Monday, June 16, 2008


This, in my estimation, is how you fix the DCU:

EIC: DiDio. Concentrates on Hollywood stuff and general big picture. He's been working hard the last five years or so, so it's cool if he just wants to coast and let new managing editor handle a lot of the details.

Managing Editor: Ron Perazza, and I'll tell you why: a) former Marvel editor, b) tons of experience running DC's custom publishing line, c) very well-liked by workers and freelance talent, d) great cultivator of new talent, e) extensive marketing experience.

Superman Editor (aka "Geoff Johns Editor"): Covers all Superman and Green Lantern titles.

Batman Editor (aka "Marts"): Handles all Bat-books.

Quirky Editor (aka "That Indie Guy/Gal"): In charge of aggressively pursuing new talent that can revision classic DC characters (a la "Starman"). This is an important role, because in theory a lot of that is R&D for eventual Time Warner movies/TV. Oh yeah, also -- talented people with unique things to say get work.

Team Books Editor: Justice League/Society, Legion, and Titans books.

Etc Editor: Handles a potpourri of assorted solo books. Give this to an associate editor who looks like s/he has the chops.

Johnny DC Editor: this goes to another Associate Editor.

Now --

It is of tantamount importance that all these editors get along and share information.

Incentives should be given to editors to pull in new talent, retain happy older talent, and create cutting-edge new titles. $incentives$ should be given.

And if any editor is caught saying they are tired of being there, are jaded, are just going through the motions, etc., go find another editor. You can't afford jadedness.

On the topic of assistant editors: an assistant editor should be the next generation of editor for your company. Hire and reward accordingly. They are not glorified administrative assistants.

Now --

All the books that have been f**ked by extreme creative changes, etc -- axe them and start clean.

As for the continuity between Final Crisis and the build-up -- that's completely f**ked, so don't even worry about it at this point. Just move past that.

And the most critical element: Making DC's books accessible - top to bottom - increasing their casual and ongoing reader base.


  1. I would make the etc. editor and the team book editor work hand in hand, because most likely many of the solo books would spin out of the teams (Titans, JL, etc), or at the very least out of established "families" (Superman family, Batman family)...otherwise it sounds very much like how Marvel did it in the 80s.

  2. I agree. And doesn't having one editor for each section of the DC Verse seem like a logical thing to have already been doing?

    It really feels as if this is such a simple thing--in idea, I understand the execution requires a lot of work and communication (gasp)--that has been completely lost in favor of a clusterf**k that makes everyone look not only foolish, but unprofessional. I suspect micro-management fudging the works up here.

    And it all just makes the books bad. Think of the books, DC, think of the books.

    Very well written.

  3. I am reminded of a scene in the excellent movie, "CITIZEN X" where the Donald Sutherland character is explaining to the Stephen Rea character why his requests for men, equipment and publicity to catch the Russian serial killer will never be approved. "You are asking them to say that, in methods of crime detection, they are behind the West. And this," Sutherland intones, "they will never do."

    You, Val, are the Stephen Rea character calmly pointing out what obviously needs to be done to fix DC. "And this," I solemnly intone, "they will never do."

  4. Anonymous4:16 PM

    The point you're trying to make here, Val, is absolutely spot on: The DCU is such an easy fix. However, I have to sign what sam said in the previous comment. Fixing the DCU essentially involves following a Marvel model, and that ain't gonna happen.

  5. but just the other week you said this:

    "If the income generated from monthly floppies are not the bread-and-butter of a company like Time Warner -- if it's the intellectual property generated from the floppies that is the prize -- and DC fanboys and fangirls provide steady numbers and dollars for the floppies, how would it benefit the current regime to deviate from that?"

    so if the above is true, what is the 'crisis' in DC's editorial department that will/would force something so drastic?

    yes, i agree that they should be aggressively getting into the movie business - how this has not happened with the synergistic capabilities of being tied to time warner is beyond me. but, on the comics side, i just ask why. DC is the 2nd place comic company. they seem content to stay that way. i feel that your slight doom saying about them is more of wishful thinking for the good of comics, not the imprints behind DC (at least from a $$$ making point of view).

  6. "so if the above is true, what is the 'crisis' in DC's editorial department that will/would force something so drastic?"

    2 reasons -- first, from the "microcosm" perspective -- the industry -- the situation is just as humiliating as hell

    second, at some point the powers that be will catch on to the fact that there's "nothing new under the sun" at the DCU -- no tasty fodder ripe for picking. they've alienated the creators -- the minds, the voices -- and the output suffers, the innovation suffers.

  7. Does anyone else think that maybe its time for Levtiz to step down?

  8. Sound model, but I do question whether DiDio should/would get to "coast" ... on the contrary, it sounds like some aspects of his performance over the past couple of years would require this much of a shake-up.

  9. "This, in my estimation, is how you fix the DCU"

    It's broken?

    "As for the continuity between Final Crisis and the build-up -- that's completely f**ked, so don't even worry about it at this point. Just move past that."

    Again, does this need to be said? I was disappointed by the end of Countdown (Well, not so much disappointed, loved the battle between Darkseid & Orion - truly mythic stuff; just couldn't believe it took 50 weeks to get there.) but I've personally moved on. Maybe it's just me, I don't prefer to dwell on the negatives, particularly those that cannot be changed. And by all accounts, Trinity seems to have learned from the mistakes of Countdown. Then again, I'm breaking my own rule by judging before it really gets going. Either way, I am, as always, along for the ride.

    Oh, before anyone says it - I'm not a DC fanboy. Maybe just, a fanboy, if that is even acceptable anymore.

  10. As someone that isn't as intimately aware of the DC editorial structure, can someone give me a quick idea of how things are now, so I know why this would be a radical change? Because it all sounds super reasonable to me, which means I have no idea why they'd be doing it some other way currently.

  11. But isn't this approach you are advocating a return to the "group editing" from the past? DC used to have a Bat-group editor, a Superman-group editor, etc.

    You have made comments against this model before, so I don't understand your change of heart in the matter. Or is it that the idea has merit as long as the editors are "talking" and coordinating with each other?

    In regards to Didio, he doesn't deserve to coast into anything. His micromanagement has caused the current situation at DC. He should get fired ASAP.

  12. You want DiDio to micromanage Hollywood? Awesome. Can't wait for that JLA movie in 2020.

    You know what I want? I want a fan to take the floor in San Diego or Chicago and rake him over the coals. Relentlessly. There should be a DiDio mob in the DC Nation panels that make him explain his heavy handedness.

  13. Not to be the lexicon police, but I think you mean paramount importance. Tantamount means something else.

  14. Isn't DC broken? The sales I've seen show Marvel whupping financial butt all up & down. Considering that a lot of Marvel events have been prettttty blatant, that is saying something about DC events.

  15. While I'm personally in favor of all comics companies either abandoning or at least de-emphasizing the monthly pamphlet format the main thing I think they can do to "fix" DC is stop doing so many freakin' crossovers and just tell a couple of years worth of self-contained stories within each title.

    Get back to the core basics of fiction writing, let the writers do their jobs without having to bend over backwards to tie everything in to everything else. Stories about the characters, not about epic events the characters are all caught up in.

    Stories that last 1 or 2 or 3 issues at the most, with solid beginnings, middles and endings. Build reader trust again with solid storycraft.

    No more of this Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich/Uwe Boll style storytelling.

  16. Two questions. And if you've said this before, I apologize for repeating.

    1. Paul Levtiz calls you up and says he likes what you had to say and wants to make you an editor at DC comics. Given your history with the company do you say yes?

    2. If yes, which of the options you stated would you be most interested in?

  17. Dan Didio already ran one media company, and no-one's heard much from Mainframe Entertainment in quite a few years (bankruptcy will do that), so I'm not sure moving him into a more responsible position overseeing television or movie productions would be the first choice of those further up the chain in AOL Time Warner.

    As with any enterprise where those involved are pulling in different directions to the detriment of the end product, communication and co-ordination of effort is key. DC is a large company and basic management practices are not beyond their means. There's no need to go throwing people out of their jobs when there's clearly a failing in the overall managerial structure that individuals can't be held accountable for - not unless someone's still pulling the whole 'alpha-male' management routine, because that's just disasterous for team morale in the long run, and creates a factionalised work environment.

    Personally, I think you've hit the nail on the head with the whole 'spine' thing. They're trying to tie the whole DCU together, when I'm not sure that's essential for the good of individual products. A team-up event is fine, but hijacking the entire line to publicise it seems risky at best, and no matter how fantastically great Final Crisis' payoff will be, it won't get back all of the goodwill wasted on a poor run-up - nor will it fix a badly-run office.

  18. "1. Paul Levtiz calls you up and says he likes what you had to say and wants to make you an editor at DC comics. Given your history with the company do you say yes?

    2. If yes, which of the options you stated would you be most interested in?"

    I think it's a moot point in a way, because there are one or two people there who I wouldn't share an elevator with, much less work alongside.

  19. That's about what I figured. Understandable, but too bad. I liked a lot of what you had to say about reorganizing. I don't pretend to understand the intricities of a comic book publisher, but it seemed to make sense.

    But when Warren Ellis, who doesn't normally give a crap about internal comic book issues, starts wondering what's happening at DC (as he did on his Bad Signal email list this morning), and wondering aloud if there are rogue editors (my words) that's my sign that something is going to happen by the end of this year at DC.

  20. I really appreciate your line about "jadedness is the kiss of death." When I was at Marvel in the early 90s I found it very much a culture of being jaded and cynical. To be cool you had to act indifferent, like you were too good for the comics business.

    I distinctly remember two lower-level editorial guys who really stuck out for unabashadly having enthusiasm for comics. They seemed like they really wanted to work at Marvel despite the fact that it somewhat kept them away from the cool kids' table. Their names were Dan Slott and Tom Brevoort.

    Most of us on staff who were too cool to work in comics... are no longer working in comics.