C2E2: Jim Lee on the Future of DC Comics

At the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) last weekend, DC Comics Publisher and Chief Creative Officer made his first public comments about the current state of affairs at the comics imprint.

His first question to the audience: “You guys hear any rumors lately?” Said rumors have included such notions as parent company AT&T shutting down or selling the publishing wing, keeping the characters and licensing them out to other publishers. He said that fans shouldn’t put any credence into the speculation about DC. “DC has been around for eighty-five years. We’re gonna be around for another eighty-five years.”

Getting more specific on the relationship DC has with Warner Bros. and AT&T, Lee continued: “We’re a huge, important part of Warner Brothers. We’ve been with Warner Brothers for decades. And ultimately, when you look at DC, the actual strategy of DC is to put publishing in the center of everything that we do. It is the source material that drives the media engine. You know, all these movies and TV shows and animated movies and video games and merchandise. All that kind of stuff. So obviously you see the importance of what …  the value we bring to the greater whole. And so it’s my intent, really, going forward as the publisher to lean into the collective years of experience that are on my team.”

Addressing a question on the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, Lee deftly dodged and made the joke that anything he said would be used as fodder for the internet. “It’s a really tough question to answer.” However, he did take the opportunity to use the battle over the Snyder Cut to make comments that could be applied in a broader sense. “Sometimes there’s a movement to sort of segregate the audience and kind of dismiss a group and say they’re not the fans, right? They’re the people that like this, or they only like that. And I think that’s something we need to resist. Honestly, we need every comic book fan that’s out there. And whether you want the Snyder Cut or not, you’re a DC fan. And I want you to be a DC fan.” Following those comments, he pivoted to the current slate of films in production — Wonder Woman 84, Black Adam, “an amazing Batman movie,” Suicide Squad — “There’s a lot of great positive things happening, and that universe is continuing to move on.”

Lee says the relationship DC has with producer Walter Hamada is very strong, and that Hamada is very enthusiastic about DC Films. “We’re very positive and hopeful for the future of the DC Extended Universe.”

With those comments, Lee seems to have firmly cemented all of the upcoming films into the same story universe, although he didn’t explicitly say so. His use of the DCEU term could be one of the first and few times a representative of DC has actually used that term for the movies.

One topic Lee didn’t address: the upcoming 5G initiative, although he alluded to it with his comments about not having another “line-wide reboot that ages up characters and shuffles them off to the side.” There are reports out of ComicsPRO in Portland, that 5G is in the midst of being re-tooled to be more of a limited event rather than a full-on reboot.

Lee also didn’t mention former co-publisher Dan DiDio, nor did he address DiDio’s rumored firing the week prior. “Our focus is to continue what we’ve done best: pairing characters with great creators and continue to make diverse and amazing stories that you guys love…we’re telling stories about characters that can fly and going into other dimensions. It should be a lot of fun.”

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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