Legendary DC Comics Writer Chuck Dixon Reacts To James Gunn’s DCU Slate: “I Don’t Think He Knows What The Audience Wants”

Batman Legacy TP Vol. 01 Cover Art by Graham Nolan (2017), DC

Legendary DC Comics writer Chuck Dixon, who created Batman villain Bane alongside Graham Nolan and rejuvenated Firefly, shared his thoughts on James Gunn’s upcoming DCU slate.

Vengeance of Bane #1 (1993), DC Comics

Dixon shared his thoughts during episode 130 of Ask Chuck Dixon on his YouTube channel where he was asked by Eric Morin, “James Gunn has announced his slate of movies and TV shows. What do you think about what’s coming up?”

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Dixon replied, “Well, it kind of looks like a mixed bag, to me. I got to wonder if Gunn’s proposed list is for real, is it a wish list, are these things actually going to be put on a schedule? It seems like an ambitious list. Seems like a lot of stuff. It seems like he’s gonna be writing a lot of it. I mean, if he writes all the things he says he’s going to write he’s not going to be leaving the house anytime soon.”

“But I got to wonder, is this just a pie in the sky, is this just a wish list,” he reiterated.

Batman: Knightfall TP Vol. 02 25th Anniversary Edition Cover Art by Kelley Jones (2018), DC

Dixon continued, “Some of the things seem extremely underwhelming. Some of the things seem to exist only to check boxes. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I know you don’t want to hear that, but I don’t care. I’ve never seen a DC movie, DC-based movie that I’ve liked ever. And I don’t think I’ll ever see one.”

“And now that they’ve moved far, far away from the source material I really just have no interest,” he said.

Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 Facsimile Edition Cover A by Glenn Fabry (2023), DC

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Dixon then pivoted to wondering why James Gunn was picked to be the DC Studios CEO, “The choice of Gunn to basically be the basket they put all their eggs in, I don’t understand it given his track record.”

“Yes, he had enormous success with Guardians of the Galaxy, but if you look over the rest of the films he’s been involved with it’s okay. I mean they earned money. They weren’t blockbusters. They weren’t huge. Really, the only big thing he was involved with was the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.”

Dixon then opined, “While I find a lot of his stuff entertaining, over time you kind of see the notes coming. I’m kind of familiar with his repertoire. I don’t see how it’s going to translate to DC, and I don’t understand why in an industry like entertainment where everything is about conservation of risk you would hand over everything to one guy.”

(L-R): Dave Bautista as Drax, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

“Now, I understand there’s other films that in production that he won’t be involved with, but the idea is, as I see it, is that once all of those films are finished and released everything coming out of DC in movies and television is going to be Gunn. All Gunn all the time. I just don’t see how you can take a slate like that and have any hits. There’s no diversity of thought or approach. Everything is going to be seen through the lens of one guy,” he stated.

“For some reason I don’t think James Gunn is a Louis B. Mayer,” Dixon posited. “I don’t think he knows what the audience wants.”

Creature Commandos via DC YouTube

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Dixon then pointed out how much of Gunn’s slate appears to be based on newer comics rather than core DC stories, “The other thing I find perplexing is that so much of this new material is going to be based on relatively new comics. Comics that appeared within the last decade or so. These are not core, basic DC properties or DC stories.”

He continued, “These are like recent reboots, reiterations, or reimaginings. And that’s fine except they’re not comics that sold particularly well. They’re not record breakers. They might have been among the best-selling things at DC, but that’s kind of like saying, ‘Well, this turtle came in first in the turtle race.'”

“It’s not going back to the classic material. It’s also not going back to material that I think is going to find a universal audience. So for me it’s both concerning and I don’t care. I really don’t care,” he concluded.

Batman Knightfall TP Vol. 02 Knightquest New Edition Cover art by Mike Deodato (2012), DC

Gunn did try and pushback on criticism that his DCU slate would be the Gunnverse while speaking about his DCU slate with The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not the Gunnverse, it’s not.”

“It’s got to be all these different feels from all these different stories. That’s what makes it so fun. The stories are completely different, and each has the individual expression of the writers and the director that are making those projects,” he explained.

However, he then hedged, “We’re not stupid. Not every filmmaker is going to be happy. Because if someone is doing something that isn’t working, we’re going to be honest.”

Chuck Dixon’s Avalon

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Dixon is currently still churning out comics as well as novels. He’s actively publishing new Conan stories on Arkhaven. He also has a number of ongoing comic book series such as the science fiction story Something Big as well as the superhero story My Sister Suprema. A collected version of his Avalon series is also now available to purchase.

His graphic novel Hunter Ninja Bear is also currently for purchase from Fenom Comics via IndieGoGo. He’s also working with Splatto Comics, Sylvester Stallone, and a number of artists including Butch Guice and Renzo Rodriguez for a Rambo prequel book titled Rambo: First Kill, which is available to back on IndieGoGo.

Dixon is also working with Graham Nolan to publish a new hardcover of their Joe Frankenstein stories, and they also have plans to create new Joe Frankenstein stories.

Joe Frankenstein: Part 1 Cover by Graham Nolan

What do you make of Dixon’s comments? What do you think about Gunn’s DCU slate?

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