Outhouse community member Herald speaks out on the time Dan Didio created a comic book character just to insult him.
In an era without letter columns, month-to-month discussion of DC Comics is largely one-sided. We fans take to message boards, Facebook, and Twitter, comment on stories and art, comment on the creators and editors. Yet, with only a few exceptions, the creators and editors don't respond.
But sometimes, when those usually silent ones do respond, said response is spectacular to behold. So imagine my amusement when I discovered through Schwapp Online that then-DC Editor-in-Chief Dan DiDio had introduced an effigy of me to drag through the mud, in The Outsiders (4th series) #29. (For the record, DC had a previous character by that name -- my handle is borrowed from him -- but he was mutated and renamed “Vox” some years ago.)
Now, it's no secret why DiDio would take issue with me, since I take issue with him. I firmly believe Dan to be a primary cause of DC's quality circling the drain in the last 10 years. And so, I have hammered at him and those who work with him on several message boards, including the Outhouse, for much of those 10 years. I'm well aware that he's unlikely to take these hints and fix what I see as the major problems he's helped create, which is why I have also advocated his ouster from the company. Sadly, the boards at Newsarama and DC Comics' site have closed down, so you won't be able to verify all the examples firsthand.
Another thing that is no secret is that I am quite proud of getting Dan's attention to this degree. I find it interesting to see someone who claims to be a professional have to stoop to sniping at a critic in such a way, especially when I don't release those criticisms in a notable venue, such as a periodical. But then, I suppose that “word on the street” is that important to DiDio.
DiDio's attack also puts the lie to the notion among fans that DC does not read message boards, since only through message boards would Dan really know of me. I have never written a physical letter or e-mail to DC, not even when they briefly reinstituted letter columns in their books. And outside of one brief – and admittedly, not very memorable – meeting among a throng of other fans at Wizard World Philadelphia in 2008, I haven't spoken to him in person. However, I have had some back-and-forth with former DC penciller Jamal Igle back on Newsarama's message boards, and he mentioned that people at DC talk about me, particularly in a derisive manner. And the presentation of my effigy in those issues of The Outsiders -- every instance of which reads as a private joke -- all but confirms Igle's claim.
In any case, with the “New 52” reboot, the Herald parody character has disappeared from the spotlight, likely never to resurface again. I'm mildly disappointed, to be honest. But at the very least, I can say that I outlived popular DC writer Grant Morrison as a character in the DC Universe. He was killed off in his second appearance, in an issue of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad series... and as far as I know, they actually like Morrison!