Sunday, August 26, 2007

One Reader's Broken Trust: Do or Die Time for DC Comics’ Dan Didio

Last night, FanBoyWonder and Mrs. FBW spent an hour of our lives watching what promised to be a funny, if filthy, 60 minutes of stand up comedy on HBO—Bob Saget’s That Ain’t Right.

FBW remembers Saget way back before he did Full House and that video show—his act was blue but it was funny. Last night, we watched a “comic” with Turrets Syndrome spit out dirty words in some kind of diarrhea of the mouth rant without much point or purpose—at least to us the viewing audience.

But just as we were about to change the channel, he would come out with something occasionally laugh out loud funny or at least amusing enough to keep us watching until the full hour had passed but the bottom line is that Saget found himself far more entertaining than we did.

For us, that’s just how we feel about DC Comics’ Countdown. It’s our natural inclination to stick with something once we start watching/reading/purchasing it but just as the hodgepodge of words and action without any real purpose appears to drive us to drop Countdown, something happens (usually with the Mary Marvel story arc) that’s compelling enough to keep us hanging on—at $2.99 a week.

Countdown is purported to be the lynchpin of the DC Universe for the next year until the recently announced Final Crisis. Yet another Crisis. “Crisis” is indeed the word as from this fan’s perspective--The state of Dan Didio’s DC Comics is in Crisis.

We are personally uncomfortable in making this essay regarding the woes of DC Comics about one individual--an individual that we don’t know and have never met—because inevitably in this context, criticism of professional conduct becomes personal.

Yet that becomes all but unavoidable as Dan Didio has sought to position himself as THE face of DC Comics, much the same way that Joe Quesada has for Marvel Comicsboth of them seeking to emulate the style of legendary (and infamous depending on who you ask) Stan Lee.

Dan Didio’s DC Comics has become a place where quantity and “style” have trumped quality and substance. The reader is not respected. Indeed, the reader is no longer even the primary audience as it seems more and more apparent to us that the writers are writing to amuse themselves and their peers more than anything else.

Hence you have the recent trend of importing “name” writers—Brad Metzler, Jodi Picoult, Allen Heinberg. DC’s preoccupation over WHO is telling the story rather than WHAT the story is about is just plain bassackwards.

The DC Universe today under Didio is a Seinfeld universe—it’s about nothing. With the numerous and sundry events and crossovers, it’s only real purpose seem to be draining the cash from the wallets of aging fanboys (and some fangirls—not that DC or mainstream comics in general are killing themselves to attract or retain young readers, male or female.)

We started Countdown with a feeling of cautious optimism despite the unfulfilled promise of 52, despite the bitter disappointment of Infinite Crisis and despite a growing feeling that the DC Universe we’ve known and loved for some three decades was slowing slipping away.

To ask where DC lost its way is a loaded question. But we cite the point where we started to lose faith was following Infinite Crisis. IC was an event in search of a story.

Even more disappointing because in our eyes, DC had done such a masterful job of building up reader anticipation for the “event.” Starting with Identity Crisis and then the one shot Countdown to Infinite Crisis special, DC planted the seed of a troubled universe.

No we weren’t crazy about an evil mastermind Maxwell Lord or a lynch-mob Justice League mind-wiping foe or friend alike or that Batman had become such a serious paranoid Pr**k. We were appalled that Batman allowed Ted Kord to die but we accepted it all because of the promise of such a big payout….of resolution.

Post Infinite Crisis, these issues were supposed to be resolved One Year Later. But there was no resolution. It was just ignored. In the Didio DC Universe, there is only set up, never a resolution at least “not yet”—Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown and now Final Crisis.

As we write this, we realize that we are expending an awful lot of thought and energy for what is supposed to be entertainment and storytelling.

So here’s the bottom line: All we’ve heard for however long now is “trust us” but that’s done. Dan…we’re voting with our wallet now….if you want our $2.99, you’re gonna have to earn it…one issue, one story at a time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Sagat rules your world. He is the man.

That is all...

6:39 PM, September 08, 2007  

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