WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Batman #50, on sale July 4 from DC.
There has been a great deal of controversy in the comic book world in response to DC revealing the ending of this week's Batman #50 in The New York Times on Sunday, ahead of the issue's release on Wednesday. Even writer Tom King has conceded he was "pissed" about the story being spoiled.
Responding to complaints, John Cunningham, DC's senior vice president of sales, offered a five-point response on a private comics retailer Facebook group, explaining why the publisher spoiled its own event (via ComicBook.com):
1. DC Sales strongly advocated getting the news out ahead of the OSD, so that the Moment of Realization did not occur hours before events began. We even did our level best to try and spoil it here on this page over and over again (and failed). The NY Times article was posted here at 630 a.m. PST not out of “Pride” — please — but to get you the information as soon as we could.
2. In the abstract, we believed the news would break on Monday morning, given the arrival time of physical copies in store and the reality that a copy or a scan would end up being passed to uncontrolled comic book outlets (much like Marvel’s wedding issue last week and every other major comic book event in the lat decade).
3. As mentioned here before, any discussion about financial remedies for problematic DC product must occur after the product is on sale.
4. While The Times piece is more fulsome that [sic] some might like, it does not spoil the shock ending of the book for fans. We’re working on getting this posted here for you.
5. I stand by my belief that BATMAN #50 is one of the best single issue periodicals of the last decade, that it is a special moment in comic book history, and that if it’s not the book we (think) we want, it’s the book we need.
In this instance, with the revelation that the much-anticipated wedding between Batman and Catwoman would not actually be happening, there was a great deal of negative reaction from fans, arguing that this news ruined the build-up over the story, which had been going on for over a year now in the pages of King's Batman run.
Not only that, but this was a comic book that retailers ordered heavily on (with a striking amount of variant covers), with the theory being that "Batman and Catwoman Get Married" would draw interest from casual fans who would hopefully flock to comic book stores when the news over the issue would break in a newspaper, like the death of Superman. Instead, the newspaper article specifically told the casual fans that the very thing that the retailers were hoping would draw them in will not be happening.
That could possibly lead to a major blowback on retailers this week. Hopefully Cunningham's explanation helped them in some way.
Batman #50 goes on sale Wednesday from DC.