Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Excitement can be good and bad, you know

It's been one of those days that you scratch your head and wonder to yourself if it's actually the magical date (it's 09-09-09, and when my dentist's receptionist booked my appointment for 9am, I laughed; and I was late and actually walked in at 09:09!), or the fates had been saving stuff up to announce all at once. An epress that was just announced a couple of months ago, with publishing professionals the driving force and everything, just as abruptly closed its doors before they got going with simply a letter. Just like that. And Warner Communications, parent of DC Comics, announced that DC would henceforth be known as DC Entertainment, reflecting its reach beyond simple comics. (There was also a presentation by Apple Inc. about its updated iTunes store and updated iPods, but that's not particularly relevant. Although a video camera in the new Nano is certainly a fun idea, Steve.)

Now, the epress going under was a surprise, but the renaming of DC Comics (which, you may know, has always been redundant, since the "DC" stands for "Detective Comics") was more so, especially since the president and publisher, Paul Levitz, stepped down to be replaced by a Warner executive with no comics experience. (Levitz is going back to writing comics, in case you were curious.) This isn't the first time the comics publisher has changed names; it was known as National Periodical Publications as recently as 1970s. And it's not the first time that someone with no comics experience has been at the helm. On the one hand, it's a reaction to the Marvel Comics (sorry, Marvel Entertainment) acquisition by Disney, and on the other hand, it's also a nod from Warner that DC, always a cash cow but sort of overlooked, is being recognized as a more important property than it was when it was first acquired by Kinney (a parking-lot company) back in the 1970s. And there are lists you can look up showing that comics-related movies are among the top earners of all time.

So what does all this mean? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. This company's been around since the late 1930s (home of Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern!), under changing names through changing times and cultures. It's endured, through good times and less than good, through changing technology, offering the stories of demi-gods reinterpreted for the modern age.

Now let's see how it changes for the 21st century.