Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett asks whether DC’s future is digital, and suggests an international DC project that should be published in the U.S.

DC Chief Creative Officer/Publisher Jim Lee has been in the news quite a bit lately, making all sorts of announcements, many of which I could comment on.  But the ones that mean the most to the retail market were his statements that while DC is scaling back its line by up to 25% (see "Jim Lee: Bottom 20-25% of the DC Line Was Losing Money"), as he told The Hollywood Reporter, "We’re still in the business of publishing comics."   It’s one of those things that really should go without saying but, given current business conditions, it’s still nice to hear.

But Lee said something else that hasn’t gotten nearly the attention that it deserves.  As an article on GamesRadar put it, "As for what the future of DC looks like, Lee leans heavily on the idea of digital comic books as the best way to reach fans while maintaining a sustainable model."  And that, "DC will embrace a model of digital-first content, which it has leaned on heavily since the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for many fans to go to stores and buy physical product, with successful digital series subsequently seeing print in physical media."

In the THR interview, Lee said, "You'll definitely see more international content.  You're going to see more digital content.  When you talk about growing our business, both physical and digital, to me the opportunities are global."

"That's what we'll be focusing on," Lee continues.  "With digital, that's more of a windowing issue, meaning we'll go out there with digital content and the stuff that performs well in digital also performs well in print."

The interesting thing about this, to me, is I was just praising DC’s Digital-First titles (see "Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy--Now, Where Were We"), because they’re mostly high-quality comics that can be read by nearly anyone without the reader knowing anything about DC continuity or an individual character’s mythology.  If someone wants to read a good Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman comic they can pick any issue of Superman: The Man of Tomorrow, Batman: Gotham Nights, or Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace and just read them, in any order.  And they’ll still be able to enjoy them.  And it’s been pretty reliably well proven that this doesn’t "leech" customers away from comic shops, but instead can create new readers and produce more sellable content for the shops.

But, circling back to what Lee said about "international content," he also said, "Sometimes that takes the form of content that we take here and translate and sell in other marketplaces, but we want to partner with creatives in various territories and unlock stories that feel authentic to their marketplaces with characters that they can embrace as their own, and look for opportunities to take those characters and seed them throughout all our mythology."

Which sounds, to someone as interested in international comics as I am, incredibly exciting.  Lee undoubtedly has plenty of ideas of his own and projects already in the works and doesn’t need input from a semi-professional appreciator such as myself, but I will humbly submit one suggestion of something that DC needs to do double-quick, and that’s a translation and collection of the Superman manga.  Yes, there used to be a Superman manga, just like there used to be a Bat-Manga.

Sadly, on July 2 Jiro Kuwata, co-creator 8 Man with writer Kazumasa Hirai, passed away at 85.  Those as old as I might know his seminal cyborg superhero by the Americanized name of the early anime it was based on that ran in syndication during the early 60s, 8th Man, but more of you might know him for creating the manga version of the Batman 60s TV show that last a year in the boys’ manga weekly Shonen King.

The series had been mostly forgotten until its existence was brought to the attention of David Mazzucchelli (Batman: Year One) during a trip to Japan who passed the information on to his friend, novelist and designer Chip Kidd, who got DC’s blessing to start work on what became known as Bat-Manga.  In July 2014, DC released it in English, as a Digital First series via comiXology every week, following by a three-volume collection of the entire series.

And predating it was a Superman manga that ran from 1959-1960.  Supposedly the publisher was about to cancel the Japanese edition of Superman Magazine and decided instead to introduce some new manga stories written and drawn by Tatsuo Yoshida.  If that name sounds familiar it should; he’s the creator of (among other things) Speed Racer.  I really want to read this, as a comic historian, Superman fan, Speed Racer fan, and a manga fan, and I can’t imagine I could possibly be the only one in all those different groups that would feel the same way about this one.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of