DC today finally announced who would be taking over as publisher as Paul Levitz old job was split in half with Diane Nelson taking over as president and now not one but five people will handle the publishing half. Officially Dan Didio and Jim Lee are the co publishers. Geoff Johns is the creative chief. John Rood and Patrick Caldon will handle the sales and finance part.
Some of this is not surprising as Didio will be moving up a position, which will mean a new executive editor will be named at a later date. Geoff Johns is basically being given an official name to what he has already been doing. Johns has been the creative overseer in all things Blackest Night as well his connections to Hollywood where he has written for TV shows like Smallville and is consulting with the people making the Green Lantern movie. This is in line with all the plans for Brightest Day and the related books. That is a good news since Johns is the creative backbone of the main DC Universe right now. I just hope that he is not taking on too much work.
There are a few interesting twists in this all. For starters the entire team has been giving interviews with not just the comics news outlets but the major bloggers as well. They even did a conference call with Rich Johnston, which is amazing give the love hate relationship the industry has with him. Johnston did get in some good question. Vaneta Rogers had a good interview as well with Lee and Didio.
One big question was how will the Vertigo line be handled. According to Johnston DC contract restructuring is what lead to a number of creators leaving Vertigo notably Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and Neil Gaimen. Things have been very hit and miss with the Vertigo line in recent years as DC has trouble with their imprints in general. The company answer is that nothing with change with Vertigo but Geoff Johns will be working with Karen Berger to help oversee the line creatively. That part is good news as I believe the Vertigo line is vital for the company to develop more then just super hero properties. Hopefully this will help save us from bad Hollywood ideas like Keanu Reeves as John Constantine from a few years ago.
From my perspective the most important aspect of all this is naming Jim Lee as co publisher. He has a great sense of business and creative, at least when he is not being over loaded with work. Wildstorm studios had some truly amazing work back in the day, although the move to DC killed everything that was special about that line. But now with Lee in more of a position of power some of that old magic could come back. Most notably Lee will be charge of DC’s digital initiative. DC will eventually be moving into digital comics and I’m glad to see it will be under Lee’s watch. I think he is the right man for that job and feel confident there. They are still taking the wait and see approach with digital, which is the smart move given the mess the book market is in right now with their transition to digital. I believe Jim Lee is the key element of this new executive team. He will handle the future as well as being someone who knows the creative side in and out. Even Alan Moore liked him.
I’m feeling pretty confident in DC’s future. They may be a slow moving ship but their are moving in a positive direction. Marvel on the other hand looks to be on less stable ground which they do not appear to be addressing at all from pricing to creative direction despite the noticeable drop in sales. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out from here. I’m enjoying it as a spectator.