After reading an interview with DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee on ICv2 this morning, many readers expressed worry and concern over the state of mental health of the executives. In the interview, Didio and Lee answered a question about the extent of DC's editorial interference by claiming that the level of editorial control is less than ever before.
"I think it’s actually been a little bit less in the last decade than it’s ever been," Didio nonchalantly explained. "There’s always going to be editorial control over our products."
Of course, the claim seems silly in light of the fact that more creators have publicly stormed off of DC books in the last year than in the entire decade previous. Then again, Didio also seems to believe that the publisher's relationship with creators is some kind of cat and mouse game where editorial is supposed to try to thwart the creators: "It’s their job to push against them, and it’s our job to make sure they stay on track with what our expectations are for the series and characters." Apparently, it's never occurred to Didio that editorial and creators could work together amicably.
"He's clearly in denial," said Dr. Thaddeus Puffinbottoms, a psychologist with a degree in comiXology from the prestigious DeVry University. "And he's rationalizing. You see this same sort of behavior with all addicts, trivializing the negative effects their addiction has had on their life. Dan is addicted to corporate mismanagement. He has a problem, but he isn't ready to take the first step, to admit that his comic book company has become unmanageable and he is powerless to control it. He hasn't hit rock bottom."
In some ways, Jim Lee may be even more delusional, characterizing the constant stream of disgruntled creators as a coincidental series of unfortunate circumstances with nothing in common. "Without getting into the specifics, from the outside looking in, it might look like there’s a string of changes that point to one common theme, as you suggest," Lee said in the interview, "But from the inside looking out, you’ll see that each one has a different set of circumstances and conditions that ultimately led to the conflicts or the resignations or changes in creative personnel."
"Yes. It's everyone else's fault," Puffinbottoms mocked. "This is textbook behavior. Blaming others. Complacency and apathy in the face of dire circumstances. Becoming reclusive. Avoiding contact with people who question the behavior. The deterioration of long term relationships with creative talent."
The rationalization doesn't stop there. Didio attempts to paint a rosy picture of DC's situation in the interview, claiming that the company is doing great because 60% of their line is intact. Of course, that means that 19 of 52 first wave Nu52 titles have been canceled, but Didio is a glass 60% full kind of guy. The percentage also doesn't take into account the number of those titles that have retained their original creative team over the course of the past two years. Of the 52 first wave books, only 12 have the same writer they started with, and that includes Batgirl, which fired its writer, Gail Simone, via email, only to be forced to rehire her after the ensuing internet outrage. Of course, not all of those creators left over editorial dispute, but many of them did.
Head over to ICv2 to read the full interview and learn how massive creator walk offs, editorial interference, and a 40% cancelation rate are signs of a healthy corporate environment. You will also Marvel at Lee's assertion that DC intends to focus on Vertigo only shortly after Didio said in another interview that focusing on Vertigo would be myopic.