Dan DiDio’s late night Batwoman and Breaking Bad truth bombs

batwoamn jh williams iii
As the mainstream media continued to make hay over Batwoman’s banned wedding, DC’s co publisher Dan DiDio took to twitter last night to give his side of things. If you’ve ever been to a DiDio-led DC Nation panel you’ll recognize his brand of brisk confidence and moving on. Probably the most telling tweet—and the one the most people emailed to us— was this, which pretty much lays down the “appearance of change” mandate that so many licensed character work under.

So you know, shocking change, maiming, death, sidekicks turning evil…just nothing “real time” about characters progressing in their lives.

This may be a little hard to swallow—and the increasing use of “season” planning, the soap opera pacing and finite endings of most episodic TV and their comic book spin-offs like Buffy and X-files seems to support a more evolutionary approach to characters. Yet it is understandable that these ginormous franchise character—now so valuable to Warner Bros bottom line—would have a lot of scrutiny. Still, reading DiDio’s tweets, he did make it seem as if the one of a kind, unparalleled art of Williams—which has, let’s face it, been synonymous with Batwoman for her entire run—was completely interchangeable with some guy from Space Goat or some other busy art studio.

Of course, don’t cry for JH Williams. Like the lover man standing by with flowers and a reservation at Pre Se after his target has been ditched, Brian Bendis was there waiting:


WIlliams’ made it clear his work on the Sandman prequel wouldn’t be touched—presumably it’s already in the can and the book is far far far too important to DC to tinker with. Still, that was a bit of a bridge burner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DiDio saved his biggest shocked for the end however.

Comments

  1. Erik Scott says:

    The amount on vitriol he seems to constantly be at the center of, it’s amazing that he wears the suit of teflon like he does. Bigger man then I could be.

  2. Jeremy Henderson says:

    I hope he remembers his “change is good to renew energy” mantra when they finally hand him his walking papers.

  3. Ted Tawx says:

    We know DiDio is all about Rubicon

  4. So…did not one person call them out directly and say “Why is DC Comics against showing a woman who loves another woman make it a legally binding union?” This question needs to be phrased in a way they can’t squirrel out of, and asked often until they answer. This time it’s rather important. I don’t understand a company that would turn a character with a family and children gay for the New52 newness of it, but considers lesbian marriage a bad thing.

  5. Whatever says:

    How come Animal Man can be married with kids and the gays can’t? What double standard? Didio is a clown those creative shake-ups are brining a lot of fresh energy to books, right? New offer! DC is looking for someone to draw a page with Kate in a bathtub sans the batcostume. Va Va VA-Voom! Creative energy! New talent! Maybe you? Can you draw seriously DC needs artists to fire…. I mean hire.

  6. Erik Scott says:

    My point being proven by Jeremy Henderson.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if DiDio is a wrestling fan. Sometimes he seems to take an almost Vince McMahon level of pleasure in playing the heel and villain for all the ridiculous hate thrown his way.

    And as much as people with your attitude want it to be true, I seriously doubt his job is any danger anytime in the near future. These are their numbers from July:

    6 months: + 8.3%
    1 year : + 1.7%
    2 years : + 31.6%
    5 years : + 25.4%
    10 years: + 32.4%

    It’s been 2004 since his first promotion with the company from being hired in 2002 and their numbers have only gone up. So you’re wish fulfillment will likely have to hold a little bit longer.

  7. Bunnicula says:

    It’s really easy for people to fly off the rails and furiously type things like “THIS IS THE LAST STRAW I’M NEVER BUYING DC AGAIN ,” so I’ll say this: As a serious fan of DC Comics throughout most of my life, I bought literally every first issue of the New 52 launches and have slowly but surely dropped almost every book. It’s not just because of stunts like this (though, there’s certainly more than enough of that to go around), but also because of a general decline in quality following the relaunch that you can practically FEEL is the direct result of editorial tampering. Or, worse possibly: a complete disinterest from the creators? Who knows.

    Batwoman was essentially the last book from them I bought on a regular basis (I’ve been buying Snyder’s Batman but haven’t read it since the end of Death of the Family), and they’ve now completely burned off any interest I had in it. Meanwhile, Marvel is producing probably the best monthlies I’ve seen from either company in years, so I’m still a happy comic buyer, but it really sucks that the characters I grew up with are appearing in such crap these days. That DiDio is showing yet again that he couldn’t care less about fan opinions is even more distressing. (And to think, his OMAC series is still a New 52 standout for me! Sigh.)

  8. Erik Scott says:

    “Why is DC Comics against showing a woman who loves another woman make it a legally binding union?”

    They aren’t. I don’t know how much clearer they can be then saying the departure of the creative team had nothing to do with the character’s sexuality and everything to do with editorial and creative differences. Which part of “they don’t want to marry any of their characters” is not clear form the above?

  9. Bunnicula says:

    @Erik Scott: It doesn’t surprise me at all that sales have increased. “Injustice,” an infamously dreadful comic, sells like hotcakes, right? But that’s sort of the thing: Stunt marketing (like the 3D covers) and mandated crap might push up the numbers, but it alienates a certain base of serious fans that perhaps shouldn’t be discounted even if they’re not exactly moving the sales needle in significant ways. Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder, for example, have shown that you can sell a quality story, no?

  10. It seems pretty clear that no matter how you phrase the question, DiDio will answer a different one in his reply.

  11. Erik Scott says:

    @Bunnicula – Except determining “quality” as you have stated is largely subjective. I happen to like Injustice. I also like Snyder and Morrison. I also like Batwoman and Wonder Woman. I also like the Green Lantern Books, and Gail Simone’s books and any number of other things. I buy Image books up the wazoo right. You couldn’t pay me to read a Marvel book right now, because I think Hickman and Bendis are two of the most boring writers in the history of comics, and they seem to be running most of the ship there now, just like Johns and Snyder seem to be at DC. Different strokes.

    It’s IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone. IMPOSSIBLE. For ten people who think Snyder is the best thing to happen to Batman in years I can easily find you ten people who think his work is boring, trite, uninspired and unimaginative. For every person who thinks Grant Morrison is a writing god, I can find you another person who says his work is impenetrable. If you think anyone at DC, including DiDio and Harras, start everyday setting out to release 52 shitty books a month, you need to find some perspective. Do I disagree with a lot of the editorial decisions being made – absolutely I do. But I’m also not in charge and life and situations in every workplace are more complex then just right and wrong; good guy and bad guy. Black and white morality doesn’t exist in real life like it does in comics. It just doesn’t. People seem to forget that. Often, When it comes to DiDio and DC.

    If people want to continue to have an opinion that DiDio is just existing at DC to run things into the ground and that he clearly has some nefarious plot to ruin the company, then good look living in that fantasy world where you’ve made him the real life Lex Luthor, essentially. It’s getting to the point where it’s about as hard to have rational conversations with these things with people as it is to have any sort of rational conversation with someone on a Fox News article.

  12. Silly But True says:

    This doesn’t pass the smell test. Further, DiDio actually threw a bunch of back-handed bombs at the Batwoman crew over the past two years. Read those again; especially the various permutations of: “Eisner or not, we need the books to be exciting, entertaining, and part of a shared universe.”

    Aside from the laughability of the “anti-marriage policy” non-policy company line, clearly the implication is that they weren’t exciting, entertaining, and part of a shared universe. Despite the awards that the outgoing Batwoman team has won, specifically. (Maybe those gay awards don’t matter to DC).

    And everyone jumps to the clear example of married Buddy Baker. But, wasn’t the New52 Aquaman married to Mera? I never got the series, but weren’t they still King and Queen (and not in the high-school homecoming king/queen voting sense of a paired couple)? I mean, that would be an even larger A-lister and series headliner than Animal Man was at the time of New52′s launch.

    Silly But True

  13. Nate A. says:

    Reading this I get the impression that Didio doesn’t hold Williams in particularly high regard.

  14. archway says:

    The comment section of that Hollywood Reporter article is terrifying. Casts the tribal-comics commenting/blog scene in an incredibly favorable light.

  15. Taste: it’s something you’re born with you either have it or you don’t.

    In other words the Breaking Bad line says it all, DD has got to go.

  16. Hufnagel0 says:

    @archway – Dunno why I had to check that hollywood reporter article out, but I did, and WOW did that hurt to read. Anyway, didio sounds like a third grader in an argument… I imagine he was mostly thinking “I’m rubber and you’re glue…” while writing those. My biggest gripe is confusing “supporting a character” with micromanaging your writers. It’s well within his rights, the characters are WB property after all. I just think if you only give the top five or so writers any leeway in how a story plays out, the disparity between those writers’ books and the rest of the titles just grows more and more.

  17. I was in the process of dropping most of my Superhero titles, I’ve just lost interest in the Big Two and am in the process of diversifying my reading, but Batwoman was going to be the only title from DC or Marvel that I kept reading. However, as a Queer person I want to see good realistic Queer relationships in media so this stupid anti-marriage policy at DC, along with the loss of Williams and Blackman has made me decide to drop the book when they leave. I’m still looking forward to the new Sandman book and a couple of other things from Vertigo but no more DC Universe books for me.

  18. “And as much as people with your attitude want it to be true, I seriously doubt his job is any danger anytime in the near future.”

    Doubtful. When a controversy such as this one gets attention in more mainstream news cycles, then his job is in jeopardy. That’s why DiDio’s twittering his usual BS spin and deflection so furiously this week. Stop trying to help him out of digging his own hole.

  19. Martin says:

    You know…after being pretty upset with all of the tweets…I did NOT expect that final tweet to me as hard as it did.

    Yes, I’m shallow. Yes, I’m taking it way too personally. Yes, I might be a little insecure. But, haha, wow. That explains a lot. Didio sucks.

  20. http://www.therealbatmanchronologyproject.com/blog/dcs-real-problem-nonexistent-pr-combined-with-didios-lack-of-tact/

    The man’s got absolutely no tact. He creates PR problems. For someone in his position, a prerequisite for having that job should be people skills, which he lacks. I can’t believe they let him run his own twitter.

  21. Welcome to the “Bro-verse” everyone…Corporate comics aren’t for kids, families, women, thinkers, dreamers or your grand-dad anymore! From what I observe they really seem to be nothing more than pre-viz movie/television pitches. So pass the brew, turn on the game and lets talk some more about who Batman’s best “lay” should be…

  22. shipwreck says:

    Wait. Isn’t The Flash still married?

  23. shipwreck says:

    As in married…with children?
    Are they allowed to exist in the DC Universe because they have powers?
    Why not give Batwoman’s fiancée powers, or at the very least Nightwing-like skills? Then, based on the Flash Precedent, their nuptials could proceed and still maintain continuity within the DCU.

  24. Synsidar says:

    My biggest gripe is confusing “supporting a character” with micromanaging your writers. It’s well within his rights, the characters are WB property after all. I just think if you only give the top five or so writers any leeway in how a story plays out, the disparity between those writers’ books and the rest of the titles just grows more and more.

    But the characters being WB property is the issue. The illusion of change policy is only relevant to serialized characters who are more valuable as images to be licensed out and merchandised than they are as characters in stories. If a publisher puts out standalone stories, even a series of them, the illusion of change policy can’t be used, because intelligent consumers won’t buy the stories. Formula fiction stories might be boring to read, to someone who’s familiar with a formula, but they still work as stories. The development and endings are just predictable.

    Time and time again, creators have embarked on a storyline which is interesting, even exciting, and promises to take characters into new and unexplored territory. Then the decree comes down from above that the illusion of change policy is being violated, and the storyline has to stop. The status quo must be preserved, or, if the storyline has gone too far, there must be editorial contortions to restore the status quo. The result is generally the same: disgruntled creators, infuriated readers who were anticipating exciting developments, and editors who appear to have no idea what creative writing involves.

    Pros and fans alike have contributed to the problem by focusing on characters instead of on how they’re used in stories, but without that focus on characters instead of creativity, Marvel’s and DC’s sales might collapse. To me, Batman is just another character, no better in a creative sense than any randomly-selected heroine in a Harlequin romance–only as good as the story he’s in. Many people would disagree with that view.

    SRS

  25. Xenos says:

    @Erik Scott
    “But, wasn’t the New52 Aquaman married to Mera? ”

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/07/aquaman-is-not-married-to-mera-in-the-new-52/

    Also, the Justice League was always at war with Oceana.
    http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/1239/psss.jpg

  26. The Flash (Barry Allen) is not married and has no children in New52. Wally West does not exist.

  27. grubba says:

    nobody was buying batwoman anyway, so who cares. what were the numbers? 25-30 thousand? and everyone is up in arms cause d.c. wont allow somebody to DRAW two women getting married. get a grip people, com out of mommies basement and join the real world.

  28. Hel-luhr says:

    Why does Synsidar sign off every post with SRS?

  29. Silly But True says:

    “Wally West does not exist.”

    Technically true. However, rumor and leaked plans suggest that DC has drafted a “Wally West feasibility” plan — necessary due to the age shift of the New52 characters — and have placed **him** as married with kids, if and when he might show up.

    Silly but True

  30. >> Why does Synsidar sign off every post with SRS? >>

    They’re his initials.

    kdb

  31. Penny Dreadful says:

    Wally West does exist. He is confirmed for Grant Morrison’s Multiversity series.

  32. Penny Dreadful says:

    Another thing: DC’s sales have slipped behind Marvel’s again (a 26 percent market share in April, for instance). The Batman, Superman, and JL titles do fine. Everything else is slipping. Comic sales are up across the board for all publishers because of the improving economy. But the sales at DC really aren’t anything spectacular.

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