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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 

What does DiDio think was a mistake in rebooting?

At the recent Toronto convention, Dan DiDio said the following:

The idea of killing, reviving and rebooting characters multiple times became a central focus of discussion after a fan asked Didio why DC was constantly second to Marvel Comics in terms of sales. Didio took the question as an opportunity to address what he thought was one of his company’s problems over the past few years, which in his words was “My problem with us is that we reboot the characters too much.

“What happens is that if a character doesn’t work, we go, ‘We got a brand new direction to put him in! We’re moving him into something new! We’re going to try something brand new and different! We’re going to throw everything out and start over again!’ We make that mistake, but what that does is, it alienates fans.

[...]

“What we’re doing coming out of ‘Final Crisis’ " and I’ll say this here, and I’ll say this everywhere " is that we’re locking our characters down. We’re going with a good interpretation, and we’re staying with it. That’s why you don’t see Aquaman right now, because we want it to be clear what it is, who he is and what he’s all about.”

So he admits, though not very clearly, some of what their problems over the past couple years have been. Frankly, after all these years with almost exactly the same people running the store, I have my doubts he knows what he's talking about. And what does he mean was a mistake in their rebooting? These mistakes could include how DC belittled Ray Palmer (Atom), Ted Kord (Blue Beetle), Vic Sage (the Question) and Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm) and tossed them out in defeat, all for the sake of diversity by adding minority group members in their places. And the problem with that is, no matter what DiDio says, the replacements seem to have been introduced based only on their minority status, which has overshadowed the writing. DC also seem to have done their deed on the assumption that, since these were minor heroes whom they were replacing the wrong way, nobody would complain, and it wouldn't matter to anybody. Well, in fairness, if they had been a little more respectable in how they passed over the old heroes' batons to a new group of protagonists, maybe they could've succeeded. But they didn't, so that ruins everything.

DiDio could even be referring to the constant change of writers on several of their series (Supergirl, Flash, Birds of Prey and a few others), so quickly that it hurts the books, because no solid direction has been established, most likely because the editors are deliberately blocking that from happening. How do they expect anyone to be interested in their output if they don't even allow for real storytelling to be offered?

And even relaunching a series with a new volume is a problem: that may be what they're about to do with the Flash, again, but what's the point of that? Even that too can hurt, and it only signals that they're resorting to a short term strategy of trying to make sales off of a new premiere issue. That's another mistake they might want to reconsider.

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