In the wake of Wednesday’s announcement that DC Comics has canceled, at least temporarily, five solicited volumes of its Showcase Presents series, blogger Dave Carter looks at some of the contractual and financial issues involved in reprinting stories from the late 1970s to the mid-’90s.
The five volumes — Captain Carrot, Vol. 1, The Great Disaster, Vol. 1, The Suicide Squad, Vol. 1, Secret Society of Super-Villains, Vol. 1, and Jonah Hex, Vol. 2 — originate from a period when reprint fees were determined differently, meaning DC likely has to renegotiate compensation with those creators.
Carter also unearths a 2006 quote from Bob Greenberger, former editor of collected editions for DC, further explaining why some Showcase volumes are a long time coming: “DC pays a royalty based on a percentage of the cover price to writers, pencillers,and inkers to all material published prior to 1976 and after 1997. For the period in between, the vouchers that were in use called for a set reprint fee to be paid. In some cases, the amount of contractually obligated reprint fees makes the budget for a proposed collection unprofitable. In those cases, DC will either scrap the project or ask the talent involved to waive the reprint fee in lieu of the standard royalty arrangement.”