Thursday, September 10, 2009

UPDATED - Where on Earth is Paul Dini?

Paul Dini is a man of many talents, with plenty of projects both past and future. His most famous body of work revolves around animation, particularly the DC animated series of the 90's, which he played a big part of, alongside Bruce Timm. As for the comics he has written, he had a long tenure in Detective Comics as well as being the main writer of the weekly (and much critically panned) Countdown series and his creator owned series Madame Mirage.

At the moment, he is playing a key part in the new series of Batman: Reborn launches, writing two of the new series that have spun off from the new Batman status quo: Gotham City Sirens and Batman: Streets of Gotham. What is surprising, however, is that just in the third issue of Gotham City Sirens, a fill-in writer had to be brought in. His other series is also going to have a guest writer in the future. Hit the jump to see what I'm talking about.

Update: Paul Dini answers via Twitter! His reply at the bottom of this post

Riddle Me This

Gotham City Sirens #3 was originally solicited to be written by Dini. Here's the original information...

Written by Paul Dini
Art by Guillem March

With their uneasy alliance in place, the sirens encounter trouble in the form of the mysteriously returned Bruce Wayne. He's dazzling, he's dangerous and he's got his sights set on Harley Quinn! Has romance sparked between these two long-time enemies – or is Wayne playing a more sinister game?

Ryan commented on it the Monday before as part of the Post Crisis Previews of that week, and there was no information whatsoever that there had been a switch-up. To this day, if you go to DC's official website, it still has the old solicitation information. It wasn't just the writer that had been changed, with Scott Lobdell filling in for Dini, but the story had changed as well. Despite being solicited as story about Harley Quinn and Hush, the story ended up being about The Riddler, and hardly featuring the titular characters.

But the strange part is that this featured art by the regular series artist, Guillem March, and it came out in the scheduled date it was originally solicited. Unless March is an extremely fast artist, this probably means that he had knowledge of the change in enough advance to complete draw (and color) the whole issue. So clearly the parties involved knew of this in advance, yet the solicitation information remained the same. This could easily be chalked up to someone forgetting to update the website, but there's more.

Paul Dini: M.I.A.

Here's the solicitations for Batman: Streets of Gotham #5:

Written by Chris Yost; Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs; Cover by Dustin Nguyen

The 2-part "Leviathan" story begins from guest writer Chris Yost (RED ROBIN) as the Huntress finds herself in an unusual position – the responsible one! Because when Huntress hunts down a violent new criminal, she finds herself stuck with a violent, loose cannon of a partner on the case – the Man-Bat.

This issue and the next one are going to be written by Christopher Yost, who is also writing one of the other new Bat-related ongoing titles, Red Robin. It doesn't look to be a crossover between the Red Robin title either, to explain the change of writers like other series sometimes do (such as Matt Fraction writing Dark Avengers series during the duration of the Utopia crossover with Uncanny X-Men).

At least this time readers know in advance, but it is very strange that both of Dini's new titles are having guest/fill-in writers so very early in their run. Considering how long these series have been in the making, I'm sure that the first story arc (at least) must have been planned in advance. It doesn't seem to be a delay from the artist's side, as both cases the series seem to still have their regular artists providing the art. So I guess that this switch up revolves around Dini.

The Reason?

But what could it be? Personal problems, delays because of editorial reasons or an involvement in other projects? As we can see from his previous work ethic, he does not seem to be a writer prone to delays (Countdown came out weekly without delays as far as I know). He was involved writing the story line of the much-acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, but that must have also been done a long time ago. If there is indeed a new project he is working on, one that is the cause of these delays, we don't know about it yet.

My speculation based on nothing but my own thoughts and zero proof to go on? Remember when Dan Didio said that we would see more of Terry McGinnis (a.k.a. Batman Beyond) in 2010? They also recently announced during Fan Expo Canada 2009 that it would be six issue mini series. Paul Dini was a producer in the original show, so it wouldn't be too far-fetched to imagine that he would want to write a new series if possible. Furthermore, Batman Beyond even appeared in Countdown, as one of the characters from the multiverse.

So what do you think, faithful readers, is Paul Dini currently busy writing a Batman Beyond mini series? Or something else completely?

The Real Reason

Paul Dini was kind enough to answer via Twitter after I posted a link to this article. He said...

@el_matt I got swamped while filming my pilot. I'm back this month with new issues of both STREETS and SIRENS.

So there you have it. He's not writing Batman Beyond after all (and he isn't the Red Hulk, either as some of the comments had hinted). Still, The Weekly Crisis: Getting Answers from Creators since 2009!

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Simon DelMonte said...

This seems to follow the trend that Dini started on Detective. Because of his busy career, DC lets him skip issues. It doesn't make for complete stability on the given series he's writing, but I think the alternate is that he doesn't write as much, or at all, for DC, and he's one of their gems right now.

Though I say that as someone who was very disappointed with Sirens and as someone who is enjoying Red Robin and thinks Yost is a good choice to be a back-up writer on Streets if needed.

PMMJ said...

You heard it here first: Paul Dini *is* the Red Hulk.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Simon, I think what surprise me the most is that this happened very early in the series. Like I said, the Batman relaunch was a long time in the making. I could see maybe DC putting a co-writer to do the script while Dini plots. I think that would give series a bigger consistency and a stronger focus.


Ryan Schrodt said...

@PMMJ - Dini being the Red Hulk is about the only thing that would get me to pick up anything even remotely associated with the character.

Between the Panels said...

Hey Matt, I'm sure you will see this in a bit, but I'll go ahead and post here: (From Paul Dini's Twitter:)

@el_matt I got swamped while filming my pilot. I'm back this month with new issues of both STREETS and SIRENS.

(Link for verification:

Well. There you have it!
-William Goodman (Between the Panels Podcast)

Matt Ampersand said...

Thanks for the head-up, William! Will update the post with the reply from Mr. Dini in a bit.

JP said...

Well done Matt!!!! You solved a mystery that I myself was wondering "WTF is going on?" Thanks for this vital service to the book community. And here's hoping that Dini is attached to that Batman Beyond mini.

The Dangster said...

i hope nobody's too upset. and simon, dini is one of my top 3 writers and dini left detective for only 4-5 issues tops (3? ostrander stories, 1 marz, 1 milligan. I'm sure we can survive this.

mrpeepants said...

did I miss where they said what pilot it is??

Scott said...

Thanks for getting to the bottom of this. Dini is one of the great current comic writers. I'm glad to hear that we can expect more of his stories in the near future.

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