Thursday, October 30, 2008

20 Questions with Dan Didio

DiDio has agreed to be grilled bi-weekly here at Newsarama, with answers to 20 questions posted every other Wednesday. We’re kicking things off this week with 20 questions that cover everything from the art on Final Crisis #7 to the Red Circle and Milestone characters, what’s going on with Batman, why there wasn’t a celebration for Superman’s 70th, and more.

Here's some Titan-related news from Didio:

5) While we’re talking about new characters coming in, let’s talk about the Milestone characters. The solicitations for November show that the Shadow Cabinet is showing up in Justice League in December...

DD: Right – The Shadow Cabinet and Icon will be appearing in Justice League of America. Static will appear in Terror Titans to start, and then will make his way over to Teen Titans. As a matter of fact, we’re going to have a Teen Titans Annual coming out early next year, and that really gives us a chance to showcase Static, and how he fits into our pantheon of young heroes in the DCU.


13) Moving away from the books for a second and into staffing – recently you added one of my old editors – Brian Cunningham late of Wizard joined the DC staff. What brought him in, and what’s he working on?

DD: Brian was one of my first contacts over at Wizard when I first got into DC. He and I struck up a friendship over the years and a good working relationship as well. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about the characters, and because of the changes that took place over at Wizard and circumstances that were opening up over here, I was able to bring him in as an editor in the DC Universe.

What’s great about it is that he hits the ground running and has the respect of the talent pool and peers on the floor. More importantly, he has an incredible knowledge of the DC Universe and the desire to do well with our characters. He’s taking over a couple of books that I was working on – the Power Girl book, he’ll be wrapping up El Diablo (which Keith Giffen says was being passed around editors like a bong), and will be working with Liz Gerhlin on Teen Titans and Titans and then ultimately taking those one. He reports directly to Eddie Berganza, so he’ll be involved with a bucket load of Blackest Night material this coming year as well.

14) Let’s start looking at some of the franchises in a broad view. Since you mentioned it, let’s start with the Teen Titans books. Sometimes I get the feeling that you enjoy pushing the love/hate relationship that readers have with the Teen Titans as far as you can, but right now, you’ve got a fairly loud chorus of “What th-?” with the treatment of Wendy and Marvin – to put it politely. What is the larger plan here between the Teen Titans and Titans?

DD: Let’s go through some broad strokes – as it happens, I know the editor during that period of time on the book very well, and can tell you what they were attempting to do with the series. First things first, we wanted to energize the series. I’m going to use a weird Marvel reference for the Teen Titans...there was a time when the Avengers were first introduced, they had all the heavy hitters. Ultimately what happened was that it wasn’t until they shifted the team to Hawkeye, Quicksilver Scarlet Witch with Captain America that it really seemed to gel and take on a life of its own.

So the primary goal for us with Teen Titans was to establish our secondary characters and then build them up interestingly, and then reintroduce higher level stars to the book to bring it prominence. I felt that if we got the core very strong, and readers knew exactly who Blue Beetle was, along with Red Devil and Wonder Girl and even Miss Martian, I felt it would help the overall series, because if we were successful with that core group, as we added in more characters, the success would continue. So we’re adding Static, and there will be a couple of big surprises along the way over the course of ht efirst half of 2009 that will excite and reenergize so many of the Teen Titans fans.

On the Titans side, there’s always the question of what’s the reasoning behind the team? On the Titans team, we wanted to bring the classic team together, and it’s interesting to say that, but the Wolfman-Perez team is now truly the “classic” team. We wanted to bring them back in the best light possible. The problem with that was that we had the Flash with the Justice League, Arsenal was with the Outsiders, Nightwing was sometimes with the Outsiders, so why would they come together?

Of any book that we have in the DC Universe right now, this book is the most about family and friends. These guys are truly a family unit. They’ve supported each other over the years, they’ve been there, they make it apriority to help each other. So we wanted to present that story as much as possible. That’s the reason why our introductory story for the series was the Trigon story. The Trigon story challenged Raven’s families – her actual family versus her adopted family.

You’ll start to see us explore that – what it means to be a Titan, and more importantly, the sacrifices that you make and the stands that you have to make in order to support your friends and your extended family. That is, in fact, what the Jericho story is about – there will be a twist at the end of Decisions #4 that explain the motivations of Jericho and the problems with Jericho. That storyline spins back into Titans, and becomes an important storyline for Titans, Teen Titans and Vigilante in the first half of next year.

So that’s where we’re going there. Let me go back for a minute to Wendy, since you mentioned her earlier. Wendy actually plays a key role in the DC Universe, believe it or not, following her story in Teen Titans. Her injury, her coma sets off a chain of events throughout the DCU that brings about one of the most startling changes in the DC Universe by the middle of next year. Once you find out who her father is, we start connecting the dots from there.


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