10 Answers & One Question with DC's DAN DIDIO 10-26

Dan Didio

As we reported earlier, DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio made an announcement during this week's "10 Answers and 1 Question" on Newsarama about what projects readers will see from former DC publisher Paul Levitz now that he's returning to writing.

And as you'll see, the editor also addressed the theory that he's including the Superman character Steel in his upcoming run on The Outsiders with artist Philip Tan.

He's not. However, he does address why a Superman-related character would show up in The Outsiders in the first place, and the answer actually ties into the writing team who will write Adventure Comics after Geoff Johns leaves and before Levitz takes over. (And we do mean team.)

There's also an announcement about who's writing the new ongoing, The Spirit, which starts in April 2010 and takes place in the universe created by Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales in their First Wave mini-series. And there are lots of hints about what else is going on in the DCU.

Want to know more? Read on as we let the readers take over and ask Dan 10 questions before he poses a question of his own...

1) Emerson_Nickerson wrote:

How is Flash Rebirth progressing and what are the scheduled dates for issues 5 and 6 at this time?

Dan DiDio: Right now, we're looking at the middle of next month for Issue #5, and then by the end of December for Issue #6.

Nrama: And is there not going to be an issue of Superman: Secret Origin in January? Is that book running late as well?

DiDio: No, we built in a scheduled skip for January.

Nrama: So it will return to being monthly in February with Issue #5?

DiDio: That's correct.

2) Kalcastillo wrote:

Hi Dan!

DiDio: Hi Kal!

That was an easy one.

Nrama: You're not off the hook that easily...

In the past "10 Questions..." you talk about "legacies in a story". Can you tell us something more about it? Is it a miniseries or something that we will see in the main titles? Is this "legacies story" somehow related with the 75th anniversary of DC Comics?

DiDio: Hi Kal!

[laughs] Kal's a nice guy. Is Kal a guy?

Nrama: I'm not sure, but you're dancing around this one?

DiDio: When this happens on panels, I usually turn to Bob Wayne and he thanks people for coming to the convention. [laughs]

Tell Kal it was a great question. One that's really thoughtful, and insightful, and really understands the breadth of what's going on with DC Comics, not just as a publishing entity, but really as an overall company.

Nrama: Can you at least speak to the second part, where he talks about the 75th anniversary. Is there going to be a celebration of DC's 75th anniversary?

DiDio: That's actually the part I really can't speak about. We know that certain things have been announced addressing the 75th anniversary, and at this particular time, we're not at liberty to speak about what's coming down the pipeline.

Nrama: So just to be clear, you can't say anything about the legacies story either?

DiDio: Not at this time.

Nrama: Your silence and the words "what's coming" imply we've hit upon something important enough that you're completely clamming up about it.

DiDio: I thought I covered pretty well though.

Nrama: Not so much. Kal didn't really get an answer.

DiDio: Tell you what, then, ask me an extra question after the 10 Answers. You get an extra.

Nrama: Deal.

3) vbartilucci wrote:

The Mighty is ending with issue 12; a good book and a neat experiment. Are there any other creator owned projects (or even any "non-DCU") titles that are under consideration for being scheduled?

DiDio: The answer's yes on that one. Definitely.

Nrama: When would we see those projects?

DiDio: Right now, we're in the development stage on two series that have the potential to hit by the middle of next year.

Nrama: Will we see any more Mighty?

DiDio: No. The story wraps up with Issue #12.

4) DavePT wrote:

We got to see the teaser image of your upcoming run on The Outsiders. The mysterious Superman character looks like it may be Steel. If that is Steel how do you see him as a character? ...If this is not Steel, what were you reasons for choosing this particular Superman character? as it mostly for the shock of a team mostly associated with Batman and...? Will the team play a larger role in the New Krypton/Superman story for next year?

DiDio: It is definitely not Steel. And the reason we have a Superman-related character in the book is because there are certain events that will take place throughout the DC Universe in 2010 that The Outsiders will be part of. And this will lead to that story.

Nrama: So the fact that he's got a Superman symbol would imply Dave's right that it involves next year's Superman story?

DiDio: The great thing about The Outsiders story next year is we start with a lot of ties to the Batman storylines, and then we'll be crossing into Superman and other events in the DCU.

5) Mbecks114 wrote:

Dan

You've stated that Superboy will be more involved in the current Superman main story line soon. But when the Legion takes over Adventure Comics where will we be able to follow his adventures in Smallville?

DiDio: There's one very logical place that Superboy will be appearing on a consistent basis. And then from there, as the Superman storyline heats up during the course of the year, you'll start to see him popping up in more and more of the Superman titles.

Nrama: Well, I suspect you kind of answered the next part of his question, but Mbeck continues...

Will he rejoin the Titans or at least be reunited with Tim, Bart, and Cassie?

DiDio: See Answer 1.

6) Drewber2635 wrote:

I have heard some rumors going around that DC will be coming out with a new History of the DC Universe series (mini-series I'm guessing) sometime in the near future. I think this would be a good idea, considering some things (or a lot) have changed post-Final Crisis. And That includes Aquaman's origin, since it seems as though you guys have gone back to his pre-Crisis origin, as it was hinted at in Blackest Night. Is this going to happen for sure?

DiDio: Without giving too much away, the fun part of answering these questions now is how they all become interrelated. And how you might ask a question at the beginning of this list and how it might play into questions later on down the line.

Right now, I can't give you any information on what the History is of the DC Universe because we don't answer rumors in that fashion, but it would be something I'd love to revisit at some point.

Nrama: Hmmm... earlier? We asked about the legacies story. We asked about the 75th anniversary. We asked about Superman: Secret Origins. Would the first couple questions be the right direction to look on this one?

DiDio: Maybe.

7) KentClark wrote:

Any news yet about who will be doing Adventure Comics after Geoff Johns and before Levitz? And who is doing art for Levitz?

DiDio: We haven't announced the artist, but as for who will be handling Adventure Comics between when Geoff leaves and Paul joins, it's actually going to be handled by a few people involved in the Superman writing team, because those stories will tie directly into the events in Superman and Action Comics.

Nrama: Did you say "few" people? Or "two" people?

DiDio: It'll be handled by the writers who are currently involved in the Superman, Action and Supergirl storylines.

Nrama: So that means Greg Rucka, Sterling Gates and James Robinson, right?

DiDio: Sort of. Mostly. You'll hear about it soon.

But I can tell you something about what Paul's doing. Paul will actually be working on three annuals for DC Comics in the beginning of next year. The first one up will be a Superman/Batman Annual that Paul is writing, which we're very excited about because it features very interesting characters from beyond, so to speak.

Paul is also going to be writing an Adventure Comics Annual which will be setting up much of his storyline in Adventure Comics. So really, his run kicks off with the Adventure Comics Annual first, then it goes into Adventure Comics itself. And as we realized by chatting, I believe this is the first Adventure Comics Annual ever, which I believe is also very exciting that Paul gets to do that.

The third one, I don't want to announce just yet, because we're a little too far out.

Nrama: Is this Superman/Batman Annual at all connected to the changes we're going to see to the Superman/Batman title?

DiDio: It's just a stand-alone Superman/Batman Annual, although it's oversized. Did I mention the word beyond?

Nrama: Oh jeez. I can't believe I didn't pick up on that the first time. So we're talking about Batman Beyond appearing in this annual?

DiDio: Exactly. That's the story that Paul is writing.

Nrama: Will it tie into the Batman Beyond mini-series that's coming in 2010?

DiDio: No, it's just a stand-alone story dealing with Batman and Superman and Batman Beyond.

8) MoiraLewis wrote:

The preview for the Batman/Doc Savage special looks awesome. Could you tell us what month the actual six-issue mini starts? Is Brian Azzarello following the mini with a Doc Savage book only, or will there be other ongoing series?

DiDio: Thank you, Moira. We think it looks awesome too. The mini-series is called First Wave and it starts in March 2010. There will be two ongoing series that start the month after the launch of the First Wave mini-series: Doc Savage and The Spirit.

Nrama: Will there be a Batman ongoing featuring this version of the character, complete with guns?

DiDio: We haven't announced that. It would be wonderful to have more of that character. We'll put that under consideration. For sure. With Brian. After the mini-series.

Nrama: After the mini-series. So who's writing the ongoing series that spin off during the mini-series? Who's doing Spirit and Doc Savage?

DiDio: We haven't announced that yet. But I tell you what, I'll tell you one of them. On the new ongoing Spirit book, the writer's going to be Mark Shultz. And we're really excited about his involvement in the series, as is the Eisner estate. They're really excited to have someone of Mark's caliber taking on the new Spirit book.

Nrama: And just to clarify, this is truly a new ongoing because it's the pulp universe Spirit, not to be confused with the Spirit ongoing we had before. Right?

DiDio: Yes. There are some subtle changes to the story and attitude of this character. Those will be set up during the First Wave mini-series, but we'll see it played out in The Spirit ongoing when it launches.

Nrama: And J.G. Jones is doing covers for... is it called First Wave for sure? Because I heard through the grapevine the title wasn't set.

DiDio: It is now. We were struggling with finding a title for the series that really captured the flavor of it without leaning too heavily with its pulp origins. And we're hoping that First Wave can be clearly identified with this series of books that we're launching.

9) mavrik wrote:

I'm a big fan of Tim Drake/Red Robin. I think the direction he's heading right now is great. Even better then Dick's in my opinion because he's got a mission - he's truly driven just as Bruce always was.

DiDio: Exactly.

Will we be seeing Tim's mission being noticed by the "big guns" (Superman, Wonder Woman) and is he (hopefully) a big part of the story of Bruce next year spanning the entire DC Universe since so far he's the only one not backing down from believing Bruce is alive?

DiDio: Let's take this from a couple points of view, OK? First is that we wanted to address the fact that we always felt Tim was the greater detective of all the Robins that existed. And I think that's one of the reasons why he's extremely motivated to find the answers here. Whether or not he has absolute belief that Bruce is alive, or whether he's holding on desperately to something he wants to believe in is something that plays out over the course of the story. It gives him a little more motivation and a little more heart to what he's doing.

But the events that take place in what he finds out does capture and does get totally involved in all the events involving Batman next year, and in World's Finest as well.

As for Superman and Wonder Woman, it does touch upon some things in their world, but both those characters have very big storylines of their own right now that are requiring both of their attention. But as for Tim's involvement in Batman's world? Absolutely. Front and center throughout 2010.

10) shepps63 wrote:

Hey Dan,

As always, thanks for taking the time.

DiDio: Thanks, Shepps.

I am a fourth-grade teacher who is able to share a love of comics with his class of ten-year olds. I proudly display their artistic interpretations of my favorite super-heroes where most other teachers display pictures of their families and loved ones. Over the past few years, there has been an alarming trend among young boys, particularly those in urban areas. With the use of television, the internet, and other media on the rise, interest in reading is at an all time low. I have found graphic novels to be an effective way to help combat this. Right now many of my students can't put down the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, for example. Is this something that DC is aware of and, if so, are there any future projects with this problem in mind? Are there any additional resources for educators that you know of? Have these trends stunted the growth of the comic book industry?

DiDio: Anything that gets kids to read, we support and believe is a valuable tool in any environment. One of the reasons we stand behind our kids' line of books is for that reason solely. We believe that it's really geared toward a younger reader. That's one of the things we've been trying to accomplish with SuperFriends and Tiny Titans, and even our new interpretation of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. We're trying to tell stories that are much more accessible to early readers. Those books are built with the eight- to 11-year-old in mind, and I'm hoping it's getting into their hands.

We're also looking at ways to keep our trades in publication, in print, and hopefully accessible to people so they're able to pick them up and hand them off to kids and get them excited about the whole reading experience. It's something we believe very firmly in. I'll argue one point, and that's that we want kids to read no matter the format. And we're looking at ways to provide some of our product online as well. So if they're comfortable with an online environment, younger kids will be able to get the product in that environment as well.

Nrama: It's got to be difficult from a "meet-the-monthly-sales" mindset to turn away from your core audience, which is an older audience, and do something that may not be as profitable but builds toward your future.

DiDio: It's a huge discussion here constantly. As our audience keeps on aging, the material ages with it. And it creates a larger gap from the early readers to the people who are reading many of the ongoing series as they exist right now. That's one of the reasons why we decided to create different interpretations of our characters with our younger readers in mind. This isn't just watered down stories that would have appeared in a Teen Titans book or a Justice League book or a Superman book. These are built for a young reader in mind. I think it's a much more valuable tool, and a much more valuable book, if we build it for a young kid. Then as they get older, they can find our characters in different formats that meet their sensibilities as well.

Nrama: And I get an extra, so I'm just going to throw in this one, since this person knows their Dan DiDio history:

YUUSHAwrote:

Are you excited for the NEW ReBoot?

DiDio: Oh, that's a tough question. Here's the thing. I wish it an incredible amount of success. I have a great love for those characters. But for me, it's hard to revisit that, because of the time and energy we put into it, and what we were planning to do and the direction we were planning to take the series. And rather than get involved in something, because of the way I remember it, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy it like anyone else. For me, it's just a different experience now than it was when we were in the trenches working on the show.

Nrama: So you're not in a hurry to get ReBoot comics?

DiDio: No, not at this time. I'd have to look at it just like any book that was licensed and see what the level of success is. And what the potential of the audience is.

Nrama: That's it, Dan.

DiDio: Great. I've got a couple of things for you. First one is, from last week's question, I got a chance to look over some of the answers. I want to thank everybody for participating. It's a lot of fun for me.

Two of them stood out in my mind that made me want to see whether or not we can meet the challenge and create new, exciting interpretations of the characters: Somebody brought up the Sun-Eater, and somebody brought up the A-V-M Man. Those are the two that hit my radar, so we're going to see if we can do something with those in the next year that gets people talking.

On top of that, the question I'm going to go back to you with is something you brought up in your last question:

We as a company have adapted properties into comic book form. And we see more and more things being adapted into comics. What's out there, whether it's movies or TV shows or other properties, that people would like to see made into a comic book?

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