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DC Comics' former boss Dan DiDio describes his favorite time there (and his fight to change the company culture)

Dan DiDio was one of DC's top bosses for almost two decades, and re-visits his high points

DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1
Image credit: Phil Jimenez/Mark Chiarello/Rob Leigh (DC)

Dan DiDio is one of the modern architects of DC Comics as we know it. Over 18 years in editorial (and as a writer), he helped shape DC as we know it now - through event series like 52, linewide relaunches like 'The New 52,' and creative revamps such as with 'Rebirth.' But now, three years removed from his exit from the company and well into the next chapter of his life, he has some perspective on his time at DC.

Especially, the highlights.

"If you look at it, my first five years at DC was a passion project for me, because when you come in, you have a particular idea — a particular vision that you're trying to drive — and you find the right people and you execute it," DiDio told Popverse. "I can honestly say from Countdown to Infinite Crisis to the end of 52, the weekly series, is always going to be my sweet spot because that was the vision. You know what I mean? That was the plan."

DiDio joined DC in 2002 as the company's VP of editorial - debuting at the company and in the comics industry after working in television on shows such as ReBoot. And although he would eventually become the company's executive editor and ultimately one of its publishers, DiDio's early years weren't without tension - including him planning on leaving just as he was getting started.

"Well, it's one of those things where you're given some responsibility but no authority, and you have to ingrain yourself. And you have to get used to the situation," DiDio said of his early years at DC. "And also, I had no knowledge, so I really didn't want to be there spouting ideas without a basis of knowledge behind it. So what happened was I was actually thinking about going back into animation."

As he was preparing to leave DC in 2003, DiDio tell us he gave his boss, then-publisher Paul Levitz, "a breakdown of what I thought would be the best way to improve the company, based upon what I learned over the last year."

While pointing out errors in the company you work for could have been taken poorly, this bold move resulted, according to DiDio, in him being promoted to become DC's executive editor - getting that 'authority' he said he lacked before that prevented him from initiating the changes he saw as worth doing.

"...I did not put myself in that job. I saw myself leaving," said DiDio. "And there's that moment, I always said, I tell the story, I said, 'there's that moment where somebody offers you the job that you always dreamed you wanted as a kid.' You know what I mean? It's that moment and you're like... I didn't see it coming. I was floored by his offer, because the truth be told, I was wildly unprepared for that job. You know what I mean? I didn't have the skill sets."

DiDio was announced as DC's executive editor in October 2024, and he became a leader of an editorial department full of comics experts - some who had been comics editors for decades, and all with more comics experience than the two years he had at that point.

Sound like a recipe for disaster? DiDio tells us that there were arguments, fights, and disagreements - but that the resulting work was worth the struggle - especially in broader terms of what he describes as "changing the DC culture."

"I had a lot of experience from so many other places, but not specific to comics. But the good part is there was a good staff in place and there were good people in place, that allowed me to take my ideas on how I saw it, and bring them to life, based upon the structure, how comics work," said DiDio. "But we still argued and fought all the way through, but when it started to come together, it really started to work. And we were able to run that for quite a while and be successful with it."

While DiDio refrained from saying when exactly he feels that began to falter, he did describe his later years at DC - and after he was named one of the company's publishers in 2010 - as different.

"After that, you adapt and you grow and you change, and you're pulling from a lot of different directions and getting pulled into a lot of different directions and just trying to keep things on course then," said DiDio. "But those first five years were great."

Now, three years after his DC exit, DiDio is publisher of Frank Miller's solo publishing company, acting as partner, chief spokesperson, and sometimes writer on the various comic projects and their development into ancillary media. But he's not leaving comics behind.

"It's funny, if somebody wants to ask me, why do you read comics? What do you love comics for? I used to say, 'I enjoy it. I love the stories. I love the worlds. I love the adventure. I love getting caught up in the fantasy of it. It's fun," said DiDio. "Just like anything. I love the medium, I really do. And I'd worked in TV for a good 20 years before joining DC. But once I got into comics, I never had the desire to go back to television, because I was really working in the medium that I love the most."

You can read Popvere's full Dan DiDio interview here.

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Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant: Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)


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