Dan DiDio

Dan DiDio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kids, I’ve been on Dan DiDio’s case as much as anyone else in the blogging and reviewing communities. I’ve written articles getting on his case, and he or his decisions been parodied in Jake & Leon  There are so many things that have gone wrong under his tutelage, from Infinity Crisis to the New 52. Some of the best writers DC had are leaving the company and long-time DC fans are less than happy about some of his decisions and comments. He’s brought back characters nobody asked for because he and his crew grew up with them, but they’ve been given a grim. cynical remake that does them no justice.

Brian Heinz, also known as That Guy With The Glasses “Last Angry Geek” and host of Comic Book Issues recently started a Twitter campaign trying to get the hashtag “#FireDiDio” trending, and people have risen to the cause.

I understand and for the most part agree with Heinz’s view on DiDio’s failings and it’s nice to see all these people speaking out on it. But as much as I wouldn’t miss Didio, that’s only part of the problem, and a lot of it comes from higher on the ladder than him.

Let me post one of the Jake & Leon comics that points to a different comic company but is relevant to this commentary.

Sometimes you need a defense against disappointment.

Sometimes you need a defense against disappointment.

Turns out Leon wasn’t wrong. (And for new readers, that’s not Jake he’s talking to, just some random guy.) Marvel has not undergone the massive change some fans were expecting after Quesada stopped being the Editor In Chief. Axel Alonso didn’t undo the Spider-Marriage, but gave us Doctor Octopus in Peter’s body while Peter died in his. We got AvX, an event that made people wish they were watching AvP instead. (Although people like the Aliens Vs. Predator comics.) The only smart thing Alonso’s done thus far is stay in hiding, while Quesada, like DiDio, liked to push his vision on folks like Obama trying to sell Americans on his health care plan. In both Obama and DiDio’s cases, we kind of have no choice. For one thing, “Obamacare” is officially law, yet he’s still campaigning for it. Politics aside, if we want new Superman stories, DC’s our only choice since its their characters and their universe. As much as we like to think so, we don’t own it, and we can leave it if we want to, like a couple of my fellow Friday Night Fighter, Notintheface and Scott Slemmons have.

Taking DiDio down isn’t going to be enough. I’ve heard people getting on Bob Harras’ case. I haven’t seen enough people complaining about co-EIC Jim Lee’s involvement outside of his questionable superhero fashion sense. (The armor and v-collars…why?) Lee and Creative Director Geoff Johns share his vision for a darker DC devoid  of marriage and non-super human contact, as we discussed yesterday. But that’s only part of the problem, too. The big fail comes from Time Warner, because they also share at least part of DiDio’s vision.

Cavill as Superman teaser image

This is what happens when Martha Kent switched laundry detergent.

While Smallivlle was a little too much about Clark’s life and the people in it and Man Of Steel not enough, both are darker and more cynical takes on the Superman legend. Man Of Steel isn’t just Superman Batmaned, but part of his wandering comes straight out of Bruce’s wandering in Batman Begins and both movies wanted to be set in a more “real” world situation. Smallville started out kind of okay for Clark’s pre-Superman years, until the teen drama/Dawson’s Creek stuff moved in, only to be replaced with tossing DC characters in there willy-nilly while still refusing to break out the Superman suit (and only partly because Tom Welling didn’t want to wear it). Whomever is in charge over at Warner Brothers doesn’t seem to realize what made Superman Returns a fan non-favorite, but does think the problem with their not-Superman movie was not enough Batman. They don’t get how superheroes work and keep putting a guy in charge who seems to hate comic books.

Compare that with Marvel, who has some of the same issues that DC has, but  they at least use marriage…as a cheap stunt I grant you…and aren’t quite as devoted to letting the editors run the show. Not their actions haven’t sent a few people away like Chris Robertson or Roger Langridge but they’ve got nothing on the dwindling list of DC writers. Soon it’s just going to be Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Scott Lobdell, Keith Giffen (don’t get me started on the New 52ed Masters Of The Universe–that’s one “Today’s Comic” review I’m not going to miss writing), and maybe Dan Jurgens for the name. (Because they already tried to railroad Simone once. Actually, now that I think about it, how long is Jurgens going to put up with having his titles cancelled all of the time? What’s he even working on for DC at the moment?)

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #2

I don’t seem to have the movie poster in the media library. I need to fix that.

Meanwhile, Marvel’s animation wing and Movieverse are going strong, worked on by people who at least respect the comic book as a medium. Even Ang Lee’s Hulk movie tried to be a comic book movie and the Avengers was more like a DC story than any of the recent DC movies. Their Avengers cartoon has gotten more praise than any of the DC Nation shows save for Young Justice and Batman: The Brave & The Bold (although you can easily find Batman fans who hated the second one) and they were let go in favor of a Teen Titans sitcom and a Batman cartoon whose CG makes them look like action figures. (Then again, it’s an improvement over Green Lantern but I haven’t caught a lot of either show.) While Marvel has its problems, Disney isn’t screwing them up the way DC is. And DC’s direct to video animated movies have been mostly adaptations (usually popular stuff like All-Star Superman or anything with Frank Miller’s name attached to it…lucky the two fans like and not All-Star Batman & Robin or Dark Knight Strikes Again) or something Johns wrote. Marvel at least changes things up, but they’ve been too busy making cartoons to target the next generation of comic fans and get them interested the way Super Friends did me and the DCAU did for kids of that generation.

So you can’t lay every problem on DiDio. Yes, the writers are being treated like dirt to push DiDio’s vision for the DC Universe that makes things unrecognizable, yes the characters are being treated poorly, yes the dead kids continue to pile up, yes marriages are treated as something nobody should have if they fight crime or save lives, and yes everybody is becoming real-world Batmany jerks. But DiDio alone isn’t the problem. It’s the other editors, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and others that are also the problem plus whomever at Warner Brothers that thinks it’s a great idea and bringing it to their work. One man isn’t enough to bring about the train wreck that is currently DC Comics. They’re pretty much going to have to clean out all of DC Entertainment and the person at Warner Brothers who goes along with this. I’m afraid this problem has no simple solution.

But continue to make your protests heard. If DC won’t fix the problem, maybe some other company will learn from their mistakes and make a better superhero universe. (This is your chance, Red Circle. Seize the opportunity! You’re in the best position.)

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

9 responses »

  1. jake says:

    Marvel’s animation wing is considered crap.

    there’s utter hatred for Ultimate spider man deciding to instead bring Spiderman trade mark charm. replacing it with tired Family guy humor and making everyone he works with a sociopath, the avengers series you’ve mentioned suffered the same face as young justice replaced with a show. which is considered completely bland and replaced likable charters with Falcon.

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    • I did know about Ultimate Spidey’s detractors, and when I reviewed the pilot I mentioned it wasn’t a good idea to add the silly “in Spidey-s head” thoughts. It’s like they’re trying to imitate the previous Teen Titans cartoon while not understanding why it works. I haven’t seen the new Avengers (EMH lost me in season 2 when elements of Civil War and Secret Invasion started sneaking in) and have no interest in Hulk & The Agents of SMASH but I think they all serve the kids well and will possibly lead to checking out Marvel comics. When they’re old enough to read them.

      DC Nation is kind of a joke, though. Beware The Batman might work if everyone didn’t look like action figures and they didn’t stray farther from Batman’s mythos than any version I’ve ever seen. Teen Titans Go! may not be a bad show but it feels more like a sitcom than a superhero show…and that’s all they have outside of JLU reruns on CW’s Saturday morning lineup. And for better or for worse, Marvel’s toons are more fun than DC’s, as are their movies, even the Sony-produced ones. They may not please the average Marvel fan or properly represent the Marvel Universe, but they’re still doing better than DC’s efforts. That’s all I really meant. It’s not perfect, but the better operation.

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      • jake says:

        How is it a joke, original animated shorts from big names in animation between shows. a batman series which you complain saying looks like action figures. Which concentrates on a different part of the batman mytho’s (better then seeing the joker for the 20th time.) i can’t really say that much about the teen titans go series. But how is it like a sitcom bad.

        Marvel’s current shows just have some want to have fun but seem to miss the fact that to they actually need to be fun. Ultimate Spider man is full of sociopaths who decide that they need to constantly try to kill the title character, not really a problem but it’s kind of hard when their his allies. A nick fury who kind of acts like the ultimate voyeur, and if they had any interest of making it fun they would use J.K. Simmons, and Clark Gregg to be actually funny. An Avengers series which tries to copy the movies while forgetting the fact that the movies were actually enjoyable, in other wise characters that the audience can care about. . And agents of Smash…. I have no opinion on i like the general idea but really i haven’t seen anything.

        On the argument that these shows, will get kids to check out marvel comics well fine, they probably will. But that doesn’t excuse them from barely putting any effort in to the shows. And quite frankly that’s worse than anything. It’s not because of Disney these shows are crap. I’ve seen shows on Disney and Disney xd. Phineas and Ferb Gravity falls. Those two series alone try constantly to entertain kids and adults. And succeed constantly. Marvels animated shows can be said to try to entertain Kids and no one else.

        You haven’t even explained why Marvels animated are better when the majority of them seem to have gotten a Luke warm response at best. You keep saying their fun but the fact that you’ve admitted to only seeing ultimate Spiderman and not the other two shows which are suppose to encourage future generations to read comics.

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        • Fair enough. Ultimate isn’t my favorite Spider-Man (I don’t know that I have a favorite since each has something going for it), and it’s not even my favorite Man Of Action production. I’m glad the cartoons, even DC’s, are having more fun with the superhero concept than the comics are. I’ll point to the review I did.

          https://bwmedia.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/pilot-review-ultimate-spider-man/

          Apparently the show took the wrong direction after the review. It might have worked better if it wasn’t Spider-Man, much less one with the Ultimate name put on it.

          Beware The Batman: I wish I had been able to write the pilot review on that, but timing isn’t my friend right now. Yes, I do like that they’re giving the lesser-known Bat-foes a chance (although Pyg…probably not the best character for a kids show, although you can easily say the same for today’s Joker) so they’re not getting everything wrong. I just don’t like the new take on Alfred or Katana taking Robin’s place. And those character models still bug me to know end. I don’t hate any of the DC Nation shows but maybe the writing will grow on me when I finally get to give it a full-blown watch. I probably came off more critical than I intended and I do apologize for that. It still isn’t my favorite Batman show and probably won’t be soon.

          For the record I love the DC shorts…well, most of them. (If I never see that claymation thing again I’ll be happy.) Tales From Metropolis is one of my favorites, and I wouldn’t mind the Amethyst one getting a full series. I have no problems there.

          A superhero sitcom? Also no problem if done right and from what I’ve seen Teen Titans Go isn’t a bad show. I’m one of those people who wanted to see the original show come back and this feels a bit short of that goal. Then again, I also wanted the Teen Titans cartoon to be part of the DCAU and not the goofball action show we got, but it grew on me as it found it’s voice. Go just doesn’t live up to the previous show.

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  2. jake says:

    i apologize if i came across as harsh it is just my opinion that the current animated output from Marvel is severely lacking when compared to dc’s animated out put, i agree with the current view that structure needs to change. but within the output of cartoons Marvel lacks. that is my opinion and i apologize if i came across as harsh..

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    • I wasn’t bothered too much by it. These aren’t the best Marvel shows I’ve seen either, but they are putting more stuff out there. I think it helps that Disney is doing more to support the Marvel brand (regardless of final quality) beyond the comics (which are still lacking, but I was a DC Fanboy until DiDio and friends started screwing everything up) than Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network are with DC.

      Actually, I don’t get Warner Brothers mentality at all. It’s like there’s this huge disconnect between it’s various media companies where Disney’s seems to coordinate better. Disney XD shows the new productions as well as old Marvel shows, while CN has put two DC shows into a one-hour block with a few skits and calls it good. Their old shows are pretty much ignored. I haven’t seen the Filmation or Super Friends shows on the air in years, CW does carry Justice League Unlimited in their lineup and Boomerang has Teen Titans but the other DCAU shows have last been seen on Disney XD (as far back as when it was called Toon Disney) or the Hub (a station partly owned by Hasbro, who makes Marvel’s figures).

      You know, I think there’s another article in the licensing and treatment of the properties. But I didn’t think you went over the edge just yet in your responses. We’re just really passionate about our entertainment. As long as it’s not the most important thing in our lives, we’re still okay. 😀

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  3. […] that #FireDiDio hashtag hit Twitter I made a commentary suggesting the problem was bigger than that. I stand by that. Even the more cheerful DC TVerse […]

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  4. […] I wrote back when the hashtag #FireDiDio was trending on Twitter, DiDio’s leaving only takes out one obstacle to DC Comics […]

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