Titan Comics And DC Reprints In The UK

Here in the UK, Titan is the name of a publisher who, among other things, reprint DC titles for a UK audience. Like Panini UK (and Marvel UK before them), superhero reprint titles on these shores usually consist of each issue featuring reprints of 3 stories from the US. So for instance, Titan’s The Flash title reprints Flash issues from the US.

Superhero reprints in the UK have been around a long time. In the 1970s, Marvel UK had titles like Mighty World of Marvel, an A4-sized black-and-white reprint publication which featured the likes of the Hulk, Fantastic Four, etc. As far as DC are concerned, in the 80s, companies like Egmont and London Editions Magazines (which I believe was part of Egmont) had reprint publications devoted to Superman, Batman, etc. They did a fine and consistent job. Today, Panini UK reprints Marvel US issues for a UK audience and does a stellar job with it.

For a very brief period, between 2003 and 2006, Panini acquired the licence to reprint DC titles (DC had been absent from our shores for a while). They published a fantastic title called Batman Legends, which featured a mix of modern Batman tales and classic tales. However, in 2006, Titan acquired the licence to reprint US DC stories. Using the Batman Legends name, they published a title from late 2006.

Since that time, Titan have been a little inconsistent. It almost feels like their reprint titles are an afterthought. It wasn’t the best start for their Batman Legends title when they chose to reprint All-Star Batman despite the fact that title had been plagued by delays in the US (only one issue of that title came out in 2006, for instance).

Today Titan have many DC titles. And as the likes of Bleeding Cool have reported – http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/04/29/concern-over-titans-uk-reprints-of-dc-comics-titles – many fans are despairing of Titan’s errors, woes and inconsistencies.

It is important to remember that no-one would criticize occasional editing errors – even Panini UK does that – but there are many, many things that Titan is doing wrong. The video in the link above covered a lot of it. Even worse is that Titan’s responses don’t often seem to take the issues that seriously.

So what are the problems?

1.) A lack of communication over cancellations. Cancellations are fine: if a title isn’t selling, it’s not viable for Titan to continue it. However, we never get to learn why. Often we don’t even know a title has been cancelled until weeks or months after. Their Supergirl title just disappeared. No updates on their website, no updates on their social media pages and no responses to e-mails. They then informed us it had been a mini-series and had been retroactively cancelled.

2.) A lack of communication, period. Their website isn’t updated, unlike other publishers. Their Facebook page isn’t updated regularly, either. A lot of FB comments are from folk wanting to know where certain issues are. We also have no idea if a title switches from monthly to bimonthly until it actually happens. It’s a constant guessing game. It’s a constant ‘game’ of heading to WHSmith to see if a series is out. It’s pot luck whether it is or not. Regular updates of such information – on, say, Facebook – would keep customers informed. A simple “Guys, this title is now bimonthly” would save a lot of hassle.

3.) Editing errors. I won’t dwell on this because the link/video shared a few paragraphs back covers that. It does come across as unprofessional when it happens so much. And suggests, even though I don’t really believe it, that the reprint titles are an afterthought. I can count editing errors by Panini UK, over the last decade, on one hand. However, the editing errors concerning “next issue dates” occur with more frequency in Titan’s reprint titles.

I really want Titan’s reprint titles to succeed. DC reprints were absent from UK shores from about 1994 or 1995 until 2003. Yes, TPBs and that were available, but there wasn’t a DC reprint title here during those years. Panini did a great job initially with Batman Legends. Since that time, Titan hasn’t been as consistent. Fans are frustrated. We don’t know what is happening with titles because Titan aren’t as communicative as other companies. I know it is not the most important issue in the world, but it is a minor issue (in the grand scheme of things) for those of us who follow the titles.

All of Titan’s woes concerning their reprint titles could be avoided. I was most disappointed when one Titan employee, via Facebook, told me that subscribers of a cancelled title had been informed, but that it wasn’t possible to communicate to all readers. Not possible? This is the age of the internet. And if their internet sites aren’t regularly updated, they could let readers know via a brief mention in the editorial pages of one of their many titles. Could they not have used the editorial pages/letters pages of one of their Batman titles to let us know another title has been cancelled?

UK DC fans want Titan to succeed. We want to be able to look forward to picking up their various titles. We simply want consistency. We don’t want to play guessing games about when a title is out. And we don’t want to spend weeks traipsing around branches of WHSmith, only to learn weeks later that a title has been cancelled.

All of Titan’s woes, and fans’ frustrations, could be avoided in the future if Titan simply works harder at having a more regular and consistent internet presence. They could set up a dedicated Twitter feed to inform us of cancellations or to announce a title has switched frequency from monthly to bimonthly. They could have a more consistent Facebook presence, letting us know that the issue we thought was out one week won’t be out until the next week. And it would definitely make them look more professional and communicative to customers if their website was updated with the same frequency as others.

On a final note, a similar thing happened with Star Trek Magazine, also published by Titan. From about late 2015 until the spring or summer of 2016, no issues were published (the title is bimonthly, at least I think it is). No updates on their Facebook page. Nothing on the website. I did eventually get a reply via Facebook, but never learned the reason or reasons for the delay. It does lead to goodwill being sapped away.