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Workin' For A Livin'

Okay, let's first address a truism about the entertainment industry -- any time you have major players, making money and doing proper business is a secondary consideration.  The main concern is pissing off your competitors.  Movie studios do it all the time, signing people to contracts just before major industry events so they can brag about who they swiped.

Naturally, the comic industry has this, too.  Announcements about licenses acquired and so on are frequently timed to piss off strategic individuals.  For all the gossipy backstabbing that is SOP on Gossip Girl and other shows about the mean girl cliques, they still don't hold a candle to grown-ups who should know better.

DC Comics is reorganizing, and recently made Jim Lee and Dan DiDio co-publishers.  I admit to disappointment in DiDio continuing to have a position of influence.  I still say comic stories have become less accessible, with only readers who know 50+ years of history able to keep up with events.  As this left an opening at Editor In Chief, I was hoping that someone new coming in would be able to shift the tide and make friendly stories again.

Well, you guessed wrong, Peter.

The new EIC for DC is Bob Harras.

I'm not interested in the general politicking here.  Harras has a very bad reputation among a lot of big names.  I'm expecting a lot of people to suddenly go exclusive with Marvel in the near future.  I'm not convinced Harras is such a good choice.  DiDio does overarching, sprawling stories that lose new readers quickly.  One of the chief complaints about Harras when he was EIC at Marvel was the same thing (Onslaught, anyone?).  The potential for these two to form an echo chamber with their story expectations makes my head quirk to the side.

I'm wondering if this was done to piss off Marvel.

Image was famously founded by seven people from Marvel who weren't happy with how they were being treated and how little compensation they got for their work.  One of these seven was Jim Lee.  When Wildstorm left Image to become a DC imprint, it was obvious DC wanted squatter's rights on him.  Lee has a lot of talent and sway in the industry, and conducts himself very professionally.  Any company that gets him has a huge trophy.  DC became first in line (I could be hearing wrong, but my understanding was that Wildstorm continued while the entire line-up was profitable, not every book being profitable).  With Paul Levitz stepping down, DC made Lee co-publisher with DiDio, and Wildstorm is getting shut down.

Lee worked for Harras in the X-Men days.  They seemed to get along well (and a couple of the line editors are also pals with Harras), so Harras getting in isn't a surprise.  But there are so many stories of things Marvel has done to cheese off DC, I wonder if this is payback.  What do they gain from it?  I don't know.  Harras has burned a lot of bridges.  It's just that, with the comic readership continuing its death spiral, is focusing on snarking your competition really what you should be concerned about?

I'm not sure what this will mean, I don't read many superhero books to begin with.  At DC, Power Girl and Justice League -- Generation Lost pretty much do it for me.  So I doubt this will have much impact on my reading.  But I wonder what impact it will have on others.  There's a lot of grumbling out there.  Grumbling that can't be afforded right now.

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