10 Answers & One Question with DC's DAN DIDIO

Dan Didio

Later today, Newsarama will have the newest DC solicitations for readers (Newsarama Note: Click here after 5pm Eastern for the full solicitations), revealing more details about the January comics the company will offer while Blackest Night takes a month-long break.

But before that, we're back with DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio to ask your questions about the comics, characters and creative teams of the DC Universe in this week's "10 Answers and 1 Question" feature.

While last week's discussion concentrated pretty heavily on Blackest Night, this week we talk about everything from villains to the All-Star line to Johnny DC.

And in the end, we get a hint about about a story coming next year that will address the subject of legacy characters.

So now, let's turn things over to the readers...

1) Emerson_Nickerson wrote:

What is the next villain we should keep our eyes on to get an upgrade in the manner which we have been of late with Brainiac and Starro?

DiDio: Let me think. Good question. I mean, Prometheus is front and center because of Justice League: Cry for Justice right now. But that’s a more immediate story, not something that’s playing out in the foreseeable future.  Because Brainiac comes back in a big way.

You know, I really can’t answer that question because the person who might be deemed the next villain isn’t actually a villain just yet.

Nrama: So there’s somebody who's not a villain now that will be an important villain – when?

DiDio: By the end of next year.  

Nrama: Are there any other villains we should keep an eye on in 2010?

DiDio: By the middle of next year, Deathstroke and Zod will be very front-and-center.  

Nrama: And on the subject of villains...

2) vetinari wrote:

Will we see any more ongoing series for the villians in the DCU in 2010?  Secret Six is a blast, and a new Suicide Squad ongoing would be the icing on the cake...

DiDio: Well, with Suicide Squad, we got the "Return from the Dead" book in January as of right now. But I love everything that’s going on in Secret Six. You could also say that Gotham City Sirens should be tweaking their villain funny bone a little bit. As of right now, there’s nothing else on the schedule, with the exception of – did we mention the fact that Deathstroke is going to be very much front -and-center during the course of next year?

Nrama: You know, it seems like you just said that. When does the big switch in Titans take place to a Deathstroke team?

DiDio: You’ll see it occurring at the start of the year and really take form post-Blackest Night.

3) UltimateHawkeye wrote:

Is the All Star line essentially done? There is no more All-Star Superman planned, in 4 years only 10 issues of All-Star Batman & Robin have come out, All-Star Wonder Woman is still being worked on, and Batgirl and Green Lantern were announced in 2006 with nothing to show for it. Is this a case of the books being announced way to prematurely and/or poor planning? Is there any real, completed projects coming from the line besides the Wonder Woman book in production?

DiDio: The All-Star Wonder Woman book and the All-Star Batgirl book were premature announcements. The Batgirl book went on hold because the talent went to other projects. But it’s still out there. And realistically, it was only said to be paired with the Wonder Woman book when that was to be scheduled. And there was never a Green Lantern mentioned, so I’m not sure what they’re talking about on that side.

Nrama: Maybe that was wishful thinking.

DiDio: There was never "All-Star Green Lantern;" never planned, never discussed or never mentioned.  

Nrama: Is there any discussion about future All-Star stories?

DiDio: There are no talks about future All-Star stories, except the ones we just discussed. We do have scripts in on All-Star Batman and Robin that are with Jim and as of right now, we’re not pushing that concept much further, although you might see other products from DC that might fit that bill in the very near future.

4) jonnyb54 wrote:

Who is doing the fill-in work on Adventure Comics before Paul Levitz takes over and who will it be starring?

DiDio: We’re not ready to announce teams yet, but those storylines will tie very tightly to the events taking place in the Superman books as the story is being told right now.

Nrama: Okay, so they’ll continue the same type of format that we’re seeing in Geoff’s book?

DiDio: Yes, it’s going to be the same format, but the stories and the characters will be ones that will be tying into events in the Superman titles, seeing as Adventure Comics will be much closer in tune with the "New Krypton" storyline that’s rolling through Superman comics right now.  

Nrama: How many issues before Paul comes on? Was that already announced?

DiDio: We haven’t announced that. We have a number in our mind, but in light of the last question you asked me, I really don’t like to get too far ahead of things at this moment.

Nrama: Oh, right, yeah. I kind of screwed up by asking about the premature announcements first, didn’t I?

DiDio: [laughs] Probably.

5) Ryaztek wrote:

How did you decide on which books to do for Blackest Night January? I am wondering why some were chosen (Phantom Stranger, Catwoman) over others such as Aquaman, Firestorm, or Aztek?

DiDio: The ones that were chosen were offshoots of the actual Blackest Night storyline taking place. We wanted to find the most eclectic mix of titles, things from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘90s and current, so we tried to find a nice mix there.  Actually, everybody’s going to feel like they have a favorite book chosen.  Everybody’s going to feel like a favorite book wasn’t chosen. And we really went with the ones that we felt were going to enhance the overall story. These are all to give us an opportunity for characters to get some real spotlight time in Blackest Night that wouldn’t get that chance in the course of the regular series.

And for books like Aquaman, to be very frank about it, there are events with Aquaman and Black Lantern Aquaman mirrored throughout the series, so we don't feel a need to spin them out because they were very essential to a lot of things taking place in the current story.

6) KennyPick wrote:


It's great news to hear about the "dead titles" rising.

Will the cover of each one-shot have the same type of DC logo and layout style that they ended with? I'd love to see that.

Were there any books that were almost revived but didn't make the cut?

DiDio: Yeah, there were a few books. You’d be surprised. We spent a lot of time working that list. You can only imagine. And that’s the reason why, when you get things like Aquaman and Firestorm, they were in the list and they come up. Atom and Hakwman came to the top primarily because it was just a fun title to do, and that’s the reason why that made the cut. You know, and there was a little bit of a back and forth between Weird War Tales and Weird Western Tales, and I voted for Weird Western Tales.

So there was an interesting back and forth. You could only imagine how many titles were on that list to start, and then we knew we only wanted to go through eight to discuss. There was a lot of discussion that took place on what we should do to get to the eight.  

And yeah, you’ll see the old logos on it. You won’t see the old bullets, but you’ll see the old logos, and it will feel, at least cover-wise, like it’s a continuation of the previous, the earlier series. It just won’t – you know, naturally the stories themselves won’t pick up where those series left off.

They’re going to be right in the middle of Blackest Night and current events in the DCU.

7) vbartilucci wrote:

Are the Johnny DC titles doing well enough that more titles might be coming down the pike?

DiDio: We’re always looking at the kids line. We have a certain amount of kids books that we’re trying to put out. If there were a new series introduced on Cartoon Network or anywhere featuring our characters, there’s always a chance of new books in that fashion. And right now, we want to make sure that Billy Batson and Tiny Titans have the best chance of success, and we’re keeping the line as it is, at least for the time being.

8) Scotty_Quick wrote:

You and Gail Simone have been hinting that she's got a big event coming up - any clues as to what that is, please?

DiDio: None whatsoever.

Nrama: Is it related to Wonder Woman?

DiDio: None whatsoever.

Nrama: So it’s not.

DiDio: How does that sound? We have a lot of big plans in store for the DCU, post Blackest Night, and Gail will be involved in them.

Nrama: OK. And when is that going to happen?

DiDio: I think the words "post-Blackest Night" will give us a clue on when this will happen.

Nrama: But Dan, I think we had talked before about the delay between the end of Final Crisis¸ and when the Final Crisis Aftermath books finally came out, and there were a few months between the end of 52 and the beginning of Booster Gold, and even longer before we got Great Ten. So are the plans for post-Blackest Night going to be fairly immediate?

DiDio: The plans for post-Blackest Night will be as immediate as the planned post-Infinite Crisis, meaning that a lot of what you’ll see happening will occur within the months of April, May and June.

Nrama: After Infinite Crisis, you only had a week break before "One Year Later." When will these post-Blackest Night plans be announced?

DiDio: Probably not until the new year. We try to hold this stuff as late as possible because a lot of the announcements naturally reflect some of the changes in the DCU, post-Blackest Night.

Nrama: We’re not going to see another one-year later jump again, are we?

DiDio: No.

Nrama: OK.

DiDio: Only in Ambush Bug #7, and that was actually a real year.

9) Fat Asteroid wrote:

How does DC view characters like Kyle, Wally and Connor now that you've returned their previous roles to "iconic" status?

DiDio: Well, Kyle’s still going to be very prominent in Green Lantern Corps. Wally, we’ve already announced the fact that he’ll have a second feature in The Flash. It shows us that he’ll be very active in the DCU still. And Connor, again, in the post-Blackest Night DCU, I’m sure he’ll have a place.

Nrama: I'm going to follow this up with a last question that is somewhat related...

10) Dietel wrote:

What is your opinion on characters growing up in the DCU?  Dick Grayson has grown from a young Robin to Batman, Tim Drake has moved up to Red Robin, the former Teen Titans became Titans and are now in James Robinson's Justice League.  How do you let characters grow and age without overshadowing or replacing main characters?  Will we eventually see characters like Tim, Conner, Bart, and Cassandra growing into their own heroes? How do you approach this?

DiDio: Well, in the new year, we’re going to be addressing the topic of legacies in a story because there are two problems that we are faced with, in the DCU, I think. One is that you’ve got a situation where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman really didn’t age as a lot of characters aged around them. So we had to keep on revising continuity in order for those guys to fit in properly, based upon how well other characters were growing older around them. We’re hopefully resolving that situation right now and into the new year by being able to be much clearer of where everybody was introduced and more importantly, how each character relates to each other in regards to agewise and who they basically grew up with.  

The second thing is that we also entered in to a period of time into the, I would say middle of the ‘90s up until a few years ago, where a lot of characters were aging very rapidly. A lot of characters were being replaced. Their replacements were coming in as younger versions, then younger versions were added in on top of that. So we added many layers on to our characters in that particular period of time.

And right now, we’re just trying to straighten that out a little bit more so there’s a much clearer sense of what a legacy character is, what the relationship with the legacy character was, and more importantly, just a sense of how long each character was active, so we have a better sense of what they’re all about.  Naturally, time compresses because you’re taking 70 years’ worth of continuity and trying to [inaudible] it into a person whose life is 30 years old.  So that gets a little difficult.  

But we’re trying to unravel that and give a clearer sensibility to what everybody’s time line is, and then more importantly, maintaining very cleanly going ahead, so that way, we don’t have that same sense of characters aging faster than others. OK?

Nrama: Yeah. You said "in the new year" that you’ll be "addressing legacies in a story." So is this just something that's taking place in one or more current ongoing series featuring legacy characters?

DiDio: That’s a really good question, Vaneta.

Nrama: When I heard you say "story," I start assuming there's going to be a special, separate story that specifically addresses legacies and features some of these characters you've mentioned. Would that be a more accurate assumption?

DiDio: Two very good questions, Vaneta. Great. I love it. It’s a shame none of the fans asked them, because then I would be able to answer them. But since you asked them, unfortunately, I have to move on to the next question.  

Nrama: Well actually, that was the last of the 10 questions. But I think we’re pretty much guaranteed, or at least I’m going to make it very clear that fans should follow up on this line of questioning next week...

DiDio: Yeah, I’m a little busted here.

Nrama: And your question for the readers?

DiDio: Let's go back to the first question you asked and put it back in their hands:

What villain would you like to see reimagined in the same fashion as Starro, as seen in the pages of R.E.B.E.L.S.?

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