- May 1, 2020
In an interview with The Comics Journal, editor and writer Janelle Asselin talks about her experience at DC while serving under Dan Didio:
I do think the culture at DC when I was there was toxic in a lot of ways. Didio would get so angry he would throw things and shout and slam doors – the door frame to his co-publisher office had a crack around it because he’d slammed it so many times. I once saw him throw lettering copy at an associate editor in a rage. He threw his office phone to the ground once and then was so angry about it being broken that you could hear him bellowing for his assistant down the hall to get him a new phone.
One of my favorite personal Didio stories is that we were doing Batman and Detective Comics annuals and Mike Marts, my boss, had allowed me to edit a two page story in each featuring the first published version of Dustin Nguyen’s Lil Gotham stuff. Nguyen had been doing those drawings on his own for a while and we really liked them but never had a place for them, until these annuals came along.
Anyway, Didio found out we were putting “kiddy shit” in mainstream Batman comics, and he lost his mind. Someone, I don’t remember who, popped into my office and told me that Dan was furious upon seeing the lettering and that he was going to come down to scream at me. Marts told me to leave for the day (it was already like 5 anyway) and that he would handle it, so I scampered. Marts got the brunt of the ranting and screaming that was meant for me. I felt guilty but also relieved, you know? I don’t hold up well under screaming.
And of course, a few years later, they published longer form Lil Gotham stuff to great critical praise which made me laugh.
My other favorite personal Didio story is the time I tried to hire Jamal Igle to draw Birds of Prey while Gail Simone was writing it. Igle had done some fantastic character sketches and Simone and I were super excited to work with him on it. I’d gone through the proper channels to get the hiring approved, including Marts clearing it with Didio, but apparently it hadn’t registered until someone had a problem with the hiring that they took to Didio.
Didio called me to his office to tell me I needed to fire Igle and hire someone with a different style. To explain what he wanted, he started miming with his hands large breasts in front of his chest. I said to him, Dan, please stop making those gestures, to which he responded “what?! I’m Italian!” as if that made it okay?
Today, Abhay Khosla is speaking with Jhayne Faust Holmes, Janelle Asselin, and an anonymous third party about the So Many Of Us activist and support network, a