Uh oh, are we in trouble?
May 6, 2013 9:14 PM   Subscribe

DC Blacklists the Outhouse. DC has been upset at the comics news site for running satirical articles about them (as well as other publishers), and has informed them that they are revoking access to their creators for interviews, according to Christian "Bluestreak" Hoffer.

From the post:
We first caught wind of the blacklist when a marketing representative from DC turned down a request from Eric Ratcliffe a couple of weeks ago to bring a creator onto his long running “Why I Love Comics” podcast. Unlike the dozens of interview denials DC had sent us in the past, their marketing rep wanted Eric to call him to explain exactly why the interview was denied. We never followed up and dismissed the unusual request as one of the many, many weird things coming out of DC over the last few months.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me (17 comments total)
Apparently someone should've explained to DC that you need to actually give someone access in order to make the removal of it count as some sort of disincentive.
posted by fatbird at 9:28 PM on May 6, 2013

Whaddya know, straight out of the ALEC playbook.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:43 PM on May 6, 2013

Remember, this is a company who fired a creator, rehired her and then pretended like it never happened. This is a company who just ended a weekly column with CBR because the website had the gall to ask their editors a real journalistic type question instead of the fluff promotional crap they were promised. This is a company that's become synonymous with creator mistreatment and can't go a month without some creator being shuffled off a book prematurely. This is a company that's turned alienating female readers into an artform.

Ooo, I want more details on all of those.
posted by bq at 10:04 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is also a company that took one of their longest-running books and retired it so its protagonist could be taken out of his well-established and deep setting and be folded into a superhero continuity that he's not really suited for.

DC is eternally grateful for every opportunity to wallow in its own crapulence.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:39 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

bq: the first one is Gail Simone. DC is not known for being especially diverse in its writer's base, and chose to fire Simone--who effectively "is" Batgirl, at least in terms of defining the limits of her current incarnation(s)--off of both Batgirl (and possibly out of DC as a whole) mid-run.

Over e-mail.

They rehired her two-ish weeks later.

If you want more context as to why this raised a dust cloud, here's a good rundown.

The column is about DC ending the four-run instalment of B&B, where DC execs answered questions.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:40 PM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

The fire-n-hire was Gail Simone, from the relaunch of Batgirl, considered to be in terms of writing and plotting in the top 3 of the 'nu52', and the top-selling female-lead comic of the entire relaunch.

Here's Robot 6 on the firing and Jill Pantozzi on her rehiring.
posted by mephron at 10:40 PM on May 6, 2013


The Gail Simone thing (fired and rehired).

DC/CBR column (ended, I believe, due to the furor over Orson Scott Card writing a Superman story).

DC author mistreatment (this is a big, contentious issue; this link talks about what's essentially seen as the original sin and how that fight played out).
You can read the full ruling over at Deadline, but here’s a quick run-down of the situation. Superman was created by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster in the 1930s and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, they sold the rights to the character for far less than he was worth early on. Then, in 1976, the new Copyright Act included provisions to give copyrights back to artists who had sold them in the course of unfair bargaining. Using that law, the creators’ estates won a 2008 case that gave them the right to Superman’s backstory, as described in his first comic book appearance, as well as other elements of the character. Based on that decision, Warner Bros. would have to share the profits from franchise products like Man of Steel. However, in 2001, before the estates’ current lawyer, Marc Toberoff, stepped in, Warner Bros. had negotiated a deal with Jerome Siegel’s widow that would constitute fair compensation with fair bargaining for the rights her late husband had sold.

On appeal, the court has now decided that the 2001 deal had not been properly considered in the 2008 Copyright Act lawsuit. Based on a letter between Siegel’s widow’s lawyer and DC, which went over the terms of the agreement, the court found that both sides had already accepted the deal. A separate but similar 2012 lawsuit also found that Joseph Shuster, Siegel’s co-creator, could not recapture his rights, due to a 1992 agreement along the lines of the 2001 Siegel-WB deal. (A 2010 lawsuit on the part of Warner Bros. said that Toberoff—who denied that the 2001 agreement was legally binding—had personally and tortiously soured the relationship between the estates and the studio. That lawsuit, which had been held up, was also given the go-ahead yesterday.)
Creators being shuffled off books. (Obviously, this is another kinda large and somewhat-more-gray area [in the sense that shuffling authors is more a sign of incompetence than malfeasance, at least to my mind], but this gives a taste. Also, the Simone thing.)

As regards alienating women (Another large one, this is more some of the general gist of some of the issues).
posted by protocoach at 10:47 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

DC: Bad at Math
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

TBH of all the shitty things DC has done lately cutting off a pretty terrible website from press releases is about the least. Still, it guarantees they get some bad press and The Outhouse gets to act important for a bit, so there's that.
posted by Artw at 11:52 PM on May 6, 2013

Preserving access at all costs is poisoning journalism, and I don't just mean comics journalism. Good for The Outhouse.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:19 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

The "preserving access" thing actually made me think that this was about Washington D.C., and that this was an article about the Obama administration revoking White House press passes.

But yeah, DC sucks, what else is new.
posted by JHarris at 1:32 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Given the state of comic book sales, revoking access to a comics news site seems like a REALLY bad idea, especially in the wake of AOL shutting down Comics Alliance. Its not like there's an increasing number of places that want to talk about comics. This does not bode well for any *new* books that DC has in mind (as in anything outside the Batman/Superman/Green Lantern titles).

DC (or its Time Warner overlords) should just let the other shoe drop and bring on The Great Implosion 2.0. It's very obvious that their corporate masters really don't care about grabbing new readers and whose only interest in DC is keeping it as a pasture for a handful of characters to be exploited for movies and toys.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:16 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm honestly not sure what's happening at DC. The New 52 seemed like a pretty exciting experiment at the time, but apart from a few standouts it hasn't lived up to its potential for telling new stories in a new continuity. They cancel critically-adored books that sell more copies than books they don't cancel (I, Vampire), the Simone thing was bizarre (why fire her in the first place, especialy over email?) and rather than use the opportunity they had to relaunch their entire brand and exploit their incredibly deep bench of characters, they released 13 new Batman-related books (that's 25% of the entire line). It seems like they have tailored their plans to the whims of the editorial staff - it's hard not to notice that Geoff Johns' pet Green Lantern series was allowed to avoid being rebooted, for example.

At a point I was reading a lot of DC stuff post-New 52, I've now knocked that down to two books, and I mostly get those for the missus because she loves Constantine and the magic stuff. I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with The Movement but at least it's trying something different with new characters. Kinda interested in Superman Unchained and really interested in Greg Pak's Superman/Batman but to hear that they blacklisted this site doesn't surprise me one bit. It doesn't seem like they take criticism well.

(Marvel's better right now anyway, though of course comics are cyclical and that can change in a year.)
posted by HostBryan at 7:00 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, if you want a respite from major publishers, Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin's The Private Eye is available as a pay-what-you-want download and it's outstanding. Issue #2 dropped today. (Not an ad. I just think it's neat.)
posted by HostBryan at 7:04 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

At first I thought this was about Washington DC, so when it says "revoking access to their creators" I was way confused. Creators?
posted by marienbad at 7:46 AM on May 7, 2013

Seconding the recommendation for BKV's Private Eye. Go get it!
posted by ooga_booga at 7:52 PM on May 7, 2013

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