Despite all the whispers, shouts and murmurs, all indications are that far from having his job on the chopping block, executive editor Dan DiDio’s contract has actually been renewed and he’ll be running the DCU for a while. Now, before everybody pisses and moans about this, just stop. There are many behind the scenes reasons for this, and we’ll do our best to parse a few of them, but the bottom line appears to be that DC management clearly feels that there is no one better equipped for the job and has confidence that DiDio can return to his early, sales-boosting ways.
Matt Brady also refutes the popular Jimmy Palmiotti options with the crisply titled news story: PALMIOTTI: NOT REPLACING DIDIO which analyses Palmiotti’s “No comment’ at the DC Nation panel.
The comment was though, according to Palmiotti, a joke.
“We were at a panel, and I was trying to keep things lively, and everyone goes ‘Ooo…’,” Palmiotti told Newsarama Sunday. “Dan and I giggle, and everyone giggles, and that’s the end of it. Of course, when you make a joke like that, how does it translate to the internet? It’s typed as a straight sentence, and then some reporters on the West Coast thinks it’s news and start their engines running, but in reality it was a joke to everyone in the room. I work for DC and Dan, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. He’s a friend, and I like that he’s there, and I hope that he stays there for a long time, but no – that’s not a job that I ever want.”
When asked if he had been approached about the job, Palmiotti answered with a firm, “Absolutely not.”
Although the truth of the matter is something less than many people would hope, that didn’t stop a lot of press. Over the weekend rumors over DiDio’s job security reached Hollywood analyst Nikki Finke who claimed that her sources indicate that DC parent Warner is concerned over the turmoil at DC esp. in re the movie slate:
With DC Universe so much a part of Warner Bros’ bottom line, getting DC Comics back on track has to be a top priority. For one thing, the movie studio’s biggest DC characters remain in development limbo — Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League. Only Batman has an ongoing live action franchise. But whose fault is that? Warner Bros Pictures Group prez Jeff Robinov and Warner Bros prez/COO Alan Horn (who still retains greenlight authority and therefore has to share the blame for this) remain paralyzed by indecision, chaotically starting and stopping work on scripts for the biggest DC characters. Meanwhile, Marvel is about to exploit the hell out of its characters, primo or not. Right after Iron Man’s success, Marvel Studios announced an ultra-ambitious film development slate through 2011, culminating in an “Avengers-Themed Summer”, introducing a Captain America film and then uniting heroes Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor in a single film. Heck, if I were Bewkes, I’d shake up Warner Bros as well as DC Comics.
Comics pundits also took issue with DiDio, with Laura Hudson’s summary of all the reasons DiDio looks like a lame duck:
Back in 2004, DiDio was a new leader who declared his editorial modus operandi by saying, “let’s really concentrate on what makes these characters great, what makes these characters strong, and what we love and remember most about them.” Today, he’s an apparent lame duck whose recent comments bordered on resignation: “We have the same characters… There’s only so much you can do with them. You’ve seen it all, you’ve heard it all.”
Hudson also posts this little gotcha from an interview with Grant Morrison from the print magazine:
Comic Foundry: You’ve done several big event books for DC. What’s the hardest part about writing them?
Grant Morrison: Trying not to disturb continuity too much, particularly in cases where said continuity is best described as a car wreck. Back in 2006, I requested a moratorium on the New Gods so that I could build up some foreboding and create anticipation for their return in a new form … instead, the characters were passed around like hepatitis B to practically every writer at DC to toy with as they pleased, which, to be honest, makes it very difficult for me to reintroduce them with any sense of novelty, mystery or grandeur. So in cases like this, where fellow creators have overlooked my carefully established additions to DC continuity or ignored my pleas to hold certain characters in reserve, my intention is to follow the through-line I’ve established in my own work so that there’s at least some long-term consistency.
Syphilis, eh? Funny stuff. One awaits the shoot interview with Morrison some day far in the future about all of this.
Now, it is very possible that Finke is correct and the very real turmoil at DC has reached higher echelons at DC, so there could be some shake-ups over the summer, but, frankly, that would surprise us greatly. It’s not really Warner style, New Line aside, especially when the relatively tiny contribution of publishing revenue to the bottom line is taken into account.
As regards John Nee’s departure, our sources indicate he did it of his own accord and was not dismissed or fired. Although it does seem to reflect in some part the ongoing upsets at DC, it is in no way related to the DiDio rumors, and we’re told the timing of the announcement was absolutely coincidental.