This week’s mix in Comics Disassembled — my look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics — is a fun one. But despite my objective to always favor comics over adaptations, there’s only one place we can begin, as DC gets some new pappies to its name.
1. A Tale of Two Gunns
This week, the trailer for the The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special arrived, and it was a delightfully, goofy introduction to the idea with a surprising instance of celebrity abduction within it. It was charming. I liked it.
The best part about it, though, wasn’t its reveal, but its timing. It arrived on Tuesday. On Wednesday, its writer and director (and the general impresario behind all things Guardians) James Gunn and his former manager and producer Peter Safran were announced as the new leadership duo for DC’s Film, TV, and Animation Division, now entitled “DC Studios” instead of “DC Films.” They’ll be the co-chairs and co-CEOs of this new entity, although with some curious wrinkles to their purview, as it’s noted that they’ll not oversee the upcoming sequel to Todd Phillips’ Joker film and that it’s uncertain how involved they’ll be with Matt Reeves’ broadening Batman universe stories. While DC isn’t only Batman, it only seems like that sometimes, that’s still a fascinating caveat to their takeover.
What does this mean for comics? Currently nothing. Maybe eternally nothing. “DC Studios” very specifically speaks to the movies and TV side of things, and it’s uncertain if that will expand into the print wing. That said, I’ll say this: it’s hard not to see this as a good thing for all sides of DC. While some are movie people that work in comic movies, Gunn is both that and a comic person who works in comic movies. This guy cares about and seemingly loves the medium. While caring about and loving things often doesn’t mesh perfectly with the business of storytelling – see: Warner Bros. Discovery past five months or so – because the almighty dollar always wins, that still counts.
It’s good to have an advocate for the comic book medium, and Gunn’s the type who will semi-regularly tweet things about how he dug something like Strange Adventures. That seems like a win for the comic side, and an A+ in unintentional comedic timing of major announcements.
Last note: It’s hard not to read any news about this wing of DC as anything but temporary. As I suggested on Twitter, it feels like “…for now” is implied at the end of everything related to it. That could be adaptation announcements, creative reveals, leadership changes, or whatever. Hopefully Gunn and Safran’s arrival brings an end to that feeling, but I’ll need a concentrated block (say, a year) without ultra chaos mode returning before I believe it’s over.
2. Iron Circus, Trying Out
Iron Circus Comics is crowdfunding a double feature of releases, and despite the fact it’s still nearly ten days away from launch, it looks like they’ll have another hit on their hands with over 1,200 people already signed up to be notified on its launch. Iron Circus thriving in a crowdfunding environment is hardly news, though. That’s just what they do. What is news is that this campaign isn’t taking place on Kickstarter, the publisher’s original home, or the custom crowdfunding platform they developed earlier this year, but on BackerKit, a company inextricably tied to the mechanics of crowdfunding but until recent one that relied on others to play its part.
It’s an interesting move after the team built a DIY solution, and Iron Circus boss Spike Trotman explained on Twitter that it came from BackerKit approaching her with a pitch to try their new system out. While Trotman didn’t owe an explanation to anyone necessarily, it was interesting to see, and reflective of one of the many reasons Trotman is so good at this: she’s always willing to experiment and see if she can find new solutions to push Iron Circus to higher heights. If this collaboration with BackerKit doesn’t work out the way she wants, no harm, no foul. She can bounce back to her own platform. If it does, then it’s a win for her and the creators she works with. That’s smart, and part of the reason Trotman is eternally one of the most interesting people to watch in comics.