It's time again for another edition of 10 Answers and 1 Question with DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio.
This time around, Dan drops a hint about the Legion of Super-Heroes, talks about why DC was comfortable with Blackest Night crossing into several other comics, and dishes on what type of events readers can expect after Blackest Night.
Dan addresses why Wonder Woman doesn't have spin-off books, what's going to happen to the "revolving door of death" in the DCU after Blackest Night, how the THUNDER Agents might show up next year, and what up-and-coming writer should get your attention in 2010.
Plus, we find out that Grant Morrison's upcoming Batman and Robin story "Blackest Knight" is tied very closely to an event in Blackest Night #6.
So for those hints, answers and more, we turn it over to Dan and the readers...
Newsarama: Before we get into the questions, Dan, let's just clarify when the next teaser image will be released, because several of our readers have been asking for it. You had said there wouldn't be another teaser image until Blackest Night finishes. Is that correct?
Dan DiDio: Not until the month before Blackest Night ends. So it won't be until next year.
Nrama: There are also people wondering about the postcard tally for Wonder Woman being renumbered to #600.
DiDio: We were just talking about that. We closed our polls as of October 31st, and we'll be informing everybody of the final tally soon.
In all honesty, we have to thank everybody for the postcards. It was an overwhelming amount of postcards we received.
Nrama: Then let's jump in with Emerson_Nickerson, who seems to always be the first poster on our "call for questions." I don't know how he does it.
DiDio: He's probably somebody in the office.
Nrama: There's a rumor going around that he's you.
DiDio: He could be me. But I would come up with a much more subtle name, like "Stan Stidio."
Oh, and by the way, I checked some of the answers to my question last week and I found out "Kal" was a guy. Sorry about that, Kal.
1) Emerson_Nickerson wrote:
How big of foreshadowing are Cosmic Boys thoughts in Superman: Secret Origin #2 in relationship to the 2010 Superman event?
DiDio: It does have some slight foreshadowing for the upcoming Superman storyline. And I would be misleading if I said that the Legion did not play into that story in some way, shape or form.
2) KennyPick wrote:
I was really excited to see that DC had secured the rights to T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents over the summer. How are things proceeding with the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents characters?
Are you still planning on integrating them a la the Red Circle? If so or if not, when can we expect to see them debut in the pages of DC?
DiDio: Yes, we're planning to integrate THUNDER Agents into the DC Universe. We're going to see a new THUNDER Squad, basically. What we're trying to do right now is build the THUNDER Agents into being more reflective of a United Nations task force. So you're going to see some changes to who the cast members of THUNDER Agents are. You'll see a lot of familiar faces. And that will be taking place in a big story that is unfolding in 2010, before rolling out into their own series.
3) 4thHorseman wrote:
The "revolving door of death" was originally touched on back in Infinite Crisis, the Teen Titans Brother Blood tie in I believe (w/Kid Eternity) and I remember hearing it was going to be fixed then. Was there a reason it was pushed back and is now a topic being discussed about Blackest Night?
DiDio: No, it wasn't pushed back then. It was a topic of Blackest Night that we were discussing at that point. Geoff had an idea of where stories were going, and he knew he was going to do a big story basically addressing death in the DC Universe, and Blackest Night is that story.
Nrama: The story has been addressing death, obviously, but will we see more specifically this idea of fixing the revolving door of death?
DiDio: Well, first of all, the revolving door of death is a staple of comic book storytelling. I hate to say that, but it's true. It's something that's been occurring for as long as I've been reading comics – you know, with characters who are supposed to have been dead or dying and ultimately returning over the course of time.
The thing that will be disappearing will be the rebooting of characters, where a character dies and you don't know how to bring him back, so you just bring him back and move on from there. That you'll see less of or very little of, or none of, in the DCU moving ahead post-Blackest Night.
You also won't see as much arbitrary death in the DC Universe, in that, if a character dies in the DCU, there's a very good chance you won't be seeing him at all. So therefore, we have to be more judicious in regards to how we make decisions about what happens to certain characters.
But you know what? We're not even sure there is a DCU after Blackest Night, so all these questions might be moot. But we'll continue in the spirit of "10 Answers and 1 Question."
Those are the two big issues right now for me is that what we're trying to do is be much more judicious about using death as a story point, and it really has to happen with a level of emotional impact or value across the line in order for something like that to be considered post-Blackest Night.
4) supergirlspal wrote:
Will we see future issues of "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade" in the Johnny DC line?
DiDio: I'm hoping to do more. There's none on the schedule right now. But that doesn't mean we won't see more in the future.
Let's do this as a free question, since we talked about the Johnny DC line last week. We really are trying to shore up the children's line as it exists now. We're not planning any additions, but we're not planning any subtractions either. And what I'm hoping to do is if we can get some momentum with the books that we do have, we can expand the kid's line a little more. And Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures would be one of those books that would be considered.
Nrama: Wasn't Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures aimed toward girls? Is there another book in the Johnny DC line that is aimed toward girls now?
DiDio: It's hard for me to say it was. To be honest, when we created Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures, we didn't really aim it toward girls. We just wanted to tell a fun story about a young girl and the struggles she had as a superhero, in a very light and accessible tone. It wasn't really aimed at girls, although girls gravitated toward that. I hope girls are gravitating the same way toward things like Tiny Titans, and I believe they could enjoy the characters in Billy Batson. It wasn't particularly earmarked as a girl's book moreso than just a young book.
5) boltagon wrote:
Will Ambush Bug #6 show up as a Black Lantern?
Seriously though, can we at least get a poster of the Darwyn Cooke cover?
Thanks for the Showcase Edition of Ambush Bug (I bought 2).
Will we get any old Ambush Bug reprints in color? Tony Tolin tore it up!
If I clap loud enough can I bring Ambush Bug back to life?
But even more seriously, can you shed any light as to what happened with issue six?
At least so we're in on the joke.
DiDio: We finally get that book off our table and people are asking for it again. You know what? When we put Ambush Bug #7 to bed, I think we put Ambush Bug to bed for awhile as well. Although, that being said, Keith Giffen's rumbling about Ambush Bug in one of his other comics, so who knows where he might show up next.
Nrama: But now that #7 has been released, is there no information on why #6 wasn't published? I think the problem fans are having is there's been no explanation. You had the issue. We know Keith Giffen isn't the slacker here.
DiDio: Not at all. Not at all. It was an odd confluence of circumstances. And this will be my only answer to this. It's the answer I've been saying and I'll keep on saying: What actually happened is a lot more boring than the stories that people have come up with. I don't want to ruin that momentum, because once we tell what the real story is, it's just not fun anymore.
Nrama: OK, now that #7 is out, I'm finished using one of our 10 questions on Ambush Bug #6. It's apparently remaining a mystery no matter how much we ask. If you ever want to tell the real story, just let us know.
DiDio: I'm done with it too, so I'm happy to have it behind us both.
6) royd_9 wrote:
Hi Mr. DiDio
DiDio: Hi Royd. I like when you're friendly in the beginning like that. I feel like I need to respond.
Nrama: Fair enough. Royd 9 goes on to ask...
Now that the solicits for January have been released, can you talk a bit more about Grant Morrison's "Blackest Knight" storyline [in Batman and Robin #7]? And will it tie in some way with the DCU's Blackest Night event?
DiDio: Can I talk more about it? Actually, no. We even delayed that issue for a month specifically for it to come out post-Blackest Night #6. That's one of the reasons that book got delayed. We looked at what we were trying to accomplish, and even though Batman and Robin #7 was complete, we just felt that we wanted to hold it because of how the events unfolded with the Black Lanterns, and how the events unfolded in Batman and Robin #7. There is a real clear understanding of how they're tied together. But unfortunately, I can't go much further than that. It has to be saved for the story itself.
It was not an easy decision. On a business side, it doesn't make much sense to put your most successful book on hiatus at the final quarter of the year. But it was so important for those stories to fall in a particular order that we decided to move them.
Nrama: It specifically says in the solicitation for Batman and Robin #7 that it contains "additional clues on the details surrounding the 'death' of Bruce Wayne." We've seen Bruce Wayne's skull in Blackest Night. Is that how they tie together?
DiDio: You know what's funny about this? I have six different puns right now that I'm just chomping to say, but unfortunately, they would all give away where the story's going. So I'm just going to have to be quiet on this one. This is very painful, Vaneta. This is very painful. Please move on. Please! For God's sake.
7) therealssjlink wrote:
Will Space Ghost ever be a part of the DCU? I really enjoyed the mini that was released a short while back and I was hoping that it was being used as his debut into the DCU. If not, can we get a sequel?
DiDio: It's something we're always considering. We have a number of projects up and running right now, but Space Ghost and several of the other Hanna-Barbera characters are things that we've looked at in the past, and we'll probably go back and look at them again.
Nrama: Wasn't there a Johnny Quest comic in the works a couple years back?
DiDio: That comic was started, and then it was put on the shelf when Howard Porter moved over to Trial of Shazam. And as of right now, it's still on the shelf, and we're just looking for the right moment to get it going again.
8) Herowatcher wrote:
- Any chance for a mini-series for Mera after Blackest Night?
DiDio: If I said anything about Mera, there's an implication she survives after Blackest Night. And I'm not in the position to make that statement right now.
Nrama: We've talked before about how readers perceived DC was slow to release the follow-up books for 52, with the Booster Gold series starting a few months later and Great Ten coming a long time later. And we saw a few months between Final Crisis and the "Aftermath" books. You've stated that the follow-up stories to Blackest Night will come much faster, but will that include reacting to which characters are popular? If a character like Mera is getting attention from fans, would you be in a position to react to that and give her a mini-series?
DiDio: I can guarantee you that there will be a very quick reaction to certain characters' popularity in that series. And they will be addressed in series form or in some type of story immediately following Blackest Night.
9) omarbanuchi wrote:
Even though Blackest Night is interesting, I feel really lost since I haven't picked any of the recent events from DC (and there have been a lot in the last 4 years). How is DC supposed to bring in new readers when the events are designed for hardcore fans only. I didn't read when Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Sue Dibny, The Elongated Man and countless others died, I don't even know who Nekron is, so why should a new reader care about Blackest Night?
DiDio: We have to address this question a lot, and I'll say what I've always said. A good story, an exciting story, something compelling, is what I believe is a great entry point for any new reader. It doesn't have to be something where everything is explained outward. It just has to be so exciting that you want to know more about what happened and what's going on. Sort of what we're doing right now in Blackest Night.
On top of that, how all those characters died is not essential to Blackest Night. The fact that they're dead, the fact that they've been re-animated, and the fact that they've been going after their loved ones is what really matters in Blackest Night.
And I'm going to say right now that I believe Blackest Night to be one of the most accessible of event stories told. All you need to know is that these black rings come down and re-animate dead people in order to kill more people. That's what it's about. It's a monster movie.
Realistically, all comic stories build on past stories. Geoff Johns said it best to me when I first met him. And he said, "When you meet people, you introduce yourself to them, and from that point you develop a relationship going ahead. But each person you're introduced to has continuity, past history, back-story that you don't know about. But as you learn more about them, you extract what's necessary from them in order to build a relationship." That's what he does in his writing, and that's why he's so successful at what he does. You don't need to know everything about every single character in order to understand how a story works. All you need to know is what's essential to that character in the story, and if you read Blackest Night, you learn everything you need to about our characters in order for that story to work.
That's what we always say, and that's the belief we have about these kind of stories. And in six months, if someone else asks about it, we'll pull out the same explanation and say it again.
Nrama: Well, that's if the DCU is still around after Blackest Night.
DiDio: Oh, shoot, you're right. You know what? Actually, at this time, this might be a moot discussion because it might all come to an end.
Nrama: I do remember that during Infinite Crisis, when events didn't seem to be quite as frequent, there was a line thrown around by many people at DC that once "One Year Later" would have a renewed concentration on the regular books instead of an event. So my question would be, if there's still a DCU after Blackest Night...
DiDio: I love that caveat, by the way...
Nrama: ... would you again say that there's going to be a concentration on the regular, monthly books after Blackest Night is done?
DiDio: What we did after Infinite Crisis was go to "One Year Later" without any event. Some people would consider 52 an event, but it was really just a story. The number of books it crossed over with was minimal at best. So that wasn't really an event. Just a big story.
When you look at Final Crisis, we tried to just do a few mini-series around that comic and not cross it over into the regular series. We didn't want to have that mega-event that crossed into every series in the universe. And if you followed Final Crisis, you could count on one hand the number of books that tied into Final Crisis in a given month. So in the past, we had these event-like stories, but not necessarily this story that tied into everything. We understood that when you go wide, you're asking people to make a large investment. And we want to make sure there's enough story there to make that investment worthwhile.
In the case of Blackest Night, we went wider because we felt there was enough story to be told in the different titles that we couldn't address in the main series. And we have a lot of Blackest Night product, but I stand by the quality of the material. I think that's what matters most. I don't think people mind buying comics as long as they're enjoying what they're reading. And hopefully, everybody is enjoying what they're getting from Blackest Night.
Nrama: That's a very thorough defense of the wide-reaching nature of Blackest Night, but it really doesn't answer my question, Dan.
DiDio: You figured that out! [laughs]
Nrama: What about after Blackest Night? More concentration on the regular titles? Or more events?
DiDio: OK. After Blackest Night, we'll be staying in the mode of just event stories that are tied to certain franchises. They might go across the line of the books that are involved within that franchise. So, for example, if there's a Batman story after Blackest Night, then there's a good chance that Batman story will affect a number of the Batman-related series. If there is a major Superman event that really helps showcase him in the finest light possible, that culminates everything that's been happening in the last two years, if that happens, that will affect a number of the Superman books. That's if there are Superman books following Blackest Night.
10) Poe wrote:
Why is it that Superman and Batman have three or four monthly titles each (or featuring their supporting casts/sidekicks/cousins/villains), but Wonder Woman can only seem to support one? No regular Wonder Girl series? No plans for Circe, Cheetah and Silver Swan to team-up for a book or mini-series (like Gotham City Sirens)? What keeps Wonder Woman, DC's third most high profile character, from enjoying the same level of success as Superman and Batman (or their related characters)? Any theories?
DiDio: Sales and fan demand. Believe me, we're always looking at whether we can increase the number of Wonder Woman series or the amount of product tied to the character. And hopefully, in the upcoming year, we can get into a position where we'll feel confident and can make something like that happen. But as of right now, we're really just focused on making the ongoing series the best stories possible.
Nrama: So when you say you're hoping to get to that point in the upcoming year, are there plans related to that?
DiDio: Always. We're always looking for ways to improve our books.
Nrama: Always? You said "upcoming year," Dan.
DiDio: I got this far without blowing anything. We're near the end, aren't we?
Nrama: We are. It's time for the "extra" question you gave us:
Who is an up-and-coming writer or artist that fans should keep an eye for in 2010?
DiDio: For the DCU, this is someone I deem an up-and-coming writer even though he's had success on the independent side: J.T. Krul.
J.T. has done a great job for us on a lot of the Blackest Night support books, and we'd like to see him on a new monthly soon. Hopefully very soon.
Nrama: Did you read the ideas people had about properties people thought DC should pursue?
DiDio: I did read people's responses. There were actually some that jumped out at me, moreso surprised there were people who actually remembered them. There are a lot of things that are interesting in there. Naturally, it's hard for me to talk about them in this format, because we don't own the rights to them, nor would we want to tip our hand if we were interested in the rights to them.
But I will say that, after I asked that question, I did get an "IM" from the general manager over at WildStorm, Mr. Hank Kanalz, who is very active in looking at licenses. And he found the list that was created very interesting.
Nrama: And your question for everyone this week?
DiDio: Yeah. I'm kind of interested to see what everybody did for Halloween, and kind of scared at the same time. We have a few people dressed up in the DC offices and it's been a lot of fun to see how creative everyone is being. So...
What did you get dressed up as for Halloween?