Since the massively successful launch of DC Rebirth, DC Comics' future has looked pretty bright. Now, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are looking to the future of the DC Universe. The co-publishers were on hand at the convention to give fans unique access to the comic book line, including inside information about DC Universe Rebirth, Vertigo, MAD, DC’s Young Animal, Dark Matter and more.
"We might have lost some of the purpose of what the characters are about," DiDio said of DC's New 52. "For us, 2018 is going to be very much a transformative year for us." He went on to explain that DC will redouble its efforts to attract new readers to its properties.
"Our goal is to bring new people in. It's not about holding the old people, as much as we love you guys," he continued. "Comics almost become a second or third choice to learn about who Superman is. We want to change that."
Lee went on to discuss DC Super Hero Girls. "It's all about really trying to reach out and find new audiences through different ways. The core audience for DC Super Hero Girls is for young girls between 6 and 12.... These are audiences we have never targeted before." According to Lee, DC plans to target both this audience and a young adult audience going forward. He added that DC is looking to find new talent in the vein of Neil Gaiman.
"If you look at the line, the way we're trying to develop ourselves going into 2018... what we're trying to, really, we're trying to reach a wider audience," DiDio said, adding that DC is trying to expand its reach through new initiatives, like larger books and different packaging.
He then brought up Dark Nights: Metal. "Our goal right now with Dark Nights: Metal is... to take you on a wide, roller coaster ride," he explained, and referred to "the level of care and energy" the creators put into the story.
"Our goal is to continue to push the envelope," he continued. "We do not want to stagnate creatively. We're going to add to the DC Universe. We're going to add diversity to the DC Universe."
"When you create new things... since you're creating from scratch, it's like you're walking a rope or wire without a safety net," Lee shared. "But at the same time, that's kind of liberating and kind of fun."
"Because people don't know who these people are, it's a challenge to get them accepted," he continued.
"We're leaning heavily on the artists for these books," DiDio said. 'What we're going for in the Dark Matter books is the sensibility of what attracted us to comics in the first place... we love the double page spreads... we love the drama, the soap-opera-aspect of the character... villains who are greater than the heroes are! It's a lot of fun stuff, that seemed to have got lost on the way. Dark Matter is about putting the action and adventure on the page again."
DiDio announced that Dark Matter would have no variant covers and would retail for $2.99. "Nothing's more valuable than a single book that has everything that someone loves," he explained.
"Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, Tony Daniels... we want to give you every reason to buy it," he said.
"This is part of the DC Universe. This is not something different. This is our chance to show how creative we can be," he asserted.
DiDio then invited Grant Morrison to the stage and brought up Wonder Woman: Earth One. "My idea was to go back to [William] Marston's weird ideas... so I thought, 'Let's play with that'... but they're not warriors! They're a society of peace!" Morrison said. "These women invited their own culture, their own technology... The second book is like Empire Strikes Back. This is her biggest story yet. "
He went on to say that Nazis will try to invade Paradise Island within the first ten pages. "The way this confrontation resolves is for fans of the original Marston run, because we don't use violence at all," he added.
"It's three books that tell a complete story... the theme of this book is just do not mess with this woman," he said.
"Comics is my first love," he said, then revealed he has more coming with DC.
"I've got a couple other projects there as well," including a story in which he hopes to jump the shark: Arkham Asylum 2 with artist Chris Burnham. "It's the Damian Batman in the future. It'll be 122 pages and it's going to be great."
One fan asked if DC would ever have a service like Marvel Unlimited, which digitally collects older comics as a subscription. "We have had discussions," Lee answered. "I think we're doing sort of our due diligence and research on what impact it has on our present digital comics." However, it doesn't seem like there are plans for that in the immediate future.
Another asked after the character Shazam. "Shazam has been relaunched so many times that we want to get it right with the right team," Lee said. He added that the character was a priority for the publisher, though there is no official series at this time.