Dan Didio Archives - Page 4 of 7 - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
During the promotional push for DC Comics’ “New 52″ relaunch, executives stressed steps were being taken to prevent late-shipping titles. We’ve already seen evidence of that commitment in the use of fill-in artists and some creative assists, but now it looks as if one of its titles is missing a beat — and it’s the biggest title the company has.
Justice League #5 was scheduled for release Jan. 18, according to the Previews catalog as well as the publisher’s own website, but recent information from Diamond Comic Distributors suggests it won’t make that date.
Although a late title clearly isn’t unheard of, this one is intriguing for two reasons: first, because it’s the flagship of DC’s “New 52,” and second, because the creators involved, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee, are also company executives who, at least indirectly, oversee the line editors whose responsibility it is to make sure books ship on time. It’s important to note the reason for the lateness can’t be connected to Johns or Lee; the blame could fall on any step of the production chain.
Peppered with questions over the past few months about the status of Wally West in DC’s New 52, The Flash collaborators Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have professed a fondness for the character, and even teased that he would crop up at some point.
But in a just-posted interview with Comic Book Resources, the co-writers revealed they’ve submitted a Wally proposal to DC. The problem is, the publisher doesn’t seem to be in a rush to reintroduce the former Kid Flash turned Fastest Man Alive.
“The pitch is on Dan [DiDio's] desk,” a laughing Manapul tells CBR. “Let’s see if he finds it! That’s really all there is to say!”
However, when contacted by CBR, a DC representative said there are no plans for Wally West at this time.
Buccellato addressed the Wally Question on his blog in August, shortly before the relaunch: “We often get asked that very fair question, and we wish we had an answer that would satisfy. But the simple truth is we don’t. Our book is about Barry. We are focusing on Barry. And there is nothing we can say to put Wally fans at peace. Sorry, guys. I really am. And we are not bothered when we are asked about Wally. It’s okay to ask us … I’m glad there are people out that that feel so strongly about The Flash. Unfortunately, there is no new information to impart. I can’t tell you why there is no Wally.”
He did offer some speculation, though, centering on Wally’s origin being dependent on Barry Allen, and Warner Bros.’ interest in a Flash movie featuring the latter version.
Check out the CBR interview with Manapul and Buccellato for details of their plans for The Flash.
Crime | About 50 protestors were arrested in Tunisia for an attempted arson attack on the offices of Nessma TV after it screened Persepolis, the animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s celebrated autobiographical graphic novel. The protesters claimed the animated movie offends Islam. All political parties in Tunisia, including the country’s main Islamic party Al-Nahada, have condemned the attack and expressed their solidarity for freedom of the press. [Variety]
Digital comics | Warren Ellis looks at the current options and sees webcomics as a broadcast, out there for free and bringing in new readers through notifications, links and solidarity, whereas digital comics services like comiXology (or even Marvel’s subscription) service are closed systems, more like a shop with comics on the shelves. That makes a difference in building an audience and also in the pacing of the comics, because webcomics can better accommodate the more decompressed storytelling that Ellis prefers. Lots of interesting nuggets among the ramblings. [Warren Ellis]
DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio triggered a minor crisis of his own Saturday when he announced on Facebook that, “after further review, there have been no Crisis events in the New DCU.”
The proclamation sent blogs and message boards into overdrive as fans grappled with the ramifications of no Crises — no Infinite Crisis, no Final Crisis, and no Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 “maxi-series” whose impact was so profound that DC history became defined by “pre-Crisis” and “post-Crisis,” comics’ answer to B.C. and A.D.
But clearly in the universe of the post-Flashpoint New 52 there was a Final Crisis, as Bruce Wayne “died” — or, rather, he was hurled back through time — and was temporarily replaced as Batman by Dick Grayson. There are undoubtedly other loose threads that are best not picked at, but that’s the one that springs immediately to mind. It’s one of the pitfalls of leaving the continuities of some characters, like Batman and Green Lantern, essentially intact, while sending dozens of others back to square one.
Noting the tumult his announcement created, DiDio returned on Sunday with clarification. Sort of: “For those in crisis over Crisis, let me clarify. The topic of Crisis was much discussed among the editors and talent working on The New 52. With so many characters and histories restarting, major events like Crisis are harder to place when they work for some and not for others. (that was one of the problems coming out of the original Crisis). While we are starting aprx five years into our heroes’ lives, we are focused on the characters present and future, and past histories will be revealed as the stories dictate. Yes, there have been “crisis” in our characters lives, but they aren’t exactly the Crisis you read before, they can’t be. Now, what this means for characters seen and unseen…… well, that’s the fun of The New 52, infinite stories, infinite possibilities, with the best yet to come. [...] P.S. that’s the last time I try and answer a Facebook question before rushing out for dinner.”
That should clear things up! Right?
(via DC Women Kicking Ass)
“Somebody asked me if we’re going to use recap pages. I said, ‘I don’t know, if we’re just on issue one, if we need a recap page we’ve probably screwed up our mission.’ My goal is never to have recap pages, but I understand the people’s desire. I always call the recap page lazy writing, because I always felt that it always gave someone an easy way to do an essay about what’s going on in the book, rather than what’s going on in the storytelling. So I think we’d rather try to find a way to make our stories as dramatic as possible, so we don’t have to rely on things like that. That being said, if it does make sense for the particular time, if you’re building to something major, then we’ll use every tool at our disposal to make these books as accessible as possible.”
– DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, discussing the approach to characters and storytelling
in the company’s heavily promoted line-wide relaunch
DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee sat down with the folks at ICv2 recently for a wide-ranging interview about the state of DC. With DC’s New 52 launching Wednesday, the interview comes at a particularly auspicious time. Here are some highlights:
Comics sales: DiDio says overall sales in the direct market are flat, but periodicals are softening, because people are shifting to trades, converting to digital or falling out of the market entirely because of the lack of interest or money. Lee brings up piracy as a possible factor as well. On the other hand, despite the problems at Borders, mass-market graphic novel sales are up.
Prices: DiDio’s take on rolling back the cover price to $2.99:
While we didn’t show increased sales because of it, I believe that we didn’t have the level of erosion that would have occurred if we had decided to push our books to the higher price point.
So, it didn’t make things better, but they would have gotten worse without it. Lee chimes in that $2.99 is a better price for bringing in new readers, and he adds an interesting point:
… the history of comics has been one of price inelasticity, where fans could not be induced to buying something at any price, and yet were willing to pay a very hefty price for books that they absolutely love. It’s not necessarily the best or healthy approach for the industry. We should really have a situation where being able to hold the price points down should show benefits in sales.
I think what he’s saying is that they can’t force people to buy something they don’t want, even if they price it cheap.
The New 52: Really, this topic has been beaten to death at this point, but if you’re just back from a vacation at the North Pole, DiDio provides a nice, quick summary of why they are bothering: The characters were dated.
Event fatigue: Are readers sick of complicated multi-series crossovers? DiDio sticks his fingers in his ears and says, “I can’t hear you!” Well, not exactly:
Ahead of the release on Wednesday of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1, signaling the beginning of its line-wide relaunch, DC Comics has kicked off a promotional assault in the mainstream press to sell “The New 52″ to a broader audience. While USA Today, with a circulation of 1.8 million the second-largest newspaper in the United States, looks to be the hub for coverage, DC has also reached out to publications like the New York Daily News, the New York Post and the Boston Herald. Here are the highlights so far from the 11th-hour push:
• USA Today takes a broad overview of the relaunch, talking with DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, and a couple of retailers. “There are plenty of angry customers over this,” says John Robinson, co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics chain in Illinois. “I’ve heard the usual ‘I can’t believe they’re doing this,’ ‘They’ve betrayed us,’ etc. I’d say about 60% to 70% of those protesting the loudest will still end up buying the stuff. There’s just too much hype and interest — even the haters are curious.”
• The newspaper also hones in on the publisher’s new same-day digital strategy, which debuts Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET when Justice League #1 will be available for purchase digitally. Hank Kanalz, senior vice president for digital at DC Entertainment, acknowledges the challenges of getting the initiative off the ground: “Some books are working really far ahead of schedule, some are down to the wire, and it’s just a matter of coordinating and about overcommunicating. We have to make sure it goes off without a hitch, which is why we’re not sleeping right now. We’re going much wider to a mass audience than ever before, so it’s a matter of making sure we have everything ready to go.”
Education | The Center For Cartoon Studies’ Schulz Library in White River Junction, Vermont, was damaged over the weekend in flooding caused by torrential rains from Hurricane Irene. According to CCS Director James Sturm, volunteers called in Sunday night were able to remove about 70 percent of the library’s collection and move the remaining materials to higher shelves. However, he indicated to Tom Spurgeon that the building itself may be a loss. [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Jim Shooter, former editor-in-chief for Marvel Comics, shares the story of how DC Comics almost licensed the publishing rights to their characters to Marvel in the mid-1980s. Obviously the deal never happened, which Shooter said was due to a lawsuit by First Comics alleging anti-trust violations. [Jim Shooter]
Creators | Gail Simone discusses her upcoming work on Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm. [TFAW]
Justice League #1 has garnered initial orders of more than 200,000, DC Comics tells the Los Angeles Times, with another six titles from the publisher’s much-discussed September relaunch each surpassing 100,000 copies.
That figure will make DC’s new flagship title, by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the bestselling direct-market comic of 2011 — Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 now has the honor, with about 168,000 copies — and the first since January 2009′s Amazing Spider-Man #583 to break the 200,000-copy mark. (In case you’re wondering, that was the issue with the Barack Obama variant cover, which sold more than 350,000 copies.)
“Fan interest is huge — much of it positive, some negative, and some very cautious,” Gerry Gladstone, co-owner of Midtown Comics in New York City, tells the newspaper. The LA Times also unveils Jim Lee’s variant cover for Action Comics #1 and Ethan Van Sciver’s variant cover for Batman #1, both of which you can see below.
The sales numbers are the lone bright spot in an article that paints a grim, if not necessarily inaccurate, picture of an industry in which sales have slipped 7 percent this year alone. The relaunch is billed as “part of a two-pronged strategy to try to revive its moribund business and draw newer, younger readers” — the other prong is apparently the publisher’s digital initiative, but the story’s unclear on that front — but the overall tone of the LA Times piece reads “Hail Mary pass.”
“The truth is people are leaving anyway, they’re just doing it quietly, and we have been papering it over with increased prices,” Co-Publisher Dan DiDio says. “We didn’t want to wake up one day and find we had a bunch of $20 books that 10,000 people are buying.”
With at least seven titles selling more than 100,000 copies — retailers have until Monday to adjust orders on the first issues of such high-profile series as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash — DC will be able to trumpet “The New 52″ as a success, with the publisher dominating Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 10 in September. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 could very well be the sole Marvel title on that list.
But to truly gauge the success of the relaunch, DC (and the industry) will have to look further down the Diamond chart to see how fringe titles that don’t benefit from mainstream recognition or marquee creators — books like Men of War, Demon Knights and I, Vampire — perform. Will the New 52 be an instance of the publisher’s top-tier books selling like gangbusters, while the other 35 or 40 struggle for an audience? And, just as important, where will those top-tier titles stand at Issue 4 or Issue 6 or Issue 12?
Update: The LA Times’ Company Town blog now lists the six other DC first issues that have have pre-orders higher than 100,000 copies: Action Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, The Flash, Green Lantern and Superman. None of those is a surprise, although Aquaman, with the fan-favorite creative team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, certainly seemed like a contender for The Flash‘s spot.
DC Comics took a few on the chin at Comic-Con International and in the week that followed as attendees at their multiple “New 52″ panels asked them over and over again, “What happened to all the women?” Sean posted about one panel in particular earlier this week; you can see more color on it over at The Beat, as Heidi was there, and on ComicsAlliance, where Laura Hudson lays out a thoughtful post on the subject.
Yesterday DC Comics responded with a post on The Source by co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee:
Over the past week we’ve heard from fans about a need for more women writers, artists and characters. We want you to know, first and foremost, that we hear you and take your concerns very seriously.
We’ve been very fortunate in recent years to have fan favorite creators like Gail Simone, Amy Reeder, Felicia Henderson, Fiona Staples, Amanda Connor, G. Willow Wilson and Nicola Scott write and draw the adventures of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes.
DC Comics is the home of a pantheon of remarkable, iconic women characters like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman and Supergirl as well as fan favorite characters like Black Canary, Katana, Mera and Starfire. We’re committed to telling diverse stories with a diverse point of view. We want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership. Can we improve on that? We always can—and aim to.
We’ll have exciting news about new projects with women creators in the coming months and will be making those announcements closer to publication. Many of the above creators will be working on new projects, as we continue to tell the ongoing adventures of our characters. We know there are dozens of other women creators and we welcome the opportunity to work with them.
Our recent announcements have generated much attention and discussion and we welcome that dialogue.
Jim Lee & Dan DiDio
DC Entertainment Co-Publishers
DC has a reputation of having a “duck and cover” approach to controversy, so I have to say I’m a bit surprised and pleased that they would put out an official statement. Good on them — now how about opening up the comments on The Source so you can start a dialogue again with fans?
It was the shout heard ’round the world. In the opening minutes of DC’s very first daily “New 52″ panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last Thursday, when Co-Publisher Dan DiDio turned to the audience and asked what DC would have to do to change the minds of those skittish about the impending relaunch, one man yelled “Hire women!” The number of women creators working on the DC Universe, he added after audience applause, had dropped with the relaunch from 12% of the total to just 1% (i.e. Gail Simone, and Amy Reeder if you count the later Batwoman launch). DiDio’s response was to turn the question back on the questioner and ask him whom he thinks DC should hire. The move raised some eyebrows, to be sure, given that an audience member isn’t in the kind of position to assess all the professional comics talent available to be hired that the brass at a major publisher would be in. Still — and I’ll just quote myself here from another time this topic came up — “I think it behooves those of us who argue for the inclusion of non-white non-straight non-male people in a creative team or superhero team or panel or article or exhibit to have candidates ready to hand,” so turnabout is fair play, I suppose.
Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements
• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.
• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.
• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.
Warming up for a grueling Comic-Con International schedule, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio held a virtual convention panel last night on Facebook for fans who can’t make it to San Diego. Highlights from the Q&A include:
• DC no longer has the rights to Archie’s Red Circle superheroes.
• Stephanie Brown will remain part of the DC Universe following the September relaunch. However, DiDio won’t reveal where she is just yet. “Sorry, but we are keeping some secrets,” he wrote, “and one of them involves Stephanie.”
• He’s sticking by his earlier remarks about the status of the Justice Society, saying “the official answer on JSA is that ‘They’re resting’.”
• When can we expect the release of Dark Knight: Boy Wonder, the planned six-issue conclusion of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder? “Probably when he is The Teen Wonder.”
• Asked whether we’ll ever see the new version of Who’s Who in the DC Universe announced in December 2009, DiDio replied, “the question is not who’s who but when’s when.”
DiDio’s first actual Comic-Con panel, “DC Comics — The New 52,” kicks off at 2 p.m. Thursday in San Diego.
Publishing | DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio talks about the gay and lesbian characters appearing in the company’s books come September, including Batwoman and WildStorm imports Apollo, Midnighter and Voodoo: “When we looked at trying to incorporate some of the characters that inhabited the WildStorm universe Apollo and Midnighter are two characters that have always popped out. Not because of what they represent, but they’re just strong characters in their own right and [they] were able to represent a story, a style of character that wasn’t represented in the DC Universe. There’s more of an aggressive nature with those characters that will interact interestingly with other characters and allows us to tell more and better stories.” [The Advocate]
Publishing | Todd Allen, Tom Foss and Graeme McMillan react to the list of changes to the “younger, brasher and more brooding” Superman who will inhabit the DC Universe following the September relaunch. [Indignant Online, Fortress of Soliloquy, Blog@Newsarama]
DC’s big shakeup this fall not only denotes which characters and titles they’re emphasizing, it also shows the creators they’re putting trust, faith and support behind. Back during the 52 era the informal top tier of writers were Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid. Both Morrison and Johns remain in heavily use on DC’s top titles, while both Rucka and Waid have segued away for their own reasons.With these new titles on the horizon it gives us fodder to think who’s controlling the DCU; in other words, who are DC’s Architects (to borrow Marvel’s term)?
Looking at the full slate of 52 titles set to begin this fall, the busiest writers are Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell with three titles each. Johns’ role as CCO and long-time primary writer leaves his place in this top spot as a no brainer. Lobdell had done work before at DC, but with the ascension of Bob Harris to DC’s editor-in-chief spot, it seems their long-time partnership at Marvel is continuing across town. Joining those two at the DC brain trust table are, without a doubt, DC Co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio. In addition to being on the top tier of the office staff, they’re both working as creators (on JLA and OMAC respectively).
Beyond those initial four, Morrison is probably still sitting at this table even though he’s only writing one of the 52 titles announced (Action Comics) for relaunch because of the promised return of Batman Inc. down the road as well as the long-promised Multiversity event series speculated for a winter 2011/2012 launch.
If you’re looking for sixth candidate to be part of DC’s top tier of writers, it’d probably be a knock-down drag-out between the 10 writers who each have two titles to write under DC’s Fall 52. They are: Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, Gail Simone, Judd Winick, Kyle Higgins, Peter J. Tomasi, Tony Bedard, Peter Milligan, Jeff Lemire and Paul Cornell. Of them all I’d place my vote for Gail Simone because of her unique voice and long track record of well-written books. If not her, my money would be on Scott Snyder; he’s really blossomed under DC’s watch with Detective Comics and his amazing work with American Vampire. DC’s decision to give him the chance to redo The Swamp Thing is no small gift, so one would assume DC sees a lot of promise in the novelist.