News of the comics publisher’s major relocation came today from DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, who informed DC employees of plans to shift the company’s remaining New York operations to Burbank in just over a year. The move will centralize DC operations joining parent company Warner Bros. on the West Coast, with relocation to be done in 2015. Three years ago DC’s multi-media and digital content production operations were moved to WB’s Burbank lot as New York remained DC’s publishing hub. In Nelson’s letter Tuesday she assured that all NY employees would have the chance to relocate and keep their jobs.
Superman turned 75 last month – coincidentally the same day a U.S. District Court ruling effectively ended Warner Bros’ long-running legal battle with one of the iconic character’s co-creators. Six weeks later, Warners and DC Entertainment have unveiled a 75th anniversary logo for the superhero, who debuted in Action Comics #1 in April 1938. The simple red-white-and-blue image, featuring a silhouetted Superman sporting his signature flowing cape and “S” on his chest, arrives in time to promote the hero’s latest big-screen turn in Man Of Steel, which Warners opens June 14.
Author Neil Gaiman will collaborate with artist J.H. Williams III (Batwoman) on a new limited series based on his classic graphic novel The Sandman for the DC Entertainment Vertigo imprint. Gaiman made the surprise announcement via video during the Vertigo panel at Comic-Con. The Sandman miniseries will be published in 2013. Gaiman said he felt “there was one tale still untold” for The Sandman. With Sandman‘s 25th anniversary coming up, Gaiman said the time was right. Each issue of The Sandman mini-series will be published day-and-date digitally. The title will be announced later. Gaiman’s work includes the books on which the stop-motion animated feature Coraline was based as well as HBO’s upcoming American Gods. A movie based on his The Graveyard Book is in the works at Disney. Paramount made a 2007 movie based on his Stardust.
This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN,the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.
“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new storiesto be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”
The Warner Bros unit will launch the new look in DC Entertainment’s comics, graphic novels and websites beginning in March. Branding for films, TV, games and merchandise will join over time. The redesigned logos, from Landor Associates, “uses a ‘peel’ effect — the D is strategically placed over the C with the upper right-hand portion of the D peeling back to unveil the hidden C — symbolizing the duality of the iconic characters that are present within DC Entertainment’s portfolio.” Said John Rood, EVP Sales, Marketing and Business Development at DC Entertainment: “It was just a few months ago that Superman, Batman and many of our other Super Heroes were updated when we launched DC Comics-The New 52 and now it’s time to do the same for the company’s identity while remaining true to the power of storytelling which is still at the heart of DC Entertainment.” At left are the comics logos, which play off the same theme.
BURBANK, Calif. — Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, announced today that it has extended its successful relationship with leading worldwide toy manufacturer, Mattel, Inc. The new multi-year agreement allows Mattel to continue as master toy licensee for the complete universe of DC Comics characters. Under the terms of this strategic alliance, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the complete breadth and scope of the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand world-famous DC Comics Super Heroes and DC Comics Super Villains, such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Joker. Further, the agreement includes popular characters such as The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam!, Green Arrow and Hawkman.
EXCLUSIVE: An insider just told me that DC Entertainment at Warner Bros is “in the throes of turning the comic book industry on its head” with a massive publishing relaunch. “DC Comics – The New 52” (see exclusive video below) is a bold renumbering of all of DC’s superhero comics (52 all-new #1 issues). And the industry-changing move is to now offer comics for sale digitally on the very same day as physically. “The New 52” kicks off at midnight tonight in comic shops across the nation. Now, some details may have leaked out to the comic book pundits. But I can tell you exclusively that the first printing of Justice League #1 has officially sold out today in advance of tomorrow’s on-sale date, and DC is rushing back to press for a second printing. (Yes, I know: these things almost always sell out. And in the not-so-old days sold way more.) Over 200,000 physical copies of JL1, along with tens of thousands of digital copies, are expected to be sold worldwide. I understand that Justice League #1 has a particular connection to DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson’s exec team, as its writer is DCE’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and its artist is DCE’s Co-Publisher Jim Lee, two of the biggest creators in the industry. The pair will be signing at Midtown Comics in NYC’s Times Square tonight. Insiders are calling it “the beginning of the biggest comic industry publishing event in nearly a decade”. I’m told that “DC Comics – The New 52” will continue launching throughout September, with new #1 titles for Action Comics, Batman, Detective, Flash, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman releasing in-store and online every Wednesday. Here’s the video teaser:
(See the cover art bigger after the jump.)
Everyone expected fallout from last month’s announcement: DC Entertainment Relocates Film, Television And Digital Operations To Burbank. Now I’ve confirmed what the Bleeding Cool website reported first and asked me to post: that three major DC Entertainment execs are exiting – Richard Bruning, currently SVP and Creative Director; Cheryl Rubin, SVP of Brand Management; and Steve Rotterdam, SVP of Marketing and Sales. This is obviously a major shakeup at the company Diane Nelson runs for Warner Bros. But with new movement on Batman 3, Superman 2, Green Lantern, and now Wonder Woman (neither Watchmen nor Jonah Hex were on her watch), the exec who led the Harry Potter franchise so successfully is putting her stamp on the DC Comic characters now after years of screwed-up development. This is terrible for departing DC personnel, but great for reanimated and rebooted and maybe even brand spanking new franchises.
According to Bleeding Cool, Bruning was a longtime DC Comics employee who not only designed the current company logo but also the titles on Watchmen and The Dark Knight and others. Rubin controlled worldwide licensing for DC properties and franchises including Batman and Superman across all media. She also is co-chair of the Time Warner Women’s Network, a NYC group that works for the professional development and networking of Time Warner female employees. Rotterdam was a relatively recent hire of 3 years.
As part of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s efforts to better integrate the DC Comics business, DC Entertainment will relocate its multi-media and digital content production operations to Warner Bros.’ lot in Burbank, California. That includes all businesses related to the development and production of feature films, television, digital media, video games and consumer products as well as the company’s administrative offices. Only DCE’s publishing operations will remain in New York. The move is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011 and will involve layoffs as well as personnel relocations. “This strategic business realignment allows us to fully integrate and expand the DC brand in feature films as well as across multiple distribution platforms of Warner Bros. and Time Warner,” said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, “We are creating a seamless, cohesive unit.”
Speaking at an investor relations conference last week, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer touted maximizing DC’s potential as a priority for Warner Bros. and said that a DC slate of new projects will be announced by the end of the year.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that an internal memo just went out at DC Entertainment announcing that Gregory Noveck will be transitioning out of his job over the next three months. He’ll be resuming his producing career. Noveck spent the past 6 years with DC Comics as SVP of creative affairs, hired by president/publisher Paul Levitz to help mine the library of DC properties for movie and other media adaptation until Diane Nelson took over the newly created DC Entertainment last September to better integrate DC’s theatrical and TV releases with Warner Bros.
Noveck was most hands-on with the DC Universe line of direct-to-video animation, and also the production of the Secret Origin: The Story Of DC Comics documentary, and, most notably, the upcoming film Red. He’s an executive producer on that Summit Entertainment release this October adapted to the big screen from Warren Ellis’ and Cully Hamner’s comic book.
DC Comics announced that, starting today, Wonder Woman “will appear like you’ve never seen her before”. And I wish they’d just left her alone, especially since she’s the only comic book character female I’ve ever admired. Of course, it took a bunch of men to ruin her. Look at the new costume design by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee below: she looks ready for Goth Day at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. (Shame on Diane Nelson, the head of DC Entertainment, for allowing this to happen. And for not finding a talented woman writer now as in years past to update the icon’s saga.) Here’s the announcement about the dumbass stuff that DC Comics is doing to her. So let me start the campaign: FREE WONDER WOMAN!
DC Comics Co-Publisher and bestselling artist Jim Lee has redesigned her costume for the modern era, just in time for BABYLON 5 creator and critically acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Don Kramer and Michael Babinski to launch the Amazon Princess into an exciting and epic new era of adventure.
Starting with their story in WONDER WOMAN #600, which is in comic shops today, Straczynski and Kramer will begin a run that is both forward-looking and true to the legendary character, planting her firmly in the modern era.
Here’s what J. Michael Straczynski had to