Once upon a dark and stormy night, well, a couple of dark and stormy winters, in a strange, ugly world called the 1970’s-- two massive snow storms nearly brought the publishing world to its knees. Distribution of books and magazines basically collapsed when planes and trucks didn’t go out on time-- and millions of pounds of paper got sent back or left to rot-- the system at the time was that bad. Comic books were not exactly high in the pecking order, and eventually, lower priority trucks made it to the handful of burgeoning comic book stores-- and direct sales became a boon in a time of chaos. At that same time, DC Comics publisher Jennette Khan had a massive new initiative under way-- bigger books, both Dollar Comics-- magnificent creatures-- and regular books expanded out by 8 pages featuring more characters and more talent than had been utilized in years-- all to be sold in as many more new outlets as could be found. This was the DC Explosion-- covering every genre known to comics, science fiction, sword and sorcery, mystery/horror, war-- and of course, super-heroes. Khan plowed on ahead, despite the previous years’ stormy setbacks-- and then had a fair amount of her autonomy ripped away by the even darker waters often called the corporate mentality, and more than a little of the old boy network. Warner Communications stepped on its imprint acquisition-- DC Comics imploded, and direct sales became the increasing focus of the comic book business for decades to come.
But let’s say there was no implosion-- no snow storms, no corporate power plays-- and THE DC EXPLOSION succeeded! More DC Comics in sold in more places-- including comic stores-- and no genre is out of the question.
How would the comics world be different today?
(A little side-note-- PLEASE no argumentative posts on how the DC Implosion “REALLY HAPPENED.” These will be considered off-topic.)