DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, just returned from his appearance at Chicago's C2E2, talked to Newsarama today about his new Infinity Man and the Forever People series — and also fielded a couple questions about the surprise announcement last week on his Facebook page that all DC's weeklies will end in March 2015.
DiDio will be reunited with Keith Giffen on Infinity Man, a new ongoing series starting in July that brings concepts from Jack Kirby's New Gods into the New 52. The two worked together at the start of the New 52 on another Kirby-character-inspired series, O.M.A.C..
But DiDio told Newsarama that this time around, the pair are approaching Infinity Man with a different goal. The story, which features a group of young New Gods coming to Earth as a sort of "Peace Corps," will play it a little more straight than O.M.A.C. did — and will also tie into events happening with the New Gods in the rest of the DCU.
Newsarama talked to DiDio about the New Gods, the Forever People — and that surprising announcement he made last week about all of DC's weeklies ending or going on hiatus in March 2015.
Newsarama: Dan, I got to talk to Keith about this comic, and he raves about how much enjoyment he gets from working with you. You two keep working together, so there must be some truth to it.
Dan DiDio: Well, you know what's funny is that three to four days of the week, I start with a phone call from Keith. And we talk about the book, and we just talk about everything else going on.
He's just so much fun to talk to, and he's got so many opinions.
And what I really appreciate his take on, in the market, is an understanding about comics, but his love for comics still too.
We have a shared love of the Kirby material — that's what brought us from O.M.A.C. to Infinity Man.
But we didn't want to do Infinity Man and the Forever People exactly the same way we did O.M.A.C., because we know we have to try something different and challenge ourselves, in our ability to tell stories.
Nrama: What are the main differences between this and O.M.A.C.? When you say you want to go about it a new way — what's the new way?
DiDio: You know, that's a great question, because when we went with O.M.A.C., we specifically went to tell a very traditional and, for lack of a better term, old-school comic book. We looked at the comics of the '60s and '70s that we loved, and we tried to capture some of the crazy kinetic energy of those books, and just really out-of-control situations that seemed to have no rhyme or reason, but we really had a lot of fun telling those stories.
When we're going with Infinity Man and the Forever People, this is also capturing a lot of that same crazy energy, but there really is a much more structured sense of the story, plus an interactivity with the rest of the DC Universe that the original O.M.A.C. story had touched upon, but never really fully embraced.
Nrama: Let's talk about the story, because we've seen a few teases in solicitations. It sounds like students come to Earth and think they're going to improve things there, right?
DiDio: Yeah, it's an interesting thing — it's a story about control, and people identifying what control is and what it means to them, and then ultimately either rebelling against it or embracing it. That's what's at the heart of it. And it's the heart of so much that goes on in the world today.
And it's in various layers, because it wasn't just about looking at the Forever People, but also looking at the New Gods as a concept, which is starting to play much bigger throughout the DC Universe.
We start with Highfather and who Highfather is, and his sense of control over everything else.
The big picture is that, you know, we're exploring a lot more aspects of the multiverse than we've ever done before, which I think is really exciting, because you can see so many different creators getting involved, and really looking at all the facets of the DC Universe coming together.
But when you look at the New Gods, the New Gods are what we call a singularity — a single form within all of the multiverse. So while you have multiple interpretations of every other character in these other dimensions and other worlds, the New Gods — there's only one version of the New Gods, and they exist across all planes.
New Gods exist vertically through all the horizons of the various levels of the multiverse.
So that puts them at a different level, and a difference level of understanding. And it also makes them feel, in some ways, superior to everyone else.
But even that superiority comes with challenges of who they are, and as they try to exert control through the multiverse, they find out the multiverse is not as willing to accept it as they are willing to give it.
And they see themselves as good force, but sometimes when trying to good, you don't realize how it might affect others.
And that gets to the heart of the Forever People story. The Forever People are, basically, for all intents and purpose a New Gods version of the Peace Corps.
They went to Earth, trying to make change here, to advance our civilization, similar to what you might have seen in 2001 with the Monolith.
But in trying to advance our civilization their way, it creates more problems, and because of those problems, it forces them to really examine the reason for their being, and whether or not they're doing the right thing.
And that creates an interesting challenge among the members of the team too.
Nrama: Does it also create some humor? Because you and Keith on a comic together makes me assume it's going to have a funny streak.
DiDio: Well! [Laughs.] You've seen how heavy I can be, but now I'm going to tell you that one of the characters that we introduce is the return of Dr. Scuba.
And let me color it this way first, Vaneta. What we do is we send the Forever People with this very high sensibility, and we place them right in the center of Venice Beach, California, where they feel they can blend in easily without being noticed. And they set up their headquarters in a singles apartment right on the beachfront.
So there's a high ideal, but there's a lot of fun to what's going on here.
And they do move in and out of the crowd very simply in Venice Beach, just because of the people that inhabit that particular part of our country.
Also, they're trying to help on a global scale, but also on an individual scale. And Seraphina, one of our new characters and who's the sister of Vykin, basically is the one who's filled with the most energy, and trying to make the most change in the best way possible. And she doesn't see just helping on a global level — she's trying to help individuals.
But those things go horribly wrong when she interacts with the apartment's pool cleaning service, and the man who runs it, Dr. Scuba.
Nrama: But there's also a threat, right? Mantis and his Foragers?
DiDio: Yeah, and Matis and the Foragers are a direct result of the New Gods on Earth trying to make change in a positive sense, but instead bringing something incredibly more dangerous to the world.
Nrama: And then they have to enlist the help of Infinity Man?
DiDio: Well, there's a mystery to Infinity Man. There's a lot of mystery of who the Infinity Man is, what his purpose is, and more importantly, why is this group of individuals the ones that are able to summon him when nobody else is.
Ultimately, what happens to the Forever People is when they change place with the Infinity Man, they black out, so they're not sure where they've been, what happened to them. And there's part of a mystery as they learn that they've exchanged places with this person, and more importantly, are they creating a greater threat to the world, or a greater threat to themselves? And trying to find a way to transverse time and space in order to converse with Infinity Man, to understand his purpose and see if it matches theirs.
Nrama: Wow. It's an odd mix of this humorous stuff with this really high concept stuff. But I guess that's what you're going for, right?
DiDio: Yeah, that's the fun of it. This is the one thing Keith and I agree the most on — we love the epic nature of comic book storytelling, something that's bigger-than-life, larger than any screen or anything that you can ever watch or imagine in any other form. That's what makes comics fun.
But bring it down to a human level, to a personal level, and have characters that seemingly are above everything, experience the same problems and fears as we do. I think it's what humanizes them, and makes you want to root for them and follow their story.
Nrama: OK, so you mentioned that the New Gods are playing more and more of a role in the DC Universe, and we can already see stuff popping up in the coming months, like the Omega: Robin Rising comic and the Earth 2: Worlds End…
DiDio: Absolutely correct.
Nrama: Does this tie into that, or other things going on in the DCU? Or are you staying separate for awhile, since it's a new series at that point?
DiDio: Yes, I absolutely want to tie into it, but not where you just mentioned — you forgot about Orion and Wonder Woman. And there's another place where New Gods are going to be popping up too.
So I'm actually looking to hopefully tie in to a storyline that plays across some of our key franchises later this year that can help bring some eyes and attention to Infinity Man and the Forever People.
Nrama: Makes sense. We talked a little about you and Keith working together on the story. Can you describe what he's doing on art?
DiDio: It's interesting, because obviously, we're using a lot of Kirby art to establish New Genesis, but Keith is definitely putting his take on what New Genesis is as a location.
The first half of the book basically starts very simple with various groups of teens or young New Gods being sent to various worlds. This isn't just unique to our world — our team is unique coming to Earth, but this is something that's happening on multiple worlds and multiple civilizations, which makes it interesting.
So Keith's really helping define the look of New Genesis, and really bringing it together for me, which is what I love about what he does.
And I'm actually going to get a chance, too, to work with Philip Tan, who's doing the Five Years Later story for Infinity Man and the Forever People. So Keith's working on the main storyline right now, and for the Five Years Later storyline that we're doing in September, I get a chance to work with Philip again. And Philip and I had such a great time on Eclipso last year that it was fun to be able to work with him again on this book.
Nrama: OK, I'm going off from Infinity Man, but you kind of dropped a bomb last week on your Facebook page when you said that all this stuff is ending in March 2015. Is there a significance to the fact that all three weeklies are either ending or going on hiatus in March?
DiDio: You know what, it's funny. That was my mistake. I didn't think I dropped a bomb. I thought I already said it somewhere else and it was already in print. So that was my mistake. [Laughs.]
And I've been brought to realize that it was never mentioned anyplace before that, because that's not where I should have been saying something like that. I thought I was reiterating old information.
But yes, that is true. That's what we're doing.
One of the things I was to say is that, especially when it comes to weekly series, it's important for the fans to understand the length of their investment and time they'll be investing in those weekly books. And that's one of the reasons why I like to mention when they're going to end, because they don't end cleanly — they're not all 52-part series, like all the weeklies done before. They're all ending at different numbers, at different lengths, on a particular day though.
Nrama: But my question was, is there significance to the fact that they're all ending at the same time?
DiDio: Everything that we do is significant.
Nrama: And did you know that April 2015 is the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths?
DiDio: I… I… you know, um… you're kidding!! [Laughs.]
I tell you, I've been so busy, I haven't been able to — I've been so focused on the future, I haven't really been checking anniversary dates! [Laughs.]
Nrama: Uh huh. Sure. Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell people about Infinity Man and the Forever People?
DiDio: Just that it really touches upon a lot of great things. We're pulling out all the stops – it's not just about the New Gods, but also the Old Gods.