In 1984, DC Comics was in a bad way. Very bad. Marvel was pushing a 70 percent market share. DC had 18 percent. Things were bad to the point that Bill Sarnoff, head of the publishing division at Warner Brothers (which included DC Comics), approached then Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter about the possibility of Marvel Comics licensing and publishing DC Comics.1
Said Shooter in a February 21, 1984 memo:
Their recently-published statements of ownership show that their sales are embarrassingly low, and that, almost across the board, they have fallen during the last year.
What’s in it for us is the money we’d make publishing those characters and the elimination of an irritation. Intelligent ...