Friday delivered a major shock to the world of comics as Dan DiDio was announced as no longer being the co-publisher of DC Comics, following a 16-year career with the company, under which the comics line was rebooted under the splashy New 52 banner, and its characters emerged into new areas of TV and films. There was almost no information given at the time, but over the weekend, some nibbles have emerged thanks to social media. Unfortunately, none of it has come directly from DC or parent companies WarnerMedia or AT&T. But it appears that the AT&T merger is having a much more profound impact on DC than previously suspected. DiDio has also remained mum, as has Jim Lee, who is now DC’s sole publisher.
One thing that has been confirmed is that DiDio was fired. Bleeding Cool, who first broke the news, reports that he was let go at 10:30 a.m. PST, and he left the publisher’s building in Burbank immediately. DiDio and Lee were expected to appear at the ComicPro expo for retailers on Saturday, but neither showed up. DC did not turn up for its one-hour scheduled presentation, but representatives Vince Letterio and Adam Phillips appeared later for a 12-minute discussion.
Comic book professionals took to social media to shower DiDio with praise. Now, DiDio was a divisive figure and he was not universally liked, but it seems that bygones were bygones. One of the creators that he had reportedly clashed with was ‘Batman’ writer Scott Snyder, but Snyder only had nice things to say, although he did acknowledge that they had had “nuclear fights.”
we had some nuclear fights over the years, sure, but above all, after over a decade working with him, all I feel is gratitude to Dan for his support and friendship. DC will be very different without him.
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) February 22, 2020
Most recently, there had been conflicts over Snyder’s upcoming miniseries ‘Death Metal’ and DC’s next major reboot called “5G” or “Generation Five.” DC and DiDio stated that ‘Death Metal’ would kick off the 5G reboot, but Snyder publically stated that he wanted nothing to do with 5G. As a result, DC scrubbed mentions of ‘Death Metal’ from any official releases regarding 5G.
Most other insiders that commented reiterated that above and beyond all, DiDio loved DC Comics. How did that not line up with the parent conglomerate’s desires for the book line? It also seems to imply that these insiders know things about the current corporate situation that we don’t. The one insider that seems to be dancing on DiDio’s proverbial grave is Rob Liefeld, who worked on a few DC New 52 books, which were poorly received. It doesn’t sound like his departure from the company went well.
Now, this next part is 100% RUMOR, but it comes from DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver (‘Green Lantern’). Via his Youtube podcast, Van Sciver divulged that if the 5G reboot isn’t successful, AT&T will shut down DC Comics completely! According to him, the characters aren’t going anywhere, but they won’t appear in comic book form anymore.
“Understand. It doesn’t mean the characters are going to go anywhere. Batman, of course, is a prized possession of AT&T now. AT&T is Batman, and they are going to keep putting out movies and product and toys and all that stuff. Comic books are dead and they are going to close up the publishing house soon. I’ll tell you that a professional who I spoke to recently said, ‘Yeah, I was talking to one of the higher-ups at DC Comics who said that if 5G doesn’t work out, that’s it, AT&T is closing the publishing arm.’ So this is ball game.”
Via Twitter, Van Sciver wrote:
If Didio is gone, replace him with Geoff Johns or go out of business.
Fucking hate seeing this. I loved DC Comics.
— ComicArtistPro Secrets (@EthanVanSciver) February 21, 2020
Johns previously had a position similar to DiDio and Lee’s, but left to focus solely on TV and movie adaptations.
Generation Five/5G basically resets DC’s 80-year continuity to the way it always was pre-“Crisis on Infinite Earths” and every other reboot that followed, but with a few changes, like Wonder Woman being the first superhero having appeared in World War I like she did in the movie. That was technically before DC Comics existed. The first National Periodicals book, ‘More Fun Comics’ began in 1935. But beyond that, Superman made his debut in 1938, when ‘Action Comics’ #1 was published, and the rest of publishing history is DC’s actual history. The plan is to replace Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and everyone else with newer younger people taking over those roles.
Presumably, this will be clearer when DC releases its Free Comic Book Day offering ‘Generation Zero: Gods Among Us’.
I have no idea why DC thinks this will work, but if Van Sciver’s words are true and AT&T plans to scrap DC Comics entirely if this doesn’t succeed… then DC Comics is history.
There is still a lot to be ironed out over this split between DiDio and DC. Why did DC or, more likely, AT&T not like about the situation at the publisher? Presumably, more information will be revealed soon, once AT&T or WarnerMedia gets its folks in legal or public relations to put together a nice official statement.
Until then, you can listen to van Sciver’s entire podcast below:
How do you feel about this shakeup at DC?