Monday, September 14, 2009

DC Entertainment Marvels at Disney

First came the entire Disney buys Marvel, and now Warner Bros. has decided to tighten up control on DC Comics (to be known as DC Entertainment). And while nobody knows exactly how all this will play out, I am starting to fear the worse.

If you're reading this blog, chances are you a comic book fan. If you are a comic book fan you know that comic books just aren't selling like they used to. Disney and Warner Bros. are not ignorant to this fact. This is where things start to get sketchy.

Disney and Warner Bros. want these properties (characters) to make them money. There is money there to be made, as successful video games and movies have shown. What hasn't been making money is comic books. If I were the head of either project I would have some tough decisions to make. The people going to the movies and buying the video games aren't buying the comic books in the same numbers, which makes me wonder: Why are the comics necessary?

We fans know why we love them, but if there is money to be gained and a company can cut out something that isn't making a profit -- why not? People going to see an Avengers movie won't care if there isn't an Avengers related comic book out there (and there is plenty of material to keep in reprints). Screenwriters have shown they are more than capable of turning out a good comic book movie using only the skeleton of the comic books. So why not cut out the comic books -- the least profitable part of the chain?

A friend of mine pointed out that comic books are cheap R&D for the companies -- testing what works and doesn't. I'm not so sure I agree with that, but I can see the logic in it. And then there's the fact that comic book movies are probably going to end up more like Westerns, eventually dying out only to appear a decade or so later.

Having corporate fingers in artistic pies (and comic books still have not become total entertainment despite how it feels -- but it is close) never produces good results. Best case scenario is the comics keep going (if not being available in more outlets), and the companies do everything to turn those other fans into comic book fans. Worst case scenario the companies end that which is not making a profit and leaves it up to "better minds" to exploit these characters for all they are worth.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I don't have much hope.

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