Tagged: Dan DiDio

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Editing Away the Future

This past weekend I was graced with the presence of ComicMix EIC/Columnist/Cranky Elderly Statesman Mike Gold. He invited me out for a brisket sandwich and conversation. For those not in the know, Gold and I are Jews – and as such, after circumcision, Bar Mitzvah, and a wedding to a Jewish bride, “brisket and conversation” is the next milestone in the Hebrew circle of life. In a day I’ll not forget for a good long while, we waxed poetic on a bevy of topics. It was like “Tuesday’s With Morrie,” except no one was dying. One point that seemed to come up again and again revolved around the state of the comic book industry. And when the dust had settled, and my brisket was fully digested, it came to me. There’s plenty of good going on in comics today, but for all the bad the finger of shame is pointed heavily at the editors’ desks.

What is a comic book editor? Well, he or she is many things to many people. To artists and writers, they are the boss. They assemble the parts, and roll out the final product. They help dot i’s, cross t’s, and make constructive criticism to ensure that the book that hits the shelf is the best it could be. To the fans, they are mysterious figure-heads who get their names right under the talent on the title page. They are the kings at conventions, giving sage advice one minute, and spinning bad fan-reaction the next. In the days before the Internet they were the keepers of secrets – the walking Wikipedias of their brands.

And today? They are that and more. Constructors of continuity, ruiners of rumors, and dolers of dreams. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Has their hubris finally caught up with them? I offer some proof, by way of my all-powerful-never-wrong-because-I’m-a-columnist opinion.

How about the Epic Cross-Over of Infinite Magnitude! The first time it happened it sure must have been novel. Upend the whole universe and throw all the heroes together in a big fight. Sounds cool, right? Sure. And I bet it sold like hot cakes. A chance to see Spider-Man, Captain America, The Thing and Ben Gallagher all fight Dough Boy, Red Skull, and Avalanche no doubt equaled a nice spike in sales, and plenty of direction for the respective players, when the dust settled. But be it the editors, or the powers that be behind them. what was a once-in-a-decade deal has now become a yearly escapade. And it drags down the whole industry with it. And where it used to be a single book to encapsulate the ruckus, thanks to those editors, it now permeates the entire line of comics coming out.

I’ve been truly enjoying Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man now for two and half years. But lately, the books have been disjointed, discombobulated, and terribly boring. Fear Itself has consumed it, and because I’m not interested in Marvel’s excuse to dress everyone up in spikes and Tron lines. I’m buying a book that makes little sense. And when the crossover is over, I’ll invariably have to suffer for at least an issue or two more to deal with the eventual fallout. And the whole time, I can’t help but see the puppeteer’s grimy hand placed sorely up Matt Fraction’s asshole.

And yes, I know he is the lead architect/writer of Fear Itself. But I doubt he walked into the editor’s office with the pitch saying “This needs to bleed into seven different mini-series, and 13 other books.” The fact is with each passing summer “epic,” the publishers invariably encompass more and more books. And every time they do it, it stops any forward momentum on a series cold.

Invincible Iron Man was an amazing deconstruction of Tony Stark, full of intrigue, new and old villains, and a strong cast of supporting characters. Thanks to Fear Itself, I’ve had to suffer three or four books of Tony building weapons with dwarfs while he drinks. The intrigue? The drama? The 30+ books of character building? Gone with a swing of Odin’s Budweiser and a fight with a mud-monster.

But I digress. With the New 52, DC’s Dan DiDio stuck his neck on the line and said “this is what we need to do to shake things up.” And I whole-heartedly agree. But he chose to end the current continuity by way of one of those aforementioned epics, and then give all of us a do-over on his “One Year Later” trick. Remember that? And to boot, while countless writers sit on the sidelines waiting for a chance to shine, Dan hands himself a job on OMAC.

I’m curious. Did he pitch the book to himself? If the editors exist to challenge their artists and writers to make the best books possible, if the New 52 was supposed to exist to make it not only easy for new readers to jump in, but to hold the industry to a higher standard of quality. How do books like Voodoo, Hawk and Dove, Mister Terrific, and Grifter get published?

Furthermore, what about the books that were universally “meh’ed” like Red Lanterns, JLI, Catwoman, or Red Hood and the Outboobs? Did the editors really sit back at their desk with the assembled pages, and say “now here’s a book I am proud of” or did they just get the damned thing done and hope for the best?

Stay tuned next week, when all the ComicMix columnists will be editorially mandated to write on the same topic: Honey Badgers!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MARTHA THOMASES: Must The World Have A (Mrs.) Superman?

The staff at my regular comic shop wants to know what I think about the DC re-launch. I’ve been shopping there for decades, and I buy DC comics every time I go in there. I don’t only buy DC, but I buy almost everything they publish.

That’s the way it’s been for me for more than 50 years. I’ve liked Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman and the Legion of Super-Heroes for that long. As I’ve grown up, I’ve liked other characters, and I’ve learned to follow not just the heroes I like, but also the writers and artists.

So here’s what I tell them when they ask me what I think: “It doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Superman has relaunched once in my lifetime. I can’t count how often Wonder Woman has been rebooted. The Legion is so complicated that I have trouble keeping it straight and I’ve been reading it for 50 years!

I predict that, within five years, everything that’s important will be the same in the DC Universe as it is now, or as it was at some time in the past.

In the meantime, DC’s publicist, David Hyde, is kicking ass with his publicity efforts. I hope that enough people sample the new comics to see if they like them. It’s been a very long time since new readers have been courted so aggressively.

Unfortunately, there is one aspect of this I don’t like. Dan Didio and Jim Lee have described their characters as “brands.” This is the way the MBAs who run Warner Bros. talk about their properties, and I understand how, when one wants to appear savvy to one’s boss, one appropriates the bosses’ jargon.

“Brand” is a marketing term. Tide is a brand. Nike is a brand. It’s a corporate identity that promises consumers something they want, whether that something is reliably clean clothes or athletic shoes that let the wearer perform like a superstar.

Superman is not a brand. He’s a character. He’s a character that changes according to the whims of the creative teams making his stories. He may implicitly promise consumers something they want (truth, justice and the American way), but he keeps them as readers because of his human qualities, the details of his life that fascinate us, amuse us and excite us.

As his publicist, I observed these phenomena in the 1990s. When Clark Kent and Lois Lane got engaged, the world went crazy. They didn’t do this because of branding, but because it was a sweet, human story. It’s always been my opinion that the reason the “Death of Superman” story was such a big deal was not because Superman died (he’s died plenty), but because the public had been following his relationship with Lois, and felt the loss along with her.

I’ve enjoyed Superman’s marriage. I enjoy stories of happy couples, whether they are detectives or ghosts or super-heroes. Millions of people watched Smallville to see Clark and Lois get married.

So I’m disappointed that the marriage will no longer be. That said, I trust Grant Morrison to write great stories.

And I’d bet we see another marriage in my lifetime.

Martha Thomases, Dominoed Daredoll, would also like to see The Dibnys’ back.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

As we’ve reported, DC is restarting all their titles in August… which makes everybody wonder: how is the DC Universe going to change now?

Luckily, we actually received a copy of an internal memo addressed to Dan DiDio about some of the changes (that will help bridge that gap with newer readers looking for more reality and accessibility to the DCU) we’ll be seeing after September. Here are the highlights:

  1. Lois and Clark won’t be married anymore. In the new Superman mythos, Clark Kent ends up with Pete Ross. They live in “Boysville” in the low-rent district in Metropolis. Clark’s newer costume will actually double as his “rave-wear” when he and Pete go clubbing on the weekend.
  2. Lex Luthor will never have been President of the United States of America. He will also sport his red locks once again, as he’s not only the founder of Lexcorp Hair Treatment Centers of America… he’s also a member.
  3. Dick Grayson will be de-aged back to 16, where he’ll once again assume the mantle of Robin… for one day. Jim Gordon figures out that Bruce Wayne, the man seeking to make young Grayson his ward, is in fact Batman… because who the f’ else would traipse around Gotham’s seedy underbelly with a minor in a yellow cape? He quickly arrests Wayne for child endangerment. Grayson is sent to the Gotham orphanage where he’ll befriend a beleaguered Freddy Freeman.
  4. Hal Jordan will continue as Earth Sector 2814’s protector… but the Green Lantern power rings will be prone to weakness against yellow, wood, garlic, and especially plaid.
  5. Green Arrow will now use a sniper rifle, because, face it, a bow and arrow to hunt super villains? LAME. He’ll also sport a Justin Bieber haircut, and ditch the Van Dyke… cause kids these days like a clean cut youtuber to such follicle faux pas.
  6. As part of DC’s new digital strategy, Wonder Woman’s series will be released only on YouTube, as an all “topless” motion comic. It’s been described as “like the Gotham Girls animated shorts, but with a revenue stream.”
  7. (more…)

How Are We Going To Save The Comic Industry? Flashpoint Buttons!

Dateline: Dallas. The ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. Improving comic stores and growing the market were the themes at this year’s ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. Comic book retails descended upon Texas to meet with over 20 sponsors… including top comic publishers and distributors. This year’s topic? “Ideas for marketing and metrics to improve efficiency in comic book store sales.” Simply put: How do we get our asses out of the fire, just a little bit longer?

Many notable names and faces spoke, including Spawn’s creator (you do remember Spawn, don’t you?) Todd MacFarlane, IDW’s CEO Ted Adams, as well as DC big-wigs, Dan Didio and Jim Lee. While we won’t bore you with all the details… suffice to say? We’re not holding our breath for a revolution. As tablets become prevalent with hipsters and the Beiber-clan, so will digital comic distribution. And while the big boys have made a few comments regarding integration of digital comic purchasing THROUGH comic stores… face it. If you can buy comics in your underwear in mom’s basement, or have to actually put on pants… we’re betting at  least SOME people will choose to stay home. That’s less business for the stores. With 2010 comic sale’s down from the year before, and many stores facing diminishing returns… it was DC’s marketing initiative that caught our eye.

So, what did DC bring to the table to help the local comic store drive the unwashed masses to their brick and mortars? Buttons! Glorious Flashpoint buttons! Less plastic then those Blackest Night rings you all died to get… But perhaps with a pointy end, allowing you to proclaim to the world your love of Cyborg,  or Casino-Batman via your trendy messenger bag.

This is supposed to drive us back to the stores in droves? This is what will save a dying comic store from shutting it’s doors? 2 cents of plastic and tin, with nifty logo celebrating yet-another-crossover we’ll likely mock and or forget by next year? Well ComicMixers… what do YOU think?

The Point Radio: Oh! He’s That Guy!!

The Point Radio: Oh! He’s That Guy!!



Right now, you’ve probably recognized the picture of Willie Garrison above. He’s been in a ton of TV shows from SEX IN THE CITY to X-FILES and now he is a big part of WHITE COLLAR on the USA Network. Willie talks about his career as a character actor and why you should be watching WHITE COLLAR. Plus more with Katie Aleston from THE LEAGUE and WONDER WOMAN gets a greenlight.

And be sure to stay on The Point via iTunes - ComicMix, RSS, MyPodcast.Comor Podbean!

Follow us now on and !

Don’t forget that you can now enjoy THE POINT 24 hours a Day – 7 Days a week!. Updates on all parts of pop culture, special programming by some of your favorite personalities and the biggest variety of contemporary music on the net – plus there is a great round of new programs on the air including classic radio each night at 12mid (Eastern) on RETRO RADIO COMICMIX’s Mark Wheatley hitting the FREQUENCY every Saturday at 9pm and even the Editor-In-Chief of COMICMIX, Mike Gold, with his daily WEIRD SCENES and two full hours of insanity every Sunday (7pm ET) with WEIRD SOUNDS!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LIVE
FOR FREE or go to GetThePointRadio for more including a connection for mobile phones including iPhone & Blackberrys.

Bob Harras named DC Comics Editor-In-Chief

Bob Harras named DC Comics Editor-In-Chief

Yowza…

New York, NY, September 27—Robert Harras has been named Editor-in-Chief, VP, DC Comics, it was announced today by DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. Harras will oversee editorial for DC Comics, DC Universe, MAD Magazine and Vertigo and will be based in New York City, reporting directly to the Co-Publishers. Harras becomes the company’s first Editor-in-Chief in nearly 10 years since the position was held by Jenette Kahn from 1981 to 2002.

“Bob Harras’ personal and creative integrity is respected and renowned throughout the comic book industry,” said Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “As an editor, he provides invaluable insight into storytelling and character.”

“We could not be more excited to make this announcement,” said Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “Bob is a tremendous evaluator of talent, character and story. He is a proven leader who brings a keen understanding of the marketplace to the position.”

Prior to being named Editor-in-Chief, Harras was the Group Editor, Collected Editions at DC Comics.

Before joining DC Comics, Harras was the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics from 1995 to 2000.

Countdown to Breach revival in 3… 2… 1…

The Point Radio: 100 Movies To See Before You Die

The Point Radio: 100 Movies To See Before You Die

The ever popular YAHOO MOVIES site has released a 100 Movie list that serves many purposes. It’s a great conversation piece, a nice look at film classics from the last two decades and an amazing shopping list for NetFlix. Managing Editor Sean Philips explains just how the list came together and what happened when some biggies didn’t make the cut. Plus KICK ASS slides ahead in the Box Office and Marvel unleashes a wall of X-MEN first issues.

And be sure to stay on The Point via iTunes - ComicMix, RSS, MyPodcast.Comor Podbean!


Follow us now on and !

Don’t forget that you can now enjoy THE POINT 24 hours a Day – 7 Days a week!. Updates on all parts of pop culture, special programming by some of your favorite personalities and the biggest variety of contemporary music on the net – plus there is a great round of new programs on the air including classic radio each night at 12mid (Eastern) on RETRO RADIO COMICMIX’s Mark Wheatley hitting the FREQUENCY every Saturday ay 9pm and even the Editor-In-Chief of COMICMIX, Mike Gold, with his daily WEIRD SCENES and two full hours of insanity every Sunday (7pm ET) with WEIRD SOUNDS!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LIVE
FOR FREE or go to GetThePointRadio for more including a connection for mobile phones including iPhone & Blackberrys.

 

 

Superman’s powers explained and DiDio on Outsiders: ComicMix Quick Picks for 10/5/09

Superman’s powers explained and DiDio on Outsiders: ComicMix Quick Picks for 10/5/09

It’s been a slow few days in comicsylvania, so here’s a roundup of the last few days:

It can’t possibly have been that slow the last few days. What else did we miss?

SDCC: Neil Gaiman Writing ‘Batman’

DC held out till the very end of Comic-Con to drop its biggest bit of news: Neil Gaiman is returning to the publisher for a two-issue Batman series with artist Andy Kubert.

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? will serve as a transition point between Batman R.I.P. and whatever comes next. Dan DiDio shared a little with Newsarama:

Newsarama: Dan, obviously the title is a reference to Alan Moore’s Superman story, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Are there parallels between this story and that one?

Dan DiDio: There are a number of parallels to that. There’s a very particular reason why we call it that, and that information will be coming out later on, but with this, we wanted to get someone of that particular stature to tell this story, a story that will really define the years of Batman’s life.

And Gaiman has posted about it on his blog, though he’s even less forthcoming:

So I don’t have to write lots and lots of emails back to all the journalists:

1) Yes, I am writing a two part Batman story.

2) Yes, Andy Kubert will be drawing it.

3) Yes, it will be two oversized issues.

4) No, I don’t plan to say anything else about it until it’s all written and drawn.

(I just called my Visa card to fix something, and found myself being asked if I was the Neil Gaiman. I said yes, I was. "So," said the Visa person, "Are you going to be writing an episode of Dr Who?")