Generally, DiDio's assessment of what went wrong with his line in the last couple of years seems fair and frank. Discussing plans for the Batman franchise after the commercially very successful "Batman RIP" crossover, however, he says this:
[...] Battle for the Cowl will be written and drawn by Tony Daniel, which we’re very excited about.Wait. Stop. What? Surely, I misread, or Newsarama misprinted, that comment. Surely, what he means is "Battle for the Cowl will be written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Tony Daniel." Right?
Wrong. The next sentence confirms that, evidently, DiDio means precisely what it says in the article:
[...] Battle for the Cowl will be written and drawn by Tony Daniel, which we’re very excited about. This is the first time Tony’s written in a while, and he’s just champing at the bit to be able to do this, and we’re excited that he’s on the series.Consider me baffled.
So you've got a mega-popular event storyline by Grant Morrison, who apparently even intends to stick around on Batman after "Batman RIP." And you're going to do a big sequel series to that, now that everybody's watching. And the writer you choose for that project is... Tony Daniel?
So far, Daniel is mainly known as a penciler - he's drawing Morrison's Batman right now, after all. He has written comics before, it seems, but mostly - if not exclusively - his own creations, such as The Tenth, F5, Adrenalynn and HumanKind. Don't get me wrong: Daniel may be a perfectly capable writer, for all I know. But he has to be downright fabulous to justify DC taking this sort of bet on him, doesn't he? Because he's certainly not someone who sells books with his name alone, or has received critical accolades for his writing in the past.
To make a long story short: What on earth are they thinking? Is this what DiDio is talking about when he says, later on in the piece, that "I looked at my budget for 2009, and I understood what the challenges are going to be"?