DAN DIDIO 'Concerned' About 'Nostalgia' Driving the Comic Book Market

DC Comics August 2019 solicitations
Dan DiDio
Dan DiDio
Credit: DC

DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has continued to express frustration at the "overreliance on nostalgia" in the comic book market, following up on comments he made during July's Comic-Con International: San Diego about DC's Facsimile Editions - reprints that reproduce classic comic book stories with the original ads and content intact.

Now, speaking to ICv2, DiDio spoke out about several factors that he feels "artificially" inflate the size of the comic book market and hinder growth in that market.

"Where my concern comes from is more about the overreliance on nostalgia, speculator marketing, variant covers, and a lot of things that seem to be driving numbers in sales to give the appearance of a healthy industry, but it's not built on the ongoing success of the individual titles in order to keep those numbers successful and maintained," DiDio explained. " If we're creating these artificial highs on a continual basis, if something pulls that apart, does it break the infrastructure overall, and how do we change these buying patterns in that fashion to build something that is a more healthy business going forward?"

Later in the same interview, and in what could be interpreted as being in contrast with his earlier comments, DiDio explained DC's strategy for the cult favorite humor publication MAD magazine. DC recently announced MAD would no longer be sold on newstands and in grocery stores in favor of subscriptions and the direct market due to low sell-through on the title. That cancellation sparked an outpouring from fans and creators expressing their love of MAD.

Credit: Chris Wahl (DC)

"Our choice right now, though, is to go primarily with mostly reprint material because we feel that the nostalgic material is really what people have been enjoying most, and we want to go back with again," DiDio explained of the decision. "There'll still be a smattering of original material in several of the books going forward. We have a plan that still pushes out for the next year, and we'll be reviewing how this strategy has worked over the next year to see whether or not we continue on moving past that. Right now, we're still publishing. We'll still have new material. We'll still have the Mad 20. We will still have other things that people come to look forward to in MAD."

"The biggest change was that we had to get it off the newsstand. It was bleeding the magazine, and unfortunately, we have to make tough business choices sometimes ... And right now, we're going to make sure that it exists through subscriptions and Direct Market."

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