Comics Ate My Brain

December 20, 2007

Lord Havok = Nightwing…?

Filed under: countdown — Tom Bondurant @ 10:30 pm
I liked a good bit of the new Dan DiDio interview at Newsarama, but I have to disagree with his characterization of Countdown‘s tentacles.

DD: … People identify things like Countdown to Mystery and Countdown to Adventure and even Lord Havok as Countdown crossovers, but I really don’t – I consider those books to be spin-“outs” of Countdown featuring characters that were in Countdown, and have spun out into their own miniseries and stories. They’re not different than when say; Iceman or Nightcrawler got their own miniseries spinning off of X-Men. So if you say we’re putting out a lot of Countdown, “Countdown” is a brand name the same way that Superman is a brand name, Batman is a brand name, or X-Men is a brand name.

NRAMA: True, but without Countdown, the Lord Havoks and other spin-offs wouldn’t exist, or have a reason for their stories to be told, so there is something to say that there is a connection between them…

DD: Agreed, but you can say the same thing about anything like that – would there have been a Nightwing series without Batman? There wouldn’t have been a Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen without Superman. Jimmy played a role in Superman, and his profile was raised to the point that people wanted to see more adventures with him. That was the hope of what we did. Maybe we spun things out to fast, without getting the chance to really establish the characters, but the more important thing is the Countdown name increased the amount of sampling and interest in characters that people normally would have passed by if the books had come out without the Countdown branding.

It seems pretty disingenuous to say that tremendous reader demand for the adventures of Forerunner and Jeanclipso led to the creation of Countdown To Adventure or C. To Mystery. All of the “branded” series were sold to us readers as take-’em-or-leave-’em parts of the larger Countdown experience. That’s fairly far removed from analogizing them to Nightwing, who got his own solo series about a dozen years after his first appearance, and who by the way was a major player in a prominent team book for a good ten years.*

Moreover, the lead stories in CTM and CTA are, respectively, the repurposed Steve Gerber Doctor Fate relaunch, and a 52 follow-up. Those are better arguments for publishing the titles, but they hardly support the notion that people would read them based on Countdown. In fact, I wonder if they would have done better on those grounds, without the CD brand.

On balance, I think Dan DiDio tries to be pretty fair about DC’s shortcomings, but in this respect he’s not exactly arguing from a position of strength.

* I’m counting Dick-as-Nightwing, obviously. To count Dick-as-Robin would just be piling on.

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