Hopefully, you’ve been reading Vaneta’s interviews with DC co-publishers Dan Didio & Jim Lee, and SVP of sales Bob Wayne, over on the main site over the last couple of days. If not, you should, because there’s a lot of good stuff there – but I can’t help but be fascinated by this quote from Wayne, over DC’s market share:
Our goal is to be the best publisher of comics that we can be. I have not been given a goal to make DC No. 1 at all costs. So no, this is not about DC being No. 1. I certainly look at the market share. And I know there’s a lot of internet chatter about the market share in the direct market, but that does not represent the complete business.We do our own analysis of the bookstore market, and we go through all the Bookscan data and build our own internal report. We also have an internal report where we combine the bookstore sales of graphic novels with the comic store sales of graphic novels and the sales of periodicals. There are multiple platforms and opportunities that we internally measure our success by.
We certainly are aware of market share, but that is not our primary goal. But market share is not the only way we look at our success internally.
That’s… comforting, yes, but also surprising, given that, when Lee and Didio became co-publishers, the latter clearly said “Our goal without a doubt is to be the #1 publishing company in comics.” Wayne’s response feels like a shift away from that goal, which could be either lowering expectations for the September relaunch or, more likely, the result of realizing that Marvel’s apparently holding onto that #1 publisher title no matter what DC does (Lowering prices didn’t work, launching fan-favorite titles with fan-favorite creators didn’t work… It’s not unreasonable to suspect that even relaunching the entire line isn’t going to work, at this point). Of course, it’s also possible that Wayne just has a different take on things than Didio, but I can’t stop myself wondering whether he’s signaling a change in goal for the publisher, and that this – mixed with the digital publishing push – means that DC is playing a different game altogether, these days.