Friday, September 11, 2009

Hold On... It's Gonna Get Bumpier From Here

I took the Disney/Marvel news in stride. It was a shocker, sure, but as a fan of comics, and a retailer of comics, I truly believed (and still do) that we're more likely to see positive ramifications rather than negative in the direct market, and any changes we do see probably won't roll downhill to us for at least two years.

I would have had the same reaction to Warner Brothers restructuring DC Comics. It's all corporate BS, about where the money goes, and I don't have enough money to invest in a decent HDTV, much less a giant conglomerate that makes dog food, missile guidance chips and comic books. So what do I care where the money's going?

But the announcement that gave me pause, that gave me that "oh shit" reaction everybody else had when they decided that a Disney-fied Marvel was gonna end their MAX line tomorrow and put Mickey Mouse in the Avengers, was the announcement that Paul Levitz was stepping down as President of DC Comics.

Others, notably Kurt Busiek and Brian Hibbs, have covered what exactly Paul Levitz has done for comics in the last three decades or so. Some (some might call them judgmental, sanctimonious assholes, but not me, I'm a diplomatic kinda guy) have taken this as a chance to get the knives out and vent anger at Levitz over perceived failures. Never mind that many of them are not even remotely his failures, and most of the failures Levitz had were being over-cautious, something that our always-on-the-brink-of-collapse industry could probably use a little more of, rather than less.

But the point is this: Paul Levitz is the best friend the direct market had at DC, with only Bob Wayne even remotely in the running. (And hopefully Bob will stay where he is, because Lord knows we're gonna need the advocates with the new status quo).

Disney buying Marvel? Eh. Time Warner restructuring DC to maximize movie/videogame/Slurpee synergy with its comics characters? Whatever. Motion comics? Seriously, have you seen those? They're about as much of a threat to comics as pogs were. The Kindle? Online comics shops? iTunes for comics? All manageable, worth keeping an eye on, but nothing that seems likely to utterly shake the direct market and the way comics are currently delivered.

Paul Levitz no longer at the head of DC?

Well honestly, that just scares the shit out of me.

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