War Rocket Ajax #117: The Crew Breaks Down Dan DiDio’s DC Favorites, Part One [Podcast]
Back in March, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio made a list of his ten favorite titles published during his tenure with the company. This week on ComicsAlliance, Chris Sims, Matt Wilson and Andy Khouri sit down for the first ever two-part episode of War Rocket Ajax, as they break the list down, give their reactions to each title, and discuss what this means for the direction of the company — and you can listen to the whole episode right here at ComicsAlliance!
Plus, don’t miss information on this year’s Live CA/War Rocket Ajax Panel at HeroesCon!War Rocket Ajax #117: Dan DiDio’s Top Ten, Part One
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
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Because of the different format for the show this week, we don’t have checks or recommendations. We just jump right into the discussion of the comics!
CHRIS: Immediately before “Hush” and the arrival of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee on the book, it was Ed Brubaker’s run on Batman. I remember distinctly reading a thing where Brubaker was talking about how weird it was to be working on Batman, because he followed Larry Hama, and everybody hated Larry Hama’s run. I’m a guy who likes Larry Hama, and I hated Larry Hama’s run. Then Ed Brubaker comes on, it’s critically acclaimed, everyone’s talking about how they love it, and Brubaker says sales didn’t change at all, because most people that were reading Batman were just reading Batman, they weren’t necessarily following creators. When Hush started, it was a big spike in sales because it had that big Jim Lee doing Batman superstar gimmick to it, and I think that’s something we’re going to see a lot of on this list. Brubaker’s run on Batman is phenomenal and underrated and amazingly well written. “Hush” is terrible, but it sold.
ANDY: Ed Brubaker is one of my very favorite writers; I have no memory of him writing Batman. I have a vague memory of the Rucka era, because I think by that time, DC was in a place — and myself as a reader, I don’t want to put it all on DC — I was just disconnected from this material, and I think Jim Lee was what really brought me back to the mainstream DC Universe. You have to remember, Jim Lee is ubiquitous now, and he certainly was in the ’90s, but he had this immense power in his artwork that made readers super-excited. So when you saw him draw Batman, it had this promise of the awesomeness of Batman in that sort of ’90s “awesomeness” way that never really happened to Batman. When I heard that he was going to do a whole year of that written by the Long Halloween guy, I thought it was great. I was excited to read it.
MATT: I think what you guys are doing right now is expressing two different mindsets as far as how you read comics. I tend to think right now that the leadership, the management at the two big comics publishers, are represented in both of your arguments. Andy, you’re talking about being excited about a superstar artist more than anything in your interest in this comic, and I think DC now is interested in pulling in readers with a visual rather than worrying too much about whether their comics are literary or have anything but silly stories. And when I say “silly,” I don’t mean “funny,” because every comic on this list is dead serious.
CHRIS: Identity Crisis is the comic that ruined comics.
ANDY: DiDio said that this is notable in part because in some other era of DC, a story like this would be considered an Elseworlds, and I think that’s probably true because so much of it is wrong and doesn’t make any sense. I just remember the big what-the-f*** moments, the Sue Dibny sexual assault and murder, Zatanna lobotomizing. The artwork is so photorealistic and gritty that it’s very disturbing and ghastly. I think the fact that he says it would be an elseworlds is betraying the fact that one of the big reasons they think this is special is that it was shocking. They’re saying “we’re REALLY doing this,” and it’s a capital-C Continuity gimmick, and there’s no real value to that.
MATT: I think it’s interesting that the first thing DiDio says, the first thing he brings up, is controversy and how this is a controversial comic. If that’s influential on DC in any way, that’s how it’s influential. People did talk about Identity Crisis, and they talked about the way it addressed things that it probably souldn’t have, but it got people talking. Both of the big publishers are guilty of this to a degree, but lately there’s been this whole push to just grab headlines. On a personal note, this comic ruined super-villains, which hurts me very deeply. When you take a guy in a goofy costume and now he’s just straight up a rapist, that sucks every ounce of fun out of the idea of a super-villain, and I still have huge issues with that.
Plus, find out thoughts on Supergirl, Infinite Crisis, Green Lantern: Rebirth and more!
At HeroesCon, Chris and Matt will be at Tables AA-638 and 639! Here they are on this handy map:
The War Rocket Ajax Live Q&A Panel will be on Saturday at 11 AM in Room 206! Keep an eye on the HeroesCon website for updates!