THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DC'S ONLINE EDITOR
Give DC some credit, this was a hard name to get. Still, my agents came up with a name, and I have been told DC's new online editor is Kwanza Johnson. If that name sounds familiar, that's because Kwanza used to hold a similar position at Marvel circa 2000. You might remember him better under his promotional nome de plume, "Marvel Dog."
DC is quietly working on something webcomics related. It's based out of the Creative Services department, possibly as a cover. While nobody is willing to part with specifics, conversations with sources suggest this involves original comics for the web. Additionally, everyone claiming any familiarity with the initiative seems in awe of its scope.
This makes some sense, in that DC's Senior VP - Creative Director, Richard Brunning, spent some time speaking about the difficulties of formatting comics for the computer screen at the New York Comic Con's Web Comics Panel. Could it be he's been experimenting with different presentation formats? Makes a fella wonder, it does.
"What does Kwanza do as online editor at DC," you might ask yourself? To quote his LinkedIn page, "Point person for developing comics and content specifically created for the internet and other non-print methods of distribution, primarily focusing on DC Comics' growing online business plans."
That there, my friends, is a classic example of what the military calls "open source intelligence" and the smoking gun indicating DC's online plans. Yes, DC is planning online comics. Write it down and don't say you weren't warned.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict a fourth quarter roll-out for this mystery venture. While it doesn't sound like they're going to be ready for a summer con season announcement, I get the impression that progress is being made, and by all accounts it's going to be "big."
SO YOU STILL WANT TO WORK IN COMICS?
We got more than a little mail about our feature on Devil's Due last time out, including a thank you note from a former employee and a note from another person who sat back and realized (s)he was getting shafted with the current contract's pay scale. Many of you, however, are willing to take a pay cut for love of the medium, and there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you go in with your eyes wide open. With that in mind, let's go take a look at some highlights of currently open positions. Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio still have their jobs at their respective companies, but another really choice position recently popped open.
DC Comics has an opening for "Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing" posted on Warner's job boards on June 4, 2007.
"DC Comics seeks a Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for the DC Executive department. Position supervises sales and marketing groups including the following: Direct market (specialty) sales and marketing, Book Trade Sales, Publicity and public relations, Marketing/trade shows/conventions. Develops objectives, policies, and programs for the sales and marketing activities of DC Comics. Plans, directs, and coordinates the efforts of the marketing and sales staff to obtain maximum sales in accordance with company objectives. Perform other related duties as assigned."
A high profile position with few peers, especially outside editorial circles.
This would mean that the tenure of mainstream publishing hire, Stephanie Fierman, is coming to an end. You will recall hearing stories about Ms. Fierman switching her activities to special projects out of the office of Paul Levitz. No confirmation or denial here, but it will be very interesting to see if DC goes back to the mainstream with the next hire and it could be you.
If you're a DC type of person, "Director, Budgeting, Planning & Special Projects" is worth a look for those with a financial background and Adobe Illustrator experts should check out a "Letterer" staff position.
DC positions are a little funky to link to, but can be found (eventually) at this link.
Marvel has a variety of positions over on Monster, like Assistant Editor, which makes us wonder if Andy Schmidt's replacement was promoted from within - always a pleasant thing to see in a company if you're applying with them.
If you're more technically inclined they're also hiring an Oracle Project Manager, an Interactive Content Coordinator for the West Coast office, and a temporary PHP programmer. Are any of these positions about webcomics? The first two aren't, but that third one cites "Experience with Verisign API or other e-commerce API's." If that programmer isn't tweaking the subscription feature, then the e-commerce is probably new to the site and that might, mind you I said might, indicate paid downloads in the future. That could easily be reading too much into it. Then again, if DC's developing, you know Marvel will be shortly if they aren't already.
So you're more independent minded? Fear not - Dark Horse is in the market for a Prepress Technician.
Bi-Lingual? Then there are customer service opportunities at everyone's favorite officially-not-a-monopoly comics distributor.
The jobs are there for the taking, so polish that resume.
AQUAMAN, BATMAN AND THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES WALK INTO A BAR…
Not too long ago, I wandered into one of my watering holes and encountered a pub crawl dressed in super hero garb. I learned two things of note:
- Women seem to enjoy fraternizing with guys in cheap, homemade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes. They especially like playing with the weapons. I'm not sure what Dr. Freud would say, but it happened.
- It turns out when Aquaman is soaked in alcohol, he doesn't really dehydrate and die, he just gets really obnoxious and tossed out. (I asked the bouncer if he was now Ocean Master, but he wouldn't cop to it.)
Your mileage may vary, but if you wear your costumes away from conventions, you may profit from the knowledge.
Todd Allen is the author of "The Economics of Webcomics, 2nd Edition." He consults on media and technology issues and is an adjunct professor with the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department at Columbia College Chicago. For more information, see http://www.BusinessOfContent.com.