After having read your latest on the Didio "mass media/internet hysteria", i find myself both agreeing with you, and disagreeing with you.
Admittedly, as a fan only (in that i only read the books, i don't do cons, i don't by plush dolls, i just read) I am not plugged in to the comic industry. Nor am i attempting to be a comics writer or artist. I am just... a fan.
I basically only post at the DC boards and one other place. And while most of my posts are lighthearted and fun (i think), i do take some things more seriously.
And right now, DC seems rudderless. Sloppy story telling, atrocious crossovers (Amazons Attack, anyone?), the Cruddy Countdown Continuity Crisis, books being late repeatedly, writers that were highly anticipated suddenly being let go or leaving due to, according to your own profiling, some "secretive Society of Circumspect Scribes and Editors. These things added up to fans, and from what we hear, also some employees of DC, hoping for a change.
To a lot, that change meant that Didio would be gone. And honestly, given the gradual inward spiral of the company (Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Firestorm, Flash to name but a few) i can't say that it would have bothered me if it was true. Right now, there are very few real gems in the DCU. Green Lantern is one. Johns and company seem to be turning out a great book in spite of Didio's editorial "leadership". Perhaps we, the fans, are wrong, but that is how it is seen. When a character favorite such as Dick Grayson is only saved at the last minute from yet another heedless, needless death by fan outcry and writer/artist intervention, that shows that while Didio may hail from "Media" rather than comics, well...how shall i put this..."He don't know 'Jack$#!+' about comics.
And to your credit in you column, you seem to admit that there have been a misstep or two, but to longtime fans, it seems more like a misstep or nineteen. From the above mentioned items to the rather stupid assumption that fans only care about costumes and powers rather than characters (see the oft-mentioned "diversity push" that has lead to many character deaths and poor sales on replacement characters) , the ship seems to be listed hard to port. But, lets examine one of your arguements.
The conspiracy of silence, apparantly in place to stiffle leaks. Well, we all know from the previous administration in Washington that leaks are essential to publicity for 'good' as well as 'bad'. Since Didio is from "media", he should know this and when taking the job as ...what is his title anyway?....be prepared to use it to the companies advantage. If that means editors have to give up information to storylines to other writers/artists to get a cohesive storyline, then as...what, 2nd high chancelor to the comics realm? Didio should have made sure that everyone that needed the information got the information. That is called leadership. Even if it meant getting the "bible" on the story, photocopying it and mailing it himself. That is called leadership, providing direction, and if nothing else, CYA for his own files. And if you don't know what CYA is, then send me an email, I will be happy to explain.
Now, as to sales. Right now DC is character poor, in more ways than one. First, under the current 'leadership', characters have been killed off left and right. Granted, some were minor characters that may have had no more than one or two real appearances. BUT. With each death, the impact is lessened. With each death, the possibility that something interesting can be done with the character is chucked out the door with the bath water. I am not saying that the only good comics death is no death, but when each event ladle's them out like glop on a cafeteria try, well, how appetizing is that? Sometimes a death is a good thing. But when you have thirty or forty of them at once...eh, who cares? Whats next, a book that does nothing but have the central character killed each issu...oh, wait, there was a book like that. Ressurection Man. Pretty good as i remember. But, how are its sales now?
And the second part of being character poor, the books published. I have read repeatedly that Brave and Bold is "not selling" well enough to show that lesser characters are wanted. Pardon me a moment...WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE JOKERS THINKING!!!???? Ahem, sorry. You see, i am remembering the one really good thing that i have seen from Didio and company, and that is the book 52. Does anyone besides me remember the well told, well illustrated book that focused mainly on lesser stars of the DCU in a fashion that made it sell pretty well? It was compelling. The art was good and did not appear to be thrown together to get the book out. And it wasn't about Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
DC has a wealth of secondary characters that while maybe not being able to support a solo book, seem capable of generating sales when combined in a workable, well scripted, COHESIVE story. Animal Man hadn't been that well recieved since Morrison. Starfire and Adam Strange? C'mon, they hadn't shown in years. Isis? You gotta be kidding me, right?
But, if things continue they way they have been, the only heros and villians left in the DCU will be from the SuperWonderBat families. And that is a shame. One of the few characters to actually be fun in the last 15 years is aged and then killed in 13 issues. 'course, he wasn't supwonbatfam, so it didn't count, right?
Look, there wasn't any hysteria. We weren't posting that it was the end of the world. I did, however, see a lot of fans saying that given the current direction, they were leaving DC behind. And while no pro seems to be able to make up their minds about whether voices on the internet matter (some say they read the message boards, others say they do not), to blithely discount what people have taken the time to write because you don't like it, or discount because you have sales figures that seem to indicate things are going well, is foolhardy.
From personal experience, and current buying habits, my DC pull has reduced by half in the last year. Some of it is deciding to leave some books behind, and some of it is having books I liked end, but the bad taste left in my mouth by the situation as a whole is causing me to not even look at some of the new books, like the new weekly Trinity. And others are saying the same thing.
You can poopoo that, you can say the numbers say different, you can quote contract severance packages, you can throw in a "secrecy" mentality, and an infinate amount of other reasons, but it all boils down to one thing...
Lack of leadership.
Someone needs to set the ships course and set her aright. Fans havent seen enough positives from Didio to all believe that he is the man for the job.
And thus, we posted that on the DC boards. You wouldn't have to take my word for it, i could have given you lots of examples, but a funny thing happened on the way to the stadium...Mods deleted most of those threads. Now, if you want to see what we wrote, you have to go through a lot of other threads, finding the posts that tie in, have continuity, form a series.
And after you do, just imagine what it is like for the poor comic buyer.
Thanks for your time,