Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
DC’s blog The Source is chock full of posts by the new management team unveiled by DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov today. Here are some highlights…
In terms of possible alternate candidates for the Publisher role, some very qualified names have been talked about and raised. Each have tremendous merit in his or her own right, but none other than this team were approached or considered seriously. Jeff Robinov’s and my interest in this specific combination of people – with their highly complementary talent – has been in play since very early on in this transition period. And our decision to pursue assembling this specific team was made as early as mid-November.
With our respective experiences and history with DC and our relationships with the world’s best writers and artists, our mission is to reinvent DC Comics to prepare it for the challenges and opportunities in this quickly changing world. With the Co-Publisher structure, it’s going to allow us to be in many places at once, both literally and metaphorically; to better position DC as one of the great creative engines which fuels and defines so much of our world’s Pop Culture while making sure we continue to address and redefine what makes DC’s characters so great.
Under the leadership of Jim and Dan, I’ll continue writing and giving my creative input as I have been in comic books. But expanding onto that, Diane’s asked me to take our comic book world, embrace it (as I do) and use it to lead the creative charge on bringing it all to film, toys, television, video games, animation and beyond. The Justice Society appearing on Smallville was only the beginning.
Let’s all let this sink in a little more: Martin Campbell of Casino Royale is directing Green Lantern. And over the last few months, I’ve met with Ryan Reynolds to talk all-things Green Lantern, I’ve worked closely with Green Lantern producer Donald Deline and screenwriter Michael Goldenberg on the script (Aw yeah, Kilowog!) and I’ve realized that the Green Lantern comics and film and everything growing out of them (wait until you see what!) is only the beginning of what DC Entertainment has coming our way under Diane and Jeff Robinov’s leadership.
I have already been identified as an insider fan with an outsider POV. So here’s my POV – there is so much going so well for so many things across DC. An unequaled collection of characters and stories. A commitment to quality content that’s nothing short of inspiring. I see no publisher serving the needs of the Direct Market better, and no publisher with a more extensive catalogue of books and trades in the mass market channel. These imperatives are not possible without our cherished retailer partners, with whom I look forward to working most closely.
What has kept me from a good night sleep so far is the issue of Balance – balancing what’s best for the traditional business channels with what will be best for the future of the business and the art form, balancing what superserves the current superfans with what will serve an entirely new generation of fans, balancing promotion with profit, etc.
At Disney/ABC, I had a fun 10 years in the Digital space, working on some exciting web, social networking, promotional, and multiplatform windowing strategies. One of my missions is to work with the new executive team to take DC storytelling and promotion to the next level. We see it as a sacred obligation to you – to unleash our characters and stories and news across all platforms that matter to you. You’ll soon see us at DC Entertainment making big news in Digital, in the short- and long-term, from mobile strategy to a suite of publishing products.
Way back in 1985, I joined DC Comics as the company’s Controller. Obviously, a lot has changed in our industry in that time. I’ve seen our staff grow from less than 100 employees based in New York to over 275 employees located nationwide. During that time, the company’s internal systems, from manufacturing to inventory management, have gotten more complex. Distribution has diversified. Deals have been made by my team with thousands of world class artists and writers. New readers are discovering comics and graphic novels and our characters. The DC Universe has even gone from infinite worlds to 52 universes. (At least that’s what Jim and Dan tell me.) Heroes have died and been reborn.
My point is this–change is a constant in comic books. But continuity is, too.