Friday, August 31, 2007

The case of Dan DiDio v. Everyone

Something's definitely rotten in the kingdom of DC

Everything kicked off with Dan DiDio's Newsarama interview which stoked the fires of discontent, by actively denying there is anything wrong, rejoicing in the company's great popularity and the fans' happiness with their product.

I've already gone through my thoughts on DiDio's statements in the interview, and their funny comparison to reality, a few weeks ago.

Well, I'm not the only one being vocal.

Valerie D'Orazio, former assistant editor at DC has recently gone on a long and well-versed rant against Dan DiDio on her Occasional Superheroine blog. If you're going to read one blog this week (apart from this one, duh), make a point of checking this one out.

Best quotes for the fan on the go:

  • [...]the situation at DC has become so dire that to continue to publically mock "Countdown" would be in bad taste.
  • DC is not Marvel[...]Marvel superheroes are not just flawed to be flawed, but have their flawedness organically built into their backstories and characterizations.[...]By contrast, the serious personality flaws imposed on some DC characters in Didio's regime -- such as sociopath/killer Max Lord, sociopath/killer Superboy, "bad girl" Supergirl, rapist Dr. Light, cruelly unethical Leslie Thompkins, and amoral JLA -- have been superimposed, artifically added, uneccessary.

  • Failure to nurture Editors internally.[...]this point goes back to before Didio, back when DC let Axel Alonso get away [...]there has been a similar failure to make the extra effort to retain a good editor over the last few years that I think has directly impacted the company at present.[...]If they do not feel that they have a future with the company in terms of promotabilty, etc., how does that effect their morale?

  • "Stephanie will never get a trophy case."[...]The Didio era at DC inadvertantly helped launch a renaissance in feminist activism in comic books.[...]Stephanie Brown's grisly demise combined three general c**k-ups of the last six years all in one.[...]First, you have the "filth florin filth" aping of what Marvel is considered to be -- hardcore, violent, and amoral.[...]Second, you have what I will explore later -- short-term investment in gimmicks rather than longterm investment in character and story.[...]Third, you have cluelessness/insensitivity to female issues which are interpreted by some (though not all) as misogyny.

  • One-Trick Pony[...]It is inexplicable to me that DC kept running the "New Crisis" thing into the ground after "Infinite Crisis." Whose idea was this? Who said "let's keep running this into the ground?"[...]Was it simple greed that spawned "Countdown," or was there truly not an original idea left to be had?[...]And whose brilliant idea was it to have each issue be drawn & written by different creative teams? It looks like crap. It's like those late books with 15 different inkers working on it at the same time.

  • Didio doesn't "pull off" a Quesada particularly effectively. And that's enough on that.

  • Didio is an "alpha" -- an aggressive male used to full-on attack and victory.[...]This becomes a problem because you essentially have something akin to a dictatorship.Who can stand up to the uber-powerful "alpha" figure and successfully argue their point of view?

  • Lack of innovation.
    Yes, "Minx" is an innovation -- not a Didio project.
    Yes, "Zuda" is an innovation -- not a Didio project.What are the innovations of the Didio regime?
    a) "Taking the smile out of comics" with the "innovative" "Identity Crisis"
    b) Aping the successful "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of twenty-five years ago with "Infinite Crisis"
    c) Aping the successful "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of twenty-five years ago with "52"
    d) Aping the successful "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of twenty-five years ago with "Countdown"
    e) Aping the successful "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of twenty-five years ago with "Final Crisis"
    [...]The popular wisdom is that if you want innovation, try Vertigo. But I think that's DC's failing. Because Marvel has more successfully blended the innovative/"weird" with their mainstream.

  • DC has basically invested their whole superhero line on a series that sucks."Countdown" is an industry joke, and Didio's repeated attempts to justify it sounds eerily familar to GW Bush trying to justify Iraq.

  • Gimmicks like "Female Robin," "Identity Crisis," "the great Giffen JLA massacre," "All-Star Batman," etc alienate long-time readers, drive parents away from the titles, and scoop up great short-term dividends.[...]Yes, killing off Kirby's New Gods in a much-hyped series will give you initial high sales. But then, you've slashed-and-burned your history. What do you do when your short-term is up?The whole Identity-Crisis/Infinite Crisis/52/Countdown complex is a short-term enterprise that started out cool and interesting and went on too damn long.

  • Who would -- theoretically, of course -- replace Dan?My personal pick would be Dwayne McDuffie. He has the experience running a comic book company, he has Hollywood experience, he's a great writer, and sounds like a good egg.
And I'll second that nomination! Dwayne McDuffie sounds like the perfect choice, and he's been more and more involved with quality projects in both companies lately.

Another interesting article on DC's future was posted this week on Blog@Newsarama by "Grumpy Old Fan"

Best Quotes from Five Ways DC Can Make Me A Happier Old Fan:

  • Stick To A Schedule[...]However, while it’s good to have the issues actually in-hand, it’s arguably better to have them come out on a recognizable schedule.
  • Death Is Not An Option.[...] it is more than a little depressing that characters’ deaths are telegraphed in, if not outright selling points for, a lot of these events. The thought of Death of the New Gods closing the door on an entire “family” of characters just makes me ill.
  • Think Outside The Main Line.[...]I’d like to see more “historical” stories (Satellite Era, Detroit League, JLI) in [JLA Classified] as well. I’d also like to see more period stories of the original Justice Socialites in JSA Classified.
  • More Eclectic Collections.[...]DC could do worse than to reprint collections of the original Blue Devil, Firestorm, and Nemesis stories. Each of those characters has been fairly prominent these days, and revisiting the old stuff couldn’t hurt.[...]A number of offbeat, fondly-remembered series, including Amethyst, Hourman, ‘Mazing Man, Major Bummer, and Young Heroes In Love, would also make fine trade paperbacks.
  • Five-Year Crossover Moratorium. [...]DC’s credibility is pretty much zero when it proclaims Final Crisis to be just that. Much of that is due to the company’s perpetual-crossover mentality, going back at least to the start of Identity Crisis in the summer of 2004. [...]With the last issue of Final Crisis coming out at the end of 2008, that’ll actually cap about four and a half years of mega-crossover hijinx, but as you’ll see it pretty much works out.
  • I really cannot stress the moratorium enough. DC’s reliance on the crossover is approaching “we have always been at war with Oceania” levels. Annual crossovers were the norm for a few years after Crisis On Infinite Earths, but these past few years it’s just been too pervasive. I was ready for it to end with 52, and I’m more than ready for it to end with Final Crisis.
  • One of the publisher’s old slogans was “More Than Just Superheroes (But We’ve Got Them Too).” Time again to dust it off.

What do you think? I'd like to hear from the readers on this. Contrary to Dan diDio, I do believe the internet's voice is important and representative

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