Monday, June 16, 2008

Countdown To Change: Final Crisis

Look, personally, I have no problem with like 85% of DC Comics.

That said, I think their "DC Universe" output is, outside certain pockets of material, a massive train-wreck. Rather, the fabric of the DC Universe is a train-wreck, it has no spinal cord, and there are just some selected good things floating around aimlessly around it.

The case regarding this breakdown has been laid out here far better than anything I could have possibly written. So read that and then come back here (if you wish).

In good times, even if you f**k up a bit, you can coast in a place like DC. But, we are virtually in a recession. It will not stand.

Only one of three things can happen now -- and happen soonish.

1. DiDio leaves
2. Certain editors leave
3. DiDio and certain editors leave

This is not "maybe this will happen one day." This is now. Because you need to just slash and burn what is not working there and start planting seeds now.

Honestly? I would be very surprised if DiDio suddenly left or was forced out. I don't think it is going to happen right now.

Further -- While I thought that DiDio made decisions regarding Identity Crisis, etc, that were short-sighted and misguided -- he never made me feel personally uncomfortable as a woman. Shallow of me I know, to count that as a plus for the old man, but yeah, that's part of how I gauge things. Sorry. He never invited me to a strip club after work with freelancers and then publicly told me I was a "prude" for not coming along, he never suggested that I flirt with and date my superiors in order to get management "off all of our backs," and he never made references to my boobage. So bully for Mr. DiDio, he gets a gold star (or at least a silver one).

Now, do I think DC as a whole, after all these years of under one regime, could benefit from starting over again and getting a true comic book veteran -- maybe someone with some previous experience from another successful company -- in the EIC or at least managing editor seat? Sure. Absolutely. Maybe they wouldn't even have to look that far.

But at least -- DC, get in some new editors. Look at your house and go get some new editors. Look at the scorecard, book-by-book, and get a few new editors, and give some others the chance to do everything they wanted to do had they not clung so tenaciously to their jobs thinking it was the best thing they could ever achieve. And it's not an age thing -- God knows, when Andy Helfer was working there he was more in touch with what the youth culture was really reading than we were, and had he been listened to more DC could have gotten a bigger jump on the manga market. It's a jadedness thing. Jadedness is the kiss of death.

Yeah, it's going to be challenging working with DiDio, but go get some fresh new editors, give them some sort of incentive, and see what happens. I once got a bonus expressly for working with a "difficult editor." That's awesome. Do more of that. Lay the groundwork now. Even if you lay the groundwork now, it's going to take at least a year to heal things, but start now.

Now, DiDio has to trust those editors. He has to. He has to get more fresh go-getters like Marts -- and maybe not even from comics, maybe even from standard publishing or other places in DC -- and he has to trust them. Trust them, nurture them, let them shine -- then take some of the credit. It's the easiest goddamn way to run a division. Get great talent, stay out of their way. Get great talent, stay out of their way. Get great talent, stay out of their way.

Until DC addresses certain things I think they didn't handle effectively, I will always have some sort of a chip on my shoulder about them. I'll be honest with you. I would be lying if I said otherwise. There are certain things that...really, I'm disappointed in. Sometimes angry. Usually just disappointed and resigned about. I think those ineffectively handled things -- I think it plain ol' produced bad karma. And there was bad karma from before that, before I was even there. Seriously. And they have to clean the bad karma out of that department. I'm serious -- to the point where they light candles and hire that midget from Poltergeist. It's that bad.

"Step into the light...all are welcome."


  1. I mean-- I'm a DC guy! I agree though: these things, these Countdowns, for instance, are rubbish. Of course, I thought Civil War was awful as well, so. I mostly eat around it. I read what I like. Hey! Nova! Hey! All-Star Supes! Etc.

  2. Changes should be made I'll agree but, ousting out, that would be a mistake.

    Didio has an energy and perspective on things that DC needs. I've said this once and I'll say it again, you go to a Marvel panel and a DC Nation see which has you hyped up more after it's all over. Didio promotes communication between fans and hell even tries to appease them the best he can (See: Nightwing Infinite Crisis Debacle). I am by no means saying Didio is the best EIC ever but, the man does his job well, he makes you want to buy the comics, and when something works he tries not f with it.

    Now the editors....yeah....something has gotta be done there. The whole Countdown/Final Crisis continuity issues/errors are pretty indicative of the lack of proper communication between the writers and editors up at DC. DC is not Marvel, they can't get away with screwing over continuity as much because people accept DC to be consistent with it's continuities. Tell me I'm wrong but, who do you expect more from when it comes to consistency in storytelling, Marvel or DC.

    Ok, this has gone on a rambling rant. Sorry.

  3. Yeah, they need new editors, but then there's the latest blog on Newsarama where Dixon basically infers that Didio is the problem. He certainly says that it's specifically not Paul Levitz.

    Loose Didio. Loose Winick. Loose Meltzer.

    The fratboy clique there isn't working. Hiring people just because they're friends isn't getting the best product out on the shelves.

  4. My solution? Move Dan up, as Val suggests and hire as EIV the one man who could bridge the gap between Marvel and DC and yet who is liked and respected not only at both companies but across comics in general:

    Jimmy Palmiotti, former partner and still friend of both Quesada and Didio.

    Let Jimmy handle the creative in much the same way he and Joe handled the Marvel Knights project when it first began at Marvel, and I think DC could conceivably start to turn things around.

    Marc Mason
    Comics Waiting Room

  5. Hey, many thanks for the link and the kind words. I'm not much of a commenter -- you know, you think of something smart to say and then think, "I should save it for the next column instead" -- but this is a daily stop for me.

    Apart from that, getting this kind of validation from someone that actually Worked At DC and is in a position to know has left me blushing like a schoolgirl. Thanks, again.

  6. hey, greg, no problem; it was a good post!

  7. Anonymous7:42 PM

    DC needs to hire me...

  8. I write this after I wrote the post in DCU Fix.

    Mordicai - You and I are of the like mind. I read what I like. That's the long and short of it. Although, I thought Civil War was great fun.

    Anyway, it has been almost a year since I've started reading this blog. Started with the first Countdown to Change. I was initially turned off to the blog - felt Countdown to Change was a bit too kneejerk, read too much as if it were written by someone with an axe to grind; which I believe I stated in my initial comment to the blog. Over time, I've grown to enjoy Val's voice, and particularly liked how organic the blog felt at times. Also, I'm the sort of person who likes to see others succeed, so I was along for the ride when Val was brought into Friends of Lulu.

    But here we are, almost a year later, back to Countdown to Change. Another kneejerk reaction to a series only a month in. I can't be here anymore, guys. I'm a positive guy by nature; I tend to reserve judgement until I can accurately see where things are going. Can't jump the gun when we love them twist and turns. I still feel there is an axe to grind, correctly or otherwise. Anyway, peace out, hope I didn't offend anyone much.

  9. Dan-- bummer with the departure.

    I do read what I like, which makes a lot of the hype slide right off. The problem I think is that for some buyers, they BELIEVE the hypemachine. They think if they DON'T buy Countdown (for instance, to beat a dead horse) they will be unable to read other comics. Unable! I think this might be from crossovers past, where suddenly Spider-man issues would start taking place on War World or whatever (what DID happen in Spider-man during Secret War?). I think Joe & Jane Comicbook see a new event pushed heavily in the pages of the funnybooks & decide THAT is the next thing they have to add to the pile. I think this keeps piles small-- Instead of Joe trying out House of Mystery, he buys ANOTHER EVENT title. Instead of Jane seeing what all the fuss is about Iron Fist, she feels obligated to buy SECRET CRISIS again.

    The events have become perceived as the totality. That is a problem for diversification. It feeds into itself.

  10. Regarding this:
    "He never invited me to a strip club after work with freelancers and then publicly told me I was a "prude" for not coming along, he never suggested that I flirt with and date my superiors in order to get management "off all of our backs," and he never made references to my boobage."

    You hear about how bad this stuff is in the comics biz, and think it can't really be that bad — but holy crap.

    Hey, I just found this blog today, so don't make the hiatus too long. Good stuff.