I’m writing this piece because I wanted someone else to do it and no one else had (that I know of). I wanted a living document of the events that seem to be unraveling one of the oldest and greatest comic book publishers. I love DC Comics, though I fear you’d never know it looking at this website. I’ve expressed my disappointment with the company many times here, and unlike a lot of fans, my complaints aren’t about them wiping the slate clean with the New 52, but about the public appearance of a hostile, poisonous working environment for comic book creators. I’m really hoping the ship rights itself. I’m hoping that I can stop updating this list because DC’s creators are happy and the books are healthy.
As it is, this list will be updated as major changes continue to happen. I tried to limit the list to big events (some of them strictly to give context) or surprising and sudden changes. I am not listing the kind of typical writer or artist changes that occur when a book has been given a chance to sell or when the creators want to move on because their arc is finished. If there are any major events I’ve forgotten, let me know in the comments section and I might add it to the piece.
(To be fair, and to show that this isn’t the way things typically run at a major comic company, Marvel has announced and then canceled one book in the past year before its first issue. Thanos, to be written by Joe Keatinge, was sidelined when Marvel changed their mind on the project, post-Avengers film.)
9/2009 – DC Entertainment is formed. Diane Nelson is name President of the newly labeled company, which includes DC Comics, but also all DC-related multi-media ventures and licensing. Nelson’s background is not in comics but in brand management. The timing of DC’s restructuring is of note, as it comes just a couple of weeks after Disney’s $4 billion buyout of Marvel.
2/18/2010 – Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are promoted, sharing the title Co-Publisher. DiDio was DC Executive Editor (basically Editor-In-Chief, since the position didn’t exist during DiDio’s tenure) and Lee was Editorial Director of his own WildStorm imprint, which moved from Image to DC Comics in 1998. Writer Geoff Johns was promoted to Chief Creative Officer, a position created to allow someone from within DC the opportunity to oversee and exercise some measure of creative control over DC products like films, television, and video games.
9/21/2010 – DC splits their offices between New York City and Burbank, CA. Lee is a West Coaster anyway, and this allows the company to have more direct physical contact with Warner Brothers’ TV and film.
9/27/2010 – Bob Harras is named DC Comics’ Editor-In-Chief. Harras held the EIC position at Marvel Comics from 1995-2000.
12/16/2010 – Nick Spencer is the first notable casualty in DC’s new “fired before the first issue hits” practice, when he’s announced as the new writer for Supergirl, then replaced on his very first issue by “co-writer” James Peaty.
8/31/2011 – The New 52 launches with 52 new monthly titles starting with all-new #1 issues, wiping the slate (mostly) clean and hoping to entice new readers with easy reading entry points.
9/16/2011 – Writer John Rozum quits Static Shock. due to disagreements with editor Harvey Richards and artist Scott McDaniel. The series is eventually canceled after just eight issues.
9/19/2011 – J.T. Krul is replaced on Green Arrow the same month as its first issue is released.
9/30/2011 – Writer-artist George Perez announces his departure from the flagship Superman book the same month its first issue is released. Perez completes his first arc, but is the first to dish on behind-the-scenes problems, ”
10/12/2011 – Editorial conflicts and strong differences of opinion with co-writer and artist Ethan Van Sciver cause writer Gail Simone to step away from Fury of Firestorm.
11/14/2011 – Ron Marz leaves Voodoo after his script to issue #5 is tossed out by editors. The series is canceled after ten issues.
1/19/2012 – DC Entertainment shows off their new logo. This fan wonders why the new logo didn’t debut with the New 52 re-branding.
2/1/2012 – DC officially announces Before Watchmen, directly against the wishes of series creator Alan Moore. Rights to the Watchmen property were to revert to Moore and co-creator David Gibbons a certain number of years after the series was out of print, but DC has kept the book in print since its release (and for good reason – it’s a perennial best-seller). Though Moore swore off DC in the late 1980s, some creative entanglements with DC continued, with work on V for Vendetta and titles under the WildStorm line. With Before Watchman, Moore fans realize any chance of reconciliation is permanently off the table.
4/20/2012 – Vertigo writer Chris Roberson (iZombie, Fairest) leaves DC and publicly burns bridges with the company. “Sorry. In a better world, characters like the Legion would be owned by a more ethical company, but sadly not in this one. The short version is, I don’t agree with the way they treat other creators and their general business practices.”
8/23/2012 – Rob Liefeld leaves all of his DC duties – writing and drawing Deathstroke and writing Grifter and Savage Hawkman.
12/3/2012 – Long-time editor Karen Berger steps down from Vertigo, DC’s “mature readers” publishing imprint.
12/9/2013 – Writer Gail Simone is unceremoniously dumped from Batgirl, a book with solid sales and a strong fanbase, with no apparent explanation, through an email from editorial.