Wizard and the solicitations broke the story on COUNTDOWN Monday, with Newsarama adding more to the mix yesterday. We didn’t have time to blog the big news, but in case you missed it: yes, DC is launching another line-spanning weekly comic, one with Paul Dini as head writer.
What’s interesting about it, from our standpoint, is that the vast man (and woman) power required to keep a weekly comic on track is economically viable in the direct market. Also, mastermind Dan Didio has finally come full circle and brought the TV process to bear on comics. (Lest we forget, before he came to DC, Didio’s background was in producing TV toons like Reboot.) It’s not enough that TV writers were (for a while) the hot commodities in comics, now the entire TV writing process has its year-long moment in the sun. We’ll turn to Wizard’s interview with “showrunner” Dini for pullquotes:
What’s your role in the whole process?
DINI: Sort of an executive story editor and head writer. What we’re doing is something not unlike the way a lot of television shows are written, where there will be one head writer who is charting the direction of the series with a writer team handling the creation of the episodes. I am writing a couple of scripts. My job is more working with the other writers to do the weekly books, and then coming in once the script is completed to make sure that the voices of the characters are the same, that the storyline is working and that we’re all on the same page. I brought a lot of myself to that main story, and now I’m imparting that to the other writers. They’re bringing their own takes and their own creativity and their own imagination to work on the characters, and I’m trying to make sure that it all fits together. I’m sure if I looked at the whole thing I would scream, but day-to-day it’s a lot of fun.
We were a little sad that innocent little Mary Marvel will now be getting the grim’n’gritty treatment, but such is the fate of innocence in a grim’n’gritty world:
A character trying to find her way in a larger universe is Mary Marvel. We start with her at kind of a low point in her life, where she has to evaluate what it is she’s been doing as a superheroine and where she’s going. And a lot of her story is kind of a battle for her destiny. This is very much Mary’s trial by fire.
And of course, after COUNTDOWN…NOTHING will be the same!
[T]here’s a lot of fun character work in it also, and there are moments of triumph and tragedy throughout. So, yeah, this is a story with a lot of action, a lot of change, and a lot of repercussions for the overall DC Universe. In fact, when we get toward the end, you’ll see some truly world-shaking changes that will start in Countdown and then sweep through all the other books and will really change the face of DC for a long time to come.
NOTHING! Do you hear us? NOTHING!!!
Getting back to the whole TV thing for a moment, we were gabbing with one of our comics industry pals a few weeks ago and a pretty good case can be made that substituting typical TV writers for typical comics writers hasn’t really pushed the medium forward that much and in fact, the trend seems to have died down a bit. We always hear good things about Allen Heinberg’s writing, but the Wonder Woman fiasco may have put the nail in the coffin for trying to wrangle people with six figure incomes into towing the line for a comics type page rate.
At any rate, COUNTDOWN is in extremely good hands with Dini–who has always juggled the various needs of tv, film and comics admirably–at the helm, and a stable of fine writers. Will it have more civilian appeal than 52? We shall see.