DC has seen good day. DC has seen great days. Unfortunately today was not one of those days as the company announced a $2 million decline in revenue and expenditures for its last fiscal year. However, DC appears to have come up with the perfect plan to plug the financial leak, and that is to stop experimenting with their comic books!
Recently, DC have prided themselves on pushes to make their comics a more diverse and interesting landscape, rather than sticking to the same old stories on their established characters. The likes of Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin’s Harley Quinn, or Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Brenden Fletcher’s Batgirl broke the mold—and sold gangbusters, especially digitally—and sparked a mini-revolution at DC, encouraging the company to consider similar tonal reboots for many of its series.
According to io9, this lead to the company bringing about its “DC You” shakeup, thrusting its established characters into new and exciting circumstances, or bringing minor characters into the spotlight in fresh ways. It gave us a more human Superman, a totally new Batman, and critical hits like Midnighter, a highlight of the current line and one of the most LGBTQ-positive comics coming out of the main publishers. It’s not been a universal success—and it’s given us some hilariously goofy new superhero costumes—but god dammit, it was invigorating to see DC try and move away from the status quo.
But it seems like such bold experimentation is at an end. Sources speaking to Bleeding Cool (undisclosed ones, so as ever, take them with a side of salty skepticism) claim that DC’s higher ups, started by the financial woes, have demanded that Editors “Stop Batgirling” and go back to writing “Meat and potatoes” comics. That’s not intended as a slight on the quality of Batgirl—which does extremely well for the company—but instead a disheartening cry for writers to return the status quo shook loose in “DC You”, back to ho hum stories where Clark Kent is the all-powerful Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman once more, and so on. After all, there’s a damned movie to support next year, which means getting as plain and recognizable versions of these characters into the comics as quickly as possible.
It’s sad that this is allegedly the case for DC. Hopefully the fear of change will fade away soon, and we can get back to Batgirling. After all, it’s given us some pretty good comics recently.