DiDio & Lee Say Early "Rebirth" Response is 'Uncharted Territory' for DC Comics

Lee: If you could encapsulate Rebirth, it's an embracing of what we are. And what we are is one of the first shared universes that had multiple Earths, or at least that commercialized that idea. The first that had multiple versions of characters, and the idea of alternate realities. I think that's part and parcel with DC. If you look at "Crisis on Infinite Earths" to even New 52, they're all attempts to do some bookkeeping, and tighten up everything. But then you saw the mythology itself almost has its own sentience and will to define itself, because it's stories are kept in all our heads, and expressed through our creativity and the work that we do. In a way, it has spoken and said, "No, there must be multiple versions." And that seems to resonate with the fans.

So yeah, I think it is an embracing of, "Hey, these are the things that have always defined DC, made DC unique and interesting, and we love the fact that there are generational aspects." Those are things that we kind of overlooked or put to the side when we did New 52 that we're bringing back into it. I think what's cool is, we haven't jettisoned the continuity. New 52 is within continuity, it's not a reboot. We're just pulling it through, and I think that's the smart decision to have made.

DiDio: DC has always had a problem with the start/stop aspect of our characters. Every time a new team came on, they just restarted it, and they just became slight shades of each other. That's one of the reasons why we went away from the multiple versions -- because they weren't that different. Now, when you see two Wally Wests, or multiple versions of the characters, we're putting that extra effort to make sure they all have their unique personality, their unique sensibilities,. That way, they can stand side by side and be different characters, not operating as the same person. That's where the difficulty came. Now, we feel every character is their own character in their own right, so it's OK -- more than fine -- to have multiple versions out there.

May's "DC Universe: Rebirth" one-shot ends with a major tease of a story to come with "Watchmen" characters -- specifically Dr. Manhattan -- interacting with the DC Universe. There have been hints since then, but no indication on when that full story will be told. Is there any update?

DiDio: When we went out and we set up Rebirth, we set up a two-year story. A lot of the questions that are out there will be answered during that two-year plan. The goal is not to answer every question in the beginning, but to roll things out and continue to excite people all the way through. You'll see a lot of twists and turns coming out over the next year or so that will get you to, hopefully, where you want to be.

Lee: It's not like the success of Rebirth or the whole creative positioning of Rebirth swings off the revelation of that meeting, or the hint of the meeting. It's almost independent of what Geoff did in the Rebirth special. In a sense, you don't have that ticking clock of, "What is behind all these teases?" The books really have gone back to the core conceits of the characters, and constructed the most idealized versions of these characters and their continuities moving forward. That gives us the time to do Geoff's story right.

You've both discussed returning to the core conceits of characters in the main superhero line, but is there a straight-line from that to doing something like Gerard Way's Young Animal? Does that maybe make more sense as an outlet for something experimental, more than the core line?

DiDio: We're constantly going to be experimenting. You've seen experimentation going on with the Hanna-Barbera characters -- that's the fun part. That's our goal, to constantly try to explore things and push the edges, and see what other types of stories we can tell. We're a wonderful medium, because we're low cost R&D in a weird way, so we get a chance to really push the envelope in certain places. But in this moment, we've pushed the envelope on our characters, and now it's time to reset the dial, get them back to where we know people are most comfortable, and then we can start to evolve them once again from there.

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