wtfAt the recent ComicsPro membership meeting it was announced that DC would not be going forward with the “WTF Certified” tactic that was supposed to be on the cover of DC’s April issues. Though an official logo was made, Diamond and DC have both confirmed that it won’t be used. The fold out covers (which when folded out would give a hint as to the big reveal that would be “WTF Certified”) will still remain.

The reasoning behind dropping “WTF Certified,” according to co-Publisher Dan DiDio, is that they “didn’t need it” and “the books have attracted attention from the marketplace already, and that retailers and readers are now aware of the significance of the gatefold covers.”

What are your thoughts on DC dropping “WTF Certified?” Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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About The Author

News Editor

The resident news guy of Talking Comics. When he's not posting the news, Travis can be found at your local comedy club doing stand-up, ranting on his Twitter @TravisMcCollum or posting video game videos on his YouTube channel xTJMac510x.

13 Responses

  1. M. Da Ponte

    I would call DC dropping “WTF Certified” a good start. To use a Stephanie phrase, this whole thing was unnecessary. DC doesn’t need to resort to such ridiculous marketing tactics. From a business standpoint, it certainly achieved what it set out to do–to get people talking–but did so in a way that made DC a joke.

    Not once in any of the comments sections on other sites which I peruse, did anyone seem genuinely intrigued, or have a positive thing to say when the WTFC was announced (does this say something about the sites I visit or modern comic readers are a pessimistic, irritable lot?).

    DC needs to get their act together and start marketing their comics…OUTSIDE their comics! *shocker*. In the upcoming “Man of Steel” movie, I hope to see advertisements for Snyder & Lee’s comic, and possibly other books in the stable. I also don’t understand why there aren’t commercials during episodes of Young Justice for books, instead of pushing the latest action figures down kids throats.

    No. Instead we get “WTFC” and story leaks in the New York Post only 2 days before a titles release. Marketing at it’s finest, appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    I know he’s repeated it several times on the show, but I’d like to hear Mr. Reyer’s take on how DC/Marvel/everyone else can/should be taking advantage of certain opportunities to market their wares, and regale us with tales of a bygone era (sorry if that makes you feel old Mr. Reyer, that is not my intention).

    • Travis McCollum

      This whole WTFC thing has really just rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning. I mean I “got” it and I understand where they were coming from, but it seemed immature and cheap. That’s why I was really glad that they decided against going forward with it. They didn’t need it. You can be shocking and create buzz without needing to slap “WTF Certified” on the cover.

      And that Batman Inc thing? Eh…if the paper wasn’t going to spoil it, some guy with a torrent and a Reddit account probably would have anyway. That doesn’t make it right in my book but I “get” it.

      In terms of everything else you said involving marketing…honestly? It won’t happen. I mean I’d love to see commercials or advertisements for comics on TV or in cinemas but frankly it just won’t happen. The movie, television and video game products are just such a higher commodity right now than comics are and if given the chance to market something, they’d much rather focus on that. Why do you think we get Arrow banners (or whatever else is big DC-wise) on the tops of all the DC comics?

      Well and with Young Justice it’s kind of hard to market anyway since the show is cancelled and DC only has two “Young Justice” titles in their whole of the New 52…neither of which are selling well.

      I would like to be wrong though. I really would.

    • Bob Reyer

      (Let me try to jump in the middle here, and answer two comments at once!)

      No worries “M”, no one can make me feel any older than I already do on this cold and damp morning!

      A story that I’ve told before, but that bears repeating, is that when I saw the Adam West Batman in the cinema in 1966, they gave each child in attendance a copy of that month’s Detective Comics. Any new reader that they attracted was a potential life-long customer, and with media conglomerates now in control of “The Big Two”, why is such an obvious marketing tool as that now seemingly beyond their grasp!

      I understand that comics have become a niche publishing market, but that wasn’t the case until the advent of direct marketing and the rise of comic book stores. Even into the 90s, top titles routinely sold 250,000 copies per month, and the sales figure that now marks a book a “hit” would have got it cancelled back then!

      Travis, while I agree that those other forms of entertainment are higher priorities for their corporate over-lords, I still feel that by Marvel and DC aiming their comics product almost entirely at an older demographic, they’re missing the fact that if younger kids acquire the reading habit as we did, they will provide the base for future growth, as opposed to the “holding action” against their declining readership that these companies are engaged in now. Kids still love super-heroes, a look at the grosses for the various films tells us that, and if you show them a comic featuring one of the filmic heroes, they dive right in. Kids will still read and love comics, if you only present them an appropriate product, so why not put that product in front of impressionable eyes via supermarket, toy store or other mass-merchant distribution in an attempt to re-grow the base of a sales pyramid that once numbered in the millions, and might still be out there for the taking! Considering the amounts spent to promote those other media, a small amount of money invested might have a big pay-off for the company that thinks about where their future customers will come from!

    • thisjohnd

      M,

      You’d be pleased to know that I actually saw DC comics at my local Toys R’ Us recently, and next to the action figures no less! It’s better than nothing, but the few comic shelves I did see were in complete disarray and it was hard to tell if anything was really selling.

      Unfortunately I think the days of spinner racks full of comics is long behind us, and if DC (or even Marvel) want to focus on the future, why not focus more on digital to attract younger audiences? I know this doesn’t do any favors to our LCS but why not include digital comic vouchers inside the packages for super hero movie-licensed action figures? Just a thought.

      On the subject of WTF month, I think it’s curious that DC is claiming they “didn’t need it.” Makes me wonder if they just did it to get people talking or if the negative feedback influenced this change in marketing at all.

      • Travis McCollum

        Bob-Like I said at the end of my piece, I’d love to be wrong. It would be a dream to me if I could see a commercial for the latest comic book releases or see the return of the spinning rack at grocery stores or have them readily available at any place of business. I’ve tried hard to get my younger relatives or the people I babysit to read comics (usually I go with Tiny Titans or something similar) because I want comics to be a thriving industry for a very long time.

        And I agree, the big two DO skew a lot older with their marketing. And cancelling Superman Family Adventures was just another nail in that coffin that had seemingly been laid to rest a while ago. Hopefully that can change in the future. That’s all I can do: hope.

        John-The digital idea does sound like a good idea. Just imagine if they ran a promotion in cereal boxes where kids could get a DL code for a #1 of a recent comic. That would be fantastic in my opinion.

        And yeah, part of me does wonder if it was all just a clever tactic. But the negative feedback must have been hard to ignore.

  2. Bob Reyer

    …or “Really, DC–‘WTF’? GFYATHYRIO!”

    Cranky Old Uncle Bob
    ps) Who might be saying TTFN if DC keeps doing infantile crap like this promotion, not to mention leaking the ending of stories eight years in the telling!

    • Travis McCollum

      GFYATHYRIO? Not really up to date on my shortening slang. But judging by what followed I can only guess it wasn’t too pleasant.

      Yeah, I feel you on the TTFN thing. I mean no company is without it’s share of issues, but DC has done some things lately that have really irked me. Then again I probably shouldn’t take that out on the books (especially World’s Finest because who knows how long that might last given DC’s itchy cancel trigger finger), but it’s hard not to feel a little mad.

      And yeah that whole spoiling Batman Inc…still really not cool in my book.

      • Bob Reyer

        Travis,

        World’s Finest is my favorite DC title, and to my mind the only book in their stable that reflects a sunnier, Silver/Bronze Age mind-set. That the awful Earth-2 dramatically out-sells it speaks to DC’s cultivation of a narrower demographic than does Marvel. It’s barely above the cut-line, and will surely be cancelled sooner rather than later…unless they goose it up with some death, salacious poses or a little bit of ultra-violence!

        Bob
        ps) The “G” stands for “Go”, and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination for now; perhaps after a cup of coffee, I’ll spill the beans on the remainder? rrr

  3. Jacob

    While I believe that I stand with the overwhelming majority here that was very unimpressed with this idea I am more disappointed in DC for caving to the consumer pressure and abandoning their creative vision. This was obviously an idea that had been pitched and sold and had a number of creative teams on board for it to get as far as it did. I would have been more interested to see if they could have pulled it off than for them to get cold feet over Internet outrage over something no one has seen yet. I want the company to be bold and confident in their artists to pull through even on something people are hesitant about, Vibe sure came off well and no one thought that would work. Does anyone else see quitting like this as an embarrassment to the brand?

    • Bobby Shortle

      Jacob,

      Thank you for the comment! To me they are caving on a bad marketing idea, not a creative endeavor. The books will still have the gatefold covers and the big moments, they just won’t come branded with a WTF. I don’t think the mass public should have influence over an artistic decision, the idea of the New 52 or what happened in Batman Inc., but they certainly have the right to speak out on PR moves they find disingenuous.

      • Jacob

        You’re right, creative wasn’t really impacted. I guess I’m just disappointed that the company misread their customer base in such a major way. They should trust their creative teams to put out exciting product rather than succumb to cheap marketing ploys. Great books sell, so let the writers and artists tell their stories without pressure to force something like a themed month onto them.

    • Bob Reyer

      Jacob,

      As you rightly point out, the books haven’t been released yet, so we shouldn’t pre-judge. However, I’ve read that many of the “WTF” stories had already been completed, and were being “branded” after the fact. These rather bland teases are from the CBR article touting “WTF Month”:

      • Booster Gold reappears while an entire team disappears
      • One team is trapped in a bottle while another is changed completely
      • Some heroes change their colors and other change allegiances
      • Pandora battles to the death
      • A close encounter of The Dark Knight kind
      • There’s a new, old Creeper and some old New Gods.
      • One hero quits, and another hero dies

      Nothing too shocking there, but check this list of cover images posted by Aaron Smith at Byrne Robotics:

      [Batman standing behind some guy who’s crawling in a puddle of blood.
      Batgirl throwing some guy off a rooftop with drops of blood.
      Batwoman standing in a river of blood.
      John Constantine laying in a puddle of blood.
      The Flash impaled on a sword and dripping with blood.
      The Demon grabbing some woman with splattering blood.
      Batman looking especially mean as his mouth drips with blood.
      Deathstroke in chains with blood.
      The Flash holding onto some apparently dead guy who’s oozing blood.
      The Phantom Stranger being impaled on some kind of blade but, surprisingly, not spurting any blood!
      Hawkman in a constipated looking fighting pose with blood.
      A Suicide Squad cover with blood.
      A cover for a book called TALON (which I’d never heard of until just now) featuring a guy in a puddle of blood.
      And a handful of other (mostly ugly) covers that, miraculously, don’t have any blood!]

      (Perhaps they should have called it “HGL Month”, named for Herschell Gordon Lewis, director of Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs, and The Wizard of Gore–just a thought! rrr)

      I’m not judging yet, just putting these out there, and granted that I’m coming off a mite cranky, but as someone who’s read DC comics pretty faithfully since 1962, I see quite a bit of what they do these days as an embarassment.

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