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Lee and Didio on nuDC: the diverse diversity of diverseness

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DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee gave a talk to comics journalists a few weeks back during the Burbank talent conference, and CBR has a round-up and in June, it’s all about the diversity! And less about…*gasp* nitpicking fans who only want their Aquaman! There’s also some news: Bobbie Chase, who is moving west, will be promoted to VP of Talent Development. And May will see that month’s final Convergence titles include e-page previews of the New Direction DC books. Speaking about the conference, I’m told that every other word was “Batgirl.”

Here’s some of DiDio and Lee’s flag planting talk for going forward:

Lee: I’ll just use one example — there was a tweet I saw, someone complaining about “Throne of Atlantis,” the DVD adaptation of the comic book. The complaint was, “Superman and Wonder Woman don’t breathe underwater. You failed.” Maybe the continuity proves that right, I don’t know — I’m pretty sure I’ve put Superman under water, and he was fine, and he’s been to outer space, same with Wonder Woman — when those things start overshadowing the story, and the emotional beats, I think there’s something wrong with what’s going on in the marketplace. That’s my perspective.


Heresy! HERESY I SAY!

And what about that NEW AUDIENCE I keep hearing about? Have you heard about that?

DiDio: But we also recognize there’s a massively changing audience going on here. There’s new readers coming in. Anecdotally, we pick up from the fact that we hear it from our talent — they see it at the different shows, they’re getting a level of contact that’s not just the traditional audience that we’ve seen up to this point. It’s for us to try and find out where the growth is, and who the audience is, by casting the net as wide as possible, with as many ideas as possible, as many tonalities as possible. Jim’s right — when we did the New 52, it was different genres, but all the same flavor. Now it’s the same genre, in multiple flavors. But I think we have a better chance to grow it that way, because we might be attracting different people. And once you get a fan, you want to be able to hold onto it, and through that one book, find other books. That’s the same way we came in.
{…}
Lee: Lee: I think a big part of the June launch was really a recognition that the audience has changed. It’s more fragmented than it was before. The original direct market was perceived as a monolithic fanbase. You see a lot more women that are into comics, at comic book shops and conventions. Our own studies have shown there’s a lot more people that are looking for a lot more flavors and diversity in our line than we’re currently doing.
We’ve been pretty good about putting out a lot of female-led books, we’re really good about tackling new issues within the pages of the comic books, but I think June is a real line of the sand, in which we’re basically say, “Hey, this is the new DC, and this is just the first of many steps that we’re going to be taking, trying to address these new audiences, and find ways to grow our business.”


And finally, now that the New 52 is in the rearview mirror, DiDio offers an assessment:

DiDio: There are so many of these series right now that are coming out that I feel was the original intent of the New 52. It’s a lot of that openness and freedom and storytelling that we originally planned. But because when we launched, it was so pressed up against this hard-driving continuity for so long, people had a hard time recalibrating and rethinking how to approach our characters. So they started to fall back into old habits, and looking in the past, of where they were going to get their ideas from. Now I can tell you that we’ve changed it. We’re actually looking to the future for where our ideas are. It’s not about re-telling an old story with an old version of a character, or picking my favorite Superboy from 1965, and giving it a new light. It’s more about figuring out who we are today, and using these characters to tell the story of today’s society.


There’s more in the piece on Midnighter and Batgirl and so on.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Is it me or was the tone of the article a bit snarkier than the content of the qoutes merited? I’m genuinely happy to see DC. taking a huge leap of faith here with these new titles. It reminds a bit of some the eclectic tiles that Marvel greenlit in the early 2000s. Good to see Bobbie Chase helming the new talent development too.

  2. There are so many of these series right now that are coming out that I feel was the original intent of the New 52.

    See – this is some serious grade-A bullshit.

    I’m really glad that the higher-ups at DC are finally (FINALLY) realizing that people look back at the post-Crisis era so fondly not because of nostalgia for a “fresh slate universe” but rather nostalgia for a time when creators were given control to create. Sometimes their creations were phenomenal breaths of fresh air – the Giffen/Dematties Justice League, the Ostrander/McDonnell Suicide Squad, Gaiman’s Sandman, the Morrison/Case Doom Patrol, the Morrison/Truog Animal Man, and many others that continue to be well-regarded to this day. Sometimes they were forgettable junk that has been consigned to the dung heap of history. But the books were primarily creator driven, and that led to an amazing amount of diversity for a bunch of superhero books.

    The New 52 reboot was clearly NOT about that. It was pretty damn clearly about establishing a tight continuity, and creators had to toe the line with what the guys at the top wanted or get replaced. It was very clear that there was a single vision of what that superhero world was supposed to look like, and if anyone wanted to deviate from that vision they would be squished.

    I’m glad that they’ve changed direction, but why the HELL do they have to pretend like they haven’t changed direction? Why can’t they admit that their experiment with trashing the place and rebuilding it from the ground up was a clusterf*ck? Why can’t they admit that the creative teams and unique creative visions actually matter – probably more now than they did 30 years ago? Instead we get this Pee-wee Herman “I meant to do that” baloney.

  3. Fixed it for Lee and DiDio: “Due to the gigantic clusterbake that was the Nu52, including the open warfare between talent and editors fostered by our edicts that has since fragmented a large, monolithic fan base into 52 million different market segments most of which we’ve driven off entirely, we figure we’ll try to market books that might cater to the one or two readers still in the fold. Our target monthly sales to keep a book has been adjusted to 2,311. We hope to publish eleven books a month that reach this target, excepting Batman and Justice League.”

    Silly but True

  4. “Why can’t they admit that their experiment with trashing the place and rebuilding it from the ground up was a clusterf*ck? ”

    Because admitting to mistakes makes you an open target and can only hurt you. Sadly that’s the culture we’re living in. “Mistakes were made (but not by us)” is the mantra of the modern business world.

  5. “Any failures of our hip new direction were the fault of the audience for not focusing on what we wanted them to.” Phhhht. Yeah, yeah.

    I was keeping an ear out for the new Midnighter book, but the linked interview makes it sound a lot like the old one — Didio even uses the word “gritty” to describe it twice within two sentences. Wake me when we get a Midnighter and Apollo ongoing. Those two made an awesome team way back when.

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