I suspect if DC and Marvel were to publish webcomics and eventually get rid of the print division, save for trade paperback editions and the like, it would have big effects on the publishing industry. It’s as if publishers started offering books for free that they find other ways of making money through advertisements. It could be in the form of live action documentaries but also cartoons.
DC and Marvel might technically do their own cartoon adaptations in-house but when made to advertise products by other companies, especially luxury ones is when the changes begin. Cartoonists being made to advertise products by luxury companies isn’t anything new, some mangaka did it themselves.
It would be surprising if the Flash started endorsing Supreme. A more damning development is if those parent companies started reforming in response to publishing webcomics for good. Disney might merge Marvel entirely with its general publishing division and ditch the film production side.
(It already did this to the television division.)
As for DC, I have a feeling there might come a time when Merck Corporation might buy a fairly stake in it, thus reuniting it with People (as both of them were part of Time Warner). Warner Media proper can still stick to animation but DC may have to spend more time with Merck from then on.
Smaller publishers like Image and Dark Horse might simply transition to being webcomics hosts, albeit backed up by other publishers. I suspect if DC and Marvel were to become webcomics hosts for good, it would affect the publishing industry greatly. Not just by making stuff free.
But also bringing comics significantly closer to online magazine and newspaper territory. Much closer by then. But that would mean publishers might pay film studios to advertise their products, thus resulting in the most cynical form of advertising. It’s as if PBS got paid to adapt Macmillan books into telly, that’s when change begins.
Horrifyingly enough, if DC and WB were to do animated productions again it would also be to advertise products by another company altogether and might form a committee of sorts. This already happened before with comic strips characters advertising food products. This isn’t any different.
Except that rather than having comics be research and development, it’s the film industry that suffers the most from this big change. Now that they’re part of a production committee to advertise books, I have a feeling film might end up as subservient to the publishing industry.
Especially as glorified advertising agencies.