Why I’m Worried About DC’s New 52 Collected Editions

With thanks to General Manager Mike Gendreau of Modern Myths of Northampton, Massachusetts, via Rich at Bleeding Cool, we learned that what DC has in store on how they plan on collecting their story lines. Mike attended the New York DC Retailer Roadshow meeting last Friday and this is what he wrote on his Facebook page:

Another change DC is making is that they won’t be ‘writing for the trade’ anymore.  Writers have been told to write the story they want to write and not worry about the trade collecting.  If they can tell a well-paced story in 4 issues, they’ve been told not to pad it to make it 6 issues.  Editorial can worry about how it’s going to be collected.  Going forward, books will be trade-collected depending on how the story fits.  If a book has a 4-issue arc followed by a 3 issue arc, the trade will collect both.  If it’s 2 4-issue arcs or 3 2-issue stories, those will get collected.  As a side note, DC is looking into a new trade dress to represent the New 52 and a better spine design to call out information for fans.

Whoa! That is unexpected for sure!

No then, if this truly is the way that DC will go, it will be both applauded and heckled. One thing for sure is that no trade will be less that 5 or 6 issues and will probably be in the 120-135 page count range. Price? Anywhere between $17.99 and $23.99, again dependent on page count. Sure all of this is rudimentary, but what really struck me was:

Editorial can worry about how it’s going to be collected.

Really?!

I don’t know if that was a direct quote from anyone on stage (John Rood, Bob Wayne, Vince Letterio, Dan DiDio or Jim Lee), but I hope they are not that nonchalant about the DC Comics Collected Editions Department. We all know that CE’s are a full time job these days (and have been for sometime now) and if DC is going to renumber, rebrand and retool years of history then they must not only reconfigure the way they will collect the 52 new books, but also make the department an equal partner when it comes to publishing I.E. Monthly, Digital and Reprint. Or at the very least, how about have the department in on the planning of the story arc so they know what to expect down the road. Perhaps they are and if so, that’s a good thing. But the way I have seen trades, from all companies, of late they look like an afterthought. I hope DC will do it differently.

Just having editorial worry about it, make me worried as a customer of trades and hardcovers.

9 comments for “Why I’m Worried About DC’s New 52 Collected Editions

  1. June 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Actually I’ve been told that DC eliminated its CE department in 2010, and that collected editions are now the responsibility of the editors. (Which if true is in itself disturbing, but still…)

    • CJM
      June 28, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      Exactly. I’m sure that’s what the person meant. I don’t like it either.

  2. June 28, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    I think you’re making a fuss over nothing. I read the comment as meaning that the creators are responsible for creating good stories, and editorial’s job to worry about how to package them as trades, rather than the creators having to consider how their stories will be repackaged as trades at the plotting stage. Nothing more than that.

    • CJM
      June 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM

      I guess I’m looking for a little cohesive oversight. Different editors will do things their own way. More uniformity can go a long way. Overall I’m sure DC will have a good product and I’m looking forward to seeing them when they come out.

      • June 29, 2011 at 1:35 AM

        So are you saying that the collected editions department isn’t an editorial department?

        • CJM
          June 29, 2011 at 12:36 PM

          Hmm. Good question I’m not sure of the hierarchy.

          Now that I had a chance to sleep on it I should have said above that I was hoping for a bit more of a vote of confidence for the editorial from Didio & Co. SOmething along these lines:

          With the New 52 coming up I want to assure everyone that DC Comics is committed to giving our audience the best possible reading experience. This includes not only our monthly books but digital and collected editions.

          OK I may be over simplifying things, but I just want some assurance that all will be well on the other side of Monthly.

          I’m 100% sure it will be and with new trade tress and structure I think it will be an enjoyable product.

  3. June 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Hey Chris, any insight into DC’s exceptionally long delay between single issued and their CEs? How can publishers like Image have such a quick turnaround while DC takes months and months?

    • CJM
      June 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      That’s always been DC m.o. They do so because they want the public to buy (well, pre-order and buy) the monthly books. Marvel, on the other hand, pushes out product as fast as they can. Just a different way of doing business.
      I have a feeling that DC will close the time gap between monthly and trade when New 52 starts going.
      Hope you are doing well these days, Eric. Good to hear from you as always. And thanks for the reTweets!

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