On Monday, widespread WarnerMedia layoffs came for the DC Comics offices, with DC Universe, merchandise manufacturer DC Direct, and the company’s actual comic-publishing arm all getting effectively gutted (to the extent that DC Direct is dead and DC Universe is probably dead). But much like Superman after getting obliterated by Doomsday or Batman after getting zapped by Darkseid, DC Comics itself lives on. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee (the guy who put all of that stylish piping on the Justice League’s New 52 costumes) discussed the company’s future and offered some reassurances that things—while bad—aren’t quite apocalyptic. (Apokalypitc?)
For starters, and this may sound less optimistic than Lee intended, he says that DC Comics is “still in the business of publishing comics” and that no work on that front has been halted because of the layoffs (no previously greenlit comics have been canceled). DC Comics exists to publish comics, so we would hope it’s still in that business, but at least it sounds like DC isn’t going to go the way of, say, Fawcett Comics or Charlton Comics and have all of its best characters get swallowed up by some more-successful competitor. That being said, Marvel coming along and doing a Watchmen-style deconstruction of the Justice League would be pretty funny.
Anyway, in other news, Jim Lee says that Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley is doing a Batman book that will have “a huge impact on the rest of the line,” which seems both exciting and unlikely (when was the last time any comic had a huge impact on the rest of the line?), and DC is also resurrecting the Milestone imprint to showcase “underrepresented heroes and creators.” As for DC Universe, Lee says that its original content is being moved over to HBO Max (which has mostly happened already), but that there “is always going to be a need” for the kind of “community and experience” that DC Universe was built around. He suggests that the service is going to change in some way, and given the fact that he highlights the amount of “backlist content” on the platform (i.e. old comics), we’d guess that it’ll turn into something more like Marvel Unlimited’s huge comic vault. Maybe we’ll know more when the DC FanDome descends next weekend.