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Falling Companies

Old 02-15-21, 05:47 PM
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Falling Companies

Do you think Valiant or Dark Horse could ever go under? I used to buy a ton of Dark Horse but now they have lost all of their prime license properties to Marvel. They have Black Hammer and Hellboy and the Umbrella Academy for creator owned properties and it looks like Avatar(which I think Marvel will take from them) and The Witcher as the two biggest licensed properties. I can remember Dark Horse being a strong number 3 company for two decades or more. Now Valiant has been up and down. When they came back this time, I had high hopes but they are putting out so few books lately. Looking at the previews for the past 3 months they have only put out 8 original comics with a bunch of trades and hardcovers. I don't know if they were banking on the Bloodshot movie, but it seems like they are scaling way back on comic output.
Old 02-15-21, 07:50 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

It's going to take a while longer before Dark Horse fails, but losing Aliens, Predator, Star Wars, and Conan hurt them big. As for Valiant, once DMG decided to be a movie company and removed Dinesh, it began a huge decline they haven't recovered. Valiant right now reminds me of when Acclaim bought them in the 90's. This time around, if they fail, I know for a fact that there will be companies and people willing to buy the IP at the right price.

The company that is failing right now even though they are putting out a great product is IDW. Their finances have been in the red for the past 4 years. They spend too much money in licensing to Hasbro, Marvel, DC and others. They truly don't have that much IP themselves which puts them in a bad position. If they continue in this trend, I don't see them lasting more than 5 years as they need to make a profit at some point.
Old 02-15-21, 10:27 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
It's going to take a while longer before Dark Horse fails, but losing Aliens, Predator, Star Wars, and Conan hurt them big. As for Valiant, once DMG decided to be a movie company and removed Dinesh, it began a huge decline they haven't recovered. Valiant right now reminds me of when Acclaim bought them in the 90's. This time around, if they fail, I know for a fact that there will be companies and people willing to buy the IP at the right price.

The company that is failing right now even though they are putting out a great product is IDW. Their finances have been in the red for the past 4 years. They spend too much money in licensing to Hasbro, Marvel, DC and others. They truly don't have that much IP themselves which puts them in a bad position. If they continue in this trend, I don't see them lasting more than 5 years as they need to make a profit at some point.

Maybe Dark Horse Entertainment (their film/television branch) will keep them afloat?

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Old 02-15-21, 11:36 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Iím surprised how much Dark Horse seems to have dropped off. Even Usagi Yojimbo left.
Old 02-16-21, 10:20 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
Iím surprised how much Dark Horse seems to have dropped off. Even Usagi Yojimbo left.
Also, The Goon, and Buffy left them too. But I think they have played it safe in that their output is controlled and they aren't losing money left and right like IDW is. I understand that they aren't willing to overpay for licensing and that the projects they have overtaken are more akin to what Fantagraphics does which is to release archived material from the pre-code days.
Old 02-16-21, 05:28 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

I didn't know about IDW. I still can't get a straight answer about Avatar Press. Most of the stuff is not to my taste, but I really liked Uber since I am a fan of alternate history. But that along with everything else has stopped and the website hasn't been updated in ages. If Valiant goes under, I hope Dynamite picks up the rights to the characters since they have the Gold Key rights and it would be nice to see those characters mixed back into the Valiant universe.
Old 02-16-21, 06:08 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

I think DC should make a play for Valiant.
Old 02-16-21, 08:30 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I think DC should make a play for Valiant.
Not sure that would be possible ...

DC Comics Is Being Shut Down?

Although I think we all know that physical comics would eventually be replaced by other formats, this totally caught me off guard!
Are comic books dead? That seems to be the prevailing thought as news continues to swirl that DC Comics is coming to an end, perhaps quicker than first thought.

Word comes from insider Daniel Richtman on his Patreon page that ďAT&T doesnít care about the comics of DC so theyíre going to let DC comics die and may sell them. They only care about HBO Max and the movies.Ē
Link to the story
Old 02-16-21, 11:27 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Giant Freakin Robot is not a reliable site, down there with Cosmic Book News, We Got This Covered, and Bounding into Comics. (I find them extra-annoying since I'm a fan of Flipboard, and there seems to be no way to mute Giant Freakin Robot since they pay for placement.)
Old 02-17-21, 01:07 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Adam Tyner View Post
Giant Freakin Robot is not a reliable site, down there with Cosmic Book News, We Got This Covered, and Bounding into Comics. (I find them extra-annoying since I'm a fan of Flipboard, and there seems to be no way to mute Giant Freakin Robot since they pay for placement.)
I don't know enough about their reliability, but hope they're wrong about this.
Old 02-17-21, 04:37 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Would anyone really be surprised if DC Comics went tits-up?

The handwriting is on the wall... ditching Diamond, firing most of their editorial, cutting back the amount and variety of the titles they publish, the failure of Warner Bros to turn the DC Comics properties into a rainmaker like Disney did with Marvel, AT&T not being able to find its ass with a funnel and flashlight when it comes to running an entertainment empire...

If I was working at a company like that, I'd be polishing my resume...






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Old 02-17-21, 04:47 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
I don't know enough about their reliability, but hope they're wrong about this.
Well, for one thing, the source on that is Ethan Van Sciver, which should probably send up a red flag to most reasonable people.

But on the other hand, I've been expecting one of the big two, either Marvel or DC, to stop publishing comics for a long time now. They are owned by huge entertainment conglomerates (Disney and Warners), and comic book publishing is really small potatoes as far as their bottom line is concerned, and you're just waiting for some bean counter to say "Why are we still publishing these things" and drop the Sword of Damocles.

Since the IP of both companies does have a lot of licensing value, they aren't going to dump them entirely (Superman and Batman are two of the best-known fictional characters in the world), but it is very possible that they could cease publication and license the characters out to other publishers.

So you might see Dark Horse getting ahold of the Batman franchise, Dynamite getting Wonder Woman (and endless Wonder Woman/Vampirella and Wonder Woman/Red Sonja crossovers). Looking at the upcoming solicitations for DC Comics and the flood of Bat-related titles, it looks like the cohesive DC Universe is becoming a thing of the past anyway.
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Old 02-17-21, 11:22 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Well, for one thing, the source on that is Ethan Van Sciver, which should probably send up a red flag to most reasonable people.

But on the other hand, I've been expecting one of the big two, either Marvel or DC, to stop publishing comics for a long time now. They are owned by huge entertainment conglomerates (Disney and Warners), and comic book publishing is really small potatoes as far as their bottom line is concerned, and you're just waiting for some bean counter to say "Why are we still publishing these things" and drop the Sword of Damocles.

Since the IP of both companies does have a lot of licensing value, they aren't going to dump them entirely (Superman and Batman are two of the best-known fictional characters in the world), but it is very possible that they could cease publication and license the characters out to other publishers.

So you might see Dark Horse getting ahold of the Batman franchise, Dynamite getting Wonder Woman (and endless Wonder Woman/Vampirella and Wonder Woman/Red Sonja crossovers). Looking at the upcoming solicitations for DC Comics and the flood of Bat-related titles, it looks like the cohesive DC Universe is becoming a thing of the past anyway.
I can't imagine them breaking up the big three in an outsourcing deal. Image would probably like to pick-up all the Vertigo/other assorted oddball properties. I could also see Dark Horse wanting the Vertigo characters, because of potential Hellboy crossovers.

​​​​
​​

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Old 02-17-21, 12:17 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by ddrknghtrtns View Post
I can't imagine them breaking up the big three in an outsourcing deal. Image would probably like to pick-up all the Vertigo/other assorted oddball properties. I could also see Dark Horse wanting the Vertigo characters, because of potential Hellboy crossovers.

​​​​
​​
That's not how it works with Vertigo and the characters. Most, if not all, the Vertigo characters with the exception of Constantine, The original Sandman and Swamp Thing, belong to DC Comics. Everyone else is a mix of creator-owned or creator/DC owned properties, including the Sandman, Y: The Last Man, Death, etc. Unless the creator wants to take the character elsewhere and DC refuses their first-refusal clause, these characters aren't going anywhere.
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Old 02-17-21, 12:29 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
Not sure that would be possible ...

DC Comics Is Being Shut Down?

Although I think we all know that physical comics would eventually be replaced by other formats, this totally caught me off guard!

Link to the story
Like other's have said here, this story is bullshit by EVS, a guy who wants the industry to burn because he's a fucking asshole. The other story that has come out over the past several days by Bleeding Cool is also bullshit. That story was that a group of millionaire fans were going to lease or buy the characters for publishing. That ain't true at all.

I know that the AT&T merger has fucked up a lot of DC's plans, but what the company has done is not unheard off in the corporate world. They are looking at everything in dollars and cents and decided to trim the "fat". The fat for them was under-performing titles and duplicate positions. As they are thinking with their business heads, not the practical art ones, AT&T removed positions that have affected the product, like editors for their collections and graphic novels and put people who aren't capable of doing the work correctly. On the other hand, they decided to focus on the money makers, like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash and have all titles be around these 4 characters. Everything else is being released digital first for the most part, like the Milestone revival. Still, that's not where DC is making most of their money. Right now, the main focus by AT&T is with the young adult graphic novels that are being sold through Scholastics, bookstores and stores in general and not dependent on the direct market. Those books sell in the millions, are incredibly profitable and cost them less money to make.

My point is that as of right now AT&T will keep DC publishing comics but in a way that it's 100% profitable for them. They are moving away somewhat from the direct market (LCS) distribution model and focusing on the mass market one, which is what made comic books successful in the past. They may license some of their characters to other comic book publishers, but it would be similar as when Disney licenses Marvel, Star Wars and Disney characters to IDW to make kids books.
Old 02-17-21, 01:02 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

I'll just say this: a corporation would have to be really really dumb to cut out DC or Marvel from their portfolio and only value the licenses, ignoring the fact that the only reason the licenses have any value in the first place are because of the creators doing things with them in comics. How many comic movies have their basis in stories from the comics themselves, if not ripped off wholesale (ok, sometimes they credit them).
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Old 02-17-21, 02:05 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I'll just say this: a corporation would have to be really really dumb to cut out DC or Marvel from their portfolio and only value the licenses, ignoring the fact that the only reason the licenses have any value in the first place are because of the creators doing things with them in comics. How many comic movies have their basis in stories from the comics themselves, if not ripped off wholesale (ok, sometimes they credit them).
There are a lot of dumb and short sighted companies. This wouldn't be Time Warner's first or even 2nd blunder. Remember their acquisitions of Atari and AOL? With the major layoff event so many months back, just feels like it is a matter of time before they shutter the comic division, like they have with the animation dept in the past.
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Old 02-17-21, 04:44 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

I don't think there is any chance that DC Comics gets divested. I could see a scenario where AT&T licenses out the DC characters for a line of comics published by an outside entity. Like most understand from a strictly financial perspective, the publishing divisions of both Marvel and DC are rounding errors to their parent companies. It's not an ideal scenario for the health of the remaining comic book market, but probably workable.
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Old 02-17-21, 07:22 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
That's not how it works with Vertigo and the characters. Most, if not all, the Vertigo characters with the exception of Constantine, The original Sandman and Swamp Thing, belong to DC Comics. Everyone else is a mix of creator-owned or creator/DC owned properties, including the Sandman, Y: The Last Man, Death, etc. Unless the creator wants to take the character elsewhere and DC refuses their first-refusal clause, these characters aren't going anywhere.
DC owns Constantine and Swamp Thing. And they basically own Sandman, but allow Neil Gaiman a special degree of control over the use of its characters. And yeah, and the deals for other Vertigo titles vary on a case-by-case basis.

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
The other story that has come out over the past several days by Bleeding Cool is also bullshit. That story was that a group of millionaire fans were going to lease or buy the characters for publishing. That ain't true at all.
FWIW, Rob Liefeld, Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane), and Dinesh Shamdansi (former co-owner of Valiant, currently of of Bad Idea) are all backing Bleeding Cool on this one as well:
Other People Who Have Heard About The Big DC Buyout Pitch (bleedingcool.com)


Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post

I know that the AT&T merger has fucked up a lot of DC's plans, but what the company has done is not unheard off in the corporate world. They are looking at everything in dollars and cents and decided to trim the "fat". The fat for them was under-performing titles and duplicate positions. As they are thinking with their business heads, not the practical art ones, AT&T removed positions that have affected the product, like editors for their collections and graphic novels and put people who aren't capable of doing the work correctly. On the other hand, they decided to focus on the money makers, like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash and have all titles be around these 4 characters. Everything else is being released digital first for the most part, like the Milestone revival. Still, that's not where DC is making most of their money. Right now, the main focus by AT&T is with the young adult graphic novels that are being sold through Scholastics, bookstores and stores in general and not dependent on the direct market. Those books sell in the millions, are incredibly profitable and cost them less money to make.

My point is that as of right now AT&T will keep DC publishing comics but in a way that it's 100% profitable for them. They are moving away somewhat from the direct market (LCS) distribution model and focusing on the mass market one, which is what made comic books successful in the past. They may license some of their characters to other comic book publishers, but it would be similar as when Disney licenses Marvel, Star Wars and Disney characters to IDW to make kids books.
Yeah, I could see that happen. Heck, IDW itself has even done DC- related Artists Editions and other specialized collections.

Kind of like how back in the early 1980s, DC's characters were almost licensed to Marvel.
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Old 02-18-21, 03:54 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by ddrknghtrtns View Post
I can't imagine them breaking up the big three in an outsourcing deal. Image would probably like to pick-up all the Vertigo/other assorted oddball properties.​​​
That's now how Image Comics works. Image isn't a publisher as such; they don't license anything or hire creators. They're more like an invitation-only collective that allows creators to publish their creator-owned books through Image Comics.

Which wouldn't preclude a creator or studio from licensing a property and publishing it through Image Comics. For example, Todd McFarlane could license Spiderman if it became available and publish Spiderman comics through Image. Or Robert Kirkman's Skybound studio could license Swamp Thing (again, if it became available) and publish Swamp Thing comics through Image.

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
That's not how it works with Vertigo and the characters. Most, if not all, the Vertigo characters with the exception of Constantine, The original Sandman and Swamp Thing, belong to DC Comics. Everyone else is a mix of creator-owned or creator/DC owned properties, including the Sandman, Y: The Last Man, Death, etc. Unless the creator wants to take the character elsewhere and DC refuses their first-refusal clause, these characters aren't going anywhere.
There is (or was) a stable of Vertigo characters that were owned by DC Comics that was quite expansive. Most of them were older b-list properties that were picked up by Karen Berger when she was an editor: Swamp Thing, Shade the Changing Man, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Kid Eternity, Black Orchid, Sandman Mystery Theater, among others. They also had a few characters that were created specifically for Vertigo (or, more specifically, the corner of the DC Universe that eventually became Vertigo) like Hellblazer, Sandman (DC already had a couple of characters named Sandman, though Gaiman's Sandman is pretty much an original creation), Death, and Tim Hunter/Books of Magic. Sandman and Death are wholly owned by DC Comics, though they do allow Gaiman to have quite a bit of say on how they are used.

If DC started licensing characters to other publishers, someone could probably pick up the Vertigo stable of company-owned characters, though most of them were lightning in a bottle and don't have the same cultural cachet they did in the 80s and 90s.

Under such a scenario, I suppose Neil Gaiman could purchase the rights to his Sandman characters and publish new stories under Image or any other publisher, but I really don't see that as something Gaiman would pursue even if the opportunity arose.

I do sort of wonder what would happen to the creator-owned titles like Preacher, Invisibles, Y The Last Man, and Transmetropolitan if DC stopped publishing. Would AT&T/DC release them back to their creators? Would DC continue publishing the collected editions?
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Old 02-18-21, 06:50 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by John Pannozzi View Post
DC owns Constantine and Swamp Thing. And they basically own Sandman, but allow Neil Gaiman a special degree of control over the use of its characters. And yeah, and the deals for other Vertigo titles vary on a case-by-case basis.



FWIW, Rob Liefeld, Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane), and Dinesh Shamdansi (former co-owner of Valiant, currently of of Bad Idea) are all backing Bleeding Cool on this one as well:
Other People Who Have Heard About The Big DC Buyout Pitch (bleedingcool.com)




Yeah, I could see that happen. Heck, IDW itself has even done DC- related Artists Editions and other specialized collections.

Kind of like how back in the early 1980s, DC's characters were almost licensed to Marvel.
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
That's now how Image Comics works. Image isn't a publisher as such; they don't license anything or hire creators. They're more like an invitation-only collective that allows creators to publish their creator-owned books through Image Comics.

Which wouldn't preclude a creator or studio from licensing a property and publishing it through Image Comics. For example, Todd McFarlane could license Spiderman if it became available and publish Spiderman comics through Image. Or Robert Kirkman's Skybound studio could license Swamp Thing (again, if it became available) and publish Swamp Thing comics through Image.



There is (or was) a stable of Vertigo characters that were owned by DC Comics that was quite expansive. Most of them were older b-list properties that were picked up by Karen Berger when she was an editor: Swamp Thing, Shade the Changing Man, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Kid Eternity, Black Orchid, Sandman Mystery Theater, among others. They also had a few characters that were created specifically for Vertigo (or, more specifically, the corner of the DC Universe that eventually became Vertigo) like Hellblazer, Sandman (DC already had a couple of characters named Sandman, though Gaiman's Sandman is pretty much an original creation), Death, and Tim Hunter/Books of Magic. Sandman and Death are wholly owned by DC Comics, though they do allow Gaiman to have quite a bit of say on how they are used.

If DC started licensing characters to other publishers, someone could probably pick up the Vertigo stable of company-owned characters, though most of them were lightning in a bottle and don't have the same cultural cachet they did in the 80s and 90s.

Under such a scenario, I suppose Neil Gaiman could purchase the rights to his Sandman characters and publish new stories under Image or any other publisher, but I really don't see that as something Gaiman would pursue even if the opportunity arose.

I do sort of wonder what would happen to the creator-owned titles like Preacher, Invisibles, Y The Last Man, and Transmetropolitan if DC stopped publishing. Would AT&T/DC release them back to their creators? Would DC continue publishing the collected editions?
I think we are all in the same page here. The Vertigo characters that DC owns are the ones that were published by DC before Vertigo. Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Constantine, the original Sandman, etc. The Neil Gaiman Sandman rights are split from what I understand. DC owns half due to them owning the Sandman name at the time Neil created the series, so they gave him half too. I'm also guessing that the artists from the series have some ownership stake too. Anytime DC uses Death, they have to ask Gaiman for permission.

As for those creator owned titles, that's where someone like Dark Horse, IDW or any other indy publisher can come along as help the creator get the collections out there. Even book publishers like Random House could do this too.
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Old 02-18-21, 03:28 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

The rumor floating around is that it's a group fronted by Todd McFarlane pitching the idea of licensing DC characters wholesale for the comic book rights. He has DC's toy license, so the rumor does make a little sense. Nicolas Cage may be involved as well.
Old 02-18-21, 03:33 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
The rumor floating around is that it's a group fronted by Todd McFarlane pitching the idea of licensing DC characters wholesale for the comic book rights. He has DC's toy license, so the rumor does make a little sense. Nicolas Cage may be involved as well.
Todd just wants to make all the comics batman books so he can make more Batman toys, though.
Old 02-18-21, 06:09 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Todd just announced he is going to put out 4 monthly books in his Spawn universe. He is trying to capitalize on all the extra eyes Spawn 300 got him.
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Old 02-18-21, 10:00 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

If Image could license Superman / Batman or Hellraiser, I wonder if Alan Moore would be interested again in writing the books?

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