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Company Profile of DC Comics
Company Profile of DC Comics - May 4th, 2011
DC Comics (founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications) is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing division of DC Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, and such superhero teams as the Justice League and the Teen Titans, and such antagonists as Lex Luthor, the Joker, Two Face, the Penguin, General Zod, the Riddler, Bizarro, Sinestro, Catwoman, and Darkseid.
The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series Detective Comics, which subsequently became part of the company's official name. DC Comics has its official headquarters at 1700 Broadway, Midtown Manhattan, New York, New York. Random House distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comic Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market.
DC Comics and its major, longtime competitor Marvel Comics together shared over 80% of the American comic-book market as of 2008.
They had great success with the Superman and Batman franchises and see continued success with the resurgence of these properties, with many other characters being worked into feature films. DC Comics has also had great success with their cartoons. Teen Titans, Superman, Batman, and the Justice League have all done well.
Get A Job With DC Comics:
DC Comics posts their job openings through the Time Warner website.
DC Comics is a company with a lot of firsts. They introduced the first superhero, were the first of the “pulp magazine” publishers to produce original material, started the Silver Age of comics, and were the first publisher to put their popular heroes together into a team, a move that many other publishers followed suit. DC Comics has continued to pave the way with their iconic characters and remarkable talent of their writers and artists.
DC stands for Detective Comics. The company now known as DC is really just the evolution of many companies being bought and sold, renamed and revitalized. DC started out as National Allied Publications and went through various owners as they sold and started new companies such as Detective Comics, All-American Publications, National Comics, and National Periodical Publications. The banner for most of the comics published by these companies however was “Superman-DC”.
The slump of superhero comics in the forties and fifties didn’t slow DC down. They diversified and still created comic books. During the late fifties however, they took an older character, The Flash, and gave him a new modern look and story. This paved the way for the Silver Age of comics, heralded by many as the greatest time in comics. It was during this time that the Justice Society was born, the first superhero team and the Justice League soon followed. Marvel comics saw the popularity of this trend and that helped them to start their own superteam, the Fantastic Four.
Later, during the eighties, DC had another milestone with the release of many mature and adult themed comics. Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and Sandman were all geared toward an older crowd and paved the way for many of the dark and gritty superheroes we have today such as Spawn, Punisher, Hellboy, and many others. They even launched their own mature comic book line, called Vertigo.
Jenette Kahn became publisher in 1976 and president five years later, and was credited with revamping the entire company. She changed the name NPP to DC Comics Inc. in 1977, fashioned a new logo, and led DC to become the first comics company to pay royalties in 1981.
Christopher Reeve took over in Superman: The Movie (1978), Superman II (1980), III (1983), and IV: The Quest for Peace (1988)--spinning off a Supergirl film (1984)--before moving to videocassette.
In 1982, DC's Camelot 3000, became the first original offset series sold through direct-sales market, followed by Frank Miller's Ronin (1983) and Sun Devils (1984). Spinoffs from games began with Atari Force (1984) and Dick Grayson transformed from Robin to Nightwing. Graphic novels began appearing, with DC's Star Raiders (1983), Metalzoic (1986), and Tell Me, Dark (1992), as well as Ray Bradbury's Frost and Fire, Harlan Ellison's Demon with a Glass Hand, and Jack Kirby's Hunger Dogs.
In 1985, DC cleaned house, consolidating all of its universes (including those acquired from Fawcett, Charleton, and Quality), but some heroes--Supergirl, Silver Age Flash, and Nighthawk--paid the ultimate price. A second housecleaning came in 1994, with Hal Jordan's Green Lantern becoming the victim.
In 1986, Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns sophisticatedly redefined Batman; John Byrne's Superman--updated in Man of Steel--became the first million-copy seller since The Golden Age, and had three top-100 titles; and Watchmen, which would become the most-honored comic series in history, debuted.
Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, and Peanuts made comebacks in the 1980s, joined by Wonder Woman, The Justice League of America, and The Flash (1987). That summer, DC outsold Marvel for the first time in years.
During the 1970s-80s, industry birthday parties abounded, with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all hitting the golden mark (1978, 1984, and 1987, respectively). February 29, 1988 marked Superman's 50th birthday and DC Comics started a year-long celebration beginning on Memorial Day 1987, when an exhibition opened at The Smithsonian Institute; Superman IV debuted; Superman joined The White House and U.S. Department of Education in The Drug-Free America Balloon Launch; CBS had a one-hour prime-time special on Supe; a weekend birthday party occurred in New York City; and The Grand Finale occurred in Cleveland that June, with a ticker-tape parade and a statue of Supe.
In 1988, Superboy appeared in a live-action TV series (1988-91); Jason Todd as Robin died, being replaced by Tim Drake. In 1989, Warner Communications merged with Time Inc. to form Time Warner Inc., making DC part of the largest media company in the world, and Neil Gaiman created a third version of Sandman. Simultaneously, Marvel was sold by struggling New World Pictures to MacAndrew & Forbes, a holding company of financier Ronald Perelman.
That year also marked Batman's 50th birthday. Batman: Arkham Asylum became the bestselling hardcover comic ever; and Batman became the largest-grossing Warner film ever, with domestic box-office sales of $251 million (sixth in film history), total sales at over $400 million, and the videocassette was the bestselling ever.
Analysts estimated the comics industry went from $130 million in 1986 to $400 million in 1990 as Clark Kent and Lois Lane got engaged. Superman died in Superman #75 (1993), the most widely read comic book ever, selling over six million copies. However, he was resurrected in 1993 and married Lois in 1996.
The Flash starred in a TV series (1991), but DC was hard-pressed to catch industry leaders Marvel and Malibu. In 1992 DC's The Human Target ran six episodes; Batman: The Animated Series debuted, winning an Emmy award; Superman and Batman appeared in The New Batman/Superman Adventures; Batman Returns (1992) became the only film to date beating Batman's opening weekend box office record; and Bill Gaines died.
In 1989, seemingly only Kool-Aid advertised in comics. But in 1993, an upsurge occurred. DC and others suddenly had attracted such advertisers as Sega, Nordic Trak, Warner Bros., Crunch 'N Munch, and Stridex; Marvel characters promoted Pizza Hut (X-Men) and Burger King; and Malibu introduced its Ultraverse on MTV and Nickelodeon--the first time a comic publisher used national advertising--and a merger with Acme Interactive triggered Malibu's tie-in package, with a live-action video portion of the story, and the rest in the comics. Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, an hour-long primetime series, also appeared.
DC debuted a new line--"Vertigo"--offering innovative graphic stories to adult readers of nontraditional comics. The psychologically compelling, cutting-edge titles ranged from science fiction to horror to dark fantasy.
July 1994 saw year-old Milestone Media--publishers of Icon, Static, Kobalt, Rocket, Shadow Cabinet, and Xombi--team characters from Hardware and Blood Syndicate with Superman, Superboy, and Steel in the "Worlds Collide" crossover series, following Superman/Spiderman (1970s), Batman/Hulk (1980s), and Teen Titans/X-Men (1990s). Also appearing in 1994 were Looney Toons and Paradox Press--with such titles as Brooklyn Dreams, La Pacifica, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, Urban Legends, The Big Book of Weirdos, and Stuck Rubber Baby.
Batman Forever was the top-grossing film of 1995, and DC comics appeared in Waldenbooks. In 1996, Superman joined Snuggle Bear, WB, Kids WB Network, and Six Flags' Magic Mountain in Best Western promotions. Batman and Robin debuted in 1997.
By mid-1998, Action Comics and Detective Comics were still appearing, along with numerous other titles. Rumors abounded of a Superman V film; and, with Marvel/Malibu bankrupt, DC became sole survivor of The Golden Age of comics and the largest comics publisher in the world.
Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.
Founded: 1935 as National Allied Publications
Sales: $75 million (1997 est.)
SICs: 2721 Periodicals Publishing & Printing, 6794 Patent Owners & Lessors
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10003
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