Co-Publisher Dan DiDio describes the DCU as a set of "concentric circles," with the core continuity at the center and various other worlds and Earths occupying the other areas.
It's all part of the new structure of the DCU after Convergence, the publisher's two-month spring event that not only undid 1985's game-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths, but also launched a new approach to the various worlds that existed before DC's 2011 "New 52" reboot.
In this second installment of our discussion with DiDio, Newsarama talked to the executive about everything from DC's eight new mini-series launching by early 2016 to the new Batman & Robin Eternal weekly series that kicks off later this year And Newsarama found out that Multiversity Too (which DiDio compares to the former imprint Elseworlds) is expanding the DC Multiverse into an infinite number of worlds — with the hope that these alternate Earths will become beloved parts of regular DC continuity.
Newsarama: Dan, now that you've clarified the structure of the DC Universe, as well as the purpose of the new Convergence spin-off series that start in October, what about the eight new mini-series? You haven't nailed down a start date for those, but you have announced that they're coming. Are those on Prime Earth? Or do they take place somewhere else?
Dan DiDio: They all take place on Prime Earth. And each one — there's a very particular goal for those mini-series, on two levels.
On the primary level, the storytelling level, it gives us the chance to get back to the core conceits of those characters and really clarify what their role is within the DC Universe. We want to tell a complete story with them — stories that have a beginning, middle and end.
But we also want to have threads that tie into other aspects of the DC Universe moving forward. That's at the heart of what we're trying to accomplish, and there are themes behind every one of those mini-series that will play out throughout the line into 2016 and beyond.
That's one of the reasons we want make sure we get these stories right, and they'll become part of the bigger contextual understanding of what DC Comics is.
Nrama: OK, Multiversity Too and the Batman: Black & White series that Grant Morrison is doing — how would you describe them, keeping in mind how they might fit within this new approach to continuity?
DiDio: Grant loves to experiment with the format, and Batman: Black and White is really more of an experimentation book for him — stories with different types of visual interpretations. He really wants to challenge our understanding of the comic book form. So we gave him this forum to do that, with Batman: Black & White.
He focused on this character for five to seven years, and we always love to see Grant come back and do more Batman stories.
For Multiversity Too, it's a little different. Multiversity Too is basically taking the place of what used to be the "Elseworlds" line of books.
If you look at the Multiverse, as Grant portrayed it in Multiversity, ideas and concepts that were created in Elseworlds are now part of the continuity. They weren't created in that fashion to start — they were stand-alone stories that were able to stand on their own weight, and the ones that had great value, we ultimately created worlds around them, and those worlds were ultimately incorporated into the Multiversity series — and into our Multiverse.
So with Multiversity, Grant announced that there was a second infinite Multiverse out there, and now we're creating brand new worlds to populate that with the same hope — that they have the same weight and gravitas that ultimately make them a part of our existing lore and continuity.
Nrama: Grant called it something like, a new world whenever we need one, like bubbles in champagne.
DiDio: Exactly. And that's similar to "Elseworlds" — that's exactly what that was. You know, the goal behind Multiversity Too is, each of those stories will have a really clear point of view, and will present our characters working off the core sensibility but exploring them in a way we haven't seen them before.
And there has to be a real interesting moral story or more dilemma that's presented there that really puts our characters in a different light as well.
Nrama: OK, this isn't related to the new Multiverses so much, but I hope you don't mind if I ask about the new Batman and Robin Eternal weekly, or rather, the sequel weekly. It's a little different approach than Batman Eternal — it's shorter, and there are a few more cooks in the kitchen. Did you learn something from the last one that motivated these changes?
DiDio: I think what we do is, every time we do a weekly series, we try to mix it up a little bit so it's not an apples-to-apples comparison to the old ones. And I think with Batman Eternal we established a lot of interesting beats that we're able to expand in the Batman universe.
What you see there now is they're stretching their creative wings a little bit more and bringing all the Robins into play and several of the other supporting characters to give them the chance to shine.
Nrama: Well, Dan, the addition of these infinite Earths, and your recognition of the pre-Flashpoint world, are both pretty big moves. But as you move toward and into 2016, how would you describe the DCU as a whole and your approach to all these new and revived worlds within it?
DiDio: I describe it in three concentric circles. At the center, you have the core continuity that drives the story, drives the characters, that really defines what the universe stands for — basically, the films and TV shows strive for it too, that connective world.
Then you move out from there and you have the stories that are associated with that core continuity but are able to move into directions where they stand alone, but they still feel connected to the core universe, because they share a lot of the basic conceits of the shared universe.
And then you move out to the furthest circle, and that's where you find a lot of the more fringe ideas, the more risk-taking, and different types of approaches — being able to try different things with different characters, with different artists, with different voices, different tones. And although they share the names of characters that you're familiar with, they really take on a life and a direction of their own, and we let them move in that direction so that they can breathe and take their own form.