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Friday, October 19, 2012

DC Comics- Who’s Minding The Multiverse?

“With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”

I guess no one currently working in DC Comics editorial read Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy #15. Nor do they apply this anecdote to their business philosophy.

I guess that’s why DC Comics publishing division is such a mess these days.

But according to many who have quit working for DC like George Perez, John Rozum, and Rob Liefeld, Dan Didio isn’t responsible for the mess DC’s publishing division has become over the last 10 years.

Neither is Jim Lee.

Neither is Goeff Johns.

Neither is Bob Harras.

Even though they all hold executive titles.

If they’re not responsible for the product coming out of DC Comics or the direction of the publishing division, who’s in charge here?

I thought that Editor-in-Chiefs and Co-publishers were leadership positions. I thought that director of whatever executive position Goeff Johns has is was a leader ship position. That they were ultimately responsible for the comics being published and the direction DC Comics was supposed to go in.

But according to many comic fans and industry pros that’s not the case.

Er…who’s minding the Multiverse?

How can a publisher run if there’s no one providing editorial oversight? How do writers and artists get stories approved if there’s no editorial review? How do books get printed if there’s no editorial approval? How does anyone get paid if no one is responsible for signing the checks?

Seriously, how can a multibillion dollar brand run if no one is accountable? How can product get published if no one is responsible for it? How do all these press releases promoting comics with Gay Green Lanterns, Arab Green Lanterns, and Superman & Wonder Woman having a romance pass through to the media?

According to this logic, all these alleged executives are just collecting six-figure checks and DC Comics is just on autopilot. That a secret cabal of assistant editors and junior editors have more power than people who are supposed to be executives.

If I were running Time Warner, that’d give me more reason to fire them. Clean House from top to bottom.

How can an EXECUTIVE let SUBORDINATES tell them how to do business? That is WEAK and INEFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT and LEADERSHIP.

It’s not what anyone would expect from a division of a multi-national corporation or one of its international brands.

If someone has a title of Executive they’re supposed to be a LEADER. They’re supposed to be supervising people. Taking responsibility for the actions of their employees and taking responsibility for the product that comes out of their division.

Now I’ve been in self-publishing since 2002 and the buck always stopped with one person: ME.

And I’ve made my mistakes. My first two books Isis and The Cassandra Cookbook had their fair share of typos.

But I take responsibility for my mistakes. After listening to my readers I worked out those kinks. And by the time I released All About Marilyn in 2009, The Temptation of John Haynes in 2011, and All About Nikki-The Fabulous First Season in 2011, the errors had been drastically reduced. Not eliminated, but drastically reduced. Eventually, I hope to release a title with next to no typos.

Now if a one-man self-publisher like myself can manage a catalog of four paperbacks and a growing catalog of 20+ digital titles can take responsibility for my products, why can’t four people supervise a bullpen of hundreds of artists and writers over 52 titles? Why can’t they delegate responsibility? Why can’t they hold their subordinates accountable for their actions? Why can’t they have the integrity to say the buck stops with them before asking fans for their money?

I mean, all four of these guys combined have more education and experience than I have. I’m just a struggling brother learning what I can wherever I can. Some of these guys like Jim Lee have run their own publishing divisions like Wildstorm in the past. Others Like Bob Harras were editors-in-Chief for an entire company like Marvel Comics back in the 90’s.

But when it comes to running DC Comics they come across like a bunch of stooges. How can Tim Drake NEVER be a Robin when the Batman continuity was supposed to remain intact after the New 52 relaunch? And where did those new costumes come from in recent Batman comics? Why wouldn’t management communicate with staff before they interact with the public on something like this?

If I were running DC Comics and a member of my staff made a statement like the Tim Drake one, HEADS WOULD ROLL. That just shows NO ONE is communicating or trying to communicate.

That one statement was just about as embarrassing as Grant Morrison and George Perez not being briefed on each others’ titles for Superman, DC Comics’ FLAGSHIP character.

A new DC universe and the same old editorial fuck ups get to keep their jobs where they continue to make the same mistakes in a brand new world.

If this doesn’t show anyone the power of White Privilege in the American job market, nothing will.

If someone made that mistake regarding flagship characters and I was supervising DC Comics TimeWarner bosses would have me fired and publicly humiliated. Because a Black Man wouldn’t be allowed to make these kinds of mistakes over and over again in America. He’d have to work twice as hard and make sure the books met a level of excellence to be considered competent by Warner Executives and White Male comic fans.

But these four stooges continue to be given an opportunity to destroy a multibillion dollar brand because of the color of their skin. 

Again, who’s minding the Multiverse? Where is the LEADERSHIP? Where are the STANDARDS? Isn’t this supposed to be the division of a multibillion dollar corporation?

Shawn has to get himself a job at DC Comics. It seems to be a great job. I can basically fuck up for years, get paid huge amounts of money, and never be responsible for anything. That’s the sweetest gig since the Post Office.

Only most postal workers are more competent than most of DC’s editorial team.

Seriously, working at DC Comics today seems to be about the same as working in Civil Service. I bet they have fat Black chicks with stank attitudes manning the reception desk just like Civil Service jobs have too. Along with employees who come to work…Whenever. And Bitch-Made™ people in management who duck and dodge and send people to do their dirty work but can’t go face-to-face.

That’s what makes this a shame. A division of a multi-billion dollar corporation mismanaged to the point where all professionalism has flown out the window. Where a standard of excellence has been replaced with a culture of mediocrity. When did DC Comics become the U.S Government?

I take that back. I wouldn’t want a job at DC Comics. I take pride in my writing. I take pride in the books I publish. I take pride in the blogs I write. I have integrity to stand behind my work and to take responsibility for any of the content I produce. If it’s got an SJS DIRECT label on it, I’ll do my VERY BEST make sure it meets a standard of excellence and high quality.

I feel I owe that to my readers. I feel they deserve my greatest efforts for their money. That’s why I work late at night, weekends, and even early mornings to make sure that my work is the best it can be.

I work harder for peoples’ 99 cents than all the people at DC Comics do for $4.00.

That’s embarrassing.

And what’s even more embarrassing is that most people will pay $4.00 for that DC Comic because they take for granted it’s a corporate label. But those same people will pass by my 99 cent eBook or my $15.00 self-published paperback thinking the quality is lower than the DC Comic.

When they’re just about the same.

If the employees of a publisher can’t hold themselves accountable for the publications they produce, then they shouldn’t be a publishing anything. If they can’t value the customer to stand behind their products and take responsibility for them, then they shouldn’t ask for their hard-earned money.

With great power comes great responsibility. I wish someone at DC Comics would realize that.

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