10 ANSWERS & A QUESTION with DAN DIDIO 10-5-09

Dan Didio

It's time for another 10 Answers and 1 Question with DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio, and this time he gives some feedback on what he read among your responses last time.

While DiDio is going to be writing a monthly comic (see our interview with the editor here), he still serves as the editor for the DCU, and he discussed everything from Dwayne McDuffie's upcoming Milestone Forever mini-series to the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

And as we talked, we found out that Grant Morrison will be writing the Joker again soon in Batman and Robin, and the last issue of World's Finest might have a couple people in it that readers have missed lately.

So now we hand it over to the readers and Dan....

1) Ultimate_Superman wrote:

When will we ever see the impact of Superman being gone as a whole in the DCU outside of Metropolis? Meaning the reaction some of the other heroes have to him being gone and not just how Metropolis is reacting and the impact he made there but how the world is reacting?

Dan DiDio: We're going to see some of that reaction as we get deeper into the story, as it starts to unfold. Superman, come the new year, will be returning to a level of prominence in the DC Universe, following his adventures on New Krypton. And then you'll see some of the ramifications from that.

That's a good question, because you know what? We always want to show the connectiveness of the DC Universe, the continuity of the DC Universe, but we also want every story of each of the different comics to stand on their own. We could have other comics say, "Hey, where's Superman today? Where's Batman? Did you hear what happened to Wonder Woman?" But we only like to refer to those bits and pieces when they're really relevant to the stories that are taking place in those books and that we feel enhances the story of those. If there's a reason to mention why Superman is not there in, say, Green Arrow or Booster Gold, then we will. But it's not something that's just randomly thrown in, because each character is wrapped up in his own adventure at that particular time.

2) 4thHorseman wrote:

At NYCC this year (IIRC), someone asked when we will see the new New Gods. You responded after Blackest Night we will see the Fifth World. Any hints of what's to come?

DiDio: There is potential. We know there's a Multiversity series from Grant Morrison that's out there. There's potential those characters might be seen in there. I won't confirm or deny that. But at this particular point, coming out of Final Crisis, his characters were front and center for so long that we wanted to put them aside for a little while. And while we have Blackest Night going on, they're not actually part of it. That's not to say we won't see or hear from them post-Blackest Night DCU.

Nrama: We discussed a couple weeks ago that there are certain characters you prefer certain creators to handle. Are you hoping it's Grant that writes the next stories that feature the New Gods, and therefore aren't letting anyone else touch them?

DiDio: As of right now, we've pretty much put a moratorium on the New Gods, following Final Crisis. But it does make sense for Grant to be the first one to roll them out.

3) roshambo wrote:

We know that next year has a big Superman event coming, and, you've also told us that Green Arrow Oliver Queen has something big coming down-- are the two events related?

DiDio: Peripherally. There are story beats that tie the two together, but they are two separate stories.

roshambo also asked the related question: and, also, too-- please throw us a bone on Conner Hawke's status and future!

DiDio: Connor will be featured in stories in 2010, probably not in the beginning of the year, but in the middle of it.

4) ralphdibny wrote:

Are all the government and international agency stories (i.e., Escape, Wonder Woman, JSA vs. Kobra, Superman, etc.) being coordinated and synchronized or is it a bit of a free-for-all until something definitive fills the void?

DiDio: They are being coordinated. But it's interesting, because originally what we had done, back during Countdown to Infinite Crisis, we showed the reach and scope of Checkmate, and how so many different agencies were pulled together underneath that brand when Max Lord was running it. And we might revisit some of those themes in an interesting way in 2010.

Nrama: An interesting way? Can you clarify a little?

DiDio: It really has a lot to do with the post-Blackest Night DCU, so I really can't talk about it. But it won't be so much creating something that doesn't exist, as much as a clearer identification and explanation of how the agencies work together.

5) ralphdibny wrote:

You've said that there are currently no other plans for Milestone characters. Do writers have permission to use the Milestone characters (beyond Static appearing in Teen Titans)?

DiDio: I thought Ralph Dibny was dead! [laughs]

Nrama: But he's back in Blackest Night, right?

DiDio: Oh, OK, so this is Black Lantern Ralph Dibny.

On the Milestone characters, you all have to excuse me because I did make an omission at one point when I spoke about the Milestone characters. We do have a two-part Prestige series coming out called Milestone Forever, which wraps up and involves a lot of storylines that existed from the original stories involving those characters. And that's in production right now, and we'll hope to have it out pretty soon.

Also, Static will be front and center in Teen Titans, in a story arc that moves into Dakota. So we're excited about that as well.

And as I say about everything, if the excitement is there and the interest is there, then we'll look at ways to expand from those stories.

Nrama: And Milestone Forever is the mini-series written by Dwayne McDuffie?

DiDio: Yes, it is. It's a two-part Prestige featuring a number of the artists who were involved in the original Milestone series when they were first introduced.

6) KingNamor wrote:

The World's Finest miniseries is getting ready to start at the end of October and I was wondering what all characters we will see in it? The solicits make it seem like Nightwing and Red Robin are the main characters. Will the entire 4 issues revolve around them?

DiDio: No. As a matter of fact, each issue revolves around a different team of two, a different "World's Finest" team building toward the ones we're hoping to see, the ones that I think the fans will be excited to see in the fourth issue.

Nrama: I'm pretty sure I know what two characters you mean. I guess I can assume everyone else knows who you mean.

DiDio: You'd better hope so.

7) T Boogie! wrote:

When we see the Joker again, which interpretation will it be? The classic version or the one with the grin carved into his face?

DiDio: We saw a little bit of the Joker in Gotham City Sirens, but the Joker comes back in full force in Grant's run of Batman and Robin.

Nrama: So if it's Grant, then it will be Grant's interpretation of the Joker?

DiDio: We're going to be following a lot of what Grant set forth with the Joker. We don't want to give away too much, but yeah, there's a good chance it will be a... very important story with the Joker when he appears. If he appears in Batman and Robin.

Nrama: Wait, where did the "if" come from?

DiDio: [laughs] Yeah, I still have to be vague don't I?

8) Herowatcher wrote:

I like the DCU space heroes, but didn't like Strange Adventures. Any chance we'll see a series (similar to Marvel's War of Kings) that will introduce fans to the various alien cultures in the DCU?

DiDio: R.E.B.E.L.S. is doing a lot of that right now. If you've been following along with REBELS, you'll see that we're touching upon a lot of the alien races of the DC Universe, we're creating a brand new thread in Starro the Conqueror, and we're trying to build an interesting story over there. So if he's liking that stuff, characters like Captain Comet and Adam Strange, they'll be guest starring in R.E.B.E.L.S. pretty soon. So there are a lot of fun things happening right now with the DC space characters right now.

9)needcomicmoney wrote:

Will Geoff Johns be finishing his Legion story featuring Starman and the others who are secretly in the 21st Century?

DiDio: Some of the story threads will move over to be handled by James Robinson, because a number of the Legion members in the 21st Century are integral to some of the events in Superman.

Nrama: Will Paul continue the Legion that Geoff set up? We're not going to see another Legion reboot, are we?

DiDio: Not another reboot. We're picking up on the story threads with the Legion right now. Some of the Legion stories that involve the characters in the 21st Century will be picked up on by James Robinson, and some of the storylines, as they move up to the 31st Century, will be written by Paul. But all the stories are building off current continuity.

10) LQBigCountry wrote:

Dan, it seems that every week/two weeks all you do is take questions about comics and talk about what other people want you to talk about. So my question is - what do you want to talk about?

DiDio: It's an interesting question for me, because I like the spontaneity of these questions, so if it's about comics or anything, I like to hear what people are talking about, so I try to answer them to the best of my ability.

The things I'm more interested in talking about is the procedure and how we got to where we are. We have so many dedicated people working on these comics, and I love talking about the procedure. It's a little more of the behind-the-curtain, and a little more understanding of what it took to build a book or get the story to where it is now. I find those things interesting, because there are a lot of fun anecdotes that come out of those stories – like where we might have been compared to where we actually got.

Nrama: Can you give an example of how "where we might have been" changed to "where we actually got?"

DiDio: I'll go back to almost day one when I started here. We first started building to what ultimately got to Infinite Crisis, back when we worked out the story of what was going to then be Countdown to Infinite Earths. We had a writers meeting with Greg [Rucka] and Geoff [Johns] and Judd Winick and Eddie Berganza, and we spent three to four days going over what we were going to do in Infinite Crisis. We had all these storyboards laid out.

I work on a lot of white sheets that are pulled off, and I have a habit of saving them. And one of the funniest things is when you start planning what you're going to do, then you revisit it four or five years later. And you realize how much it changed organically in the process. I look back and realize, wow, we only did about 50 percent of what we had talked about doing. Things changed organically, and we ended up doing some other things that are exciting, but different. People always say, "You changed your mind!" And I say, "You're damn right we changed our mind, because we saw a better solution or a better direction!"

Nrama: What are you working on now that's similar to that experience with Infinite Crisis? What's the next thing? What are you planning for now?

DiDio: We have three sets of meetings being put together right now at DC. One is what everyone is calling the "Superman event." Another one has to deal with a lot of the events that spring out of Blackest Night and how that is going to be handled. Another one is dealing with a set of characters that might seem to be sitting on the sidelines right now, but definitely have a chance to shine, and how we're going to roll them out.

Nrama: OK, that's 10 answers. And your question to readers this week?

DiDio: First, I'd like to say that I did get a chance to look at and review a lot of people's comments last week on the second features and what they thought would work, and what they were looking for. And I have to say there were a couple people who were spot-on with where we're thinking.

But I want to address two issues: First is that there were a number of people who thought the second features were a detriment to the books. And to those fans, I'm going to say that we feel very strongly that second features are a good way to go, and a positive way to present a lot of our characters to people who normally wouldn't sample them.

Part two is that we're in the process now of reviewing a lot of the second features, and once we have one year under our belt, we're going to go back and see which ones are working and which ones aren't, and how we can do them better.

This is something that will stay with us in our books. It doesn't mean they're just going to continue running on. We're going to constantly look for ways to improve them. So for those who think it doesn't bring value to the books, we're going to try to prove that it does. And we'll keep working at that.

This week, I'd like to ask about the collections people keep trying to ask me about. And we're going to pull the list out that you generate here and get it to the people who assemble the collections.

What would you like to see collected?

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