The New 52 and DC's Communications Failure

A year into DC's New 52 initiative, and I still haven't posted my analysis of DC's frankly atrocious communications strategy regarding the relaunch. So here it is. This isn't about whether or not any of the books are good or bad, or whether or not they're selling (DC did get an apparently sizable sales bump, but of course, kept it going with press releases announcing what I would consider non-events and spoilers). No, this is about how DC Comics handled its message over the past 1+ year since it announced the New 52. I'm drawing on my own experience in communications to relate 5 basic rules that I like to adhere to at work, but that DC has most definitely broken. See if you agree.

1. Do what you say
When you say you will do something, do it. When you give a reason for doing something, prove it. Your message has to be TRUE. Sounds simple and obvious, doesn't it? Not for DC who let the hype take over their message. When the relaunch was announced, DC claimed that the new line would attract new readers, revitalize the DCU and provide more diversity, while doing away with a continuity that had "run its course" and was an obstacle to new readers. The books came out and few could actually have been called innovative. Many were STILL heavy with the "continuity" DC had criticized, and featured characters only the fans DC already had would know. No real thought or work was put into attracting new readers, that is to say, readers from the pool of non-comics readers. They no doubt attracted Marvel readers, or former readers who prefer the digital medium, but if they've drawn in readers interested in other media like novels or films, I would guess that to be incidental. As for diversity, it's not even obvious what they mean by the word. Books featuring straight white males was still the norm and only a few books strayed from the superhero genres (and even those made sure to feature superheroes in some way), and many of those that weren't straight white male-dominated superhero books didn't survive the first 8 months. DC was also criticized for under-employing female creators.

DC never in fact proved continuity was an obstacle to new readers. The publicity around the re-numbering got readers to pick up a lot of new #1s, but file off the numbers, and you still have books using the old continuity (only now, it doesn't quite make sense), and books that could have been published as is in the old DCU continuity (most of the good ones, truth be told). What's worse is the message communicated as a preface to the relaunch, which many fans of the current output took as an insult to their tastes and interests, and in many cases, a punishment rather than a reward for supporting certain books, characters and creators up to that point, especially in cases where stories were left unresolved in the wake of the Flushpoint and/or weren't followed on in the new continuity.

I will give credit to DC for sticking to their pledge of never allowing a book to run late again (each was published every month, if not day for day after the previous issue), though it has meant a revolving door for creators on many books, i.e. fill-in artists or outright changes in writers/creative teams. DC has stuck to its commitment to a regular publishing schedule, but not to many titles having any kind of coherent look, story or feel. DC is saying that you should follow the characters, not the writers or artists, which has been more disappointing to readers than having to wait a couple extra weeks, and led to the same kind of revolving door for the readers. Throughout the year, DC has announced creative teams on books and failed to produce them on the due date, either to avoid lateness, or because those creators left the books, mysteriously or publicly.

2. A single spokesperson - a single message
It's getting more and more difficult to keep to this in today's world of social networking and easy access to communication tools, especially in as big an enterprise as DC Comics. Editors and creators alike are called upon to talk about the output for marketing purposes, often live and unprepared at conventions, and others like to chat about what they're working on on Twitter, Facebook, etc. However, when it comes to your comics company's editorial direction, a single person should be in charge of the message, and that person should be briefed and educated by communications professionals about how to best communicate the company's message. Even if that's not possible, the message should be coherent across the whole staff, and if many people are allowed to transmit the message, they should ALL be educated the same way. Instead, the relaunch was plagued by contradictory statements (was it a relaunch or a reboot? And when you announced it wasn't a reboot, why were characters rebooted?) from the Editor-in-Chief, the "Architects" of the relaunch, and various editors, writers and artists. The value of having a single spokesperson (or several, but each attributed a certain area, for example, hiring practices to the Editor-in-Chief, and creative matters to an Architect) is that you can work with that person to fashion and mold the message into its best possible shape. When DiDio lashed out at a fan for asking why there weren't more female creators working on New52 books, does anyone really believe he was speaking for the entire company? He certainly wasn't coached in how to respond to fan questions, or prepared for that particular line of questioning (see Rule #5). The way information was given about the New 52 shows how easily your message can be lost, diluted or diverted.

3. Avoid even the appearance of impropriety
My old Ethics of Communication professor used to say "Not seen, not caught. Not caught, not guilty." What he never said and let us discover for ourselves is that in media, you're always seen. There's nothing like being caught in a lie, error, bias or offensive blunder to make you lose complete control of your message. You don't decide what they talk about if you give them a choice of what to talk about. So to stay on track, you have to keep the journalists (and in this case, highly verbal fans) from talking about something other than your message. Much of the news surrounding the New 52 has been about fans' outrage at the treatment of female characters as sex objects, or DiDio's aforementioned blow-up, or writers leaving in a huff, or negative opinions of new costumes (slow news day). Why the negativity? It's not just "human nature" or some other pablum I could easily have answered. No, it's that if you seem insincere, if things don't feel right or fair, you're cultivating mistrust. The media will smell the blood in the water and treat everything you say and do as suspiciously as your actual wrong-doing.

Case in point at DC's New 52: Readers who were denied comics they really did enjoy certainly weren't inclined to embrace a new way of doing things unless it really did mean something better. But could they trust the hype when some of their favorite writers weren't even asked to pitch for the New 52? When characters no one asked for were given the spotlight for no better reason than they were owned by co-Architect Jim Lee? When many of the writers and artists invited to play seemed to share a connection with Lee and Johns, including much-ridiculed artist Rob Liefeld? When some of the only characters not forced to reboot were under the control of co-Architect Johns? There does seem to be a bias there, and it's not helping the company's reputation either as a product maker or an employer (throw in Before Watchmen as a non-52 example of even more ethical controversy). Now, for all I know, there might not be anything hiding behind those decisions (but if not, still see Rule #5), but it LOOKS BAD. And in the communications business, the way it looks might as well be the way it is. Media/fans may decide that if some decisions were unethical, they all were, and I don't subscribe to the idea that any publicity is good publicity.

4. Cultivate transparency
One way to implement Rule #3 is through transparency. If you're honest and open about what you're doing, then people will understand why certain unwelcome things happen. (It doesn't mean you have to run massive spoilers in the media about what happens in your stories, so stop doing that already!) If a book is late, let us know why. If there's going to be a change of artist or writer, let us know in advance. If you made a mistake, ADMIT IT. And never ever lie about any of it. See, transparency is more than being honest with your constituency, it's also about keeping YOURSELF honest. If you have a clear policy to be transparent, you then have to adhere to the other 4 rules, and to other principles of integrity, much more tightly, because you KNOW you're accountable for your decisions, words and actions. DC has failed in this respect not only in regards to the readership, but to its employees as well.

DC had writers pitch ideas for relaunched series while others, writing books at that very moment, were kept in the dark, unaware until the last moment that their books were going to be cancelled and their services dismissed. They lied to readers too, perhaps in fear of a mass exodus away from books that were about to be invalidated anyway. Just look at the comics published in the months leading up to the New 52 announcement. How can Geoff Johns, an Architect of the New DC, have written Brightest Day, an event that set up story strands to be abandoned weeks later? And if he wasn't in the know, at the time, how can DC say they made an informed decision re: the reboot, conducted research into what readers want to see, etc.? If it was well-prepared for, why did the new DC logo come out only months later? Even after the launch, we hear reports of DC Editorial not being honest or fair with its creators, meddling with their work, requiring last minute changes, etc. I don't put a lot of stock in Liefeld's comments given his diatribe on Twitter, but I'm more inclined to believe George Perez who had a similar experience.

5. Analyze your message
What are you saying? Do you even know? A lot of communication problems are caused by people not even asking that first question. When you write Starfire as an amnesiac girl who gives sex away like candy, do you know what that says about your opinion of women? When your latest Green Lantern is a ski-masked, gun-toting, dark-skinned, Muslim car thief, do you know what that says about your opinion of Muslims, Arab Americans, dark skinned people? (This from a company who refused to publish Chris Roberson's Sinbad story.) When you turn Amanda Waller into a thin, sexy woman, or get Barbara Gordon out of that wheelchair, do you know what you're saying to overweight or handicapped readers? Writers may or may not realize that their depiction of minorities has an impact on how the comics company is perceived, how they are perceived, or how they are nudging social norms one way or another, but since these were pitched to an editor first, there's obviously a message control that's missing at DC. And you'll find it in editorial lines too. For example, DC made a big thing of their female heroes now all wearing pants, as if bare thighs was the great sexist evil, only to have Catwoman falling out of her top throughout her first issue, and Voodoo stripping for her villain du jour in hers. Did anyone think about this and what supposed new readers would think (unless they were aiming for that all-important pornography fan demographic)? The dissolution of the Superman marriage (and of any relationship between Superman and Lois Lane) is another botched message, this one smacking of ageism (all heroes much be young and unattached) and of a particular hate for couplehood that could arguably be chalked up to a kind of misogyny (no balls & chains!). The idea that stories can't be told about married heroes didn't work when Marvel was pushing it about Spider-Man and MJ either.

Am I actually calling DC Editorial (and by extension many of the creators working there) misogynists or racists? Of course not. I'm only saying that had they analyzed their message, they might have realized that they were saying something disturbing about women and minorities, and saying it to the teenage boys whom they actively sought to turn into new readers. Especially when you look at the New 52's cumulative treatment of women and minorities, both on the page and writing/drawing it. If you take the time to ask pointed questions about the meaning behind your message, you might not have to apologize for it later.

DC isn't the only culprit when it comes to mismanaged communications, but it's outrageous to me how a media company hasn't been able to control its message better than it has.


Jayunderscorezero said...

An excellent post. I know a lot of people who work in social media so will definitely be passing this on. Thanks.

Scott said...

Really excellent post. Not much else I can say other than that. I hope it gets read elsewhere because I think it's very deserving...

Siskoid said...

Thank you both for the supportive comments.

PCabezuelo said...

Fantastic post and really well thought out. As someone who also works in the communications field, I agree with you 100%. Regardless of the quality of the books, this entire past year has been one PR fiasco after another for DC who managed to alienate not only readers but many of its formers creators. It just makes it so much more obvious that they really have no strategy or plan in place and are just making it up as they go along (see this week's Batman 5yr/Robin debacle).

Regardless, great post!

Kent G. Hare said...

You ever have one of those days when you read a post and wish you'd written it yourself...? Well said, well said!

As far as "writing it myself," the best I can do is recommend it heartily when I get around to posting my own "New 52 One Year Later" assessment in a few weeks.

Cheers -

Siskoid said...

PC: Pretending there's a plan seems worse to me than not having one in the first place. It's disingenuous and frustrating to readers who at this point are merely trying to understand how all the pieces fit together in the new DCU.

Kent: Take credit through the magic of Zeitgeist.

Anonymous said...

In some ways, they did clean up continuity for the better. "Action Comics" is easy to follow, without questions about "didn't Lois and Clark have a kid?" "Wonder Woman" isn't all mixed up about Steve Trevor's relationship with Etta Candy and his lingering love for Princess Diana.

In other ways they cleaned up continuity but shouldn't have. Blue Beetle was just fine as is -- he's been on the scene for a little while but not long enough to be a veteran. No need to reboot him. And the Superboy reboot got rid of a lot of embarrassing past history, but also got rid of a good status quo. The reboot should have gone as far as getting rid of his days in a jacket and trendy 1994 haircut. And while Barry Allen is wicked awesome these days, I miss Jay and Wally and the rest.

Hopefully the next continuity fix will just do what is done every time a new cartoon series is launched: put all the characters at a good status quo, fudge the back story a bit as needed, and nothing in past continuity need be considered binding until someone makes it binding.

Even legacy characters need not be real complicated. Ray Palmer's been Atoming for a little while, and a very promising grad student named Ryan Choi is also doing some Atoming. If you want Barry Allen to be dating Iris West and you also want an adult Wally West, any explanation will do -- maybe Wally West happens to work in the Central City Police garage and it's just coincidence that Barry works with a relative of his girlfriend. Fine, whatever, so long as it puts the pieces in place.

And for heaven's sake, don't try to fix it down to a specific timeline, or you'll never be able to make sense of Damian Wayne and Jim Gordon Jr.

Siskoid said...

Anon: Here, I stuck to discussing continuity as a message/promise. I did write an article about the hypocrisy behind DC's handling of continuity in an earlier article which you might be interested in. HERE IT IS.

Anonymous said...

The problem I had with the message was that I had heard it before. Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis.... All of them were supposed to "fix" continuity and make comics more approachable. And all of them didn't work. The first Crisis solved a non-problem by getting rid of the multiverse, and almost immediately people had to start asking what happened and what didn't. Even the "death" of Earth-1 Wonder Woman didn't make any sense, and the mini-series wasn't even finished!

I was hoping to find out more about the Rock of Finality and who sat on the throne made of brambles. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

New management for DC.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

My biggest problem with the marriage argument is that Animal Man and over at Marvel the Richards are still allowed to be married. I don't know about Animal Man, but Reed and Sue were just dating for the early years of the strip, or possibly engaged. (I'm not really an FF fan.)

I think it's more about keeping characters the way they grew up with, although that wouldn't explains why Superman and Lois aren't even interested in each other anymore.

Siskoid said...

If I mentioned it, it's because DC did. They didn't talk about Animal Man's marriage, but announced the dissolution of Superman's and Flash's. They talked about it as if it was a problem that needed remedying. See what I mean about analyzing your own message?

Eric Stettmeier said...

I also want to add what a well written and thought out post this was. Thanks!

SallyP said...

Beautifully reasoned and written, my dear.

Martin Gray said...

A round of applause for a wonderfully reasoned appraisal. There's nothing I'd argue against.

I've managed to find things to enjoy in the New 52, but as you say, those things (perhaps different ones for you) could have been published without slaughtering the existing line. In a couple of instances I'm enjoying books for what they are when they couldn't have existed in the same form pre-Flashpoint, but that doesn't mean I'd not prefer things as they were (eg the whole Barbara Gordon as Batgirl thing).

The thing that annoys me more than any other about the New 52 is the pushing of mainly rubbish Wildstorm characters and concepts. I'm enjoying Stormwatch, but that's about it.

Anyway, thank you for writing this. I do hope the higher-ups see it and that it gives them pause.

dannyagogo said...

Great analysis. I gotta agree with all these points. I hated the idea of the inconsistent reboot, because of the "specialness" of some of the creators (Johns, Morrison). And I feel many of the comms issues come from Didio's arrogance at the conventions (which I've witnessed first hand at Toronto Fan Expo for a couple years).

Cradok said...

Change the names, and most of this applies to Marvel as well. I especially hate the idea of having writers as special 'Architects'. Sure, give them freedoms and let them pitch ideas, but don't single a select group out as special and give them all this creative sway over everything. Year after year Marvel have had everything being dragged into whatever the crossover of the month is with no regard for current stories simply because Bendis had a plan. (And on a personal note, none of Marvel's five Architects would be in my top five current writers for Marvel, let alone top five of everyone that's written for them in the last two years.)

Also, what's really needed is editors who actually edit. AvX is a complete mess, with no attempt seeming to be made to coordinate exactly what's happening and when between all the various writers involved. Then there was the Perez/Morrison thing you mention, where basically Perez had to quit because his editor wasn't doing their job properly.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Great post, Siskoid.

Re: Perez and Morrison, Perez is probably one of the best guys who would keep secrets, and should have been told answers to any specific questions by the editor. I cannot imagine anyone at DC thinking "crap, George will tell people that Brainiac shows up." Have you noticed how some of these books seem to have three editors. As it is, I feel bad for Mr. Perez, since I quite reading Superman with the 2nd issue.

This has been brought up before, but the titles that I *am* buying could have been in the old DC, a perfect example being DIAL H. I love EARTH 2 and WORLD'S FINEST, all they needed to do was give us EARTH 6 or something. BATWOMAN and BATMAN, INC. are still enjoyable.

There will be the inevitable Third Wave, unless they decide to cut back on 52 issues a month, and I'll be curious as to the new titles. I say this because I was buying ACTION, BW and B,I until second wave, and have now doubled my monthly picks.

Again, great post. Well thought out.

Boosterrific said...

I'm sorry to say it, but DC's handling of their reboot (or whatever they are calling it today) completely killed whatever was left of my interest in their product following several years of mega-crossover cash grabs.

I couldn't have put so fine a point on it, but I have been keenly aware that not only aren't they telling me the truth about their product, they don't know the truth about their product themselves. It now seems to me like there are too many managers trying to take the company in too many directions, and that's always artistic (and usually economic) doom. Theoretically, they are selling entertainment, and I don't think they even know that anymore.

Brilliant post, Siskoid.

LiamKav said...

It's hard for me (and I imagine, a lot of people) to be objective about the original Crisis on Infinte Earths, because it was almost 30 years ago. For a lot of people, they grew up with that status quo, so they have an attachment to Jay and Wally being on the same Earth, Superman not being able to juggle planets without breaking a sweat, and so on.

I would like to imaging that the generation of people who grew up with the silver age felt the same about that situation as we do about the current one, but there are several differences.

1/ That was the first time DC had done a big "continuity fix". As others have said, by this point we've had COIE, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, 52, Brand New Day, and now Flashpoint. That drum has well and truely been banged to death.

2/ COIE was planned. Heavily planned. This did lead to situations like the Lame Duck Superman period, which they tried to avoid this time, but it also meant that a lot more thought went into everything. Granted, there were still some mistakes and poorly thought out things (I don't think Hawkman was ever sorted out), but most worked.

3/ Continuity wasn't jettisoned. At least, not quite in the same way. A lot of this was due to the fact that in the Silver Age, status quo was god. There had be some movement away from that, but overall there was a lot less to change than there had been in the past 20 years. At the time, it was more "we are now going to be treating this characters more maturely". Now, it's just different for difference sake.

Anonymous said...

There are little tells that reveal or at least suggest what is actually happening.
Let's take the redesigns of both the costumes and logos.
Superman, for example, his iconic S Shield has for some reason, has been altered and not for the better.
The previous incarnation had been brought to the point where it could stand on its own as a product logo and looked as good as any other iconic logo like Hersheys or Coke.

DC wants to redo Superman. So instead of hiring designers who specialize in logo design, they let one of their comic book guys do it.
This is for their flagship character who transcends the print media from which he sprang.
So you would think they'd engage professional designers who specialize in such things, if they really understood the import of logo design.

THe costume redesign. Superman does not need to wear armor. He is the Man of Steel. Whatever explanation the creative staff comes up with, the uninitiated reader and our unconscious minds will pick up this disconnect. Superman is not Ironman.

DC claimed to seek new readers and yet they chose had no real marketing strategy to do so. The 'commercial' they 'produced' lacked any marketing and looked like something a fan made and posted to YouTube.

If DC really wanted to draw in new readers, they would not do it by erasing the marriage between Clark and Lois as that was something that made the mainstream news and the casual or potential reader would now be confused by the new status quo.

As any comic book collector knows part of the fun is the convoluted history and the ability to comb back issues or trades to read those older stories.
So DC shoots itself in the foot in a way by cutting themselves off from their own history. Why go and pick up a trade for a set of stories set in a continuity that no longer matters?

Adding seams to the costumes and having the JL act like the Avengers is not meant to draw in new readers. Its meant to draw in Marvel's readers.

Siskoid said...

Booster: I sometimes think Booster Gold got the rawest deal of all in the reboot. The JLI Annual made mention of Rip Hunter etc., but seeing as that was the last issue, I don't know why they're teasing us with it. So I definitely feel your own particular pain.

Liam: The original Crisis didn't suffer from the same communication problems, not by a long shot. It was DC's 50th and one of several projects celebrating its history. (Compare to those outrageous Who's Who pages in the back of 0 issues boldly stating that everyone's first appearance was in 2011.) It had a great slogan as well. It built up to the changes and only really rebooted characters that were floundering.

Most importantly, it wasn't published in today's world of instant media access. Writers and editors don't contend, nor are they manipulated by, social media. It's a different time with different problems, and we expect different things from them.

Siskoid said...

Anon: You're quite correct, I think. The DCU's been Marvelized in many ways (heroes being treated as menaces, SHIELD clones popping up all over).

DC hasn't stopped selling trades of older material, and its digital-only comics don't use the New52 continuity, so that's another garbled message.

Mark S. said...

Great post – I can't add much to the substance of it.

But you’re right about how some minorities have been represented. As a disabled person I was quite perturbed when they took Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair. She was a great example of how people with disabilities can make a difference in the larger world, despite their circumstances. It was disappointing.

Anonymous said...

As the one who brought up COIE earlier, I want to agree 100% with what Siskoid said about it. It was an exciting time to be reading comics, that's for sure. It was also a great story, even if all the time-travel aspects didn't make any sense.

At the same time, it opened the door for all sorts of continuity meddling. Superman was rebooted a year after Crisis ended, and Hawkman was rebooted a few years after that. It just got worse from there.

I should also say that the reason COIE was so exciting was because DC had never done anything like that before. (Marvel did Secret Wars a year earlier, but I always thought that was rushed out to steal DC's thunder.) Since then there have been too many cross-company crossovers to count.

Anonymous said...

If I were DC I would exploit the new reader's confusion with established and convoluted back story by running adds in the books that point to the trade paperbacks.

I would also encourage the writers to reference to story elements found in the catalog of currently offered trades.

Long running Soaps and Doctor Who have very convoluted back stories and both have worked just fine.

Soap operas, however, cannot contend with the cheaply produced reality TV content....

I also think that the decline in readership might be somewhat attributed to the rise of the speciality comic shop and the lack of any comicbooks on the news stands.

As kids we used to hit the local candy store and pick up some gum, Mad magazine and the latest comic books.

Shoprite used to have them among the magazines.

These things have gone from being torn and tossed around, borrowed and left under beds to becoming precious items kept behind plastic and glass.
That might have something to do with declining readership.

Siskoid said...

If *I* were DC... well, I'd do a lot of the stuff under the Siskoid as Editor tag. Let's leave it at that.

Evan Waters said...

This cuts to what seems to be the major problem for me as well.

Just to take one issue, the subject of race. DC has come under criticism for this in the past, so logically, whether they were in the wrong or not they should be thinking about stepping lightly. From a corporate perspective you don't want headaches with this issue. That nobody in editorial thought that there might be some problem with the Green Lantern #0 image until it was all over the internet is just astounding.

This may be the byproduct of selling to roughly the same audience for over several decades- it creates an insular effect, where you don't have to worry about upsetting some people because your base is there anyway.

Anonymous said...

Really excellent post. I'm not sure what else to say.

Actually I'll say this:

I found DC taking Barbara Gordon out of the chair to be one of the most insulting things I've ever seen.

I find DC's continued treatment of Superman and Lois Lane to be ripe with not only ageism and misogyny but to be downright depressing. The latest stunt that touted how much more "beautiful" Wonder Woman was added to the really gross subtext of it.

Really think about the message that sent. Removing Lois Lane as Superman's wife because someone at DC decided that a human woman with a job who didn't wear a bathing suit and had normal sized boobs wasn't "good enough" for the love of Superman.

Let's put aside the fact that the entire point of Superman is supposed to be that he is not your average jerk guy who sees women solely for their physical attributes and that part of what made him such an amazing hero was that he saw the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Let's put aside how grossly insulting it is to see DC trying to market Wonder Woman by making her a love interest for any of the heroes on the Justice League as opposed to really investing in her mythos in any real way.

It's just gross. Some really bad messages there.

Siskoid said...

I didn't mention it, but part of DC's insincere approach to that particular storyline was the bogus self-serving "Power Couples" list published in conjunction with it.

Whoever's doing their marketing has absolutely no subtlety, do they?

Anonymous said...

‘Am I actually calling DC Editorial (and by extension many of the creators working there) misogynists or racists? Of course not. I'm only saying that had they analyzed their message, they might have realized that they were saying something disturbing about women and minorities, and saying it to the teenage boys whom they actively sought to turn into new readers.

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Which makes it all the more frustrating when one reads a Q and A [] between a fan and the Superman Comics editor, Matt Idelson, that goes like this;

‘As a female fan of Superman I find it very disheartening a certain section of this fandom are going around the internet and accusing DC creators like Rags Morales, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, James Robinson as woman hating. I for one love what you are doing with Superman and I don't agree nor appreciate the unfair bashing of hard working creators. How do you begin to deal with this kind of irrational hysteria that is in no way reflective of all female fans?

Matt: That's an awesome question, fmoon, and I wish I had a (semi) monthly prize to give you! Honestly, the only way to deal with this sort of thing is to ignore it. The internet invites all sorts of horrible commentary, accusations and rumor mongering, and it's like that 'cause people don't have to sign their name to it or look you in the eye when saying it. It's kind of the coward's domain, in effect’

*weary sigh* Yes, because, clearly, a perception of misogyny and troubling gender values in either the medium OR the message IS EXACTLY the same thing as calling someone a mean name just to be mean. All the (semi-monthly) issue-dodging and point-missing prizes to Mr Idelson and the OP.

This was such an interesting and insightful read, thank you.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the concrete example. I'm afraid I never kept notes on the various communiqués, interviews, panels, tweets, etc. the post is based on. But if I'd planned the post for longer, it's exactly the kind of thing I would have cited.

If you're going to throw out any and all feedback as the work of "cranks", then how will you ever get feedback? It's hubris to dismiss all complaints. Of course, there's no positive reinforcement to "do the right thing" when, for example, Batgirl sales are way up from their pre-New52 levels.

Siskoid said...

Just because I want to have access to this part of the overall discussion later, I'm posting Snell's comments on a Newsrama interview re: Hellblazer's cancellation at Slay Monstrobot.


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