NYCC ’18: DC Nation Panel— Dan DiDio Reveals Why He Hates Nightwing

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Yesterday during NYCC DC Comics hosted its DC Nation ever popular chat with creators (unusually on a Sunday this year as noted by moderator and DC co-publisher Dan DiDio). Comic creators in attendance included Teen Titans writer Adam Glass, Hawkman writer Robert Venditti, The Flash writer Joshua Williamson, famed writer/artist and current co-writer of Scooby Apocalypse Keith Giffen, and artist Emanuela Lupacchino.

Some panel highlights below:

DiDio has a copy of Watchmen trade paperback signed by Alan Moore that was given to him when he was working at ABC by former DC Comics President Jenette Kahn. Likewise, Williamson has a copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen signed by Moore.

For those who haven’t kept up with the latest developments in the Bat Family, Nightwing/Dick Grayson took a bullet to the brain by KGBeast that resulted in serious brain trauma affecting his memory. This latest blow in the life of Batman’s ward prompted an audience member to ask DiDio directly why he hates Dick Grayson. DiDio has been pretty open about putting Nightwing through the ringer for years, revealing plans to kill of Dick Grayson in initial Infinite Crisis pitches. In a nutshell, DiDio’s negative view towards Dick Grayson is over the fact that while Grayson has aged and grown along with readers, Bruce Wayne/Batman has essentially stayed the same age. The fear for DiDio is that they’ll eventually have to tell the story where where Dick Grayson is older than Bruce Wayne, resulting in another member suggesting to simply retire Batman. “Let Batman be Happy!” was another sentiment shouted from the audience to applause.

While the legacy and generational of certain characters like Flash is a much beloved aspect of the DC Universe, there are concerns that over time that characters who assume the mantle of their predecessors eventually become too similar, with DiDio pointing to Barry Allen and Wally West as an example.

After two years, Robert Venditti is ending his run on the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps title. Dubbing the principle Earth GL members featured in his book “The Four Corpsmen” Venditti revealed that he took inspiration for the characterizations of the characters on his own group of friends from his youth.

Likewise, Williamson elaborated how the motivations of the various speedsters in The Flash book helped differentiate the characters. Both Barry Allen and August Heart a.k.a Godspeed, the latest anti-hero speedster, both want to help people in albeit different ways, Barry is motivated by justice whereas Heart is motivated by revenge. Williamson sees Wallace West (the New 52 Kid Flash) as tortured over his father becoming the Reverse-Flash and Wallace not actually wanting to be a Flash. In regards to Pre-New 52 Wally West, Williamson sees Wally more in tune with the Speed Force in a spiritual sense allowing him to have more fun with his powers, while Barry as a forensics scientist is more in tune with the science aspect. Bart Allen/Impulse should be the smartest person int he room but is always one step behind everyone. Williamson meanwhile likens Eobard Thawne, the original Reverse-Flash, to the obsessive fanboy angry at his hero, a comparison that was not lost on the comic book audience.

Speaking of Wally, unsurprisingly the audience did repeatedly inquire why kill the character off in Heroes in Crisis after sparking renewed hope and optimism with Wally’s return in DC Rebirth, but the panel as expected remained hush on the matter.

Looking back at his seminal 80’s Justice League International book with its infusion of drama and humor, Giffen admitted he didn’t give much thought at the time to the comedy. The humor came out of vamping with J.M. DeMatteis and it eventually took over the book to the point that the humor is remembered most fondly. 

The “Judas Contract” storyline is what inspired Adam Glass to become a writer.

Amazingly, DiDio’s two sons, who were in the audience, have NEVER read a comic book in their lives despite comics paying for their colleges.

When DiDio inquired with the audience how many people had read the Wal-Mart DC books, only a few hands were raised. This was pretty much expected and not unusual given that it was a New York audience where Wal-Mart stores are not as ubiquitous as other locations around the country. Good luck trying to find Wal-Mart store in NYC. Nevertheless, the Wal-Mart program has been an incredible success for DC and its attempts to reach consumers who aren’t weekly comic buyers. An audience member who was a retailer did note of other areas besides New York such as Florida where it was difficult to obtain the Wal-Mart books resulting in DiDio giving him a Wal-Mart book to enjoy.

Apparently Williamson is writing the best-selling Flash book in over 20 years and he has the spreadsheets to prove it.

Williamson hinted that there may be plans in motion when a fan inquired about seeing Flash Family vs. Reverse-Flash Family.