Comic Fodder

Looking Ahead with the DCU: A Look at Con Reports

Does Dan Didio enjoy going to comic conventions more than dealing with the actual comics he prints? It's difficult to say, but he sure isn't shy about headin up panels at conventions. Bully for him.

With the New York Comic Con now come and gone, and WonderCon happened as well. Heck, we even had Staple! here in lovely Austin, Texas and I had planned to go, but didn't make it.*

Part of what provoked this particluar post was Occasional Superheroine pointing out an announcement which seems to have not made a ping on the radar. Eddie Berganza is off Supergirl as Editor and Matt Idleson is on. Go read the post. We'll be here when you get back.

Readers of Comic Fodder as well as readers of comic-related stories on the interweb may recall a brou-haha centering around Eddie Berganza's now infamous Supergirl DC Nation column. We even came down a bit hard on Mr. Berganza here, and will now confess that Mr. Berganza's editorial decisions have occasionally left us in a funk since his Superman days. In my own little mind, I like to think the personal web logging community may have assisted in producing a new editorial direction.

Matt Idleson, however, seems far more interested in shoring up the core of the Superman mythos than letting big name creators run wild over the Super-titles. He's worked with busiek and Johns to bring a distinctly 00's-vibe to the Silver Age conceits of Superman, as well as not-quite-seamlessly integrating elements from the well-known films.

Only the first issue will tell readers if Idleson's leadership will recreate Supergirl as a title to get readers excited once again (this thing was selling 100,000 copies not too long ago).

Really, the WonderCon '07 Newsarama run-down is worth checking out for at least a hint of where your dough might be going in the next several months, and seeing that DC is addressing some editorial loose ends.

DC also revealed posters, which have since seen the light of day as in-house print ads, suggesting storylines for the upcoming weekly series, Countdown.

of course he must...

DC had previously released the largely symbolic piece of teaser art , and then the "Dang, that looks exciting!" art leading up to Countdown. What's interesting is that we know Countdown is leading up to some big event, which pretty much means DC is jerking our chain like nobody's business by now hyping an event with two prior events (52 and Countdown) leading up to the end of Countdown, in more than a year.

From Newsarama:

Dan Didio inadvertently answered that the Flash in the teaser image released several weeks ago is Barry Allen and Red Robin is Jason Todd..

He was then needled by Bob Wayne for it.

Oops. Didio attempted to retract the statement at WonderCon, but it sounds like the cat may be out of the bag.

As exciting as that sounds for current readers and as a way to retain current readers, it sounds like a bit of a nightmare for new readers to jump on board in the middle of a multi-year event. That said, this reader is fascinated with the idea of a central, continuing backbone for the DCU as a point of reference. Didio seems to understand that the success of many television shows hinges not on the episodic quality, but on the continuing thread, such as Friends' "Rachel & Ross" storyline or X-Files' search for Mulder's sister.

Five plot threads are currently being pitched as part of the Countdown event. All that is known at this time is really what's on those posters:

Jimmy Olsen Must Die! - Jimmy Olsen, polarizing figure? Comic fans without a taste for the Silver Age may not get too excited about a guy who exclaims "jeepers!" and gets his dates ruined by turning into a werewolf, but Jimmy works as well today as ever, in the right context. He's still the over-enthusiastic newbie with a penchant for getting in over his head. And, he works ina lamost scenario you throw at him.

The Search for Ray Palmer - Ray may have been more essential to the DCU than anybody realized. He was intellect over brawn, and without Batman's mean-streak. Readers wanted more Ray after Identity Crisis. DC did a smart thing taking him off the playing board for a while.

Unto Man Shall Come... A Great Disaster - The New Gods will play a big role in DC's next year. You simply can't go wrong with proto-Vader Darkseid as a villain. In many ways, Darkseid has never really been able to live up to his potential as a planet-shattering nihilist. Let's see what DC delivers.

Villains Defiant - I can't identify the two arms, but i can recognize a scene from the classic film "The Defiant Ones" when I see it. Could also be a good night at Austin's own Oil Can Harry's. You never know. Is Gail Simone on this? She should be.

Seduction of the Innocent - Oh, DC. Do you really not know any better, or are you just @#$%ing with us now? Even avid readers of DC Comics may not have seen much of Mary Marvel outside of the current Jeff Smith Shazam series (which, from anecdotal evidence, appears to be getting much better footing than Winick's new X-TREME Shazam). She was also used in Giffen and Co's "Formerly Known as the Justice League" mini-series. But do we really need to ponder the sexual implications of the School Girl in a cape paired with "Seduction of the Innocent"? Ugh. Of course, it all depends on who will handle the series and how. And that appears to be the arm of Jean Loring/ Eclipso... so... I'm just waiting for this time bomb to go off when/ if DC missteps on this one.


DC also acknowledged (in a way) that the latest Wonder Woman re-launch has been a mess. Sounds like they're working to fix that. I don't believe I saw much mention of The Flash, aside from the Barry Allen bit, which is either very good or very bad. The Flash is a DC staple, and this kind of low-profile is sort of spooky.

Also of note was a fairly detailed discussion of DC's plans for straight-to-DVD animated movies featuring stories from DC's library of comics. First up, geeks will have an opportunity to pick up the "Death of Superman", which already promises to be free of much of the extraneous nonsense tacked on to the original comics (and indicative of the "shield numbering system" days for Superman's four monthlies). Creative forces and voice talent behind the animated series appears to be top-notch, and may prove to be a step-up from the recent Marvel animated exploits, which have received a luke-warm reception.

This reader is personally very excited to see a "New Frontier" movie in the works, and sincerely hopes it assists Warner Bros. in determining the vibe for any upcoming live-action JLA films, also announced at the New York Comic Con.

Did anything else grab readers from Panel reports? Did anybody attend? Speak up! Chime in. Critiize. Come on, I can take it.

* I didn't make it to Staple! as the weather was lovely. I shall play my "flaky, Austin-Guy" card on that one. I just couldn't spend the day in a hotel ballroom when outside we had 70+ degrees, sunshine and a light wind. It's The Great Outdoors, my comic-loving brethren. Look into it!

The gloves in "Villains Defiant" are the new Trickster and the Pied Piper. Piper doesn't like Trickster because he hasn't paid his dues to the Rogues Gallery and Trickster doesn't like Piper because he thinks he's over the hill.

-- Posted by: PiecesofArzt at March 16, 2007 9:48 AM

The forearms were so pumped up, it didn't look much like the more recent depictions of either character. After writing the post, I looked at the hi-res picture and saw the Trickster's glove, but I didn't know if it was the new Trickster or old Trickster.

Any word on who is writing the Villains Defiant section?

-- Posted by: ryan at March 16, 2007 12:15 PM