A Few Thoughts on the New Guardians of the (DC) Universe

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DiDio’s tenure has been marked by extensive, rapid creative churn–there are relatively few DC Universe titles that have been able to hold on to a consistent creative team or approach for more than a few months, and DC hasn’t been doing terribly well lately at attracting A-list creators (or developing new creators into A-listers). To the extent that being DC’s co-publisher means fanning the flames of support for characters that were created decades ago, and understanding comics culture as we know it, he’s very well positioned; it’s less clear that he’s going to be able to open the company up to broader creative risks and rewards, or expand the way comics are experienced, like Paul Levitz did.

(More on Techland: Read Douglas’ thoughts on comics in his column “Emanata” on Techland each Friday)

On Geoff Johns:

Johns has a tendency to spread himself very thin: at the moment, he’s writing Green Lantern, Blackest Night (to be followed by half of Brightest Day), various iterations of The Flash and the upcoming Batman: Earth One project, as well as the odd miniseries (and part of this week’s issue of Tiny Titans), and his Adventure Comics revival more or less crashed on takeoff. That could be a problem if he’s going to have a hand in even more of DC’s publishing projects. But he’s also an excellent team player, from all reports, and infectiously enthusiastic about the DC Universe material for its own sake; if the goal for a “chief creative officer” is to guide the story direction of that material, he’s been doing very well with the titles he’s been writing. (His sensibility is essentially “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”–which is ideal for this job. ) He’s another West Coaster, and well-connected in Hollywood–that, of course, is where a lot of the real money is for mainstream comics, and for DC Entertainment in particular.

One potentially worrying note: his introductory note goes on at length about DC properties (and curiously mentions Y: The Last Man, which last I looked was still copyrighted and trademarked by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra), but doesn’t have much to say about creators–aside from Martin Campbell and Ryan Reynolds. That would make more sense if Johns had been named to a specifically media-based role, but I’d hope that someone who’s got “creative” in his job title would focus more on the real-world people who write and draw the material DC publishes, and on figuring out how to create new “characters and worlds,” rather than milking a few more drops from the old ones.

More on Techland:

DMZ Brings the War Back Home

Interview With Marvel Scribe Matt Fraction

Podcast: DC–Marvel Smackdown

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