadlines c) serve us shit and call it ice cream.
So far so good. Though the hot shot writer really needs to learn to learn to play nice.
6. Stop saying that you care about Wonder Woman and start acting like it. Put Grant Morrison on the book at the end of Hester/JMS’s arc. And stop putting Hal and Barry where she should rightfully be in marketing and promotion. A movie and TV show would be great, but I realize that’s a job for Warner Brothers. Making the comic great will help.
Well they didn’t Morrison on it but Azzarello and Chiang are an excellent choice. And Wonder Woman has moved back into her rightful role as pat of the Trinity which is kinda a Quadrinity now with ole Hal sticking his ring in everywhere.
7. Keep Paul Cornell, Bryan Q. Miller and Gail Simone busy. They are your three best writers not named Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison.
I stand by this but the fact that Bryan Q. Miller wasn’t in the new 52 is a real head scratcher. Guess there isn’t room for great writers when you can have Rob Liefield writing for you.
8. Do a Lois Lane mini or ongoing. Because she’s better than Jimmy Olsen. Jeesh. Hey, here’s an idea. Why not combine this with #3 and kick this off with an exclusive digital comic drawn by Chris Samnee and written by Gail Simone?
Oh gosh, talk about be careful of what you wish for. Despite my early enthusiasm, that Lois Lane Flashpoint mini stankity stank stank. But I am still hopeful for a digital Lois Lane book. Hey, how about Bryan Q. Miller to write it?
9. You’ve done well but keep expanding your commitment to LGBQT characters especially male characters. Obsidian and Damon are going to get tired carrying that rainbow flag all by themselves.
We now have Bunker, Apollo and Midnighter. But now Damon and Obsidian are gone. So that’s a gain of one.
10. Keep moving the ball forward. For all my complaints, I am still a huge DC fan. I want you to be the best. I want to spend more money on DC. There have been some fantastic things that have come out of DC the last year. Be more fantastic next year. (And take care of the troops)
Okay. First, this DID not mean reboot everything. And secondly, moving forward means not putting characters back into roles they haven’t had for the past two decades. However, while I didn’t like a lot of what I saw this year (both pre and post reboot), there is a lot I did like like Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Demon Knights, Batman, Justice League Dark, Supergirl, Birds of Prey, The Ray, Jonah Hex, Huntress, Shade, to name a few. More of that please.
And here are a few resolutions for 2012:
1. Keep pushing for new talent of all genders. I think DC can do much better in finding female creators but I’d like to see DC also try and find new creators. The new 52 seems to have so many creators from the 1990s. While most of them are competent many creators are just boring and their styles old and tired. Some of the best stuff coming out of DC this year was by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire both of whom have been in comics a very short time. And funny enough they both came out of Vertigo which also brought us Amy Reeder. Hey, DC here is a thought, why not make Karen Berger executive in charge of new talent for DC Entertainment?
2. Make an effort to reach out to female readers. Really, it’s worth it, DC. Some may debate whether the new 52 really brought you new readers, but you can’t argue that women are reading your books. Earlier this week I had a chat over Twitter with one of the owners of Secret Headquarters in Tallahassee, Florida about the female-led titles in the new 52:
Let me boil this down for you, this shop’s 7th best selling title has over 1/4 of its readership made up of women. Now this is only one shop so this isn’t the least bit scientific. But I think it at least suggests that DC may be leaving some money on the table by not trying to reach the female audience with things as simple as handing out previews to books other than Maxim. Or taking part in an event like Geek Girl Con. Every bit of revenue counts in this market. You need to get more into female readers, DC.
3. More racial diversity in female characters. There is only one woman of color with her own title, Voodoo. The issues surrounding that book do not have to be revisited. But she is only the second female of color to have her own ongoing title the other being Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. It’s good that Birds of Prey isn’t all white. It’s nice to see Vixen in Justice League International. It’s nice to see Cassandra Cain … whoops. Well, you just knew I couldn’t let the year go by without making reference to that issue. Let’s hope 2012 has more women of color (and size, ahem, Amanda Waller).
4. Change the pricing and timing for digital. When I wake up on Wednesday mornings, I can already read reviews of comics on UK sites. But for some strange reason I can’t download my comics until 2PM EST. And when I do download them I am still paying full price despite the fact if I had the time and want to pay for the gas I could drive to my LCS and pay 20% less as a subscriber. You want to expand the market, DC? Drop the price of digital and go to one time for everyone.
5. This is a simple request. Reprint Batgirl:Year One. Why wouldn’t DC do this? They just spent all this time and money making Barbara Gordon back into Batgirl and yet this book is out of print and selling for $50 on Amazon and eBay. Who knows it might sell enough that they’ll do a video of it.
I’ll be back with the best and worst of 2011 for DC women as well as the best covers. But I want to take a moment and wish DC Comics a successful 2012. If I didn’t really love the stuff from DC Comics I do love, I wouldn’t have any reason to do this gig which is not paid, time intensive and brings a lot of trolling and worse.
Happy New Year!
Do you have some resolutions for DC? Leave them in the comments!