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Dan DiDio answers more questions

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Over at Newsarama, Dan DiDio is taking part in a hot stove league classic, answering fan questions on a bi-weekly basis. There’s much to ponder and absorb, including the pull quote:

I just don’t want to fill buckets. I want to make books that people want to read.


and this kind of thing:

20: Finally for now – what’s going on with the Hanna-Barbera characters like Space Ghost and Jonny Quest?

DD: The rights expired, and we just have to get them back and we’ll be good to go. Simple as that. I know it’s the same company, but we do have procedures that have to work within that makes it as if we’re working with separate entities.


DiDio knows what he’s dong however — the initial call for questions resulted in 37 pages of burning topics.

What we want to know about is this “giant-hand variant” version of Superman. Is he teaming up with DOCK WALLOPER or what?

  1. DC Comics needs better editors.
    And writers.
    And I’m not too keen on its characters.

    OK, basically the only thing DC Comics has going for it is Batman. And the people on the comic book side of things fuck that up pretty well, too. The Batman books that were on the shelves the week the Dark Knight came out were actively hostile hostile to new readers.

    Speaking of reader hostility, does anyone think that the last four or five years of Crisis, 52, Final, Doom, whatever have helped DC attract anyone to its comics? The sales number show a steady decline over a period of years and that can’t be a good sign. Ultimately, the failures of DC as a comic book company are the failures of its Editor in Chief. Someone needs to fix DC and I don’t think it’s Mr. Didio.

  2. HEY,
    i would like a chance to write the dock walloper crossover.

    and disagree with a lot of folk…there are some good books coming out of D.C these days…really. look closer.

    jimmy

  3. Given what’s in Teen Titans these days, I kinda hope DC doesn’t get the rights back. Dan Didio’s interpretation of Johnny Quest is not something I feel the world needs, or wants.

  4. Given what’s in Teen Titans these days, I kinda hope DC doesn’t get the rights back. Dan Didio’s interpretation of Johnny Quest is not something I feel the world needs, or wants.

  5. He totally skipped over my question: which was, ” concerning your botched attempt at reviving the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents – what does the word pinkballed mean?”

    ~

    Coat

  6. Likefunbutnot said:

    “The Batman books that were on the shelves the week the Dark Knight came out were actively hostile hostile to new readers.”

    True, but to be fair, the same is true for the books on the shelves when the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Sin City movies came out. There just isn’t much coordination between the movies and the comic books.

  7. And there oughtn’t be. Because they’re comic books.

    I realize it’s impossible to separate the influence each has on the other, these days, what with DC making increasingly dino-brained decisions & relying almost exclusively on a calcified fanbase of people who will buy anything that has tights, but they require different disciplines of attention, so for a movie to Pretend to be a comic when it’s really just a clever combination of art & marketing technique is disingenuous & wrong-headed in the bargain– because a comic can’t pretend to be a film. Not really. Esp. not in a nation where one-third of its population is functionally illiterate. It may use similar tropes, styles & storytelling devices, but it’s a different medium and as such appeals to different people.

    Movies that attempt to emulate comics too directly tend to look all the more artificial for it because they’re adopting visual symbols that’ve spent a great deal of time in a literary ghetto, and I think the reverse holds true for comics, as well: the harder they try to be Of The Moment Pop-Culture Artifacts the more dated and stumbly they appear. You can’t bottle cool, especially not with staid industry tactics. Look at Lou Reed’s early solo career: he tried to cash in on his old rep with stage antics when he should have been concentrating on writing better songs. The art suffered.

    Not that I’m suggesting Dan Didio’s strung out on dumb drugs, just, you know, art is the heart of craft. Not marketing.

    Movies & comics are different creatures, and it’s a good thing that they don’t resemble one another more. Movie tie-ins should read ATTENTION I AM A MOVIE TIE-IN in big friendly nonthreatening letters– sort of like a franchise-based breakfast cereal, or themed sleepwear –whereas a decent comic book should simply concentrate on being read, regardless of whether it’s a Great Jumping-On Point for New Readers Who Just Saw The Film or not.

    I don’t read superhero comics much if at all anymore, but when I read a review that says Peter Parker’s little quips are funny again and the art’s a perfect complement to the storytelling, well, it piques my interest. And I have to admit, ‘Astonishing Spider-Man’ #576 was just what it said on the tin: a fun comic. It used the visual language of comics and the gimmicky idiom of the superhero story and it didn’t give a toss about being a film or being distantly related to a film franchise, much put on airs and proclaim itself to be a Very. Significant. Instalment. in the Grand! Melodramatic! Saga!

    It didn’t pander, is what I’m saying. And it was perfectly comprehensible for it, despite being the second part of a two-issue story. It reminded me what it was like to read Spider-Man as a kid, point of fact, and in a positive fashion, without the slightly seedy, merchandised Mickey Mouse appeals to nostalgia that DC & Marvel tend to hang on their flagship characters. I’ve shown it to friends who don’t read comics, and it’s worked a treat.

    Wanted: more comics like ASM #576. DC: take a hint.

  8. I have to say, I think rev’D pretty much nailed the whole movie/comic non-symbosis. I’ve seen very little evidence (outside TPBs of Hellboy, 300, Sin City and Watchmen) that suggests the movies help the corporate pamphlets like Spider-man or Batman.

    And even if by some miracle, a movie *did* result in a massive surge of walk-ins at your neighborhood local comic shop, I think people who have been *away* from comics long enough that they might need a movie to remind them to buy one are certainly not prepared for the painful sticker shock that will greet them when they asked to plunk down $3.XX for part 1 of this weeks installment of the latest mega crossover.

    Anyway, about Didio – I gotta think TWX almost hitting $8 a share this week is going to get some suits shouting at each other at the top levels, which should result in some trickle down finger pointing. Some corporate bean counter has got to be wondering what division can be squeezed for more black ink. I think there’s been several indications that this has already begun at DC actually.

  9. That comic cover? I think someone in the highest editorial hinterland cried out: “Let’s have a Big Hand for Superman!” or ( thinks for a second) it’s the Wide Angle Superman.

  10. Movies which have helped sell the GN it was based on (yes, I know these are not pamphlets, but if Jim can use this discrepancy, so can I):

    Sin City
    Hellboy
    300
    Watchmen
    League of Extraordinary Gentleman (Torsten’s Law of Movie Adaptations: No matter how bad the movie, the book will sell because the public realizes that the original book was good enough to merit a $20 Million (or more) movie. LoEG proves this, Love in the Time of Cholera, Bonfire of the Vanities…)
    History of Violence
    American Splendor
    Road to Perdition (extra points for being out of print)
    V for Vendetta
    Persepolis
    Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke both hit the B&N.com Top 100 the first week of the Dark Knight movie. (DC has offered backlist consignment with the Superman and Batman movies, and did the same TWICE this year with Watchmen. Retailers REALLY like this program.)

    These are not $3.99 magazines, but $15+ BOOKS. (300? One of the best sellers in 2007 among GNs, and that’s a $30 hardcover.)

    These empirical data come from working at the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble in NYC, which is located next to a huge Sony/Loews/AMC Imax megaplex, with a smaller arthouse multiplex a few blocks away.

    For the numbercrunchers out there… how did the four-issue prequel issues to “Superman Returns” sell? From WAY BACK, how did the Marvel movie specials sell, both as graphic albums and mini-series (how many became regular series, like Star Wars)?

    And to the retailers, how many people coming into your store to buy Watchmen have come back and asked for another recommendation?

  11. Heidi: Touché :D
    ———–
    I’ve never been a DC fan because the books always seem silly and full of talking apes, but I blew $14 on the first four issues of Reign in Hell this week because I like some of the mystic characters (and some of the creators).

    What did I get? A talking chimp in issue 1 and a lot of generic, cookie-cutter writing that made me think of all the better things I could’ve done with $14. Leave it to DC to make Hell boring.

    That happens pretty much every time I show interest in DC books — regret. It’ll be years before I’m suckered into buying another.

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