Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DC Comics & Me#1

Art by Andy Kubert & Tim Townsend 
Hi there! I'm Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the invisible jet of online blogs! 

One of the things that has had been a major driving force in my life is my love of comic books.  As it says on my Twitter page
"My world view is shaped by comic books, Doctor Who and, sometimes, facts." 

Sadly, there have too many times when during a discussion of almost anything---politics, religion, health, sports, dining, business, etc.---that I invoke this phrase: "That reminds me of a comic book." Once while talking about the subject of post-partum depression in response to a particularly sad item in the news, I said this thing and my wife was incredulous. Then I directed her to this issue of The Flash

Over the years, most of my comics reading has been with DC Comics. Lots of characters in their line up having given me hours of reading pleasure, from big guns like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to characters a little further down the pantheon like Black Canary and Firestorm to some really weird stuff like Ambush Bug and 'Mazing Man

The purpose of this post and its subsequent follow ups is to reflect on the joys of this nearly life long relationship with a comic book company. And yes, the frustrations too. And sadly, those frustrations have been building of late and that leads to the other purpose of this blog, my way of saying goodbye to that life long relationship. And no, this is not a rant against DC Comics or even co-publisher Dan Didio (although I will have a few things to say about that....that....Arrrggh!) but also a look at how I have changed. 

Like all stories that involve DC Comics, we have to start with Marvel

Do you realize that this summer will mark the 5th anniversary of when Disney bought Marvel Comics
Wow! It doesn't really seem like that long ago, does it. At the time it was quite the seismic shift in the pop culture landscape as one of the largest multi-media conglomerates gobbled up arguably the most successful comic book company in America. 

For the most part, Marvel seems to function as Marvel always has but signs of corporate synergy are popping up more and more. For example. Disney's recent acquisition of LucasFilm and the Star Wars movies will result in the license for Star Wars comic books moving next year from Dark Horse to Marvel since Marvel is essentially Disney's in-house comic book publisher.  

Meanwhile, how has this impacted Marvel's cross town rivals, DC Comics? Well, for one thing, starting next year, DC won't be cross town anymore. DC Comics heads west to set up shop shoulder to shoulder with Warner Bros. and its divisions in television, movies, animation and more.  

Warner Bros. has owned DC Comics for years, decades even. But for the most part, DC was left alone to its own devices. Disney's purchase of Marvel changed all that. 

In the aftermath of that event, I imagine the conversation at Warner Bros. went something like this: 

Warner exec: Disney bought Marvel Comics? What the...? We should do something like that, you know? Buy our own comic book company!

Warner employee: Sir, we...

Warner exec: Why, if we owned a comic book company, we could have access to all sorts of super heroes to make movies about!

Warner employee: Sir, but we.......

Warner exec: People love super heroes! 

Warner employee: Sir!

Warner exec: WHAT?

Warner employee: DC Comics, sir!

Warner exec: Great idea! We'll buy DC Comics!

Warner employee: Sir, Warner ALREADY owns DC Comics!

Warner exec: We do?

Warner employee: Yes, we do.

Warner exec: Since when?

Warner employee: For about, oh, 40, 50 years now.

Warner exec: Well, who can keep track of all the changes around here? OK, so we OWN DC Comics. We should do SOMETHING with it. 


Warner exec: Let's go have lunch!

And it was a very, very long lunch indeed.

But eventually Warner Bros. began to take an active interest in this comic book company they only now realized they owned. Then changes began to occur.  

And for me, perhaps it was the beginning of the end.

More on this next week.

Action Comics#1000

Shhhhhh! I'm reading Superman in Action Comics#1000!   And it.... is.... AWESOME!!!