Under Paul Levitz DC has always seem content to be the number 2 company as they never seemed truly interested in taking the kind of risks that Marvel has. Now that was not a bad strategy given the extreme boom and bust swings of Marvel. Matt Price of Nerdage did a nice job of cover the ComicPRO event from this past week, a meeting between publishers and retailers, Dan Didio had this to say at the event.
Our goal is to beat Marvel, We have to see if there are tools we can use to make us No. 1.
It might just be a generic statement, but it does have me wondering if DC could really best Marvel in the direct market. I would very much like to see them do better then Marvel, but I don’t know that they can. Even with Marvel’s sales down, as many readers are loosing interest in their books, they still collectively outsell DC in the direct market. Marvel puts out more titles each month and their lower tier titles sell far better then DC’s lower tiered books. There is a good reason for that as most of Marvel’s lower selling books, such are their cosmic line, are better then the DC equivalent.
What gives me hope is that DC is in a far stronger position now thanks to their success in the mainstream book market. Marvel does not even come close to what DC has done in mainstream bookstores thanks in large part to Watchmen. I fully expect DC to continue to do well in the mainstream with things like American Vampire which is co written by Steven King. DC also has a better distributor to the mainstream market. They were not effected by the strange pricing problem recently at Amazon that was connected to everything that came through Diamond. As strange is it sounds DC can afford to take more risks in the direct market thanks to their strength in the mainstream market. Of course this could just all be talk and DC may just continue to move at the pace Levitz set, but I for one hope that they go after the top spot in the direct market. At the very least the heated competition could wake up Marvel and get them to do a better job with their top of the line books.