10 ANSWERS & A QUESTION with DAN DIDIO 10-12-09 UPDATED

Dan Didio

It's that time of the week again, where DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio answers 10 questions from Newsarama readers and gives one back.

Last time we talked to the editor, his question back to readers was related to all those requests for collections that we keep getting.

This time, his question is related to Blackest Night, DC's current universe-spanning event.

But on the subject of Blackest Night, one of the questions from readers has an answer that can't be revealed until tonight. Check back for an "update" to the 10 Answers and 1 Question this evening to find out the answer to the first question:

1) Emerson_Nickerson wrote: With January getting closer, what can you talk about and reveal for the titles filling in during the Blackest Night skip?

DiDio: We're having a lot fun seeing the fans reacting so intensely to how, in Blackest Night, we're bringing all these lost characters back from the dead. So we've decided to expand what rises from the dead by bringing eight titles back from the dead.

In the month of January, you're going to see eight old series come back for one more issue, picking up the next number following that cancellation.

And the books that we'll be seeing are The Power of Shazam! #48, The Question #37, Suicide Squad #67, Phantom Stranger #42, Catwoman #83, The Atom and Hawkman #46, Weird Western Tales #71, and a very special Starman #81.

Even though these stories are picking up from a numbering of a canceled series, are actually taking place right now in today's continuity, and are completely tied to Blackest Night. They are our Blackest Night event books, but we're just returning the titles from the dead. So, we're not exactly picking up where the stories left off; we're actually picking up right in the middle of the action of Blackest Night.

Nrama: Oh, wow. Do I get to guess the creators on each of these?

DiDio: You might guess a couple of them.

Nrama: Greg Rucka is writing The Question?

DiDio: Of course Greg Rucka is writing it. The list of writers is The Power of Shazam! #18 is being written by Eric Wallace. Catwoman #83 is going to be written by Fabian Nicieza, Suicide Squad #67 is being written by John Ostrander. The Question #37 is Greg Rucka. Phantom Stranger #42 is Peter Tomasi. Weird Western Tales #71 is Dan DiDio. The Atom and Hawkman #46 is Geoff Johns. And Starman #81 is James Robinson.

Nrama: So with The Power of Shazam!, a lot of people have been asking about what's up with the Marvel family, but this is just showing these characters during Blackest Night?

DiDio: Yes, with each one of these, you'll see that there will be a returning Black Lantern. In Power of Shazam!, we'll be dealing with Osiris coming back, basically to give Freddy Freeman/Shazam a lot of trouble, but also to meet up with a very powerless Billy and Mary Batson.

The Question is about two Questions. They meet face to face, or at least as much face-to-face as two Questions can meet.

In Suicide Squad we have a very dead Suicide Squad ready to run into a very live, at least for the moment, Secret Six.

What Phantom Stranger does is pick up on some of the threads that are being set up in Pete [Tomasi]'s Blackest Night: Batman, and we're starting to look at how the rising of the dead affects characters like the Phantom Stranger.

Nrama: Will the magic characters be involved in that?

DiDio: I believe some of them are, but I'm not sure just yet. We're still in the final stages of that story.

Nrama: OK, then Catwoman?

DiDio: Catwoman gets to meet the man who, she put a bullet in his head, and that's the original Black Mask.

Nrama: OK, and Geoff on The Atom and Hawkman?

DiDio: Well in that book, there's a love story. It's the Black Lantern Hawks trying set up Ray Palmer with a very Black Lantern Jean Loring.

Nrama: Oh man, blind date so to speak?

DiDio: Exactly.

Nrama: All right, well, let's keep you for last. James Robinson on Starman? Wow, talk about returning a fan-favorite to the character he's most identified with.

DiDio: With Starman, James is actually picking up on some of the threads of the characters that he worked with, within Starman, and I don't want to give too much away on that one, but it is spectacular.

Nrama: Okay, and do we have artists on any of these?

DiDio: We do, but we aren't ready to announce them yet. We're still finalizing a bunch of them.

Nrama: Not even a hint? I could take a stab at guessing some of them.

DiDio: Well, the only thing I can give you is that one of the artists definitely has ties to one of the series.

Nrama: Then let's talk about you on – what is this? Weird Western Tales?

DiDio: [laughs] Guess who drew the short straw? No, it's going to be a lot of fun. I get a chance to reintroduce a lot of the Old West characters into the current – into the "New West," so to speak. So we get a chance to see Black Lantern interpretations of Bat Lash, Super Chief, Firehair, and of course, Jonah Hex.

Nrama: Wow. OK, then as a follow-up question, I'll just ask what a lot of people are saying about Blackest Night skipping a month. Does this mean there's something wrong with Blackest Night and you have to give the creators more time?

DiDio: Actually, the reason why there's a skip month is that we wanted to keep [artist] Ivan [Reis] on the entire series, but as the story's breaking down, the final issue is going to be an oversized issue. Blackest Night #8 is a larger issue. So because of that, we wanted to give Ivan a little more time so that he could get ahead and continue doing the outstanding work he's been doing on Blackest Night. And because we've had such a positive reaction to the way we've brought some of these Black Lanterns into the stories, we decided this would be a great thing to do during this break, to fit with rising from the dead by bringing back these series for one more issue.

2) ultraatheunknown wrote:

Will Conner Kent ever directly interact with New Kryptonians (mainly Nightwing and Flamebird) after Geoff's run on Adventure?

DiDio: There's a storyline that's going to be unfolding throughout the year, and we're going to be touching upon many, many members of the Superman cast as New Krypton takes a large role in the DC Universe.

Nrama: Oh, that sounds like a yes.

DiDio: It's as close to a yes as you're ever going to get from me.

PHILIP TAN Drawing W/ The OUTSIDERS
PHILIP TAN Drawing W/ The OUTSIDERS
3) ljacone wrote:

You say that you were a fan of The Outsiders back in the '80s. What particular stories/arcs/elements of Barr's title did you enjoy, and do you plan to incorporate Barr's work into your run on Outsiders? Also, how long do you plan to handle the writing chores on the title?

DiDio: Wow. You know, I liked the early stuff with Baron Bedlam and the Markovia storyline. And so much of what's taking place in mine and Philip's run of Outsiders will be taking place in Markovia because it becomes a very central location for events in the DC universe.

Nrama: As for how long you're writing, Phil [Tan] told Newsarama that you've already got things mapped out for the first 12 months. Is that true?

DiDio: Yeah. We've got story laid out for over a year's worth of material, and we've got a lot of bullet points for the things that we're going to be doing, with which characters will be involved in the series and how the team adjusts to some of the challenges that are put in front of them right from the get-go.

Nrama: Since you're the executive editor, there are some readers who are concerned about time constraints delaying your work on this comic. Last time the editor at that other company was supposed to draw a mini-series, it experienced a lot of delays. I know one of the things that Phil mentioned to us was that you'll be writing The Outsiders in a plot-style script. Is that part of why you have a little extra time to work on it?

DiDio: Well, I mean, you know what? For me, if it's something you really enjoy, you'll make the time to do it, and working on this book, and especially working with Philip on it, this is something I make the time for. The bottom line is that this book shouldn't run into any problems at all.

In regards to Philip's schedule or my schedule, we've already got plans in place so that if scheduling gets a little tight, we know how to break the schedule. As you can only imagine, I've got to take this one very seriously and make sure it not only is on time, but is as good as it can be.

4) FlashFact200 wrote:

Will Wally still go by "Flash" or will his new costume come with a new name?

DiDio: Well, we didn't change Jay Garrick, so I don't see any reason why we need to change Wally's name. They all know who they are. They're not confused with each other, and neither should we be.

Nrama: There were a lot of questions after that announcement in Long Beach. Are you aware of the reaction some fans have had about Barry taking over the main story in Flash and Wally being in a shorter co-feature?

DiDio: You know what? What we'll say to the whole situation is, why don't we wait until it comes out and make a judgment on that rather than presuppose what's going to happen, or pre-judge on everything that hasn't happened? I'd rather wait for the books to come out, because I have a feeling that once they start coming out, everybody's going to enjoy them, and all these questions will disappear.

5) T. Boogie wrote:

DiDio: I love these names. G. Boogie? Is it really G. Boogie?

Nrama: It's "T," as in, "Tom."

DiDio: Oh, T. Boogie. OK, that's better then. That makes more sense.

T Boogie! wrote:

Now that Red Robin has discovered the cave painting from the end of Final Crisis, can you tell us the timeline for Bruce [Wayne]'s re-entry into the DCU (or whatever the resolution to his story might be)?

DiDio: I think there will be a lot of discussion about Bruce, where he is, what's happened to him, and there'll be some level of resolution throughout 2010.

Nrama: Is Grant Morrison going to be involved with Bruce Wayne returning? Or being found or whatever it is that's going to happen?

DiDio: Grant is the centerpiece of so much that's going on with Batman right now. And since Grant had a lot of what happens to Bruce mapped out at the moment of his departure, I can only believe he'll be the guy that'll be shepherding any storylines with him in the future.

6) Kairos wrote:

Will we ever see any of the Grant Morrison "All-Star Superman Specials" that were apparently discussed when All-Star Superman was finished?

DiDio: I don't think so. I mean, what happened was that we wanted to keep the series going, but to be quite honest, the 12 issues that Grant and Frank Quitely had done together was so spectacular, I really didn't a way to follow it up, and I was happy to see them move on to Batman and Robin. Grant has a very full plate between what he has going on with Batman and all the series, not to say that they're off the table, but right now, we're focused on a lot of other big things with Grant.

Nrama: I know Cameron Stewart is on Batman and Robin next, but is it still the plan that Frank Quitely will return to the comic?

DiDio: There's a good chance that he will, but he also has another project with Grant that he's working on as we speak.

7) Ginray wrote:

I've heard that Batwoman's tenure in Detective Comics is a limited engagement. Now, with her first arc complete as of issue #857, how are you seeing the character being received? Would she merit her own on-going after her run in Detective?

DiDio: I think she deserves the level of treatment that we would give any of our star characters. That's all I'll say for now. How's that?

Nrama: Well, since you asked, it's not really that informative, Dan.

DiDio: Sorry. [laughs] This isn't an easy job you've got there, I want you to know.

Nrama: The cover to January's issue is Batman instead of Batwoman, so is that when Batwoman steps out of the comic? Is she completely out of the picture at that point?

DiDio: I think we'll be still seeing her appearing in the series. As a matter of fact, you might be seeing her appear in a couple of the Batman series at the start of the year, and then it's going to be hard to contain her just as a guest star appearance. I feel that she's really proven herself as a solo star.

Nrama: Solo star? OK, that's a fair answer.

8) tdawgmillionare101 wrote:

Will the Batman Beyond mini-series be in continuity or be tied into Batman Reborn or Blackest Night?

DiDio: It's not going to be tied into the current continuity, but it's not impossible to say that it is in the possible future timeline. And we're also going to see Batman Beyond appearing in one of our Annuals that is going to be scheduled relatively soon.

Nrama: Very cool. But help me out here, Dan. Batman Beyond was part of the Multiverse, right?

DiDio: Yes, he was.

Nrama: Okay. So when you say not in current continuity, you mean not in "New Earth" continuity?

DiDio: That's right. Basically what I'm doing right now is I'm being extremely vague about saying whether this mini-series is a Multiverse story or a possible future timeline.

Nrama: As long as we're being vague, are you ready to announce a writer or artist for the Batman Beyond mini-series?

DiDio: Not quite yet.

9) kidflash91 wrote:

With the new Marvel event "Siege" bringing back a more classic Avengers line-up, do you think that DC should also try and go back to a more iconic Morissonian type JLA team?

DiDio: Again, as I would say with anything, I think people should reserve judgment until it starts coming out.

Nrama: It's quite a different mix of characters.

DiDio: And different is a good thing and a fun thing, especially in the hands of James Robinson and Mark Bagley. We have a really interesting mix of characters taking place in the Justice League of America, and there's a lot of new faces in there, which gives us a lot of new opportunities and, more importantly, a lot of new stories. So I think that this is a really exciting time for Justice League because the take is fresh with a lot of new things happening, and it really gives us a chance to move the characters and concepts forward instead of revisiting things at this particular moment.

Nrama: With this cast of characters we saw on the cover, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be the featured team in every issue, right? Didn't you tell us in a recent "10 Answers" that it's going to be somewhat of a revolving team as far as who's in action at any given time?

DiDio: It's not just a revolving team. It's that the team is large. It's a very large team, so you might not see the same set of characters interacting or involved in the adventure from issue to issue, but it's not to say they're not part of the team. It's just that the team assembles with those characters key to those stories at that moment.

10) Ginray wrote:

I have had to deal with the death of a loved one and have had emotional reactions that can be found in the emotional spectrum, and thus I identify with Blackest Night very strongly. Given the reactions and elements put forth by other fans and myself, what elements of the story do you identify with the most? Is there a certain emotion you'd say you exhibit and/or have difficulty over?

DiDio: I can say that I run the emotional spectrum pretty much every day. I get filled with hope, I get filled with rage, I get filled with fear, I show willpower, and in some cases, a little greed.

But for particular emotions? My particular emotion is hope. For me, it's the hope that we can always do our best and the hope that we can always be better.

Nrama: So are we going see you in a Blue Lantern T-shirt soon?

DiDio: I don't think it matches my eyes all that well. And pretty much, I think everybody's seen me in every color T-shirt already, so there's no surprises left anymore. There's no mystery in our marriage here, guys.

Nrama: That's 10 questions, so did you take a look at the collections that our readers listed last week?

DiDio: As a matter of fact, I want to get into that for a second. What I've done – because, first of all, the fact that we put that question out there and saw the size and scope of that response was stunning, to say the least.

And we were really happy to see that, and we appreciated all the input, honestly. What we've done is that we've printed out a copy of all the thoughts that were there, and it's going to be presented to the various departments involved in making the determinations of what books and what comics we're looking to collect. Some of the things, unfortunately, are out of our purview of the ability to collect for several, unfortunately, legal reasons and production reasons. But a number of the other ones, it's going to be put to a committee that does decide on the collective editions.

And I'll just go one step further. The way that we work is that, because of the schedules that we're on and because of the bookstore market, I believe the first and second quarter of next year are locked in. But I'm hoping that people will take these things under consideration for the latter half of 2010 and beyond that, OK?

Nrama: Got it. Now, your question back to the readers this week?

DiDio: OK. Since I was put on the hotspot –

Nrama: The hotspot? What, with your emotion? You didn't like that, huh?

DiDio: Yeah, yeah. I was put on the hotspot with that one. Let me throw it back to the fans here, OK? At this particular point, we're at the halfway juncture for Blackest Night. We asked about what characters they'd like to see, so let's make this a two-part question:

- Is there anybody among the Black Lanterns that you thought you were going to see in Blackest Night that you haven't seen yet? And then, more importantly, of all the colored rings, which ones do you most identify with and why?

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