Comics Lowdown | Warner Bros. shares details on DC FanDome’s reach

Plus: News on Image Comics, IDW, Si Spurrier and more.

The first day of DC Comics’ FanDome event, which was held this past Saturday, garnered 22 million global views from more than 220 countries and territories, according to The Wrap.

The publication spoke with Lisa Gregorian, Warner Bros. Television Group chief marketing officer, and Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros., who came up with the idea for the event.

“We had a couple of sort of mission things in mind as we built it that were our North Stars that we never wavered from,” said Rich. “Number one, it had to be for the fans, by the fans, about the fans, and be completely fan-centric, and anything that wavered from that was not allowed. We wanted it to be accessible. That’s why it was free. It was a global event translated into nine languages and we wanted it to feel like a major moment.”

Milestone Media panel at FanDome

According to the article, sentiment around the event was “99% positive” on social media, which doesn’t sound like the internet at all. The event debuted trailers and content across various media, from movies to TV to video games to comics, with creator involvement and announcements. Two comic projects — a Batman miniseries written by John Ridley and details on the relaunch of Milestone Media — were announced during the event.

Additional content for the event was scheduled for that same day, but was moved to Sept. 12.

John Constantine: Hellblazer Vol. 1: Marks of Woe

Creators: The success of DC FanDome is likely a breath of good news for the company, following the layoffs and title cancellations from earlier this month. One of the titles that was announced as being cancelled in November is John Constantine: Hellblazer, and writer Simon Spurrier has a long post on his blog about it:

Hellblazer sold at least as well as The Dreaming, my previous book with DC’s Black Label imprint, in monthly form. That was greenlit through issue #20. I stepped off that series with great sadness because the allotted hour had come. The story was told, a new project had been offered; it was time.

With Hellblazer: no. Wasn’t time. Isn’t time. Covid-19 arrived and set our funny, fragile little industry on fire. The margins shifted. The risk/reward relationship changed. Someone, somewhere, decided that, trade sales be damned, it’s last orders at the bar. No lock-ins. No takeouts. Bones were cast, presumably an algorithm was consulted; that’s that.

Speaking of trades, DC has followed the news of the cancellation with a press release yesterday on the first trade paperback for the title. Could Hellblazer be saved if the trade does well? According to Spurrier, it may be the comic’s only hope.

People: Image Comics has announced several changes to its sales department, which include a a promotion for Jeff Boison and two new additions: Dirk Wood and Alex Cox, who previously worked for IDW Publishing. This news follows the July announcement of Chris Ryall leaving IDW, and the news that Ryall’s replacement as publisher has already been let go — so the company has several key positions unfilled right now.

Creators: I’m not sure if he ever found an answer, but I enjoyed this post by creator Ben Towle on whether a cover for Detective Comics #1029 was “derived from a series of fan commissions?”

I may be wrong–and please correct me in the comments if I am–but I believe this recent cover, the cover for Detective Comics #1029, is the first time a fan commission has (kind of) made it to the cover of an actual, published Marvel or DC book.

So, re. “kind of,” some caveats: first, the cover itself isn’t a fan commission, but the basic premise–a villain seated in front of a “trophy wall” of his vanquished adversaries–is. And that basic setup isn’t just from a single fan commissioned piece, it’s derived from a well-known original comics art collector’s very impressive themed collection of “trophy wall” commissions. 

The other caveat: yeah, it’s possible this is a total coincidence… but that seems unlikely. 

Commentary: I believe this is a reprint from a feature he used to do for the Comics Should Be Good! blog that’s been absorbed into CBR these days, but Greg Burgas tells you why you should own Elementals #1-5. I concur with his reasoning.

Commentary: Writing for Tor.com, Suyi Davies Okungbowa looks back at the legacy of Captain Africa, a hero created in Africa and introduced to America in a 1988 New York Times article.

Awards: You can vote in the inaugural Ignyte Awards, which recognize speculative fiction across several categories, including a comics category. The nominees include:

  • These Savage Shores – Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vitorio Astone, Aditya Bidikar, & Tim Daniel
  • Blackbird Vol. 1 – Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, & Triona Farrell
  • Excellence – Khary Randolph, Brandon Thomas, Emilio Lopez, & Deron Bennett
  • Coda – Simon Spurrier, Matías Bergara, Michael Doig, Jim Campbell, & Colin Bell
  • Bitter Root – David F Walker, Chuck Brown, & Sanford Greene

Reviews: I do not yet own Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics, but that’s something I hope to rectify in the very near future. SOLRAD has posted a review of it by Tom Shapira, while The Comics Journal has one from Matt Seneca.

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