Digital comics

Jim Lee Sees ‘Bigger Advantage’ in Digital Comics, DC Reducing Range by Up to 25%

DC editor Jim Lee has opened up about the future of the comic book company following a series of sweeping editorial changes and layoffs in DC’s management and a wave of title cancellations confirmed in the DC solicitations just released in November 2020, stating that the comics are “still the lifeblood of everything we do.”

Jim Lee in his office in Washington

(Image credit: Hex)

“Absolutely. One hundred percent. It’s still the cornerstone of everything we do. The need to tell stories, to update mythology, is vital to what we do,” Lee told Hollywood. Reporter when asked if DC still plans to release a monthly comic. books.

“The organization relies on us to share and establish the significant elements of the content that it must use and integrate for all its adaptations. When we think we are reaching a global audience and we see comics as a tool for international awareness and branding, that is really part of our future. “

However, Lee quickly clarifies this statement by explaining that DC’s edit line will be reduced by 20-25%, a contraction that already started from the aforementioned November solicitations, which resulted in the cancellation of Teen Titans, Young Justice, Suicide. Squad, Hawkman, John Constantine: Hellblazer, and potentially Aquaman, which will undergo at least some changes with the departure of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.

“That said, we’re going to downsize the slate. But it’s about looking at everything and looking at the bottom 20%, the 25% in the line that either weren’t breaking even or was losing money. money, ”says Lee. “It was about more oomph for the pound, so to speak, and increasing the margins of the books we do. It was about aligning the books with the franchise brand content that we developed. and to make sure that every book we publish, we come out for a reason. “

As for DC’s future, Lee leans heavily on the idea of ​​digital comics as the best way to reach fans while maintaining a lasting model.

“You will definitely see more international content. You will see more digital content. When you talk about growing our business, both physical and digital, for me the opportunities are global. This is what we are going to focus on. Lee continues. “With digital it’s more of a windowing issue, which means we’re going to deliver digital content and things that work well in digital will also work well in print. “

DC will adopt a digital content model first, which it has relied heavily on since the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult for many fans to go to stores and purchase physical products, the successful digital series then being printed on physical media. .

“We use that as a model when we go out and do more digital content. We will take the most successful books and repackage them into physical books,” says Lee. “I think there is definitely business to be done in physical periodicals. But that said, I think there are more advantages in digital because we can address a more global audience and the barrier to entry, especially in this pandemic, is lower. “

“It’s much easier to get digital content into the hands of consumers who want to read stories. We want to take a look at that and think thoughtfully about what digital content should be, what it should look like, the format. “

On the management side, Lee says he will continue in his role as DC’s sole publisher, however, DC will be hiring an anonymous CEO who Lee says will join the group in September.

Lee summed up his response to those speculating on the shutdown of DC’s comic book publishing division and that DC’s ultimate parent company AT&T wants to ditch comic book publishing by stating, “The Comics comics serve many purposes “.

“I don’t think they want to stop us from publishing comics. Comics serve a lot of different purposes and one of them is that it’s a great way to incubate ideas and create the comics. next big franchises, ”says Lee. “We want to continue this. Why would you want to stop this? Why would you want to stop creating great content that could be used across the business? “

In addition to being an editor, Jim Lee is also an accomplished creator and artist. here is a look at her top 10 comic book creations to date.