Comic Fodder

Dan Didio is Trying to Melt My Brain

editor's note: I had originally planned to include this as a bit at the beginning of the second part of my end-of-year wrap-up, but I've decided that this item should really get it's own special coverage.

Dan Didio left this little gem for us to ponder at Newsarama:

NRAMA: So – fundamentally, “Batman R.I.P” did not end in Batman #681?

DD: Correct. We have the two parts that we’re in the middle of now, and they lead us into Final Crisis #6 which gives us a definite conclusion to the Batman story. That’s how Grant designed the story from the start, and that’s how the story plays out. So, the people who are looking for the big finale, the stuff that Grant was talking about – he knows how big an ending he has, because he wrote it in Final Crisis #6. That story has been so planned out that it reflects events from the pages of Final Crisis #1 in order to pull it all together.

Dan... (can I call you Dan?) I'm going to tell you this as part of my limited professional experience as a project manager dealing with clients: it's all about managing expectations. And DC pretty much botched that one this year. And this particular example? It kind of summarizes 2008 as a whole coming out of your office.

The instance when the hype has not driven DC toward some catastrophe (minor or major) has been so infrequent, one is left trying to remember what actually seemed to go off as planned. The few things that DID seem to go well were mostly Geoff Johns related, and I think its safe to assume Johns is a self-managed industry unto himself at this point. In short: nobody can let you take credit for Johns' success anymore.

To knock the Batman RIP problem out quickly, it would have been much more about doing less...

1) Do not create a checklist of titles which supposedly connect, but in no way connect with your event (Detective, Nightwing, Robin, etc...)
2) When creating said checklist, if Final Crisis #1 and #6 are vitally important to your tale, and, in fact, contain the conclusion to your story, its handy to add those items to your checklist
3) Do not hype such an event in general. You're only setting yourself up for fan's declaring the series was a disappointment

But, mostly... can anyone really believe anything Didio says as he heads to Newsarama for Spin Alley?

Apparently whatever tiff Didio and Morrison were in ended well enough. Rich Johnston reports that Morrison is bringing Frank Quitely with him when he returns to mainstream Batbooks. Beware the knowledge that everything between end of RIP/ Final Crisis and Morrison's return is most likely just filler (but with Gaiman and O'Neil on board, this Batman fan isn't complaining).

The bottom line is that this sort of thing has become all too common at DC, and it seems somehow fitting that under Didio, two years' worth of Batman comics would end in a flurry of tie-ins that went nowhere, a story that was full of potential from a great writer, but the ending is occurring off-panel from the actual Batman comic book, there are rumors swirling of forced re-write, and that in order to quell the masses, Dan Didio had to take to interwebs and try some sleight of hand, insisting that his company DIDN'T just release a colossal narrative failure, that we just haven't seen the real end and that we should have guessed it was actually going to wrap in the pages of Final Crisis all along....

...sometimes you just want to slap the goatee off the man.

Going to Newsarama and pretending this is all S.O.P. for comics, when we have a pretty darn clear picture of how a comic book story is told (you might be new to comics, Dan, but comics stories don't usually end in a completely unrelated title) is just ridiculous, and it makes us all look bad.

So here's my theory:

Dan Didio is now just messing with my head. He's not even trying to stick with anything resembling reality anymore.

Far better than some Orwellian management of information, he knows that he, and he alone, has the ability to make sense of the mysterious moves at DC, and why not just call up Matt Brady and see what the craziest thing is he can get into print by the end of 2008? Hell, I'd do the same thing.

What's Brady going to do? Question Didio?

Well played, Dan. Well played.

I look forward to your declarations that Kiwi birds make the best editors and that the entire DCU is held together by the same product Alexander Luthor used in his COIE jheri curl.


Questions? Comments? Hate mail?

Come on, I can take it.

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Ryan is an Op/Ed columnist for Comic Fodder. He keeps his comics and himself in Austin, Texas where he manages the long running blog League of Melbotis.

He likes Superman.

You can reach Ryan (aka: The League) at theleague.cf@gmail.com

It would seem that he's succeeded. Clearly, it's part of some evil plot that will only be revealed in a title that is not remotely related.

-- Posted by: Mike Shields at December 16, 2008 11:40 AM

I don't know. I find it hard to be sympathetic to your cause, when Marvel has made an even worse mess of things.

I don't want to ever read a comic written by Bendis again!

(Thankfully, Dannyboy doesn't feel the urge to write the silliness that he steers us through...)

-- Posted by: TonyJazz at December 16, 2008 7:59 PM

Well, TonyJazz, I admit I haven't been reading Secret Invasion, but from what I hear, it sounds like things didn't really resolve or some such.

I actually am working on my "end of year" list right now and had addressed the Bendis issue. hope you stop in and comment!

-- Posted by: Ryan at December 16, 2008 10:20 PM