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Saturday, February 15, 2014 

13th Dimension interviews Chuck Dixon

13th Dimension interviewed Dixon about his time as a Batman writer. Some parts of interest include how he was cheated after he left in 2002:
Why did you leave?

Denny [O'Neil] had left and all of his crew went on to other places and other jobs. The editors that were left seemed to have little or no interest in my work or ideas and I
couldn’t get anything advanced beyond the titles I was already associated with. I laid out a pretty ambitious storyline for Robin that would have launched a spin-off title from that book. But all I got was resistance that made little sense from a marketing standpoint. Rather than settle into a rut I took Crossgen’s offer to work for them.

After I left, they used elements of my Robin proposal, which I took as a slight. My main editor told everyone that he didn’t like how I left DC. I’m not sure what he didn’t like about it. Was it the six months’ notice? Was it me completing all of my contracted work on time before leaving? Maybe it was a the cookie trays I sent to all my editors as a thank you.
IIRC, his proposals might have been related to Spoiler, which they turned into a joke (she becomes a female Robin for just 2 issues before Batman rejects her) and then an insult (tortured with a drill by Black Mask and later dies, and still later it's "revealed" that Dr. Leslie Thompkins let her die). The editor who'd taken over at the time for Robin was Matt Idelson, and he and his ilk wasted no time throwing everything Dixon worked so hard to develop out the window, right down to their alarmingly hostile maltreatment of co-stars like Spoiler.
Is there anything you did on Batman that you wish you could take back?

Hm. I can’t think of one. I know a few stories the editors wish I hadn’t written. Scott Peterson and Darren Vincenzo HATED the Cap’n Fear storyline. The funny thing about that is that Graham and I were congratulating ourselves on having created a classic Batman story.

Also, Denny got pissed because I brought back Mr. Freeze. Denny has a special loathing for that character that I’m not sure I ever understood. He’s the one who originally encouraged me to kill Freeze in the second Robin mini-series. It was one of only two angry phone calls I ever got from Denny. I was always able to disarm him, though. My favorite retort was always. “You don’t scare me, O’Neil!”

God, I love that guy and miss working with him. That was back when editors were men rather than the elves they are now in the main.
While villains may not have the same value as heroes, IMO, I too wonder why O'Neil disliked Victor Fries so much, since I'm sure he'd written a few stories with Mr. Freeze in the 70s that took a more serious and far less tongue-in-cheek approach. I just hope Dixon didn't resurrect Freeze to cash in on the 4th Batman movie where Arnold Schwartzenegger played the role.

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imho, even if Dixon did bring back Mr. Freeze to cash in on the fourth Batman movie, it would not be so bad. Publishers are in business to sell magazines, and a comic having some kind of tie-in with the latest movie (such as the same villain) is no worse than People magazine having some popular movie star (or Tiger Beat having a popular rock star) on the cover. It's a way to attract fans and make sales. And it's no worse than most cynical marketing ploys: variant covers, line-wide crossovers, endless reboots, token ethnic or gay characters to stir up controversy (and publicity), deaths and resurrections of characters, and so on.

I have no idea why O'Neil would dislike Mr. Freeze. The character was not the best villain who ever appeared in DC comics, but he wasn't the worst, either.

Actually, Freeze's revival was more his Batman: TAS popularity, and then Batman and Robin just followed suit.

But still, sorry Dixon had to endure that. But that's what happens when you work for the Big Two, these days, alas.

Killer moth is probably right. The TAS version made Mr. Freeze into a popular character.

I wish Dixon were still in charge of writing the Bat-books. He'd do light years better than that hack Scott Snyder.

FYI, there's a book bomb Tuesday to buy Chuck's first Cannibal Gold novel:


Might be a good opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is in supporting conservative creators, even if it isn't comics.

Hey Avi, speaking of Chuck Dixon, last night, I just got out of a conversation with him on a Go To Meeting session my school was offering and I asked him three questions.

Want I should give the link to the recording?

Also, he seems to think that digital is the way to go rather than trades/graphic novels because of the costs of printing, though he does agree that the comics industry has essentially become a pool for other mediums to draw from and is thusly highly dependent on them for their existence.

Also, maybe he brought back Victor Freiz because he liked how he was portrayed in Batman: The Animated series/DCAU, which is probably his best portrayal ever. That version was certainly my favorite.


Yeah, I think Dixon's right, digital can be a good format for comics in serial storytelling, but they should also try to avoid padding out the stories for trades the way Brian Bendis set the tone for. If the writers want to tell a self-contained tale, they should be able to do so within the right amount of pages, and shouldn't have to worry about not producing enough for a paperback that's 150-plus pages long. Even a book that's just 50 pages can suffice for a comics story.

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