Recently, comic book fans have been in a bit of an uproar concerning a new decision by DC Comics — the publishing home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League — to place advertisements on story pages. Up until this point, ads would of course have a presence in DC’s weekly comic book releases, but now story pages are actively being truncated in order to accommodate the appearance of certain advertisements, as you can see in the image above. As you can imagine, many fans are infuriated by this. Other people disappointed by the move are some of DC’s most prominent and popular creators.
According to IGN, the creative team behind DC’s best selling and critically acclaimed ongoing Batman title — writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo — have expressed frustration at DC’s decision to reshuffle the flow of an issue’s story in order to more prominently place advertisements. Of the two, Capullo seems to be more incensed, saying,
[Batman writer Scott Snyder] wrote [latest issue Batman #41] in such a way that when you go and truncate my work, we can assemble it, and it won’t look off when we reassemble it for the trades…I really shouldn’t talk about this thing… because, yeah, it’s not something that sits very well with me at all.
Snyder seemed irritated about the decision by the publisher, but in a more playful way, hinting that the book may poke fun at the idea of the book’s ads.
I think we pride ourselves a little bit on Batman as being not necessarily always towing the party line. Batman is an outlaw after all, right? You have to have a little fun in the book. So we tried to have a bit of fun with that page in a way that I hope you guys enjoy…I think you’ll see we kind of got in our little dig.
This occurrence can’t help but remind me of an incident back in May of 2004, when the MLB agreed to sell ad space atop the bases at major league games. Purists of baseball argued that the ads were beginning to prove that nothing was sacred, even for “America’s pastime,” and a concentrated effort by high-profile teams like the New York Yankees actually got the ads removed in the future.
DC’s actions here seem to come from a very similar place. Comics of nearly the last century have always maintained the integrity of story pages, but the presence of ads is becoming more and more prevalent. In the past few years alone, DC moved from releasing a 30-page issue at a $2.99 cover price with 22 pages of story content, but that was trimmed to 20 pages of story content while the price remained the same. Now, story pages themselves will have advertising material on them, and fans and creators alike should have strong feelings about this decision.
It’s a bad call for DC Comics to infringe on a story’s integrity for the sake of selling ad space, and fans would be very well justified in voicing their concerns as loudly as possible to DC Comics. You can find the company’s co-publishers on Twitter @JimLee and @dandidio1, the Chief Creative Officer @GeoffJohns, and of course, the company itself @DCComics. You can also contact DC Entertainment directly by visiting their website, and filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page.
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