At Heroes Con earlier this summer, Matt Brady interviewed Dan DiDio, covering a wide range of topics that eventually turned to the use humor in comics. DiDio brought up the company’s now-cancelled Young Justice title:
Again, not to harp on it, but in Young Justice – I’m sorry, but when you introduce a character called “Slobo”…[audience laughs] No – honestly – Lobo is a character that’s dark, dangerous, edgy, and over the top. That’s why Lobo is funny, not because he’s a joke. When you make a Slobo character, it’s not a good character. It’s ruining something stronger. It ruined Lobo, in my opinion. It’s selling a character down the river for a laugh, and I never want to do that. I never want to sacrifice a single character for a single laugh. At the end of the day, you do more damage than good. You may get one funny laugh, but you hurt the character in the long run, and that’s not the right thing to do.
After being asked about DiDio’s statement in the comments section of his blog, Young Justice writer Peter David responded:
First he complained about the quality of the book’s sales, stating that a book which features such iconic characters should have far higher numbers. And second he asserted that “Slobo” ruined the character of Lobo.
The aspect that Dan perpetually leaves out of his two-part evisceration of “Young Justice” is that YJ was specifically designed to appeal to a younger readership. That was the mandate from editorial. That’s what I was asked to write. YJ was intended to skew young–in its stories, in its subject matter, in its readership–with the notion that it would draw in younger readers who would eventually “graduate” to the older-skewing titles. I was told at the outset that DC neither expected nor needed the book to sell huge numbers; it was aiming at the long-term goal of bringing in new, younger readers. So his complaining about the quality of the sales is irrelevant…not to mention that YJ outsold “Impulse” and “Superboy,” both of which were also cancelled, and even he admits the book was turning a profit. So pointing to these iconic characters–characters so “iconic” that DC did away with them–and complaining that sales didn’t reflect their presence is really beside the point.
As for Slobo, I wanted to introduce a Wolverine-esque character to stir things up. Since the book featured junior versions of Superman, Batman, and the Flash, a junior version of Lobo seemed perfectly appropriate. A character who was, in his execution and handling, far more serious than Dan remotely gives him credit for (because, y’know, having Slobo go slowly blind was such a knee-slapper of a storyline). And, frankly, I think that a company that raped and murdered Sue Dibny, murdered Blue Beetle, tortured and crippled Batgirl, and had both Superman and Wonder Woman at various times cold-bloodedly murder opponents, doesn’t get to say that *I* ruined one of their characters.
(Ironically, yes, they’re arguing about THAT Lobo …)