Robot 6

Creators talk about Bob Harras’ new job as DC’s editor-in-chief

The Bob Harras "memorial" photo in Tom Brevoort's office

The big news of the date — and the week, most likely — is today’s announcement that former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras was named as DC Comics’ next editor-in-chief. Harras is the first person to have held the editor-in-chief position at both Marvel and DC, and his appointment has set creators on all corners of comics abuzz. Here’s a sampling:

Tom Brevoort, vice president-executive editor of Marvel: “Well, that was unexpected. Big props to my old boss Bob Harras on scoring the top DC editorial job. [...] Of course, this does mean that I now have to retire the memorial photo of Bob that’s been sitting here in my office …”

Writer Warren Ellis: “In a tumultuous time at DC Entertainment, which I must remember to start calling it, the steady presence of Bob Harras is very probably what is required.” (Read a longer post on his website)

Writer Greg Rucka: “Funny being so out of the loop. All this DC news I missed! Congrats to Bob Harras and his EiC posting! Many happy returns!”

Writer/artist Rob Liefeld: “Bob Harras named DC comics EIC! This is pretty damn awesome. This will be good. [...] The great thing about the Bob Harras EIC announcement is that it’s controversial, unexpected and instantly energizes the biz. [...] I’m an unabashed Bob Harras fan, he gave me my big break. So it’s nice to see him back on top doing well. [...] Age of Apocalypse, X-Force, X-tinction Agenda, X-Cutioners Song, Gen X, Deadpool. Bob Harras presided over all of these. Good resume.”

Writer/artist Tim Seeley: “All I know about Bob Harras, is that he was super cool to me when I was a Marvel intern in ’99, and he writes a mean-ass Avengers comic.”

Writer Kurt Busiek: “An excellent choice.”

Marvel Senior Editor Stephen Wacker: “Nice job, Bob Harras. Very cool to hear.”

Writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti: “CONGRATS TO BOB HARRAS, the new E.I.C. of D.C. Comics. Great guy and has the experience. What more could you want.”

Artist Khary Randolph: “Wait – Bob Harras is running DC? 90’s X-Men editor Bob Harras?? [...] I was gonna make a ‘What’s next? Joe Mad on JLA?’ joke, but then I realized Marvel did that last year on Ultimates.”

Artist Cully Hamner: “Whoa! Left-field choice, Bob Harras, DC EiC! Congrats …”

Writer Ben Raab: “A smart move on DC’s part: Bob Harras named as DC’s new Editor-in-Chief [...] So happy for my old boss! Well-deserved!”

Writer B. Clay Moore: “Bob Harras has certainly been through the wars. Going to be fun watching things develop under Bob, Jim, Dan and Geoff.”

Writer Joe Harris: “Bob Harras was a fantastic editor doing a very tough job at a very dysfunctional Marvel Comics. Even more intrigued about DC’s future now.”

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21 Comments

May I add one:

Inker Al Milgrom: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Heh. Okay that’s not a direct quote, but I feel like it’s probably a safe guess. :-)

Interesting. I guess SOMEONE has to say something positive.

Hey, Ben Raab! Maybe him and Howard Mackie and Glen Greenberg and all those other non-entities that got purged along with Harras can get jobs now writing bland, inoffensive crap for DC Entertainment. I mean, what with Bob Harras’s ‘eye for talent’ and everything…

Up next: are you ready for meandering plotlines that will never, ever get resolved? You guessed it, it’s Scott Lobdell!!! Brought to you by DC: proud home of all comics’ unrepentant B-listers.

funkygreenjerusalem

September 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I was scared at first, but then feeling okay after the CBR creator reactions, but then I read”

“So it’s nice to see him back on top doing well. [...] Age of Apocalypse, X-Force, X-tinction Agenda, X-Cutioners Song, Gen X, Deadpool. Bob Harras presided over all of these.”

Oh dear.

Dear god, not Scott Lobdell.

For every Ben Raab there’s a Busiek, it seems. I’ll take Busiek’s word on it. I didn’t like Harras’s Avengers much, but he edited a lot of decent comics and as Busiek said, he put Heroes Return books into very capable hands and while they didn’t stay there forever the books were real good for a run there. The Avengers had over 5 years.

I hope his first move is firing Dan DiDio off Outsiders. If he does that, I’ll forgive all those Avengers in jackets.

The Truth Speaker

September 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I think everyone who has commented on this story so far has missed the real truth behind this move. Bob Harras has been presiding over DC’s collected editions (reprints) for the last several years, evidently with a fair degree of success, right? Now he’s been made Editor-in-Chief. Well, with collected editions accounting for an ever-increasing amount of the company’s revenue, and with new comics’ sales accounting for an ever-DEcreasing amount of the company’s revenue, what direction does this move suggest that DC is moving in? Add to that the other recent announcements that DC made, which primarily suggest that all divisions of the company that have value as producers of new product are being moved to the West Coast, and it doesn’t take a genius to see what’s REALLY coming down the pike: the gradual phase-out of traditional, periodically published 32-page comic books which, as all but the most dedicated fanboy retards must now admit, are no longer a sustainably profitable venture. In other words, this is the beginning of the end for the industry as it’s existed for the last thirty years (thank God).

And I thought there wouldn’t even been a new EIC. Shows what I know.

The Truth speaker makes a good point.

Don’t confuse unwarranted pessimism for deep thought or audacity. Whether it’s as pamphlets or digital downloads or both, there’s always going to be a market for new content. Making the assumption that since Bob Harras was fairly successful at heading DC’s collected editions department, his ascendance to EIC can only mean new periodical comics are on their way out, is faulty for several reasons:

a) those collected editions aren’t just reprints of old ‘I love bondage’ Wonder Woman comix from the ’40s but also include TPBs of new material like say, Blackest Night. And it’s becoming a larger stream of revenue due to libraries, trade-waiting and a more sophisticated reader base. And to paraphrase Joe Quesada’s argument against original graphic novels: why make money only once off the finished story when you can serialize it in the meantime and make more moolah overall?

b) I’m not interested in/familiar with DC’s trade program, but from what I’ve gathered online so far, Harras’s success at running it is far from an undisputed fact: plenty of people seem to be up in arms due to its irregularity and poor scan quality, for instance. Maybe he got a job as an EIC because he…*gasp!*…has actual job experience as an EIC? Imagine that…

c) Diane Nelson was specifically brought in to integrate DC more fully into the Warner Bros. entertainment juggernaut, so all parts of the company pertaining to licensing and multimedia moving to the west coast (where said juggernaut has its own operations in those fields going on) makes sense. However, New York is and remains to American publishing what Mecca is to muslims, so DC’s publishing arm remaining in the Big Apple ain’t exactly a prelude to a final trip to the woodshed, but rather a calculated move to keep the core company where the action is.

So…Truth Speaker or Blow Hard? You decide.

Well, this is something to look forward to.

At least we can’t blame Didio for any old thing anymore.

I love it when insults are slung around by people using pseudonyms.

Well, I don’t use a pseudonym, but I’m not going to sling insults either. I wasn’t a fan of 90’s Marvel or of any of the projects Liefeld mentions in his quote, but I don’t have any string feelings AGAINST the man either. I’m very surprised by this announcement and very, VERY curious to see where DC’s books head under his tenure…

I wish him luck.

I should also mention that you now have the never to be sufficiently damned vibrant intellitext ads on this page and that whoever signed for them should be shot. Those things are grossly offensive.

I hope Truth Speaker is right. Didn’t even think of that, and I’ve been yammering for this for over a decade. I don’t even buy many comic books anymore, I buy mostly in trade.

If that’s what Bob Harras does, and leads the entire industry in this direction, forget Outsiders, I will forgive all the stuff I didn’t like at 90s Marvel. He will be my new hero. I will build a shrine like Brevoort’s.

funkygreenjerusalem

September 28, 2010 at 12:15 am

I hope his first move is firing Dan DiDio off Outsiders. If he does that, I’ll forgive all those Avengers in jackets.

I liked his Avengers run… and I love the jackets!

I thought it was awesome that they had a set uniform, yet they all wore it a different way.

If it makes Rob Liefeld happy it can’t be good.

If The Truth Speaker truly speak the truth, then DC has flourished under Harras’ tenure over the collected editions. I don’t understand why, as over the past six or so years, DC has been extremely frustrating with how they’ve been putting out collections.

I am sick and tired of seeing hardcover collections of six issues each. Usually, they’re from larger storylines that would make far more sense in a single large hardcover edition. Instead, we get two or three flimsy, inconvenient ripoffs produced for no other discernible reason than to make more money off customers.

Furthermore, I was already frustrated at seeing the Sinestro Corps War saga compiled with the vital tie-in issues collected in a SEPARATE volume, but at least the main two volumes collected GL and GLC, which is the order the storyline was published and was intended to be read.

I hoped they’d learn from this when it came time to collect Blackest Night. Nope! We have BN, GL, and GLC all collected in three separate trades. That’s like publishing a single novel in three different volumes, each with every third chapter. Compare these both to Marvel’s Annihilation trades, or even DC’s Seven Soldiers, which published the chapters in the order they were meant to be read.

I’m not sure if Harras was to blame for this, but it sounds like he certainly signed off on them. Either way, it’s because of this that I’ve all but stopped buying new DC trades. Look, I believe the future of the industry is going to all-trade format eventually. It’s why I used to be getting only trades, and still do with Marvel. But this isn’t how it should be done.

All that said, if the Truth Speaker is correct, then it seems I’m the only one frustrated by the stupid, stupid policies of collected editions at DC.

“Bob Harras has been presiding over DC’s collected editions (reprints) for the last several years, evidently with a fair degree of success, right?”

Nope.

Well, DC trades have had an incredible couple of years, but then I chalk that up to the presence of a high profile movie based on what some have called, “The Best comic ever written.” I mean, numerically, they’ve been unbeatable.

Content wise they’ve sucked.

I can’t believe Harras runs DC’s trade program and Vertigo’s program. They’re like night and day.

DC delays TPBs. Releases incomplete collections. Charges far more than they should for wafer thin books. And makes you wait months, if not years, for them. They think it’s 1995 over there.

Vertigo release complete collections and does so pretty quickly. SCALPED and UNWRITTEN would not have survived playing by the rules the DC program uses.

These, along with other complaints spoken of already make their program look, at best, deeply uneven.

That said… making Harras EIC means one thing: You can not fail in comics. Things that would end careers in other fields simply mean you are promoted to positions of greater responsibility and influence.

“Hey, Ben Raab! Maybe him and Howard Mackie and Glen Greenberg and all those other non-entities that got purged along with Harras can get jobs now writing bland, inoffensive crap for DC Entertainment.”

Hey, DC’s already publishing a lot of bland crap, it’d be great if things like Cry for Justice and Rise of Arsenal were finally inoffensive, too. =^p

funkygreenjerusalem

September 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

DC delays TPBs. Releases incomplete collections. Charges far more than they should for wafer thin books. And makes you wait months, if not years, for them. They think it’s 1995 over there.

Actually, that’s because retailers prefer being able to sell out of one version before getting the next – they want time between the singles before the HC, and time to sell the HC before the TPB arrives.
Marvel have said they plan to move more in this direction as well.

Vertigo release complete collections and does so pretty quickly. SCALPED and UNWRITTEN would not have survived playing by the rules the DC program uses.

Thanks to the success of Sandman, and that the books reach a different readership, Vertigo readers have been trained to read in the trade – it’s trade sales that can make or break a Vertigo book, so they need to get them out quicker to see if the book will make it or not.
(You’ll also not that Vertigo goes straight to TPB, and HC’s come later).

Two different styles for two different audiences – shows Harras, and DC, have actually put some thought and research into how they deliver.
You meant it as an attack, but it shows that he’s actually bringing something to the table.

That said… making Harras EIC means one thing: You can not fail in comics. Things that would end careers in other fields simply mean you are promoted to positions of greater responsibility and influence.

You don’t pay much attention to politics or Wall street, do you?

@funkygreenjerusalem:

“Actually, that’s because retailers prefer being able to sell out of one version before getting the next – they want time between the singles before the HC, and time to sell the HC before the TPB arrives.
Marvel have said they plan to move more in this direction as well.”

Then why not just release them as trades rather than wafer-thin hardcovers? Do retailers themselves benefit from the higher cost? Either way, it’s a method that makes sense for DC’s bottom line while–it seems to me–ripping off the people who buy trades, especially those who want to try and keep up with DC’s output. Hardcovers just aren’t worth the extra money if the interior material is too slight.

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