Monday, March 8, 2010

Superheroes and Social Media

DC Comics is one of the world’s oldest and largest comic book publishers, boasting a roster of superheroes that includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League. DC Comics is also a subsidiary of Warner Brothers and, as such, has recently undergone a massive reorganization. DC Comics (a.k.a DC Entertainment), once an autonomous entity, is now under the control of Warner Brothers movie-making division. Why the change? According to Graeme McMillan, the reorganization ordered by Warner Brothers “cements moves to make DC properties a centerpiece of their movie slate…As movie going audiences continue to vote for genre franchises with their dollars, Warners seem to be responding by finally playing with the toys that they’ve owned – but forgotten about – all along.”

It’s clear that this move was made to establish DC Comics as a multi-media giant. Marketing the company’s films and print publications will go a long way toward achieving that goal, and DC’s social media strategy will be an important component of the corporation’s overall marketing plan.

DC Universe

DC Universe is the homepage of DC Comics. The site houses previews of upcoming publications and provides information on the company’s vast library of characters. There’s a good old-fashioned message board where fans come together to discuss various topics and the site also links to the DC comics podcast. The podcasts are robust (at least 50 minutes long) and provide a forum for creators and editors to discuss current and upcoming projects.

The Source blog is perhaps the highlight of the DC Universe website. The Source is the “official blog of the DC Universe” and is the place to go for the latest company news, previews, and creator insight.


DC Comics has a presence on facebook, but it’s not really much of one when you dig into it. Basically, the company’s facebook page is a vehicle that refers users to The Source blog on the company’s website. Not a bad strategy, but I think some exclusive facebook content would help drive traffic to the company’s fan page.


Like DC’s facebook page, the Twitter page primarily links back to articles posted on the main website. To the company’s credit, they often do promotions through Twitter, such as the upcoming trivia contest where the winners receive an autographed copy of The Flash #1.

How Super is DC’s Social Media Strategy?

Sadly, it’s no Superman. The blog is a great starting point, but the company can do a lot better. Exclusive content on sites like facebook and more fan/creator interaction would definitely beef up the company’s social media presence.

As I’ve discussed, DC Comics utilizes a few different social media outlets, but you wouldn’t know it from the DC Universe homepage. A link to the company’s facebook and Twitter pages would be a great first step in tying the company’s social media strategy together.

DC Comics reorganized in September, 2009. Now that the company is under the control of the film division, perhaps the powers-that-be will alter the company’s social media plan going forward, making it as powerful as its newly acquired stable of superheroes.


  1. From everything I've read recently, it is a good idea to build a home base and use many tools to drive traffic to the home base.

    It can be a useful strategy for a business just getting started in social media and/or a smaller business with limited resources.

    I agree, however; I would have expected an organization the size of DC Comics to offer much more (in variety and in bulk); I would think their audience, in particular, would demand more.

  2. I think maybe what we're seeing is what happens when fringe enterprises become big business. What do I mean? Back when I was a boy and even when my sons were comic book readers, the genre was always slightly disreputable. But now they have become big business. And as we have seen more than once, the big business mindset does not always flourish in the world of social media. The corporate point of view is often too fixed, and the company methodology is too stratified.

    A glance over at Marvel Comics reveals the same issues. These are not the same folks who used to slurp black coffee as they stayed up all night at their easels drawing Superman, Wolverine, and the rest.

  3. Ray, your comments got me thinking. Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel for DC comics will be that social media works better from the bottom up. Could the fans and the comic book shops create and nurture the networks that the overgrown company fails to provide?

    I have a friend that works at Earth2Comics ( in LA, California. The local network is pretty close-knit and they have a website presence as well as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

    Maybe DC Comics as a company doesn't stay up late slurping coffee anymore, but a lot of these folks still do and are sharing their excitement and energy.