This weekend on Facebook, Dan DiDio chronicled his ten high points of his first ten years as an executive at DC Comics, in chronological order as he best remembers it. Here they are, threaded together…
1) BATMAN 608 HUSH. Work on this incredible run by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb was started before I joined DC Comics but came out my first year there. The success of this series, putting a superstar team on the ongoing title instead of a miniseries (thanks Jim), showed that the periodical series still mattered, now more than ever. On the personal side, it was important to me because this run on was so successful that it allowed us to experiment (both good and bad) on the rest of the line while we began chartering the course for the DC Universe. The cover stated “It Begins Here”, and in my opinion, it really does.
2) IDENTITY CRISIS. Now, I’ve never been able to shy away from controversy (although I do think I’ve mellowed a bit), and this was first real controversial project of my time. This mini-series, (brilliantly written by Brad Meltzer and drawn by Rags Morales) created a complex and compelling story that would have once been considered an Elseworlds, and instead, placed it in the center of the DCU. It tackled tough issues and pitted hero versus hero and set the tone for things to follow. Personal note, for me, it perfectly captured the paranoid and unease of the post 9/11 world and put our heroes in touch we what people we feeling today, which is exactly what I was hoping to inject in the DCU.
3) GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH. We have done a lot of re-launches, re-starts and reboots over the last ten years but this is my first, and arguably, our best. Geoff Johns (remember that name, you’ll hear it again) and Ethan Van Sciver found a way to take everything that came before, and without casting it aside, returned Hal Jordan and Green Lantern to premiere status. Geoff’s love for all things DCU shone through every page, and he brought that energy and sense of respectful re-invention to Teen Titans, Hawkman and so many other books. For me, this reminds me of the all the fans questioning why we brought Hal back from the dead.. And as I liked to remind people, for the time that Hal was “dead”, he appeared in more series than when he was “alive”. Only shows how popular he was.
(Before we more onto number 4, have to admit, I cheated a little and looked up some release dates to some of our series to make sure keep this in some sort of chronological order. )
4) SUPERMAN/ BATMAN 8: SUPERGIRL. Now Jeph Loeb did an amazing job re-inventing World’s Finest for an all new audience with Superman/ Batman, but it wasn’t until issue eight that this series made its mark on the DCU. With the return of Kara Zor-El, one of the biggest walls from the epic series Crisis on Infinite Earths came tumbling down. Beautifully drawn by Michael Turner, Supergirl returned with the full grandeur she deserved. I know for some fans Supergirl will always be a protoplasmic matrix from a pocket dimension that merged with a devil worshipping teenager before being infused with the Angel of Fire, but for most, she will always be Superman’s cousin. It’s really that simple, and that’s why she came back.
On a personal note, this is where my brief but lasting friendship with Michael Turner began, he left a lasting mark and he is missed.
5) COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS. 80 pages for a buck, what’s not to like? Probably my favorite comic of all things published in the last ten years. Perfectly crafted by the first, true architects Greg Rucka, Judd Winick and Geoff Johns, (and a little unaccredited help from Brad Meltzer) it truly captured the scope, spectacle and humanity of the DCU. Arguably (there’s that word again) the best Blue Beetle story, it took us through all facets of the DCU as we followed one man’s struggle against all odds, never giving up, but ultimately failing. This story a sense of unexpected to the DCU that made even the most jaded fan wonder what would happen next. Personal side, I remember I could barely sleep the nights before this book came out, since the next two years of story hinged on its success. It was an all in bet that paid off in a very big way.
6) INFINITE CRISIS. Well, we had to countdown to something. When we planned to do our first company crossover, I knew only one person could write it. Geoff did a masterful job bringing all the stories of the last year and half to a single point and crescendo. All the sign posts led here. Death of Blue Beetle, Wonder Woman killing Max Lord, Destruction of Watchtower, Day of Vengeance, OMAC Project, Rann/ Thannagar War and Villains United, everything played out brilliantly. Geoff brought the characters to life, and Phil Jimenez (with help from George Perez, Ivan Reis and Jerry Ordway) brought them form, and together they did the impossible, they created the perfect sequel to the original, seminal maxi-series. To me, it’s my first, and our best. I never tire of reading it, and someday, maybe when’s it’s an absolute, we can print all our notes of how this came to be and what was supposed to happen after… maybe