Warner Readies DC Comics for Battle

Another film company eyes comic books as they key to success.

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Talk of superheroes is once again circulating around the blogosphere after Warner Brothers announced yesterday morning that it is bringing its long-held DC Comics closer into the motion-picture division. The focus of the newly minted DC Entertainment will be extending comic characters "across all media and platforms," promising to fulfill a longtime request of the loyal fan-base. Insiders claim the deal was hatched well before rival companies Disney and Marvel joined forces last week, but no matter, the public perception remains that this is nothing but a full blown counter-attack. Will it succeed or even come close?
  • True Identity  DC Comics fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because the new arrangement won't affect their beloved primary sources, at least according to the Geeks of Doom: "The odds are that the restructuring will be more about producing more films and TV shows, and that the publishing division will continue to do its own thing, same as it has done in the past." Comic book author John Jackson Miller, who works for the independent publisher Dark Horse, says as much in his post on the subject: "The more important element, as mentioned above in the distribution case, is that there remain people at the production and distribution levels who understand the medium, its delivery systems, and what consumers expect. I don't see how that changes."
  • Up, Up and Away  For almost as long as it has owned DC (40 years), Warner Brothers has faced some criticism from fans for failing to develop films based on popular comic book characters -- failing, in other words, to take them seriously enough. But as Matt Goldberg offers in Collider, the critics may finally have a chance to hope anew: "So what does this mean for long-awaited live-action films for major DC superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman, and The Flash?  Well it means that those projects may finally have some momentum." 
  • Clash of the Titans Contrary to the claims of Warner PR-personnel, some commentators say the decision to restructure DC can only be taken in light of Disney's high-profile purchase of Marvel. " They claim they've been working on this for months, but Disney's announcement that it was buying Marvel accelerated things a bit," writes Andrew Belonsky for Gawker's Defamer blog. An article in the LA Times offers a similar evaluation: "The move is an effort by Warner Bros. and corporate parent Time Warner Inc. to implement a new strategy for DC Comics, which will face stiffer competition from a steroid-charged Marvel as a result of Walt Disney Co.'s deal last week to acquire it for $4 billion."
  • Death and Destruction  Fanboy.com blogger Michael Pinto examines both the DC and Marvel deals in the context of comic-book history, concluding that due to shifting corporate priorities and advances in technology, this era marks the swan song of the medium itself. "Do I think that there will be printed comics books a year from now? Hell yeah, but I wouldn’t make that same bet for five or ten years in the future."  
  • Evil Empire  Numerous bloggers have expressed their dismay about a heavy shake-up in the corporate hierarchy: Warner's replacement of current DC Comics President Paul Levitz with new DCE President Diane Nelson, the whiz behind the marketing of the company's Harry Potter films. Chris Helton of Dorkland is certain the switch spells doom: "Putting a brand manager in charge of a comic company is great for corporate synergy and leveraging the visibility and clout of the brands of the comic company but it doesn't speak to the creativity that goes on behind those 'brands' in the first place." The Awl's blogger Mary HK Choi feels Levitz's pain: "Is it me or does it sound like he got shafted in the mix? I guess that's how comics rank in the Hollywood of the DC Universe. Sorta like how Superman is incredibly strong, can fly, and turn back time on planet earth but on his home of Krypton was just some dude."  
  • Bang! Finally, comics writer and blogger Kevin Church breaks the news down to its essential truth.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.