This Episode: “A Little Piece of Home”
For any of you that pay any attention to my twitter at all and notice the degree of ranting or lecturing I do, thank you for putting up with me, because frankly, I feel like if I didn’t do that, I’d only sparsely contribute to Twitter at all and I know how powerful a marketing tool it can be so I’m trying to simply stay active, gathering as many “friends” for myself and the site as I can. Collaboration is the ticket, after all. But over the past few days or even weeks on twitter, there’s been a movement. An explosion, if you will, to get Mr. Dan DiDio fired from DC. Now, with respect to both sides of the argument, DiDio, folks, have a seat. We all need to have words. DiDio…you first.
Now, in defense of DiDio, I know what he MEANT to say however long ago it was that he remarked that Superheroes shouldn’t have happy personal live. But, Mr. DiDio, sir, as someone who is a fan of common-freaking-sense, I will say this…you chose your words PATHETICALLY. What you MEANT was that Superheroes should not have cartoonishly PERFECT personal lives in which everything is hunky dory and nothing goes wrong. The way you made it SOUND, however, was that all heroes ever must be miserable at almost all times behind closed doors. That’s the message you conveyed.
Now, for the point that you were trying to make, or at least what my take on what I believe you meant, I don’t fully agree or disagree. A good comic, say, Spider-Man focuses, not just on the drama of being a superhero, but the drama they encounter behind closed doors. AND it focuses on how their being a superhero affects their personal lives. For a character like Batman, the idea of sacrificing one’s personal life makes sense. But not all heroes are freaking Batman, sir. Batman WATCHED his parents being murdered two feet away when he was a SMALL CHILD. It’s safe to say that he is perhaps the most justifiably scarred hero in the Justice League. He sacrifices his personal life to assure that what happened to him will never happen to anyone else. But even he isn’t without having happier moments behind closed doors. The Bat Family is just that…a family. Alfred, Barbara, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and so-on are family to him. They bring him happiness and keep him grounded. They are his foundation, so to speak. But why you seem so utterly hard-pressed to make ALL of their lives as grim as his is beyond me.
I don’t want to get into the particulars of this Bat-Woman marriage fiasco too much, but, in short, this was you deciding not to play ball. Because you decided not to play ball, you lost the creative team that was doing its darnedest to make the book as great as it apparently was (I have not read it, I do not need to. The issue is universal). Setting aside, for a moment, the fact that you’re assuming marriage = peachy keen happiness, why does the entire Bat Family have to suffer and struggle in the way that Bruce does personally? There are all manner of ways a person can struggle in their personal lives. Going back to Spider-Man, the guy’s life is anything but easy, made more difficult by the fact that, somewhere down the line, the writers really started hating Peter Parker. But initially he was struggling with paying the mortgage, worrying about GETTING a date, dealing with growing up and all other manner of complications that life can throw at you, especially when you decide to “split yourself in half”. There are other ways that people can struggle. Making everyone in the Bat Family isolated from even having a personal life defeats the purpose of the Bat Family for one, and actually makes them, as Batman’s support, less interesting because then they’re just re-skins of him.
Going back to the subject of marriage briefly. This one, I know, is not just you, DiDio…but the way you went about this had ZERO class, at all. For all the hate we give Marvel’s treatment of the subject, they at least had the decency to try and make a story out of the split between Peter and MJ (however god awful it was) instead of just deciding AT THE LAST SECOND to not let the marriage happen in editing, driving the creative team off. But better yet, just let the two crazy kids get hitched. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate drama into the relationship without it being grating. And I will bet you MONEY; the creative team you drove off had plans for how to do it.
The point is that a hero doesn’t have to sacrifice their personal lives absolutely in order to be a hero. By virtue of what you SAID, you make it sound like, under no circumstances, should a police officer, fire fighter, paramedic, or what have you, be allowed happiness…and now you may proceed to try and work your foot out of your mouth and that pole out of your backside…because that’s just the first hand stuff.
Let’s talk, for a moment, about your Twitter feed. Your twitter IS NOT the official DC Twitter. You are perfectly free to speak how you will. Unless DC’s sales drop as a result of your expressing a lack of content with how things are going, I doubt, VERY HIGHLY, that it’ll cost you your job like so many fans (honestly, myself not withstanding) have been calling for. Your Twitter, in particular your responses to the fans that express contempt towards your little pet project can be summed up in the following phrase. “Hi, I’m Dan DiDio, and I’m DC’s go-to Tool!” You do recognize that, yes? Ya screwed up. Ya drove away a NUMBER of creative teams and lost MANY customers…show some accountability. We fans wouldn’t be half as critical of you if you weren’t so hard-pressed to defend every single action as if Jack Kirby himself told you to do it in a dream and therefore it must be okay. Just say it for ONCE in your history with DC. “I was wrong”. PLEASE say it. I know your ego’s as fragile as wet tissue paper but it’s really all I’m asking of you.
Now…fellow fans…I want to start by telling anyone that’s just a DC Apologist to leave because the bulk of you will probably explode at what I’m about to say. Whether that be in glee or in rage is up to you.
To those of us who are/were supporting the “#FireDiDio” trend on Twitter…get this. DC is owned by Warner Bros. Warner Bros is THE rival to Disney…the Disney that owns Marvel and Star Wars. As Jimmy stated in Episode 10 of Comic on the Dot, the sheer amount of “Absolute Power!” Disney has is ludicrous…and Warner Bros can rival it. Warner Bros IS NOT going to do a THING just because of a hashtag. And I’m sorry but a minor dip in DC’s profits isn’t going to do anything either. Does that mean we lose? No. Does that mean we give up? HECK no. It means we just gotta find a way to play smarter. The simple fact is that Dan DiDio is making DC money. DC’s profits took such a huge bump when New 52 came around, that the dip it took well into New 52’s run is still more money than they were making before the reboot happened. We, the fans, shouldn’t stop what we’ve been doing. It’ll hold water. But if we want to do anything, a hashtag and a minor price drop isn’t going to help. We’ve gotta play ball too. We should be finding ways of showing that there were other ways of making money WITHOUT alienating the fans they already had and I am not talking about apologist butt kissers who will follow every move they make. I am talking about fans who, like me, will scold DC when they pull something this freakin’ stupid. The amount of money DC stands to make from creating the equivalent of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe as I have proposed before would have been infinitely more than the money made from this reboot. Why? They’d be attracting new fans WITHOUT alienating old ones and driving them away from books.
“But the multiple universes are too hard to keep up with!”
People…the way DC traditionally HANDLES alternate universes is what makes it so difficult. If it was really that difficult, then the Ultimate Universe, however sucky it may or may not be right now, would not still exist. It’s as simple as that. Clearly, people are buying them. I have more than one acquaintance who like both the 616 and Ultimate Spider-Man comics and know the ins-and-outs of both and can RECITE them to you. Showing them the figures is what’ll make a difference. We don’t live in a world of sincerity, sadly. We live in the world where major organizations, even ones geared toward entertainment, care about money more than a following. DC simply has to get better at handling multiple universes, and the way to do THAT is to not be so determined to make them cross into one another. But it does work and the only idea I can think of for DC not doing it is that they don’t want anyone to say that they’re blatantly copying Marvel…even though both companies have already BEEN blatantly copying one another for at LEAST two decades now.
DiDio, come back in here, this is for both parties. I keep hearing Earth-2 is a great book. I have no interest in it but many view this as the pinnacle of how an alternate universe book should be handled. So the idea is simply this. Bring back the old DCU and keep New 52 as a separate universe. Iron out some kinks in both and there you go. Money WILL be made from this. You’ll be winning back old fans, keeping the ones you hooked with New 52, and everyone will be happy. No one will have to call for your head as long as you don’t pull stupid crap like this again. This is quite honestly the ultimate compromise. Give Geoff Johns or someone else who respects his or her fellow creative teams the oversight over the “Old” DCU. You can keep the New 52 Universe and iron it out…but I really REALLY suggest you work on your communication skills so things like losing creative teams and your twitter backlash don’t happen again.
Until I see some change in that direction or at least close to it, I’m not satisfied with the way things are being run at DC. You may dismiss this as just the ramblings of another obviously biased fan, DiDio, but I am honestly concerned that you guys at DC don’t know what you’re doing wrong. Fans, raging at the man isn’t going to do ANYTHING. AT ALL. If we want some change, we’ve got to be willing to play ball and compromise. It’s as simple as that. If there are ways you can think of that will get DC more money while supporting our cause, show ‘em, because otherwise, we’re not going to see that change.
Until that change comes, stand on whatever side of the debate you wish. I’d prefer the debate didn’t need to exist…but it does. If DiDio doesn’t start showing some accountability and start running things more tightly, I’ll continue to support the “#FireDiDio” movement. But I am not unreasonable and I am nothing, if not practical. So I acknowledge that all said movement does, for the time being, is allow me to vent. Therefore, I am willing to seek out a middle ground, because there has to be one. Don’t just rage. Contribute something meaningful. To quote Jimmy again, “Use your %$&@ing Noggins!” It really isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Thanks for your time, guys,