Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chuck Dixon on DC Editorial

A lot of people have probably read the Chuck Dixon posts that call out DC editor-in-chief (without actually, technically calling him out). If you didn't here it is:

Dan Didio has been widely embraced by DC fans for "darkening" up the DCU and making it "cool". It was quite a trick.

I havent ben a fan of Didio's reign since he started with IDENTITY CRISIS, an ill-conceived poorly constructed "murder mystery" that managed the impossible task of being both a wankfest and desicration of the Silver Age. The next two years of DC Comics focused on a mega-story setting up INFINITE CRISIS. DC promised us a "less dark" DCU after IC with "One Year Later", which mostly consisted of gimmicky new status quos that were mostly undone within months.

The whole thing, to me, was akin to watching CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS mixed with GRAND THEFT AUTO.

But fans ate all this stuff up.

I suppose, in giving Didio his due, he did raise the profile (and sales) of some books that were lagging. The revamps of TEEN TITANS, JLA, JSA and GREEN LANTERN can be considered success stories. But some of the Didio-revamps never quite caught on (FIRESTORM, the ATOM, BLUE BEETLE, AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS, FLASH: FASTEST MAN ALIVE) . And while 52 was a success in both story and form (they pulled off a weekly, and it was good!) -- COUNTDOWN was a creative dud.

Post "One Year Later", it seemed the luster of Didio's "shocking shake-ups" was starting to wear thin.

Most books dropped to their pre-OYL numbers, and even some of the successful revamps faltered (TEEN TITANS lost steam with the loss of Superboy and Kid Flash, while WONDER WOMAN became a scheduling disaster and Meltzer's JLA wasn't liked by many of the DC-faithful). There's been some attempts to jump-start sagging titles, but nothing has caught fire...

Gail Simone couldnt save ATOM. Marrying and relaunching GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY didnt result in sales (the book now sells at the same level as GREEN ARROW before its cancellation). The Winick-written TITANS title is mostly loathed. Dixon (I guess) failed to reignite ROBIN and BATO. And even veteran writer Jim Shooter couldnt create interest in the latest LEGION title.

Are readers starting to speak with their wallets? Are they beginning to grow tired of Didio's cheap stunts?

The numbers are in for May books, and SECRET INVASION #2 has beat FINAL CRISIS #1 is sales. Initial projections say the FINAL CRISIS #1 numbers are expected to be around 150k, as compared to INFINITE CRISIS #1 being 250k. That's quite a dip in a DC Mega-Event in only 3 years.

Could this be the beginning of the end of the Didio Reign?

I've been "waiting out" his editorial regime since 2003. It's been 5 years. Is there a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel?

The "firing" of Shooter, Dixon and others (?) may be a sign of desperation on Didio's part. No one is shocked by bloody deaths, secret silver age pacts and "new faces" under familiar masks. The fans seem to be wise to his tricks, and the creators have been slowly speaking out, from low grumblings to Dixon's more recent, obvious jab.

I miss when DC had actual heroes and clear storytelling. I miss the days when "death" wasn't equated with "plot twist." I long for the stories that didn't focus soley on continuity.

I'm hoping Didio's out or tricks.


  • At 11:02 AM, Blogger Angel with a crooked halo said…

    Amen brother! Since picking up my first Teen Titans issue back in '84, I have been a DC reader. I couldn't agree with you more. Sure there have been ups and downs in my appreciation level- but never has it stayed down for so long. And gotten as low as this! Off the top of my head- my last favorite moment in a DC comic was when WW smacked Superman down and then broke Max's neck. I f'ing loved that! The action kicked arse- that whole issue was the poop. How they chose to follow that up should have been a sign for me to stop reading DC for a while. What complete horsesh*t- Supes, Batman, and others looking down their noses at WW, WW giving away her backbone, all of the utter garbage that made up "One Year Later" (seriously- the person who first uttered "what do you think of jumping one year later...?" should be forced to switch jobs with the poor cops who have to do sit in a toilet waiting for senators duty)- 52 was ok, but the more that I think about it- what made it good was comparing it to the dumb oyl stuff and the massive letdown that was Infinite Crisis.
    For me- the most significant thing about the horrid Countdown was the fact that it was the straw that broke this camels back. I went from spending approximately $125 on comics per month to no more than $40. I am digging Gail Simone's Wonder Woman, Sean McKeever on Titans, anything J. Torres writes, but that's about it. I am sure there are other good and interesting things in other areas of the DCU- but I am past being curious enough to seek them out. Either the clown in the driver's seat is letting his insanity dictate editorial policy, or the $$ folks who pull his strings have it out for me- because I am reallllllly not feeling the love from DC.

  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Numbers don't lie. MARVEL COMICS did 47.56% of sales for May, while DC COMICS did 29.95%. Ouch! Marvel had 14 titles in the top 20 books, while DC had 4. Double ouch! I think if DC can keep focused on their main titles and not saturate the market with random cross overs/mini series (Reign in Hell, Tanget: Superman's Reign, DC/Wildstorm Dreamwar, etc...), they may have a chance at being a STRONG second... not a pitiful second.

  • At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not that there aren't bright spots... Teen Titans: Year One was the most enjoyable comic I read this week. It's a heck of a lot better than "Titans" even though it mostly features the same characters.

    Funny how that works out, huh?


  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Jim said…

    I've been reading comics for over 40 years at this point. I'm a comics geezer geek if ever there was one.

    I loved DC in the 80s. Wolfman and Perez on Titans, Byrne on Superman, Perez on Wonder Woman, Miller on Batman, Levitz and Giffen on LSH...those were the days!

    Except, maybe...Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the time, it probably seemed like a good idea, but I think it made more problems than it solved (witness the need for Zero Hour and now Infinite Crisis, etc.)

    But today...*sigh* I'm still reading, but I don't know if I'm really looking forward to anything. I like Geoff Johns on Superman, but I can't stand the fact that the comic now looks like Donner's 30 year old movie and reads like something out of the 70s. Winick's _Titans_ is horrible beyond belief (and Didio is editing the book!). McKeever is good on Teen Titans and I like Dini on Batman, but I don't know about this "RIP" idea. (Although I did enjoy Identity Crisis.)

    Hopefully, DC will get its act together again. But I think Didio needs to go so that it can happen. Don't know why they made him exec editor anyway; his Superboy was horrible--even worse than Winick on Titans, I think!

  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I long for the stories that didn't focus soley on continuity."

    I disagree. Continuity is what holds the comics together if there would be no continuity then the books would be in chaos. which is why so many people do not like the Titans book that came out. People say that the characters are not themselves. If stories didn't have continuity then this would not be a problem to anyone and they would love the story, because there wouldn't be anything wrong with them so then with no continuity it is alright for people to talk and act differently without reason. I think a lot of people would disagree with that. how would you feel if batman were to suddenly kill for no apparent reason and he is very well known and liked because he doesn't kill; it is not in his character to do so.

  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Nightwing said…

    I didn't say ELIMINATE continuity, I'm just tired of DC creating stories EXPLAINING their own convoluted continuity. "I long for the stories that didn't focus soley on continuity." Key word: soley,

  • At 11:53 PM, Anonymous A.Diaz said…

    I couldn't agree with you more. DC under Didio's control over DC has marked a steady decline in my love for the characters of the DC Universe. Back in the day, I waited excitedly for the next issue of Robin, Young Justice, Birds of Prey and other storylines. Then Didio comes into power and I can't stand anything that been coming out. We're constantly having super-mini-series being forced down our throats (all of which lack any sort of creativity) or having our favorite characters either randomly killed off without reason or made into massive emo-ridden morons.

    Teen Titans for example, I'm about ready to give up on altogether. I'm bored silly with them constantly fighting 'evil' Titans, and I'm so sick of this Robin/Wonder Girl drama being forced down our throats. I went to a convention a few month back and asked Didio if the Teen Titans would move past this emo-drama, and he belittled ever teenager in existance by saying 'have you ever met a teenagers'. How insulting. Yes, there are kids who are all about the drama, but I don't remember the second (and arguably the best) NEW TEEN TITANS series being like this. I get there is going to be drama and issues between the team, but when we're constantly reading the same story of 'Robin kisses Wonder Girl, but then she breaks up with him, but then they kiss again and then she breaks up with him'... I'm bored and I'm wasting my money by buying books with the same thing happening every month.

    Speaking of which, I couldn't even bring myself to busying TITANS, because that story is crap. The characters are all two-dimensionally rejects from a sitcom, with no true feeling for the kind of people they're supposed to be. And they're totally ignoring continuity, such as Trigon being dead, and yet not explaining how he's alive again.

    And I'm so tired of how DC is basically 'undoing' so much stuff and trying to re-create the silver-age for today. And I'm tired of random pointless deaths. I mean Martian Manhunter was killed for no good reason other than 'shock value'. That was terrible. He didn't even get a heroic death.

    The last 'good' death I can think of was Superboy's and that was only because he died fighting SuperBOY Prime (none of this Superman Prime nonesense). And while I hate that one of my favorite characters is dead, at least I can appreciate that he died a hero, unlike J'onn. And then of course there is the fact that some character can't STAY dead, but instead are always being resurrected to the point where death has no meaning to ANYONE anymore.

    I've more or less stopped buying DC comics lately. I used to make excused to buy at least FOUR comics per week, but lately I just can't justify paying money for something I end up going "What the hell" in a bad way over. The only money I've spent on Comics is for Marvel's 'ASTONISHING X-MEN' and 'BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER'. DC, I'll just flip through see if I find anything worth buying and if not, I put it back on the shelf.

  • At 11:47 PM, Blogger Matt Detroit said…

    After reading some of the comments on Newsarama I am glad that some comics fans have the same opinion as I do. What a disgrace getting rid of Chuch Dixon. Fans enjoy his writing and I have never met an artist at a convention who has worked with him who hasn't praised what a great guy he is and how professional he is to work with.

    It's time for Paul Levitz and DC Comics to bring a comics guy to run the show. Didio reminds me of Eric Bischoff when he ran another WB company WCW (sorry folks but I used to be a wrestling fan). He came in and did bring in few new fans, but chased away all the old fans until they finally got absorbed by their competition.

    I have been a comics fan since before I could read (as my older brother collected and I would get anyone who would to read them to me). All my friends are collectors for 30 plus years each like I am and say how unimpressed they are with most of what DC is doing. With the never ending and going nowhere Crisis storylines and changing continuity to match the crappy and dated 70's movies and Smallville they are alienating the older fans to try and bring in younger fans who will run away from the medium once it is no longer the "cool" thing to collect.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Avi Green said…

    You're absolutely correct about what's happened to DC. Although I wouldn't say that everyone liked Identity Crisis - the problem is that almost noone quit reading it when they had the chance; at that time, they kept on reading it in hopes of a payoff that never came. The characters who suffered the worst in all that mess were the Atom and Jean Loring. One of the main reasons why I wouldn't have laid a finger on the "all-new" Atom, nor would I take to the "new" Blue Beetle after what they did to Ted Kord. If that's how they're going to treat their older protagonists, then is it any wonder that quite a few people cannot embrace the new ones as a result?

    I stopped reading the Teen Titans volume that began in 2003 at the time Identity Crisis was published, because it was already going downhill and straining credibility. After that awful story featuring the Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, in which Johns' humiliated Roy Thomas's creations, I'm glad I did. I certainly won't be wasting any of my precious time on Winick's new Titans volume either. I hope he's taken off the book as soon as possible.

  • At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've said it before, I'll say it again; congratulations, Didio, you've made the 90s look good by comparison.

  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous jim said…

    I get tired of the teenage emo too, but, as a father who has dealt with four teens (two of them still in their teens!) I can tell you that this really does reflect teenage life.

    The difference between this group and the Wolfman/Perez Titans is the age of the group. Other than Changeling, the entire group was in their late teens/early 20s. Wolfman added Danny Chase in order to bring the age back down.

    The Johns group is younger; more mid-teens. And they act younger. So, I really do have to agree with Didio on this one.

  • At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like comics. I like well written comics. I like well drawn comics. Do I like well edited comics? I'm not sure. If a well edited comic results in me enjoying that comic, I suppose I like well edited comics.

    Sales do not always reflect the quality of a comic. How many times have you seen a favourite comic cancelled after it has failed to find an audience. Too many times if you ask me.

    DC under Didio is not to everyones taste, I can see that all over the internet. For me however, for the first time in my life I'm reading and enjoying the two Superman titles, the two Batman titles and Wonder Woman. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be excited about reading the new issue of Action Comics! Also, Morrison's All Star Superman is one of the finest comics I have ever read.

    You can't please all the people all the time. Didio's DC is managing to please me some of the time, and that's okay by me.

    I love this website and all things Titans, so keep up the crackin' work.


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