The Depravity of Dan Didio

The Depravity of Dan Didio

Nov 29

Maybe it’s cause it’s pre-coffee for me, or maybe I’m just still cranky, but I am really unable to understand this.


And by “this,” I don’t mean Tim O’Neil’s reaction, which I share.

I mean the whole scene–everything it is, everything that led us to it, and everything that follows from it. It defies my comprehension, completely.

There’s a lot of bitching about comics that happens online. (“No shit, Sherlock Hemlock,” says you.) And I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking lately about said bitching, because I sometimes get the sense that there’s a level of obligatory complaining that’s expected from everyone who writes about comics online, as if you have to deride at least one modern superhero book per month to maintain membership in the Kewl Comics Blogosphere Club and Toilet Rodeo.

(“What’s a ‘toilet rodeo’?” asks you. I have no clue.)

But SHIT, man, when I see something like this–a set of panels where Superman-Prime carves the iconic “S” symbol into the face of Mr. Mxyzptlk, which then prompts the imp to puke–I feel like there’s not ENOUGH bitching, that the fuckers at DC who let this crap out into the world deserve all the bitching they can stand, and twice more besides.

Of course, said fuckers don’t care about the bitching, not really. I wonder as I write this what they do care about–and by “they,” I guess I really mean Dan DiDio, and the editorial cabal who through active participation or passive silence allow his “vision” to be committed upon the public.

“This stuff sells,” they probably would say, and many others probably would say the same, because based on the “charts,” that seems to be true. (Of course, we all examine and discuss the available “charts” as though they reflect some version of “reality,” when in fact they seem to be incomplete sketches of a larger truth based on limited and questionably interpreted information, but anyway.)

So is DC motivated by sales to perform these snuff-film stunts? If that’s it, then fine, I guess–they seem to have the truth on their side in that argument. It then makes me wonder about the kind of people for whom these stunts actually act as a sales motivator, as opposed to a sales detractor, but whatever.

I can’t think of any other reason that would make sense for writing, drawing, and publishing this scene. Perhaps it makes sense to them–maybe from a storytelling, plot, character, or artistic perspective, these choices seem justified to them.

Me, I look at it and I think, JESUS, that’s harsh, weird, completely out of any sensible context, and the very definition of “pointless violence.” DC and DiDio are often pointed at as the current (all-time?) kings of the “gratuitous death to drive sales/story,” and I think that’s true, but even yet another gratuitous death in this spot would probably feel less senseless than this. They could have KILLED Mr. Mxyzptlk, and on some level, it would have felt just a tiny bit more justified than this maneuver, which tortures the character, presumably scars him for “life,” and then just leaves him hanging there in the void where he was before Superman-Prime showed up with Dan DiDio to pointlessly torture him.

It wasn’t just Dan DiDio, though, cause Paul Dini wrote it. In other venues, I’ve enjoyed Paul Dini’s work, and his creative bankruptcy on Countdown has baffled me, to the point where I’ve started to suspect that Dini is inexplicably acting as a kind of creative puppet for DiDio’s latest editorial edicts.

Even if that’s true–shit, Paul, you really think this is GOOD work? You wake up in the morning and sit down at your computer and write a scene like this, and you feel better about yourself at the end of the day? Writing this–or being asked to write this–would fill me with uncomfortable guilt and shame.

DiDio and Dini might also argue that if I react this way to this scene, then their work is done–because they want readers to “really hate Superman-Prime.” I don’t hate him, though. HE’S NOT REAL. I hate you two fucktards, for spewing this unnecessary tripe into the universe.

At the end of the day, I enjoy bitching and snarking as much as anyone; I’ll cop to that. I try to write what moves me, and not let any sense of requirement or obligation dictate what I say and how I say it. If “what moves me” is to join in with a chorus of disgruntled superhero comics fans online and complain about whatever the issue du jour may be, then I feel no qualms about doing that. I try not to blog to prove anything or please anyone; I try to just chase whatever weirdo muse happens to show up in my brain on any given day.

But this?


You can’t even really bitch or snark about it. It deserves hate, and anger, and maybe even a little pity for the small minds that believe it’s worth publishing. It’s a full-on depraved fucked-up horror show that bears no relationship to what anyone should want to read in a comic book.

Anyone. Ever.



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