20 Answers & 1 Question With DAN DIDIO 9-14-09

We're back for another 20 Answers and 1 Question with DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio, and your questions really got him talking this time around.

Although DiDio couldn't address the questions you were all asking about recent news concerning the creation of DC Entertainment, it was clear that things are business-as-usual at DC, as DiDio discussed everything from the future of second features, to pricing to some specific character concerns.

So without further adieu, we'll turn it over to the DC readers...

1) Lost_Daughter wrote:

The Adventure Comics changeover. How did that happen? Was it planned? Will Legion be the stars? Will Levitz continue with Geoff's plans?

Dan DiDio: The change was in the works already before Paul stepped into the mix. And the change started at the moment we decided Francis was going to be the artist on The Flash.

What we're planning to do with The Flash ongoing series, we needed to get Francis and Geoff off the Adventure Comics series so they could concentrate on The Flash ongoing.

So we knew we had a change there. We just weren't sure exactly where and when. And we were going back and forth on which issue it was because Geoff had a really wonderful Superboy story that he wanted to tell that, unfortunately, will have to be pushed to a later date.

But my goal now is to get those guys going on Flash as soon as possible. And then when all the changes started to occur, Paul was our only choice for the series. And to be quite frank with you, before even knowing everything that was taking place, Paul was the person we were thinking about approaching for the series as well, given his association with the Legion, given his association with Adventure Comics, and his love for the title, and his love for those characters. It only made sense for him to be the one to take this and move it to its next incarnation.

Newsarama: There's no doubt that when you think of Paul, you think of Legion of Super-Heroes. But there are Conner Kent fans out there that are wondering - what's going to happen to the Superboy piece of this comic?

DiDio: We're going to see Conner's, probably, gradual leave from that book. But that's not to say Conner won't be joining a team book soon, or appearing in another series of his own at some point.

Nrama: Then as a follow-up to that question, ds69 wrote:

Dan, you now have the GREATEST LSH writer back on the title, you must use an A-list artist. Who will it be?

DiDio: I don't have the artist chosen yet. We have several people in mind. What I really want to do is sit down with Paul to see what his direction, tone and feel is. And to work with him on selecting the proper artist. We want to make sure he's a part of the process as well, in choosing the artist for the book.

But because there are so many things going on now, that's a little on hold for the second. What Paul's been doing is actually getting up to speed on the Legion of Super-Heroes. He's just been going through all the work Geoff has done on the characters lately, as well as James Robinson. And he's looking to build on the foundation we have going right now.

2) RolandGunner wrote:

With Wednesday Comics rapidly coming to a conclusion is there any news about a sequel? WC has been my favorite comic since 52 and I would love to see another edition next year. Also care to share any info on the next weekly? Maybe the creators or characters involved?

DiDio: The next weekly, or I should say the next weeklies, will hit in the second or third quarter of next year. That's when we're planning to launch them. The reason we're holding back on so much information involving anything right now is I'm trying to keep the post-Blackest Night universe under wraps as much as possible at this time.

Both these series that we're talking about, or at least one of the series we're talking right now, weekly-wise, comes directly out of a post-Blackest Night DCU, and therefore I'm trying to be as judicious as possible on the information we give out. And in this case, none at all.

Nrama: I know we've asked about Wednesday Comics before, and the answer is always that if people like it, then it will come back. Do you have a gauge on whether it's got an audience by now?

DiDio: It's a great question because we argue back and forth on this and it's really going to come down to a couple of things. It's going to come down to Mark Chiarello shepherding it through a second time, because realistically, he's so associated with this product that I don't feel comfortable doing a second Wednesday Comics without him.And the second thing too is that we want to go out there and put together a talent pool that equals or betters the one assembled the first time through. And the challenge we're giving ourselves is not to repeat people, but to get a whole new set of creative teams to do a second set of Wednesday Comics.

You know what? We were sitting over margaritas the other night discussing this very thing. And we came up with half of a book right off the top of our heads. But until we're able to pull together an issue of Wednesday Comics, it's just a discussion.

But my hope is that we can try to do this again at another time.

3) T Boogie! wrote:

Can you tell us where and when Trinity fits into current continuity (if at all)? Also, can you tell us if or when we'll see any of the characters (Tomorrow Woman, the Dreambound, Konvict, etc) or leftover plot points (the world and the character seen at the end of the last issue) explored again?

DiDio: We will answer the question of the worlds, hopefully, before the year is out. And we're looking at places to use the characters in other places as we speak. We have several events that will be taking place throughout the DC Universe that some of these people will be popping up in. And actually, we're a little hesitant to use any character unless Kurt is involved in those products because he's the one who shepherded some of those characters through, like Konvict.

And as for where the story fits in, I would say somewhere between the end of 52 and the start of Final Crisis.

Nrama: It's interesting that you mention wanting Mark Chiarello being involved with a Wednesday Comics follow-up, and then you talk about preferring that Kurt Busiek be involved with stories following up on Trinity. Sometimes fans get a little frustrated on how long it takes to get some projects rolling. Like the Final Crisis Aftermath stuff, or the Great Ten mini-series. Is that sometimes related to waiting for the creators?

DiDio: What happens is you find yourself with these concepts that certain creators are extremely, extraordinarily passionate about. And they have the belief and understanding on how to make it work. A lot of people could come to you and say, "Yeah, I'm looking for a job, and I could work on character A, B and C," but unless that person who has the most understanding and passion for it is the one behind it, a lot of times, a lot of the more fringe ideas and concepts can fall away very quickly unless the person who's executing it has the clearest understanding of how to make it work.

When I can, I usually hold up and wait for those things. Great Ten was a different situation. We had a couple of creators on board that we were holding the characters for, and that unfortunately did not work out. So when Tony's schedule opened up, we decided to go with Tony. And I'm really glad we did because he's doing some really great things with it.

But in other cases there are certain things I'd wait for people. In some cases, they're not only the best person, but the only person to make that particular idea or character or concept work.

Nrama: Like Grant Morrison on the Multiverse.

DiDio: Yeah. Like the Multiverse. You know what? I almost wish that people could sit in on a conversation with Grant about the multiverse. It's so clear in his mind, what he wants it to be. And the changes are so important, so dramatic, but so subtle, that if not executed properly, it will just feel like more of the same. But executed the way he discusses them can make it feel extraordinarily special. At this point, there's no reason for us to just have more incarnations of our characters floating around in different worlds. We need them to be extraordinarily special. And it's worth the wait for a person like Grant on those things.

Nrama: This is almost like a follow-up, but we'll count it as another question...

4) T Boogie! wrote:

Is the world where Doc Savage is slated to appear part of the 52 or are there now 53 worlds?

DiDio: In reality, we didn't look at it as one of the worlds. But we always had a pulp universe world as one of the 52. So yes, it's one of the 52.

5)  dr_anj70 wrote:

How do you reconcile critical acclaim and raw sales numbers? Does a book not selling well but getting good press get more leeway in terms of when the decision gets made to cancel?

More concretely, I think R.E.B.E.L.S. is a great comic and seems to have good buzz but isn't selling very well. I hope that DC gives the book some time to find and cultivate a larger audience.

DiDio: The answer is that we are giving R.E.B.E.L.S. every chance to succeed. The wonderful things about R.E.B.E.L.S. that other books like Jonah Hex do not have, is R.E.B.E.L.S. has the opportunity to cross over into things like Blackest Night. And that's one of the reasons we wanted R.E.B.E.L.S. to be part of Blackest Night. We do believe in the book and I think that people should be reading it. So if this gives us a chance to show people the book, then great, because I don't think they're going to be disappointed.

6) 4thHorseman wrote:

Last year at SDCC there was a mention that some Elseworlds books were already being worked on with Mike Carlin being an editor on them and that they would be released soon (this was last July btw). Were they the Multiversity books that have been discussed in the past or were they something different that we will or will not any longer get?

DiDio: It's a series of Prestige novels that we were creating. We haven't used the Prestige format for awhile, and we were using those stories for off-continuity type stories. One of the first ones out of the gate is going to be a four-part Cary Bates multiverse story featuring Superman, if I'm not mistaken. And I know there might be one or two others in the works right now.

Those books were built primarily because we wanted to work with those creators on those particular stories, without going through trying to build more multiverse worlds.

Nrama: But isn't that what you were doing with All-Star?

DiDio: No, because with All-Star, we were trying to go for a more iconic interpretation of the characters, and this is really where we're twisting the initial concepts of the characters. It's using the base story and then, just like the old Elseworlds used to do, twisting them in a really unique way.

I've said this on several occasions. Where I felt Elseworlds went off track was when it started to become just Batman in the 1800s, Batman in the 1900s, Batman as a British knight, Batman as... well, I can't say caveman anymore. But you know, it just became just slight variations on different time periods.

Here, we want to really explore the lore, the basis of the lore, and then really see what would happen if we changed some of the origin and tell an interesting story with it.

7) darknight11 wrote:

What's going on with Neil Adams's Batman project that he posted on his website?

DiDio: Well, since it's never been officially announced, I can't really say if anything's going on with it.

Nrama: Well, it's on his website!

DiDio: And if I had 80 pages in my drawer of it, right now, I still wouldn't be able to talk about it.

8) darknight11 wrote:

How many members will be on the new JLA team? and..

Lanternfan2814 wrote: I can't remember what convention panel I was reading about, but Ian Sattler had said with respect to the JLA, "you have no idea what we are about to do". Comment? Maybe a new picture with some people that could be joining? Or maybe fill in that one cover with the blacked out people, one every month until James Robinson's League starts?

DiDio: It's interesting, for Justice League, one of the versions everybody seems to refer to is the time when Len Wein was writing the book. That's one of the reasons we just recently went back to Len on the series. Everyone seems to refer to his team as a benchmark, from around Issue #100 to #114. And in those days, what you would have is a team somewhere from 14 to 18 members, but you wouldn't see them all in every issue. You'd see a combination of characters moving in and out depending on the story being told. It wasn't that people were joining or quitting; it was just focusing on who was participating in an event at a particular time.

SDCC 09 - DCU Editorial Panel
SDCC 09 - DCU Editorial Panel
That's some of what James is going to be doing, so the League seems larger than it has been in the past. It doesn't mean that every single character is going to be in every single issue. But we have expanded the roster to take advantage of former Justice League members, current Titan members, and also characters who will have an important impact on the DC Universe in the very near future. So you really have an interesting mix of characters coming together. And we'll be revealing them slowly over the next few months as we are building toward Mark Bagley and James Robinson taking over the book with Issue #38.

9) marvel_sucker wrote:

Hey Dan. I'm honestly more of a Marvel man, but...

DiDio: Obviously, because of his name.

Nrama: Yeah, but I think you'll like what he says. He wrote:

...the new direction that Superman and Batman have taken is AWESOME! I'm loving every second of it and reading these titles has led to me also getting into the Green Lantern stuff.

Anyhow, I really like the Superman Files one-shot that came out recently. In such a continuity thick comic universe I think this kind of thing is extremely helpful and necessary. Is there any chance that you will be bringing out any more comics these for other titles?

DiDio: We will see a couple more Secret Files in the beginning of next year.

Nrama: Will they be related to Blackest Night? Or are they more related to the ongoing titles?

DiDio: One deals with ongoing titles; one deals with an event.

Didn't anyone ask about Ambush Bug?

Nrama: We honestly only had one person ask about Ambush Bug, I think.

DiDio: I'll give you this one without wasting a question. I got a message directly from someone about Ambush Bug that was hilarious, and so I just want to tell everyone that I wish there was some exciting story about why there is not an Ambush Bug #6, but quite honestly, all the stories that everybody else is coming up with are much better than the truth. So please, keep coming up with your great suggestions on what happens in that book, because you're making me laugh, and Keith as well.

10) t1573 wrote: - are there any plans for Animal Man after his "Last Days" mini?

DiDio: Yes there are. We have a number of team books and a lot of space epic stories, which Animal Man might fit nicely in. That's a character that everybody gets excited about. We'll be seeing more of Animal Man in 2010.

11) Kooster wrote: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 -- Is there a near-future story about how Alan Scott got trapped in Sorcerers World? And can you comment on what George Perez is working on next?

DiDio: There is presently no Alan Scott story that I know about, at least for the moment.

George Perez @ NYCC 2009
George Perez @ NYCC 2009
But for George Perez, there's rumors floating around our building that he and Marv are picking up where they left off 20 years ago on the Teen Titans: Games hardcover, original graphic novel. And it sounds like that's something we'd like to see come to completion for a release in 2010.

Nrama: Oh, last time I talked to George about that he had around 50 pages left to draw but didn't know if he'd ever get back to it. It's been a long time coming.

DiDio: It certainly has. But that's why it's still a rumor. We'll believe it when we actually have it in our hands.

12) Pink Peril wrote:

Barbara Gordon hasn't got the best track record for mentoring young heroines. Cassie, Misfit, and now Steph. Will there be any mention of that? Also where is Misfit?

DiDio: Misfit will be seen in the new Batgirl series down the road, if I'm not mistaken. That was one of the discussion we heard in the long-term story plans. As for Barbara's mentoring, I think that's going to be the crux of a lot of what goes on at the early stages in the Batgirl series, as Stephanie takes over the mantle of Batgirl.

Nrama: There are always several people asking about the Birds of Prey characters, but it sounds like we've got more than one showing up in Batgirl?

DiDio: Yeah. We're going to see them in different places. Black Canary is very involved with what's going on in Green Arrow/Black Canary, naturally, and she'll be involved with what's taking place in Justice League of America. Barbara Gordon is front and center in Batgirl. She's a main player in that book.

As for other characters, if there's interest in certain characters, we'll find the right place to do it. But we also want to make sure we have the people with the best sensibilities to tell the stories with those characters. And we want to make sure we put those characters in the best situations for them.

It's about not rushing and putting them in something just because everyone wants to know where they are, but making sure we have real good platform and story before we put them out there.

13) gnarlybole wrote:

We were told, not too long back, that magic in the DCU was in upheaval and going through big changes. How so? ...Is there anything in the works, or are you laying off the spellmakers in favour of spandex?

DiDio: I always prefer spandex over spellmakers, but that's just me personally. But in this particular case, we'll see the reaction to magic once we get into the Zatanna series that Paul Dini's writing. We're also developing a second feature for one of our books right now dealing with some of the younger magic characters.

14) Evil Twin wrote:

In the past you've mentioned that you've always been fond of DC's diversity of material, western, war, horror, etc. And you've backed it up in recent years with revivals of Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Warlord under the DC imprint. However, the DC imprint proper hasn't seen much for new non-superhero material in a while, any thoughts on why that is and what can be done to change it?

DiDio: So obviously that person didn't read Simon Dark, correct?

Nrama: Is Simon Dark still being published?

DiDio: No, but it was just being published last year. We have great challenges introducing new concepts outside the realm of traditional superheroes within the DC Universe. One of the reasons why I go Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Warlord is they're known entities, so we have one foot up already. To start a brand new Western, to start a brand new war book, or start a brand new sword and sorcery book is very difficult. We have a hard time attracting an audience to characters that don't already have some level of being presold or some kind of awareness.

But my hope is to build a brand from existing characters and maybe one day expand out from there. Right now, I'm trying to keep a foothold in each one of those styles of stories.

Nrama: Is there any chance of something innovative coming up? With Simon Dark, wasn't that because the creator specifically brought something new to the table? Could that happen again?

DiDio: There are several books that we like to take risks on, in regard to creator-owned concepts floating around in the DC Universe. Simon Dark is one of them. The Mighty is another one. We've had a number of things since I've been here, dating back to Monolith. We've tried several interesting things, and we've had a lot of challenges getting that to work. That doesn't mean we'll stop doing it. It just means we'll be judicious in how often we do it.

15) serge0 wrote:

Any news on All Star Wonder Woman?

DiDio: At this time, it's the same message. We're still waiting on the book. It's still with Adam Hughes.

16) KentClark wrote:

Are Michael Green and Mike Johnson off Superman/Batman for good? Do either of them have any future projects with DC? And what is the future of the Superman/Batman series? Will it continue to function out of continuity, or will it be brought into the fold now that Blackest Night is crossing over?

DiDio: We have a Blackest Night crossover taking place. And we have changed teams on the book. Right now, we're putting together other projects for those two as well, because we'd like to have them still involved in the DC Universe for sure. But our plans for Superman/Batman are interesting. Over the next few months, you're going to see Superman/Batman actually reflecting major events of the past of the DC Universe. We're going to be building on other stories, other events, using these characters. So you're going to see an expansion on Superman/Batman's role in the post-"Emperor Joker's" world. So you're going to see effects of "Emperor Joker" in Superman/Batman. As well as "Our Worlds at War". There are going to be events that we're going to be filling out there.

So for folks who had fun and enjoyed these big events of the past, we're going to revisit them in the Superman/Batman book. And expand on the stories of those. And those stories will fit within continuity even more tightly now because they're written with the current DC Universe in mind.

Nrama: Do the stories take place in the past?

DiDio: They take place in the past, in the time period where those events are taking place.

Nrama: But they may tie in to what's going on currently.

DiDio: Exactly.

Nrama: Any idea of creative teams?

DiDio: Absolutely. I have plenty of ideas for creative teams.

Nrama: Any you can share?

DiDio: None whatsoever. [laughs] Not at this moment. I'd like us to get through Blackest Night, and you'll be hearing about this relatively soon. But not at this moment.

Nrama: And this "visiting past events" -- is this a long-term thing?

DiDio: Right now, we have a year's worth of stories figured out for it. I would consider that a long-term plan. And if it succeeds, we'll continue in this fashion. We have a lot of events in the DC Universe that these two characters participated in. So in that case, I want to make sure we expand on those concepts as much as possible.

17) SNW21 wrote: Are there more tie-in issues for Blackest Night in December through February from other DCU titles similar to the DCU titles solicited for November? and...

Emerson_Nickerson wrote: When should we expect to see/hear about the January Event causing the Blackest Night skip?

DiDio: We'll probably talk about the event during the January skip month during the next time we do one of these 20 questions. So anywhere from 2 weeks to a month away.

And you might see a couple more tie-ins after the start of the year, but as the series winds down, the number of books tied into it winds down as well.

18) BKThomson wrote:

In the recently solicited comic Lobo Highway to Hell #1 has a cover price of $6.99. With an unproven writer like Scott Ian and a love him or hate him fan based in Lobo it seems pretty high of a price for consumers to take a chance.

How does a book like this have it's pricing set and will consumers be seeing more $6.99 priced books in the future from D.C?

DiDio: You won't be seeing more $6.99 books. The page count and size and format were the reason for that price point in this particular case. We realized we could not bring this in at any other price point. But because we understand everybody is price sensitive right now, we will shy away from repeating that. It's not someplace we'll be visiting on any level of regularity.

19) SageAdvisor wrote:

What criteria will be used to judge the success or failure of the back-up features now appearing in many of the books? How will you know when one is successful or when one needs to be replaced?

DiDio: We use sales to gauge everything. Right now, sales matter. But we also judge it, in some cases, on whether we feel the second feature is achieving the goals we set for it both creatively and sales-wise. In this particular case, some of them are achieving what I'd hoped they would; some are not. We're looking through our list of second features and we're looking at creating other ones right now that can be what we feel are strong replacements for others if we feel it dropping off. The second features are really built to take advantage of new talent and peripheral characters that would not be able to support their own series. And if we feel certain characters are worthy of this treatment, then we'll put them in the mix. And as we start to develop more of them, we may make replacements where we think it's necessary.

Nrama: If you just completely dropped a second feature, would the price go back down to $2.99?

DiDio: If a second feature is dropped and nothing replaces it, then absolutely, the price would go back to $2.99.

20) CaptainSweatpants wrote:

Dan, do you think the economic indicators support continuing with the big crossovers or the smaller ones? I have really been won over by the Two-For-One approach to the DC books but the $3.99 price point has made it impossible to follow Superman while keeping up with Blackest Night and other DCU titles I am very happy with.

I know the stuff is selling now but it seems to be killing the chances for books like Magog, Vigilante and Booster Gold which I really want to keep buying longer than 12-36 issues.

DiDio: The Superman books are being built so they can be read together. Some of the Batman books are being built so they can be read together. The Blackest Night books are being built that way. But I would feel a little worse if we were saying you had to read 16 Superman books or 20 Batman books every month. But if you look at any publishing line, DC or Marvel or anyone, you always try to build off the successes. And while the Superman stuff is working for us, we'll continue to build on it. Just as, while the Batman stuff is working, we'll build onto that. And in cases like Vigilante and Magog, we hope we're giving them every chance to succeed. I believe in the Magog book. I believe in the Power Girl book. That's a wonderful story. And we're giving it every chance to succeed. We know there are economic pressures on everyone, but we're also trying to mix it up as much as possible and give as many different tastes as possible.

Nrama: One reader, JLAJRC, suggested DC follow the example of Vertigo with Greek Street, when the first issue was a dollar. It may get more people to sample it.

DiDio: The dollar issue is a great example of a way to get someone to sample a book. I can't help thinking that's a Band-Aid, though, because we need the continuing support. But it's something we could discuss. Right now, we put 5-10 pages of issues on our website. We put previews in the back of our issues.

Nrama: I know we're past our 20 answers, but before we get to your question for readers, Jslab425 was curious about what you think of their answers on past questions. Do you read them?

DiDio: Yes! I'm always interested in what they say, and I do read a lot of them. I'm always really pleasantly surprised at the amount of feedback we get from these. And I get emails other places from people giving me feedback.

Last time, when I read through the Blackest Night responses, it was interesting. Obviously, I know where we're going, so I was interested in seeing if we're on the right track with what people want and what the pulse of the fan base is about. And with Blackest Night, I'd say we're pretty damn close to what people are looking for.

But the great thing is when you get those answers, some people just completely catch you off guard, and that's kind of fun too.

Nrama: Okay, then what's your question for them this time?

DiDio: Let's turn it back to you. Would a $1.00 pricing on an initial issue make a difference to you? What else do you see as a way that would encourage you to sample a comic?

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