John Ridley, the writer of the DC Universe series Black Panther and other projects, recently responded to fan feedback on his latest work. The response was mixed, but Ridley took it in stride.
The dc universe is a series that has been released on the DC Universe app. It’s a spin-off of the popular superhero show, Arrow. John Ridley, who wrote the series, had some interesting things to say about fan response to the show.
Over the last several months, The Other History of the DC Universe has captivated comic book readers by offering wide-ranging and emotive perspectives on the history of some key DC characters. For writer John Ridley and artist Guiseppe Camuncoli, the series has been a labor of passion, and it has allowed readers to see characters like Black Lightning, Katana, and The Question in a whole new light. While the series has undoubtedly been a success with many fans, it has also earned several Eisner nominations, including one for Ridley for Best Writer. Ridley discussed how fan reaction has — and hasn’t — influenced how he’s handled the series at a recent virtual press event attended by.
“I’ll be honest, and I really hope that when you write this, neither I nor it comes off as self-serving,” Ridley said. “But, believe it or not, popularity has a place in my life. I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, there’s anything wrong with being popular or trying to find out what the public wants.’ I wish I had a project that was so well-received that it had such cultural density, whether it was a billion-dollar movie office hit or everyone was writing and talking about it. And it is one kind of achievement. But, many years ago, I truly gave up and set aside attempting to figure out what the public wanted, and it served me well. Again, there’s nothing wrong with popularity in and of itself. And not being well-known doesn’t mean you can’t perform excellent job. However, I believe that attempting to focus group things and anticipating the audience is similar to self-discovery. ‘Oh, I want this, I want this,’ someone may say. Then they go inside a restaurant and discover that they don’t have what they desire. ‘All right, just give me something else,’ I say. ‘Oh, my God, I’ve found something,’ you say.”
“And ultimately, as I’ve said before, I’ve got an audience of two, maybe three individuals at this stage in my career, the two most important being my sons,” Ridley added. “What exactly am I going to say to them? What do I want people to remember about me in 25 years? And, thinking about my children, although they are different in many ways from other people, we are not that dissimilar. What if we closed our brains and opened our hearts to the things that truly impact us in terms of what motivates us, what affects us? So, once again, I’m hoping it doesn’t come off as, ‘Oh, who cares, who needs an audience?’ I’m ecstatic when people are interested in the work I produce, especially The Other History, since so many others believed in it. Do I want DC and WarnerMedia to recoup their losses? Do I want it to be well-known? Do I want the next guy who comes in and says, “Hey, I have a different pitch on hero tales,” to receive the greenlight? Absolutely. But, eventually, when I sit down to do it, I can’t think to myself, “Well, gosh, there’s that one guy in Iowa who posted something on a blog saying they didn’t like anything I did; let me try to repair and rectify that.” In my view, it’s usually that alchemy that puts you on the short end.”
Ridley did, however, discuss some of the responses he’s had to Other History, and
“As I’m sure most of you know, I’m not on social media. I try not to since there’s no benefit to reading reviews, whether positive or negative “Later in the press conference, Ridley remarked. “To be honest, the ones that are the most difficult to traverse are the ones that are the best. When someone compliments you, you think to yourself, ‘Oh, let me do it again.’ Let me simply keep doing what I’m doing because they loved it.’ But I’ll say this: the things that have truly affected me are when people I don’t know who aren’t devoted readers have commented on it. Even in the realm of Zoom, where individuals have physically held up the magazine, not pleasant people. People in your network that are supportive and say things like, ‘Oh, John, I have this problem,’ and it’s like, ‘Great.’ There are strangers who say things like, ‘Oh, wait, you’re that John Ridley?’ That’s something I read or observed.’ And then there are the folks you know who have no incentive to lavish praise on you and who are like, ‘Oh, no, I got it.’”
“By the way, just to be clear, the fact that fans, for the most part, seem to have welcomed this… To be honest, receiving an Eisner nomination made and still makes me feel like my 13-year-old self has gone insane “Ridley said. “I’m not sure how else to put it. Because I am a fan, it means the world to me that people who are fans find appreciation in the tales. But the interaction that you don’t expect to happen but does, has been amazing and really meaningful. And that, to me, speaks to the whole team, to DC’s efforts to push this in all places rather than just saying, “Hey, it’ll go to the comic book stores or the internet spaces, and it’ll take care of itself.” And people will want it just because it is unique.’ No, they’ve gone out of their way for the last four years, four years, to support the team, the artists, and everyone involved. That, in my opinion, is why this is so popular with audiences: the effort that everyone has put in because they, too, have felt the emotion.”
“I’m sure they’re the ones who believe, ‘Well, you have this or that, it doesn’t really matter,’” says the author. In response to his Eisner nomination, Ridley remarked. “I was just on the phone with Jim [Lee] yesterday, literally yesterday, and I was just telling him that this is perhaps the greatest award I’ve ever received. Tony Isabella was one of the first individuals I contacted, and I just said, “Thank you.” If it weren’t for individuals like Tony, I wouldn’t be doing this. I’m not only talking about creating comic books; else, I wouldn’t be on set today.”
On Tuesday, July 27th, The Other History of the DC Universe #5 will be available wherever comics are sold.
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