NYCC '09 - Sunday Conversation with Dan DiDio
The Sunday Conversation, a panel with DC Comics editors and writers, is a chance for fans to talk to the editors about the things they love about comics.
DiDio spoke about the recession, and though he joked, “When people have to choose between comics and food, you know, comics.” But he acknowledged that the industry is nervous about what will actually happen with rough economic times, and was happy to have received a positive response at the convention.
“No matter how crazy it gets, I'm so thankful that I've got what I'm doing,” he said.
The first question to the audience was how long people have been reading comics, which topped out at 51 years. Fans around the room then listed off their first comic, and DiDio pointed out that everyone remembers the number of the first comic they bought.
DC group editor Mike Carlin said that he read his first comics after having his tonsils out. “I woke up on a gurney with Superman comics on my lap,” he said.
Another fan made his parents drive to a flea market because he heard that a guy there had old Fantastic Four issues available and made the family stay there the whole day.
DiDio then related a story of seeing a Captain America comic from the bus window, getting off the bus to buy the comic, and then realizing that he had no money to get back on the bus.
“What are you looking for?” he then asked.
“A great story,” said a fan of the Final Crisis books. Another said that he looked for a “really great cover,” which led DiDio into a question about cover artists and cover art.
Fans agreed that they didn't care whether the artist on the interior was the same as the cover, but were more split on whether they liked story on the cover or just stylized cover art.
After Marvel editor Tom Brevoort and writer Dan Slott joined the panel, the editors listed off the things that got them excited at work, from J.H Williams art to a script that read, “Open on everyone on earth,” and a Sam Kieth page drawn on the inside of the FedEx box because he was out of paper.
“Sam Kieth is the coolest dude ever,” Ian Sattler said, and Carlin agreed, “He's the only one who would ever think of what he thinks of.”
Dan Slott told another Sam Kieth story that involved receiving art on a Wolverine story and finding Wolverine running through the forest—buck naked. And when they asked Kieth why he drew him that way, he replied, “It didn't say in the script that he had clothes.”
One fan said that she enjoyed stories that were complex and required reading back into the past issues, and that it was rewarding for her when stories offered more on repeated readings. Another fan enjoyed a consistent writer on a series because she felt it allowed them to tell larger, more epic stories. Yet another fan liked “regularly scheduled unpredictability.”
DiDio pointed out that you used to be able to tell when fans started reading comics by which Green Lantern or Flash they liked.
One fan said that he downloads comics because he was a Marvel fan in the 90s and he felt “betrayed” by the stories, and didn't enjoy the “big event” stories. Yet DiDio noted that the big event stories are the things that sell the best for them, no matter how many fans say that they don't like them.
Dan Slott said that when he was in school, he was eating peanut butter and ramen noodles to pay for comics, and then he got burned out by the end of the big event stories — so much so that he dropped them for a year.
Brevoort pointed out that the event book is only half the story, and that the publishers are always planning what comes next, which other stories will come out of the event, and Carlin noted that even Death of Superman wasn't meant to be an event, but the beginning of a story.
DiDio closed the panel by asking the audience what they would want to do if they had his job for a day. One fan said he'd sign Geoff Johns to a lifetime contract, and another wanted Batman vs. Deathstroke II: To the Death .
Another fan wanted to see all the kids' comics done in digest-sized collections and sold in Scholastic book fairs. Someone else wanted to see Superman “really, really screw up,” and someone else wanted to bring back Alan Moore and his letters.
Carlin joked, “Alan Moore sends a lot of letters, we just don't publish them.”
Dan Slott suggested, “Marvel-DC crossovers again.”
And of course, someone wanted to see an Aquaman reboot. As DiDio said, “There's one in every crowd.”More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page