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Top 10 Mistakes DC Wants You To Forget

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Written by Michael Wynands DC has given us some of the greatest superheroes in history, but not everything this comic book company touches turns to gold! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Mistakes DC Wants You To Forget. For this list, we’ll be looking at business mistakes, bad branding decisions and mishandled situations which, given the fallout, DC likely regrets and wishes they’d approached differently. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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DC has given us some of the greatest superheroes in history, but not everything this comic book company touches turns to gold! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Mistakes DC Wants You To Forget.

For this list, we’ll be looking at business mistakes, bad branding decisions and mishandled situations which, given the fallout, DC likely regrets and wishes they’d approached differently.

#10: Wonder Woman: JSA Secretary


Nowadays, the Justice League are DC’s premier superhero team, but in the Golden Age of comics, heroes rallied under the banner of the Justice Society of America. In All-Star Comics #13, the recently created Wonder Woman aided the Justice Society, and they made her an honorary member. Her role? Secretary. Realistically, the depiction of women in comics was VERY different in 1942, so this wasn’t considered problematic. Rather than a sexist move, it’s actually been said that Wonder Woman was sidelined in this fashion at her creator’s insistence - not wanting other people to write her storylines. Regardless… in hindsight, we’re sure Wonder Woman and DC both leave this bit of her employment experience off her resume.

#9: The Harley Quinn Contest


Soliciting art submissions to be featured in the first issue of a new comic starring one of DC’s most popular characters is a great way to engage your readership and the larger comic book community. Asking people to draw female character seemingly attempting to commit suicide in a variety of ways? Not so much. Given the well-documented violent objectification of female characters in comics, fans weren’t thrilled that, to win the contest, they had to draw Harley Quinn trying to take her own life in the bathtub. Yes… it was intended as a riff on “Suicide Squad,” but the concept still missed the mark and offended many.

#8: The “DC Explosion”


For every action… there is a reaction. And unfortunately for DC comics, they did not get the one they were hoping for with this ambitious marketing tactic in the 1970s. The DC Explosion was a move intended to help the company overtake their rival, Marvel, by drastically increasing the number of monthly titles, making each issue longer, and jacking up the prices. Unfortunately for them, this coincided with freakishly bad winters that hurt distribution AND an economic downturn which affected the entire industry. The end result was the so-called “DC Implosion”, which saw the publisher lay off staff and unceremoniously cancel some 20 comics or 40% of their titles. Lesson learned? Quality over quantity.

#7: The 2011 Wonder Woman TV Series


Wonder Woman is back front and center in the mainstream pop culture consciousness thanks to her hit 2017 film, starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. But before DC landed this desperately needed cinematic home run, they tried to give Wonder Woman a live-action adaptation in the medium in which she’d previously flourished - television. Starring Adrianne Palicki in a very cheap and chesty Wonder Woman costume, a pilot episode was produced but didn’t make it to series. When critics saw the episode, they weren’t impressed. The generous among them called it unremarkable, while TV critic Alan Sepinwall called it “embarrassing.” Thankfully, Wonder Woman had greater opportunities on the horizon.

#6: The Poor Planning of the DCEU


2017’s “Wonder Woman” was a big hit… but unfortunately, it’s the outlier in a series of misses. “Green Lantern” was envisioned as DC’s Iron Man, and we all know how that turned out. Next came “Man of Steel” in 2011, and though it wasn’t the big hit they had hoped for, DC persevered, continuing to expand this cinematic universe despite an unstable foundation. Unfortunately, multiple movies later, they still haven’t found their footing. Warner Bros. has announced dozens of projects, only to backpedal and frequently revise their slate of upcoming movies.The universe seemingly produces film’s without a master plan, with each new film begrudgingly having to work with the mistakes of movie’s past. Having duplicate characters on film and TV certainly doesn’t help either.

#5: Turning Down Super-Writers


If you want to publish great comics… you need great writers, and unfortunately, DC has walked away from pitches by some serious talent. Towards the end of the ‘90s, DC recognized the need to shake things up with their various Superman comics, and amongst the potential creatives was a dream team consisting of Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Mark Millar and Tom Peyer. It sounds like a comic book fantasy draft, but it’s true. Ultimately, DC passed - yes, you heard right. Not only did they lose out on a potentially great take on Superman, but they basically gave Morrison and Millar to Marvel, where the two proceeded to do incredible work on the “New X-Men” and the Ultimate Universe books respectively. Fortunately for fans, Morrison would later use some of his earlier ideas to create the groundbreaking “All-Star Superman” series in 2005.

#4: The New 52


The New 52 was a real mixed bag. This 2011 reboot was intended as a welcome point of entry to new readers who might be intimidated by the convoluted history of DC comics. Unfortunately, that ambitious number, 52 titles, showed that they’d learned nothing from the DC Implosion of the ‘70s. Niche titles like “Dial H” and “Resurrection Man” were canceled before they could really develop a following. Just 5 years later, “Rebirth” allowed DC to hit the reset button yet again, leading us to believe they’d be just as happy to forget the New 52 ever happened as us.

#3: Eating the Competition


In business, it can be tempting to want to snuff out your competition. But in a creative industry like comics, you have to be careful about messing with competitors that your clients might also appreciate. Over the years, DC has bought and consumed more than one of its rivals when they were struggling, and some instance feels like a black mark on the publisher’s legacy. In the 1950s, they sued Fawcett comics, claiming that Shazam, aka Captain Marvel, was infringing upon the copyright of Superman, and then over the years, proceeded to buy up more Fawcett characters. They also swooped in to grab Charlton Comics characters like Captain Atom in the 80s and WildStorm in the 90s when each was struggling. Who knows what the comics industry would look like today had these publishers remained independent.

#2: Ignoring Bill Finger


Nowadays, when you’re dealing with Batman, the character is credited to Bob Kane with Bill Finger. But for many years, the man who actually designed the character’s look in the 1930s was given zero credit. Of course, in recent years, giving creators their due has become a much bigger conversation. In 2015, decades after Finger’s death in 1974, and only following a campaign by his family, friends, and fans, DC finally acquiesced and started crediting the co-creation of the character to Finger as well as Kane. Though they’ve finally set things right in this regard, the fact that it took them roughly 75 years to do so - and that Bill had already passed away once they did - doesn’t look great.

#1: Denying Siegel and Shuster the Recognition they Deserved


DC and Superman might be synonymous, but Superman wasn’t invented in-house. Friends and classmates Bill Shuster and Jerry Siegel began developing Superman when they were still in high school, undergoing numerous changes before becoming the character we know today. After years of rejection by various publishers, and desperate to see their creation reach the public eye, they sold all the rights of Superman to the company that would become DC in 1938, for just $130. Though both continued to work in the industry, they never got the respect they deserved. In 1975, after a widely publicized campaign that shamed DC, they finally got proper accreditation, and a pension to match.
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