I need a break

Among manga bloggers, myself included, it’s widely believed that the only times DC executives encounter the letters “CMX” in a row is when they get a particularly crappy tray of tiles during a game of Scrabble. Back in the days when Paul Levitz was in charge, you could make bank that he would barely mention DC’s manga imprint during his nine-part year-end interviews with ICv2. When they launched the Minx imprint, Karen Berger acted over and over again like DC was inventing comics for teen-aged girls, resolutely ignoring the manga market until enough people asked “What the hell is she talking about?” And even when forced to admit that there were all kinds of comics for teen-aged girls, she never noted the fact that her employer published some of them. When Diane Nelson took over for Levitz, it surprised absolutely no one that CMX was not among her talking points, probably because DC didn’t have the right to repackage CMX properties in other media, so who cares? We need a goddamn Green Lantern franchise with legs, and we need one now.

The popular gallows humor was that ignorance was bliss. The imprint may not have gotten any marketing support or recognition from their corporate masters, but perhaps they were so far off the radar that they were immune from scrutiny entirely and that they could just quietly go on publishing interesting, entertaining comics from Japan. Alas, this trend came to an end today. Someone at DC remembered CMX long enough to realize that they could save money by axing it.

Now, if you ask me, this move seems driven at least as much by timely opportunism as by economic realities. There’s that hideous ICv2 white paper that has manga limping towards the care home, along with layoffs at Viz and the uncertain state of other publishers. So DC could just pull the plug and point obliquely at the general state of affairs and pretend to be vaguely regretful. I’m sure economic realities played a part, and possibly a significant part, but it’s easy to interpret the imprint’s history as DC just not giving a shit.

So, yeah, I don’t really think much of DC, but I haven’t for a long time, and CMX was pretty much the last tether of interest the publisher held for me. And it was not an insignificant tether, because Asako Suzuki and Jim Chadwick did terrific work picking titles and presenting them. They did the best they could in the face of what seemed like limited resources and corporate indifference. Hell, they did better than you could possible imagine people would under those conditions.

But seriously, fuck DC. I think I’ll buy a copy of that new Avengers comic just out of spite. I probably won’t read it, but I’ll buy it.

24 Responses to I need a break

  1. […] Brigid Alverson has made no bones about her feelings on the matter. ETA: Here’s a must-read from David Welsh, […]

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one with that sentiment.

  3. Althalus says:

    Yeah, that really hit where it hurts. For me, that’s 9 series I’ll never know the ending of without learning Japanese. Thank you, DC… not.

  4. The new Avengers comic ain’t half bad, fwiw.

  5. safetygirl0 says:

    Yeah, I’m pissed at DC. This seems so dreadfully *sudden*, they were just updating the website and whatnot the other day – no graceful wind-down allowed, because you know those books scheduled for the rest of summer were already at some stage of production.

    It’s shame. The people involved seemed like they really loved what they were working on, and lavished such dear attention on these lesser-known titles. I’m glad that at least we got what we did get while they were so-well hidden in the DC hierarchy.

  6. Alex Hoffman says:

    The really shitty bit is that it seems as if CMX was still going about its daily business, publishing good comics, when the plug got yanked. How else do you explain all the new licences in Amazon, plus things like Diamond Girl, a book I really enjoyed.

  7. judi(togainunochi) says:

    You echo my sentiments exactly. Thank you for putting them in print. Just wish it made a difference to DC.

  8. ABCBTom says:

    “hey were just updating the website and whatnot the other day”

    Not quite. They updated the website yesterday. I know, because I was checking it everyday. They updated their website yesterday with their new solicitations through September.

    This literally was handed down within the last 24 hours.

  9. MikeyDpirate says:

    I don’t know much about CMX and DC dealings with them. Heck I didn’t even know that DC owned them but from what I heard this is a douche move on DC part. I am not surprise that DC treated this branch crudy since I bray knew about them. It sucks that this happen and I hope that these titles do get picked up by somebody either bought or just sold to somebody like Viz or such so they can finish off the rest of the series. I doubt that will happen since DC said something that the faith of their employees in CMX is a ‘sensitive’ subject (or something like that which translate to me as ‘they are going to see the cutting board’.

    It sucks and really the more I hear about the recent happenings in Green Lantern the more I wish they just screw it.

  10. ABCBTom’s right; that website was updated yesterday. I know because I have a spreadsheet full of release dates and I noticed they had the September releases up (51 Ways to Save Her at top of list instead of Apothecarius Argentum!) What a damn shame.

  11. thirstygirl says:

    I’m really upset about this- I’m not a comic reader but I am a manga buyer and CMX were one of the imprints I raved about to friends and recommended their series. Less than 24 hours notice? That’s so very rude.

    • giapet says:

      I don’t know about that– they were told one month and two weeks before it was going to happen, technically, and we don’t know who issued the order for word to go public. Austin Trunick, who handles PR for CMX, talked to Deb at manga.about.com, accoridng to her post…so it may have been CMX employees who decided to get the word out quickly.

      Just speculation, of course.

  12. […] Perhaps most telling is that CMX did not have a single title in the Bookscan’s 2009 Top 750 Graphic Novel list. Gia Manry explains exactly what that means: “No titles from CMX… sold more than 3,887 copies” in 2009. However imperfect a barometer Bookscan may be — and Hibbs freely acknowledges its limitations in his annual write-up — the fact that not one CMX series appears on the Bookscan list suggests that their manga imprint was barely making a ripple in the market, even after six years of operation. (For more on CMX’s failure to gain traction in the market, see David Welsh’s spot-on critique.) […]

  13. themooninautumn says:

    I’m actually going to cry. I bought so many CMX titles because I knew they got no love in marketing or in bookstores. I’m just sorry I couldn’t buy more. I kept wishing more people would find their titles somehow, but I guess not enough people did. What a huge disappointment. My prayers are with the staff members who were doing such wonderful things with so little support. Thank them for six great years.

  14. DanielBT says:

    One of the major things that bothered me about the early CMX books (apart from the Tenjo Tenge fiasco) was that most of them were extremely difficult to open. You had to literally break the spine apart just to read them. They got better in the later volumes with softer pages, but they never bothered to reprint the early volumes with an easier format. If I’m going to read a Comic Paperback, I don’t want to struggle against the pages just to read the interior.

    Even now, I don’t have strong feelings of rereading the 1st volume of Swan, despite its similarities to The Glass Mask. Of course, it might be that the old-school Shojo sensibilities don’t engage me as much as I’d like them to.

    I wonder if I should buy up the rest of Moon Child, despite my misgivings of it feeling like a Please Save my Earth ripoff. If there are any who are for or against that particular title, let me know.

  15. lys says:

    DanielBT—I’ve only read the first two volumes of Moon Child but I absolutely love them and ordered the rest last night; I’ve seen lots of great reviews from others who have read the whole series so I expect I won’t be disappointed. I’ve read PSME too and I can see where there are some similarities in style/content, but I wouldn’t say Reiko Shimizu was ripping anybody off—she’s a prolific creator herself and well-loved in Japan.

    I’ve noticed the stiffness of early CMX books, but you can’t blame them for not reprinting books until they were able to sell through the first runs. I’m just thankful for everything we did get from them, at this point.

  16. […] (Emma, Astral Project), then allowed the books to die with poor distribution and zero publicity. David Welsh, who blogs as The Manga Curmudgeon, summed up the situation nicely: Back in the days when Paul […]

  17. […] David Welsh throws his hands up in dismay – and turns his nose up to DC. […]

  18. […] David Welsh reviews DC Comics’ history of forgetting that it had a manga imprint. When Diane Nelson took over for Levitz, it surprised absolutely no one that CMX was not among her talking points, probably because DC didn’t have the right to repackage CMX properties in other media, so who cares? We need a goddamn Green Lantern franchise with legs, and we need one now. […]

  19. […] up-turned nose attitude a lot of comics fans take towards manga fans, illustrated best, I think, by David Welsh’s reaction post at Manga Curmudgeon. It was pretty clear to the manga blogging community in general that DC didn’t care about CMX […]

  20. […] I know I’m getting my Kübler-Ross all out of order. I started with anger, then moved on to depression, and now I’m going to backtrack to bargaining. These are confusing […]

  21. […] for Suitable Treatment bemoans the chunk of good shojo titles that are going off the market now. The Manga Curmudgeon gets angry at DC’s treatment of CMX, then talks about his favorite CMX titles. Kate at The […]

  22. […] Kang, then Gargamel Up has kind of been down this week, and I ended up deciding to make a spite purchase outside of my normal boundaries. This would be the first issue of Marvel’s latest Avengers […]

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