On Friday last week, longtime co-publisher of DC Comics Dan Didio was fired by the company’s parents AT&T and Warner Bros. After more than 15 years with DC, Didio’s exit was both sudden and surprising. The parties involved offered scant details about the ouster. Left with only speculation, fans wondered if the dispute involved creative differences or something more sinister. All we knew was that Didio stood accused of creating an inhospitable work environment for creators. Fans of DC and comics’ shop gossip know that Didio was known to be a strict micromanager of all things DC. The New 52 reboot, initially a success and then quickly done away with, required a sign-off from the co-publisher for every decision. As the current “Rebirth” saga gives way to “Generation Five” (also known as 5G), it appears Didio’s close involvement proved to be too much for his bosses.
Dan Didio Allegedly Fired From DC for Not Giving Creators Enough Room to Experiment
Image via DC
To be clear, no one who works for DC or worked for Didio has gone on-the-record to say that his management style was a problem. In fact, those from the industry who spoke up for Dan Didio after he was fired praised his love of comics and the DC canon. Creators like Tom King, Greg Capullo, Dan Jurgens, and others all praised Didio’s leadership and commitment to the comics industry. Yet, according to reports on the comics’ industry grapevine, Didio’s leadership meant micromanaging the storytelling throughout these many continuity reboots and crises.
While DC storytellers were working out the planning of 5G, which reportedly will focus on the idea of “Hypertime” put out in the Doomsday Clock finale, Didio was fairly hands-off. At least, he was at the beginning. When he started to leak concepts and timelines at comic cons and panels, this created greater pressure in DC offices for the development of this new project. Then, top people at DC started to leave. First editor Pat McCallum went away for the holidays and never came back to work. Then Alex Antone left DC for Skybound Entertainment. This gave the impression to the public that creative differences over 5G flared up, leaving Didio alone to manage the rollout.
At the time of this writing, 5G is reportedly still going to roll out starting with Generation Zero: Gods Among Us on Free Comic Book Day. This would be followed by Generation One: Age of Mysteries.
For his part, Didio is taking the high-road and hasn’t said much about his firing. Though he has made a comment.
As he wrote on Facebook:
“Overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support and it leaves me at a loss for words (first time for everything). So, instead, I’ll turn to what was said nearly five years ago on April 10, 2015 to best sum up how I feel. Love to you all.”
He then included a video of a speech he gave when DC closed their New York offices for their new Los Angeles digs.
Yet, a report from BleedingCool.com says that their sources tell them that Didio got back to his micromanaging ways. So, anticipating a war between Dan Didio and the creators, it seemed the higher-ups decided it would be easier if he were fired. Still, it now leaves just Jim Lee as the sole person in the publisher role. With all of the DC projects in the works at DC Universe/HBO Max, CW, and the film side of the house, he now has to divert more attention to the 5G launch. Still, without the strict oversight of someone like Didio, the 5G project could end up creating the very sort of continuity mistakes and problems these events are meant to correct. It also puts into question some of the things Didio promised, like the first black Batman.
Why do you think Dan Didio was fired from DC? Do you agree with it or do you think he was the “Kevin Feige” of DC comics? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image by Luigi Novi via Wikimedia Commons
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.