Robot 6

Quote of the day | Tom Brevoort: DC is ‘the Charlie Sheen of comics’

[Reader question:] Unless you guys are going to announce something amazing within the next few moths, DC epicly won this year. Though, I always buy anything involving Spider-Man, so you will get more business there.

[Tom Brevoort:] Yes, they’ve epicly won their way down to being 25% of the market. if they keep winning at this rate, they’ll be out of business before long. They’re the Charlie Sheens of comics, winning their way to extinction.

Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort on the Distinguished Competition, via his Formspring account. So that would make Marvel…Ashton Kutcher?

Okay, so that was a pretty solid smack from Brevoort Marvel’s crosstown (or round-the-block, as the case may be) rivals. But in other Formspring responses he’s a bit less catty and more comprehensive in his diagnosis of DC’s perceived problems. In one response, he advises DC to “stop trying to become what they think Marvel is” and play to their company’s and characters’ unique strengths, because “their interpretation of how our universe operates and how we plan out storylines and deal with our creative talent is so off-the-mark it’s laughable sometimes….[they should stop] trying to be a bad Marvel clone–because they’re not even getting bad Marvel right.”

In another response, he discusses DC’s recent $2.99 pricing initiative: “they got virtually no uptick on their sales, but cut a quarter of their profit margin away.” Brevoort argues that the audience for (his example) Booster Gold will buy Booster Gold comics regardless of cost, but cutting that cost won’t make a new audience for Booster Gold materialize either out of the non-comics-reading populace or from fans of other properties.

But to hear Brevoort tell it, he’s still pulling for the other publisher. “I want them to thrive and prosper,” he tells one questioner, positing a world where Marvel routinely beats a “a vibrant, healthy, competitive DC” as his ideal. This, he says, is why he thought “their reboot was a necessary step and a smart move overall”…but he adds the caveat that “I don’t think they’ve gone about putting it together in the smartest way possible.” Clearly, some of his initial support for/defense of/optimism about the DC relaunch has dimmed. Hence, perhaps, the talk of tiger blood…



What a dick – glad I dropped most Marvel titles.


That’ll show him!

I feel the same way. Honestly, Brevoort’s constant inability to act like a human being steers me away from Marvel time and time again, in spite of my affection for some of the characters.

It seems Tom Breveroot has all the answers!….Obviously DC is being run by complete idiots!….What a winner that Tom is!(To use is Charlie Sheen analogy)…I dropped Marvel a long time ago!

He really shouldn’t be so smug. If DC Comics goes out business, then so does the entire direct market including Marvel Comics. Sure there will be both DC and Marvel comics properties in continued existence at their parent corporate levels, but for all intents and purposes, their comics will be dead. He should be sweating bullets and praying for DC to succeed.

That is a pretty awesome quote. Even if it is a little dicky.

I guess I can take some kind of grim satisfaction out of knowing that my expectations about DC’s endless string of status-quo-shaking, continuity re-writing, world-re-shaping omni-crossover events are being proven right. It’s a self-destructive and silly policy.

DC epicly won this year? Events like Final Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Brightest Night, etc, all epicly won against their Marvel competition, to judge by the hype and buzz around them before release. But when the dust settles, it’s still Marvel at the top.

That doesn’t really make me happy.

@Genius Jones:

You did read the part that quotes him as wanting DC “to thrive and prosper,” right?

And you believe his words? Irony and venomous words come out of his mouth.
As always.

“He should be sweating bullets and praying for DC to succeed.”

But Brevoort clearly is hoping for DC to pull it together.

And do people really stop reading comics because a Senior Vice President is kind of a dick (even if he does have a point)? Is Brevoort’s answer any more dickish than using the expression “epicly won”?

You know, from a reader’s perspective, I really don’t see the big deal with the Marvel vs DC rivalry. At this point, it all looks the same.

I do wonder what Brevoort meant when he said DC should: “stop trying to become what they think Marvel is” and play to their company’s and characters’ unique strengths, because “their interpretation of how our universe operates and how we plan out storylines and deal with our creative talent is so off-the-mark it’s laughable sometimes….[they should stop] trying to be a bad Marvel clone–because they’re not even getting bad Marvel right.”

What are DC’s strengths now? It’s surely not the same as what their strengths are commonly perceived as using the stereotypical ’60s view of what DC’s about.

“they got virtually no uptick on their sales, but cut a quarter of their profit margin away.”

And created a heap of goodwill from customers going through tough times. Do marvel care about that? Of course not.

“If DC Comics goes out business, then so does the entire direct market including Marvel Comics.”

Thanks to the Day and Date for all their comics, DC is taking a huge risk to the direct market, but doesn’t mean Marvel or the independents will go down right away.

Fact is, he gave a dick remark to a dick response to him. In NO WAY would I give DC the year when i’m still confused how they can “reboot” some characters and not others. I’m also confused if Morrison Jean wearing Superman is the same as Lee’s armor wearing Superman.

“Is Brevoort’s answer any more dickish than using the expression “epicly won”?”

So you really don’t see the difference between a phrase (misspelled, at that) used in a single question submitted by a reader who’s probably no older than 21 (seriously, who else classifies things as “epic”?) and a repeated pattern of making fun of their competition by a senior corporate vice president?

Darth Eradicus

July 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I expect more knives to come out as September approaches–the real test will be where Marvel and DC stand afterward, IMO…

Sean T. Collins

July 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

People who think Brevoort never has anything encouraging to say about DC — or, in the charming hyperbole of comment-thread posters, his “constant inability to act like a human being” — are advised to read all the things he said defending the DC relaunch:

The only people who think the reboot is 1 a good idea and 2 think it is put together well are the deluded DiDio and Lee and the trapped in company line creators. Kudos Brevoort

Jake Earlewine

July 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I think Tom Brevoort nailed it. He’s one smart fellow.

DC is cutting off their legs with this reboot. Driving away the older customers who have supported them all these years. And they’re not going to attract many new (young) customers by rebooting, because those kids aren’t even going to notice the reboot, since they don’t visit comic shops.

It’s not the content that needs rebooting — what needs rebooting is the way comics are marketed.

Has anybody started a pool on how many months this reboot lasts, before DC returns to normal? I’ll give ‘em six months, and by then Diane Nelson will be gone.

But for a company like DC, which revises its characters every couple of years , what’s “normal?”

The pre-Flashpoint status quo?

The pre-Infinite Crisis status quo?

The post-Crisis DCU?

The Bronze Age DCU?

The Silver Age DCU?

Or is it just whatever the DCU was like when the person talking about it started reading DC Comics?

Amid all the bitching about $2.99 and how it lost them dollars, has anyone stopped to think that it was probably just a way to make digital prices not so outrageous when they launched day and date, which they had to know was coming when they announced the $2.99 initiative.

If they had gone into day and date at $3.99 digitally, it would have been too much, and if they’d cut readers a break on prices for digital, the retailers would have revolted. But at $2.99 for physical and digital comics, the digital comic prices seem a bit more reasonable. (Still too high, but not as bad as $3.99, and being able to drop to $1.99 a month later helps.)

Now whether or not they make up for the lost dollars with new readers and volume remains to be seen, but I have to think the coming digital initiative had a lot to do with dropping down to $2.99.

“So you really don’t see the difference between a phrase (misspelled, at that) used in a single question submitted by a reader who’s probably no older than 21 (seriously, who else classifies things as “epic”?) and a repeated pattern of making fun of their competition by a senior corporate vice president?”

Not really. Don’t people at DC make fun of Marvel? I seem to remember Grant Morrison throwing a few barbs at them, for instance. There’s a rivalry there that is, by all signs, actually cherished and encouraged by people from both companies. Demonizing Brevoort over it is ridiculous. He also has a pattern of expressing hope that DC will prosper.

Jake Earlewine

July 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

By normal, Kelson, I meant normal numbering. Because there WILL be an Action #1000 — provided DC is still in business.

But you are so right about their constant rebooting! This is one schizo company.

The difference is that DC realized that they were making mistakes. They stepped up their game, and the ball is now firmly in Marvel’s court. Comments like this does no one any favors and makes Brevoort look exceptionally petty.

I’m gonna go ahead and guess that Diane Nelson won’t be fired because of DC relaunching, considering she works with things that matter so much more than the penny-ante day to day minutiae of a business who’s best products move less than 250k. (FAR less, at that.)

While we’re at it, I’m also going to guess that in six months DC will still be making comics w/low numbers. I’d like to say “I could be wrong”, but really, I won’t be.

I think he hit it right on the head. DC has been trying to be more realistic with their stories, more “real world”, and that’s Marvel’s schtick. A perfect example of how different Marvel and DC should be is the JLA/Avengers crossover. The Avengers were shocked by how much the populace of the DCU loved their heroes and the JLA was equally shocked by how much Marvel’s citizens didn’t trust theirs. DC should be how we picture a world full of heroes to be: the people loving the heroes that guard them. Marvel should be as they’ve always been: what it would more likely be like if we really did have superheroes.

So, just some more of the usual snark Brevoort spouts off. I’m more surprised he didn’t come out guns blazing on the DC relaunch sooner.

Chill out DC fanboys, this is just like politicians that spit bile at each other while in Parliament (or Congress) then are drinking buddies a year later.

Besides DC is always second fiddle to Marvel.

Now that will whip up all the DC-heads into a tizzy like all the mental MJ fans.

Marvel owns the market but their top sellers have numbers that were cancellation worthy when I was a kid.
I think Tom Brevoort enjoys the things that flame up the internet. Nu Marvel has tried to emulate the huckster approach that Stan Lee made his trademark. Joe Q tried to do it to balance Jemas’ Howard Stern wannabe.

For $3.99 I can read about the Avengers having a conversation for the entire issue. For $3.99 I can read the X-Men which is basically a mutant fantasy league. I can read the Fantastic Four ($3.99? not sure) since Johnny Storm’s death made it possible to create the Future Foundation. For $3.99 I can read an Iron Man comic that has Tony Stark whining almost the entire issue and never really saving anyone. Personally, I hate the fact that I don’t enjoy Marvel Comics like I used to but I don’t necessarily blame a guy like Brevoort.

I just don’t understand the constant teeth gnashing that inevitably accompanies Brevoort’s digs at DC. One would assume that the denizens of the internet would be able to tolerate the brand of mild snark he throws out every so often. He is online honestly answering pretty much any question posed to him, which I find refreshing in an age where company press releases masquerade as news items.

Trying to make your characters more relevant and suddenly your copying Marvel…what does that even mean?
Yes Marvel puts out more solidly written titles…cause they don’t publish anything else!!! They publish their top characters and three mini-series and one shots one those same damn characters every damn month!
If DC only published Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern, then they’d be the same. At least you get THUNDER Agents, Secret Six, Zatanna, etc. for 20 to 30 issues as well as the stories from Vertigo (oh, don’t worry TOM, we’ll pretend ICON isn’t copying VERTIGO even though we’re using your logic)

Not everything works at DC, but they try and are upfront when it doesn’t. Marvel doesn’t even act like they care about anyone or anything.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d take the stable of Johns, Morrison, Simone, Snyder, and Lemire over Marvel’s top five any wed. of the year!


I meant more solidly written ONGOINGS on an AVERAGE…cause they don’t pulish any other characters!

Tom seems to hate the readers, and clearly has no respect for them. His disdain for them, his snark, and every facet of his attitude reflect the increasingly shiftless and classless nature of Marvel as a company and its “leadership.”
By “Leadership” I mean the regime that allows consistently late work, vulgarity during panels at Comicons, bland and drawn out storytelling style that reeks of sameness across the entire line of 616 books….just too much to mention here.

But go ahead Tom. Badmouth DC. Certainly us stupid readers can’t tell the difference between a company that wants to impress its fans and a company that simply wants to milk them for whatever they’re worth.

I read Marvel for 30 years and loved it. It took Tom and his crew of noirish espionage fans to solve that. I applaud DC. There at least seems to be integrity behind what they’re doing.

Want to gauge Tom B’s comics genius? All you need to do is graph out “sales over Tom B’s tenure” or Joe Q’s or anyone elses. THAT’S the real story.

Brevoort continues to mock DC’s pricing yet Marvel is increasingly doing the same thing with reduced pages for $3, and in some instances less than 22 pages for a $4 book. The double standard is the absolute worst thing about Brevoort when asked about anything other than Marvel.

DC vs Marvel rivalry is pathetic. I remember a bunch of idiots on the CBR forums started a petition to have Marvel buy Batman because they wanted to read Batman stories but refused to buy any non-Marvel books.

Just read whatever you like. I love Avengers Academy, I love Xombi. No one has stopped me at the register when I’ve tried to buy both. I love Chew too, is that cool with you, Marvel-lites? Or am I no longer allowed to buy your precious Marvel comics?

He is absolutely right. DC is a joke and rebooting all their titles and increased the amount of some is just a desperate gimmick

I see a lot of your idiots on here don’t like to hear hard truths and continue to live in your parents basements avoiding the reality of life. DC comics is a joke and they are ran by morons!


Make mine Marvel!

Ya know the comic book industry is in a bad place when the top selling publishing company executives are making comments like this.

I don’t know whats gonna happen to DC after this relaunch. The company will either die out or prosper and over taker the market share, either way the people working their will be smarter after this and will have no choice but to learn from their mistakes.

As for Marvel, all I have say is you reap what you sow, all good things come to an end. I mean just to survive they had to be bought out by Disney, tells you how “GOOD” marvel was doing. I have not bought anything from Marvel since Civil War and One More day and this Brevoort jerk has assured I won’t be buying anything from them until a new staff takes over.

I see the pathetic Marvel sycophantic brigade is out in full force. And I thought DC’s fans were bad enough.

@ Chuck,

Same can be said of Marvel again and again.
If you think ending Uncanny X-Men isn’t a gimmick, you’re wrong.
If you think having Wolverine and Spider-Man in multiple books isn’t a gimmick, you’re wrong.

Could this relaunch/reboot hurt DC? Yes. Could it help them? Yes.

DC isn’t going to die. Keep Marvel yours. I’ve had my fill of them.

A $3 comic will always get my money before a $4 comic.


July 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm

My only issue with these comments is that I don’t think Breevort is too aware of what ‘Bad Marvel’ is – I think he would have a very different take on that to what most fans would (ie. I think he would see it as minor events that don’t sell, where as I would point to things that do sell, but are of a very low quality – ie. confusion about whether or not Bucky died in #3 of Fear Itself).

Also, I think it’s safe to say his views on DC’s pricing come from Marvel’s wishes to not have to match them.
DC didn’t get an instant rebound in sales – they’ve been planning that for September – but this denying by not mentioning that both companies sales went down after jumping to $3.99 is a bit silly.
Marvel can crow on all day about how they are beating DC comics with $2.99 comics, but they know they aren’t selling as many comics at $3.99 as they did at $2.99.
The profit may be the same, or even up, but it is to a reduced audience, and whilst that’s not dead, it’s not healthy either.

Over the past five years Marvel’s gotten a lot better about not letting their front men swear and toss four lettered words out like conjunctions when doing interviews and speaking at conventions, but Tom B continues to drag the perception of the company down with his absolutely horrific sound bites. He comes across like a teen aged girl trying to insult her competition. Definitely not like a professional who realizes that he’s pretty much the mouthpiece of the company her represents.

To the DC-crats and Marvel-icans here,

Stop contributing to the very thing that makes the comic book reader ‘evil’ in the eyes of the general populace!

I’ve seen you guys throw around titles from independents as well, but what about these three? What about Godzilla, Transformers, GI Joe? In a sense, DC and Marvel should be looking up to THEM, and Marvel did comics for BOTH TF and GI Joe. AND Godzilla is the longest-running film franchise in history (28 movies over a span of 57 years). Read THOSE titles, people!!! They’ve got something for everybody! Learn to love giant rampaging monsters, or robots that turn into vehicles/animals/weapons/gadgets/buildings, or a military unit fighting a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. Show some love for OTHER franchises besides the Big Two.

(And IMO, Godzilla could wipe out Wolverine and Batman with ONE blast of his radioactive flame.)

Yeah, Tom sure comes off as a dick. Don’t really care, though.

All I know is, I’m a long time DC fan, I love their history and I love their characters. And I have a lot of affection for Marvel to – not quite as much, but aspects of their universe and many of their writers appeal to me.

And with all that said, I am inestimably more excited about DC right now than I am Marvel. Yes, I’m more invested in the characters and the universe as a whole, but I love the books that are coming out of the relaunch. I’m looking at picking up 45+ ONGOING books a month from them, is how excited I am. There is so much diversity – not just racial, but tonal and conceptual – represented there, a feeling that despite ‘rebooting’ or ‘relaunching’ they’re digging into their history and into every corner of their universe to put together a line of books that doesn’t repeat itself. Add in some great stalwart creators, some great newer creators, and some great near unknowns and I’m on board.

Marvel feels very much like it’s stagnant at the moment. As though it’s afraid of the current market, afraid of taking any risks. And unfortunately, at both Marvel and DC, it tends to be the ‘riskier’ characters and books that I’m excited about. The fringes. Those books are canceled almost immediately at Marvel, when they are even launched. So while I’m enjoying a number of their books – FF, Thunderbolts before it started tying into FI, etc – I just don’t feel energized about them as a company, about their books as a whole.

“Also, I think it’s safe to say his views on DC’s pricing come from Marvel’s wishes to not have to match them.
DC didn’t get an instant rebound in sales – they’ve been planning that for September – but this denying by not mentioning that both companies sales went down after jumping to $3.99 is a bit silly.”

I think you have your causal relationship backwards.

“Want to gauge Tom B’s comics genius? All you need to do is graph out “sales over Tom B’s tenure” or Joe Q’s or anyone elses. THAT’S the real story.”

I don’t think there’s much of a story there at all actually. If memory serves, I think you’ll find sales in line with the rest of the industry with a moderate boom in the early/mid 00s after the bust of the mid/late 90s. Who was in charge of Marvel then… I’m trying to remember…

I hardly buy Marvel,the last time was sometime in 2010,two issues of Red Hulk.

“crew of noirish espionage fans”
That’s a perfect description of why I don’t enjoy Marvel as much these days.

I do find that comment in poor taste but Brevoort is a very food editor from what little i can tell.

Still, it always annoys me that all these editors, writers, and publishers somehow find the time to engage in this stuff outside of their very stressful work hours. I’d rather they all spent more of their free time (what little of it I know they have) living life and exploring fresh new things that can help inspire better, more cutting edge ideas in their work. All these constant interviews–which are always VERY LOOOOOONG ones–where snarky remarks are made etc. always feel so sleazy to me. I never even manage to read them in their entirety.

It’s like, seriously Marvel AND DC, just put all your effort, extra time, intelligence, and creativity into cool campaigns for your events and then SHUT THE F *&@ UP! They all want to be rock stars. You never see any of this behaviour from the artists because their let out their frustration through their work. It’s time the others did the same.

Oops, I meant to type ‘GOOD editor’, not ‘food editor’. :(

@Sean T Collins – why did my post get removed?

And just because one of DC’s new superhero teams is called Tiger Blood & The Seven Gram Rocks doesn’t mean they should be compared to Charlie Sheen.

In issue number 1, Tiger Blood & The Seven Gram Rocks battle the Droopy Eyed Armless Children!

Mind Your Own Business, Brevoort.

Everything now is movies, movies, movies, $$$$$$$… but th truth is:

Marvel are putting out really lame comics lately.

Breevort is pretty insufferable. Someone should tell him that losing readers at a slightly slower rate is not winning either. Reading his comments reminds of when Gary Busey decided to give advice to Charlie Sheen.

Son Of Origins

July 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I think it’s kind of cool that comic readers still defend their company of choice when said company gets picked on. So let me add my own little bit of partisanship:

DC’s only claim to fame is Action #1, having better artists in the golden age and a brief but awesome creative spurt in the mid 80s. But that is completely overshadowed by their victimization at the hands of the crafty Martin Goodwin who delivered a debilitating blow that DC has yet to recover from.

Marvel is and always will be the dominant company in the direct market. DC’s portion of the diamond sales pie chart continues to be eaten away by indies and a weak, defensive, reactive editorial dept. They don’t have near the committment to their continuity that Marvel has had over the years. DC’s stagnant, inbred stable of boring characters that hardly ever grows is also doing the company no favors. The Marvel stable of characters meanwhile, continues to grow and grow.

And even though DC once had the edge on the movie end of the business, they don’t any longer. I predict that the upcoming and historic Avengers movie will crush Dark Knight Rises at the box office with Dark Knight garnering more critical praise. Several years of post credit teasers from Marvel will prove to be the most ingenious strategy since the teaming of Universal’s Monsters. Marvels strategy of flooding the marketplace with films and comics has served them well and will continue to serve them well.

Whether DC succeeds or fails matters little to Marvels continued success. In fact, I can see Marvel owning DC in the not too distant future. In fact, I can see Image owning DC in the not too distant future if the “52” strategem fails.

Son Of Origins

July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Oops. Correction: Martin Goodman, not Goodwin.

And now that Flashpoint is more than six months behind us… I think Tom was absolutely right. :(

lol that was me

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