My Unsolicited Take on the Chuck Dixon/DC Comics Split

Thursday, June 12, 2008

By now you've heard from any of a number of sources about Chuck Dixon's terse board message announcing his departure from DC Comics.

I'm sure Mr. Dixon has his own reasons for the split, and the last thing he needs are uninformed knee-jerk opinions from some blogger (namely me). But ... if Avi Green is right, and Dixon is leaving because he's upset about how Batman RIP changes his Batman and the Outsiders plans, my take is this:

First, when you play major league baseball, and your coach tells you to hit a home run, you hit a home run. Alternatively, if the coach tells you to make a sacrifice play to bring another runner home, you take one for the team. When you're writing for DC-freaking-Comics, you don't balk at being asked to take part in crossovers, you make the best of it; this is what makes Geoff Johns, Geoff Johns.

Second, when you write for DC or Marvel, or really any company where the characters appear on Underoos, you're playing in their sandbox, with their toys. If they say Superman needs to grow a third arm today, man, you ask, "How many fingers?"; they say Spider-Man's going to wear polka-dots, you ask, "Pink or purple?" And you can be assured, any big changes you make to a character, they're going to be undone one of these days. Anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves.

This has been your unsolicited opinion moment for the afternoon. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
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  1. yeah, you could do any of those things, or if you disagree with what you're being asked to do, you could leave with your integrity

  2. ?? It's work for hire. I don't see how "integrity" comes into this at all. Unless Grant Morrison's turned Batman into an anti-Semitic sheep lover who bombs abortion clinics for kicks. And I haven't read R.I.P. so I wouldn't know.

  3. Lets' see....
    Chuck Dixon or Grant Morrison?

    Who do you think DC is gonna go with here? Which one of those two sells books because his name is on the cover and which one can pump out solid (bland but completely serviceable) stories?

    No offense to Chucky, but c'mon, do you really think for a second that you're gonna get your way when your plans for a character differ from the plans from one of the top 3 writers in comics today?

    And I'm sure Grant Morrison is a little aghast at this. He was never intending for Batman RIP to carry over into any other books. He is steadfastly adamant that the only Batman RIP books that you need to buy are the ones in the Batman title. Nothing else.

  4. Let me add, that I do admire Mr. Dixon's ability to do such solid work on time and in such quantities. That is something a little rare in the industry today. It's a little bland (to me), but not BAD. And there's a difference between the two.

    To me, Dixon's writing is readable, but slightly forgettable. Morrison, however, makes me think, and garners multiple re-readings.

  5. Good point on Morrison not intending for R.I.P. to cross over with the other Bat titles; I remember reading the interview where he only found out about the crossovers when they were solicited. If there's anyone to "blame" it would be DC Editorial, but again they had every right to do so. I mean, it's not completely unreasonable for them to try and get a little sales bump from the most-hyped Batman arc since Hush, is it?

  6. It's too soon to say what happened between Chuck Dixon and DC, but based on comments I've read over the years at Dixonverse I find it extremely unlikely that Chuck Dixon would leave because he didn't want to rewrite something. The man is a writers writer and has acknowledged many times that rewriting at the last minute is just part of his job. It's something that literally EVERY comics writer has to do.


  7. Anyone have a link to the interview where Morrison said he was unaware of the crossovers? That's interesting.

  8. Here. Money quote (very slight spoilers):

    IGN: Solicitations hit earlier this week, and there were a number of Batman RIP tie-ins across the other Batman books. How is the story going to work with the other titles?

    Morrison: I have no idea. [laughs] This is the same story I've been telling for the last two years, and this just happens to be the last part of it. But people really responded to it, and the sales on the Batman titles went through the roof with the first issue of RIP. So quite clearly DC took one look at that and said let's put some branding on the other Bat titles. But I believe those titles are dealing with the impact of Batman being missing during RIP. But there are no specific crossovers with my story. They're kind of falling in line, because obviously this all takes place in the same universe, so we're seeing how the other characters react. If you follow those characters, then you'll see how they're reacting to Batman's disappearance. But there's no story content that needs to be read other than the six issues.

  9. But -- Chuck Dixon worked in the Bat office in the days when there was a new crossover event interrupting his title every four to six issues. He never complained about it. He did a rewrite of an issue he had been done with for months and moved on. Never complained.

    Something more went on here.

  10. Dixon said he didn't quit. Which makes this whole post dumb.

  11. Kevin -- I understand your position; note that this post came out before Dixon clarified that. Indeed, this post was written in recognition of the fact that we're working with incomplete information.

    That, I think, is some of the difficulty with these "employee speaks out against boss" scenarios in any industry; it accomplishes all of the uproar with none of the facts. Oh, well.

    Thanks all for chiming in. On Wednesday, I'm going to look at what I think are some of the good things Dan DiDio did for DC -- then the conversation can really start!