How frustrating does something like this gotta be?
Do you have plans for the Milestone characters (other than Static in the Teen Titans) after the Brave and Bold stories?
DiDio: At this particular time, we have Static in the Teen Titans, and we’re looking at a storyline that might be built around Static later in the run. But right now, no other plans.
I don’t even have to go digging through archives to remember that Dan DiDio used to be (or at least claimed to be) wildly enthusiastic about the Milestone characters. They had a big splashy debut in “Justice League of America,” Static got made a member of the Teen Titans, they were spotlighting them in “The Brave and the Bold”… but it turns out, DiDio now says he’s not wildly enthusiastic about them at all.
So how thrilled are we supposed to be about the “Red Circle” characters that DC is reviving? Or the plans to bring Doc Savage and the Spirit into DC continuity? Yeah, they keep saying they’re high priorities right now, but what’ll happen to them the next time Dan DilDio gets distracted by a shiny pebble?
I also liked a lot of David Brothers’ analysis here:
All of the drama, all of the hoopla, is about money. It’s about being able to make a profit on the short-term, and hoping that that keeps you going enough that you can catch more later on. It’s an extraordinarily near-sighted way to do business. According to McDuffie, a number of comics creators, ones with names, ones who sell books, wanted to do Milestone work. They remembered the universe, they wanted in on what looked like a good thing. But, money talks, and if you aren’t looking at an immediate profit, well, sorry. You aren’t talking loud enough.
But when arts meets commerce, commerce eventually wins out. It doesn’t matter how groundbreaking (original, cool, artistic, awesome, whatever) a character is. For the companies, and this includes Marvel, they are products to be sold, and whatever gets them sold is the right thing to do. DC dicking McDuffie isn’t about a grudge. It’s about having more action figures in the toybox that you can pull out, rather than creating new ones. It’s about being able to point and say “This is a comic for _______ people!” and expecting them to come just because you built some mediocre, at best, story.
Y’all know by now that I was a colossal fan of the old Milestone comics, back in the day. My very favorites were the Blood Syndicate, followed by the Shadow Cabinet, but all of them were pretty rockin’, partly because they were just really, really good superhero comics, and partly because their entire purpose was to correct the racial imbalance of comic characters, and thus to bring in new readers who may have never seen a superhero who looked like them before. And I was absolutely overjoyed when I heard DC was going to bring them into their regular continuity. And I am plenty unhappy that DilDio is once again going back on what he said.
I don’t know if DC’s problem is that the only character they wanted was Static, so they played nice with Dwayne McDuffie ’til they could get him in the Titans. I don’t know if their problem is that there are too many racist fanboys who don’t want to read about characters who aren’t white. (And I think it’s impossibly weird that some comics fans can understand the point of the X-Men and still think it’s okay to hate people because of how they were born — cognitive dissonance and all that, I guess.)
I do think a large part of the problem — with DC as well as with Marvel — is that they’re run by people who have the attention span of a gnat. Of course, focusing solely on short-term profits seems to be what big business does the best, so I’m sure both DiDio and Joe Quesada are perfectly safe in their jobs. I doubt there’s anything they could do that’d get them fired, no matter how much they may deserve to be. But short-term thinking is no way to build your business for the long-term. And teasing your fans only to slap them down later is no way to build brand loyalty down the line.