The announcement has come that DC has a new Editor in Chief, one Bob Harras, the former editor in charge of collected editions and former Editor in Chief of Marvel back in the late 90s. I was surprised by the announcement as I figured that the Co-Publisher team of Dido and Lee were pretty much covering those kinds of things. I expected this kind of announcement to come sooner and when it did not, I assumed that it wasn’t coming at all. But with the massive restructuring going on I guess this was the point at which they finally decided it was needed. And it kind of adds a fresh start feel to the whole thing. I mean now he won’t be blamed for any of the inevitable firings to come (since that was already in motion before he was named). I really wish that I had a long winded opinion on the subject, that I was familiar, at all, with this man’s previous work and reputation, but honestly I know nothing about this man.
I browsed some user comments on the announcement on Newsarama and Comic Book Resources and it seems to be pretty evenly divided between those who are optimistic and those who are gloom and doom about the matter. From the comments I’ve read it seems like this man, like pretty much anyone ever, has made some really good choices and also some really poor ones. He has impressed people and pissed off people. He didn’t have perfect run while at Marvel, but he did so some good things that people remember. He also did some bad ones that have stuck with people.
And no matter what he did at Marvel, I have a hard time judging a man on his actions over 10 years ago. Sure he seems to have made some really bad choices on some things, but the hope is that he learned from those things and many other things in his many years of experience since then. And he certainly seems to have a lot of experience in comics. The comic world is a very different place than it was back then. The customers are different and the economy is different. Yes, if he runs DC now just like he ran Marvel back then things are going to suck, but mostly because they are two very different times and it will require different things to be successful. And since he has been working in comics this whole time it is silly to assume that he hasn’t noticed the changes along with the rest of us.
I know that there are several good points about his time in the collected division, but honestly, I don’t know what that position is in charge of and I don’t have the knowledge to really evaluate that. It still seems like sort of a weird promotion, as, if they were going to promote an editor, it seems like they would have gone with one working on current titles and not collections. But perhaps my thinking there is wrong. This man worked with all the imprints of DC in that job. Now he is not only editor in chief of the DCU, but will also be responsible for Vertigo and Mad Magazine. Perhaps a single group editor would not have had a firm view on the scope of the company. Also, like his past or not, he does have experience in the position, and that should count for something.
The biggest positive opinion I have is that I am glad that the promotion was from within. I’m very happy that someone under another Warner Brothers department was not shuffled into the mix. Then we would all really have something to complain about. This man has worked in comics for a very long time and, to me at least, that makes him a lot better than many other people they could have moved into this position.
I really feel like I should be telling you all how excited I was for the future of DC with this decision or expounding upon what a poor choice it was. But I can do neither. I suppose we’ll all just have to wait and see how this turns out. There will likely be things that people love and people hate. There will probably be things he is rightly blamed for and things he will be blamed for unnecessarily. He’s stepping into a tough job where he will never be able to please everyone and I can only wish him the best of luck. And of course, I selfishly hope that I am one of the ones he does manage to please.