Warner Bros. has announced former Blizzard executive Daniel Cherry III as the DC Comics’ senior vice president and general manager. As a person better known for his experience in esports rather than comics, it will be interesting to see what new energy he can bring in his role. And so far, he’s taken the time to share his thoughts on the responsibility of those at DC Comics.
“While always respecting the past, I also think it’s our responsibility to leverage the cultural power of DC Comics and our characters to entertain and inspire an increasingly diverse global fan base,” Cherry writes.
Cherry is “an award-winning brand innovator and marketing executive,” according to Warner Bros.’ announcement. Previously, he worked as the chief marketing officer of Activision Blizzard’s esports division, and prior to that, he worked in marketing for the alcoholic beverage company Diageo and the sports teams the New Jersey Devils and New York Cosmos.
Cherry outlined his vision in a LinkedIn post:
“Comics have the unique power to create resonant imagery and narratives that can move the world toward a better, more inclusive version of itself. It’s my sincere hope that I am able to contribute and help evolve the brand and increase its relevance and impact for generations to come.”
In digging deeper into Daniel Cherry III, I came across a recurring hashtag, #ExperienceOverTheory. Not only does Cherry use it in his posts, but it is also in his Twitter bio and according to DomainBigData, he has also owned the domain, experienceovertheory.com.
Now my initial thoughts about these three words were that Cherry is a person who values real work experiences that answer what has worked and what has not over unrealized theories about what if. And personally, I’m in total agreement with that mindset, since there’s greater value in execution. How do the Lantern Corps say it? Hope is nothing without the willpower to enact it. And with that, I’m optimistic that Cherry is a doer and is going to be spending his time at DC Comics identifying tangible steps to progress and success.
But what if Experience Over Theory could refer to something else? What if he means the fans’ experience? I believe that is also a valuable north star to have. By focusing on consistently giving comic book fans that celebrate and honor the best in storytelling without all the unnecessary fluff and lackluster fanfare. When Cherry talks about the power of comics being able to move the world to a better state of itself, that cultural power that inspires is what needs to be felt by readers. And yes, maybe to some this will come across as further political agendas in comics, but I don’t see it that way. To me, comics have always been a medium for telling important stories, and that those stories matter. Simply put, the experience of reading a comic needs to feel like it matters. And everything Cherry has said so far is in line with that.
In regards to the new organizational structure, Cherry and chief creative officer/publisher Jim Lee will be reporting directly to Warner Bros.’ global brands and experience president Pam Lifford. As SVP/GM, Cherry will oversee DC’s business affairs, manufacturing, editorial, talent services, marketing, sales, brand, and direct to consumer. Business development duties will be shared with Anne DePies, currently DC’s senior vice president of business strategy, finance, and administration.
This announcement was first made a few weeks after major organization changes at both Warner Media and DC Comics, including the layoff of editor-in-chief Bob Harras.