DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee stopped by the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2012 to discuss the recent announcement of Scott Snyder’s Superman series, the New 52 moving forward and launching new characters in the DC Universe. Plus, Dan DiDio got a special surprise for his birthday!
On plans for Superman moving into 2013: “I think ‘Superman’ had a bigger change continuity-wise, tonality-wise than Batman. Batman was pretty much under control,” said Lee. “But Grant did a great job. You’re taking a giant ship that’s been traveling in one direction for 75 years and turning it around 180 degrees. He brought a different attitude to the character. On top of it, you’re selling a whole new costume and a whole new wardrobe for that costume. I think that’s a very difficult thing to do. That said, I think we had a pretty good first year. The second year, we’re bringing on Andy Diggle and Scott Lobdell and Scott Snyder — we’re very confident about Superman.”
“That’s the most fun about that. When you’re writing, when you’re editing, you get comfortable,” said DiDio. “You know that character and we have to keep reminding ourselves how much we’re changing that. So, that’s a re-education for everybody, how we’re trying to drive a new direction for the character.”
Lee on returning to draw Superman: “I think Superman — to me — he’s the ultimate superhero. Next year’s also the 75th anniversary of Superman. I think there’s going to be a lot of attention focused on the character. I was following Scott [Snyder’s] career since he started, what, five days ago? [Laughs] Big fan of what he’s doing. It’s been a crazy ride for him and I just love the fact that he’s introduced so much cool stuff to these characters that you think you know everything about them. … It’s exciting to me that he would bring that kind of potential and attitude to Superman.”
On the rise of Scott Snyder at DC: “We saw the intensity, that’s for sure — and the drive and the storytelling and the real complete sense of what he wanted to do with comic books,” said DiDio. “When we sat down and talked about Batman, he had a very clear idea what he wanted to do with the character. Same thing with Superman now. He has a very, very distinct idea of what he wants to do. It was wonderful to see. He didn’t know Greg Capullo before he started working on ‘Batman.’ He didn’t know how it was going to work and he had a different sensibility of what the book was going to look like. Really, over the first three or four issues, they found their rhythm together and became really one of the premiere teams in comics.”
On the success of DC Digital Firsts: “We’re looking at other properties that have what we call ‘civilian friendliness.’ Something like ‘Smallville,’ you’ve got millions of viewers,” said Lee. “It’s something that ties into our world, but it’s different at the same time. We knew we had fans that would potentially convert over. I think the percentage is like 40% of people who bought the ‘Smallville’ digital first comic were first-time digital comic buyers. That points to a new audience and we’re looking at other things, which will be mentioned in the months to come. We knew they would do okay in the direct market, but they have actually out-performed.”
On Talon as an example of launching a new character: “What Talon says to us as publishers is that new characters have an opportunity. If you have the right launching pad, the right book to come out of, we could bring new characters into the mix to really help grow the DC line. That’s really one of our primary focuses for 2013 is to bring new ideas, new characters, new stories. We can keep on reintroducing old stuff, but then we’re back where we started. So, new costumes, new characters, that’s where it’s at. Talon was a great start for us because it had a wonderful launch pad with the Owl storyline and we could build up from there.”