One final time into the breach, eh? DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio took the podium of ball room 6A one last time on Sunday morning to give an announcement that the programming book billed as a "blockbuster."
Showing up almost ten minutes early, DiDio walked amongst fans and chatted a bit before the panel started. The panel was odd in that the normal assemblage of signs showing panelists names was not in evidence -- only DiDio's name was shown. What could it all mean?
Editor Ian Sattler, who made a bold choice with a pink polo shirt, wandered around moments later, and Phillip Tan joined him shortly on the side of the stage with coordinating editor Jann Jones, Matt Idelson, Geoff Johns and a few other comics notables.
"I'm gonna start this a little early," DiDio said. He asked where some fans were during the DC Universe panel, and he dissed "Fringe," which led Bob Wayne to run on stage to correct him saying, "What he meant to say is 'Fringe' is another fine Warner Brothers property ...'"
"It seems that the general consensus is that you want a recap of what we said in every other panel," DiDIo said, taking another shot at 'Fringe."
"While they were standing in line for 'Watchmen' ... while you're digging a hole, keep going," Wayne said.
They recapped the "100,000 Kryptonians on Earth" announcement, Red Lanterns/Indigo Lanterns, "Sins of the Star Sapphire" and "Blackest Night" for "Green Lantern." When asked about Mauve Lanterns, Johns said, "I'm going to kill Keith Giffen ..."
They also noted that Milestone characters were coming to the DCU, with Icon and Hardware in the Justice League and Static in the Titans.
"Lots of men," Idelson said when asked what's next for "Wonder Woman."
"Gail Simone comes on board, and Paradise Island is full of men," DIDio joked. "Is that a fantasy for her?"
"The story is about Superboy Prime punching a lot of people," Johns said of "Legion" developments, saying that if you like speedsters, you'll like that as well.
More recaps? Kevin Smith with a new Batman mini (with two completed scripts in already with a secret artist and covers by Andy Kubert). "Brave and the Bold" will have Batman teaming up with "Archie" superhero characters. Black Adam will return to "Justice Society of America" after the Gog storyline. Mike Grell is writing "Warlord" (and doing covers), the Legion of Super-Heroes will debut on "Smallville" in a Geoff Johns-penned episode.
The same young male fan who read "Final Crisis" #3 was on hand to answer questions about it ... sort of.
DiDio called up a young woman in a Supergirl costume to stand close to the mic (she was hot) and talk about the book's developments). But she stopped reading the title ten months ago, and proposed to act out her idea of what should have happened. "New creative team, she won't be a slut, the book won't suck," Idelson said of the title in October.
Apparently "Battle for The Cowl" wasn't supposed to be on screen regarding the Batman titles, and that was discussed. "So we have 'Battle for the Cowl ... oh sh**!" DiDio said.
Wayne put the kibosh for a video which will be shown. "It'll give you something to talk about as you're leaving the room." Instead, they opened the panel up for questions.
Ron Raymond will be a Black Lantern, Johns confirmed.
There was no movie adaptation of "The Dark Knight" because it stopped complaints of "I already read that in the comics," Wayne said.
"Grant's run on 'All Star Batman' ends on #12, and we're going past 15 or 16 on 'All Star Batman.'" DiDio said.
"I just try and take everything from the past that is important to the character emotionally and add my own spin on it," Johns said of being a stewart of the characters, "I don't like to tell a story unless it affects a character on an emotional level."
Ian Sattler promises "surprises" in "Reign in Hell" "especially in the middle." DiDIo said it reintroduces a new character in a very new light. He then said Batwoman was coming to the Justice League, as well as in "Revelations."
"Stay to the end of the panel," DiDio promised regarding "Batman RIP." "We've got an announcement to make."
"Cancelled all your Marvel subscriptions?" Wayne said of a questioner. "You're my favorite guy!"
No plans for Crimson Avengers as of now, and the Archives collections are morphing into newly titled projects, including an original version of "Captain Marvel and the Monster Society of Evil" to go alongside the new version.
Wayne got caught not listening to a question about trades and said, "Supergirl left, I have to go right now."
When asked about thirty first century Lanterns, Johns said, "There's a new oath in ... I told you that ... I thought we had a thing, man. There's two Green Lanterns, the last Lanterns in 'Legion of Three Worlds' and they have a new oath."
"He kept every secret from 'Final Crisis' #3 and then he blew that one," Wayne said, surprised.
"The new writer is Dan Jurgens," Johns said for "Booster Gold." "He's been throwing a lot of ideas at us, so anyone who's enjoyed it now, I think Dan's really gonna kick some ass. I'm excited to read it, and I can't always say that when I leave a book. Dan takes over on issue #15."
Johns kept pounding the "I need Black Lanterns" joke when a question about Vic Sage came up. DiDio called the death an important story beat. Hitman will not be a Black Lantern said.
Fables T-shirts? "I'll talk to Bill when I get back to the booth. Go by the Grafitti Designs booth and buy some shirts, say, 'I'd have bought some more if you had 'Fables' shirts.' Get our fine licensees on that."
DiDio believes that Stracynski on "Brave and the Bold" will be as effective as his work with "The Twelve" and the Squadron Supreme.
Wayne suggested that fans descend on the DC Direct booth to demand Sinestro Corps rings.
"I'd rather be handed 'Doom Patrol' or 'The Outsiders,'" when asked for a flipside of "Stan Lee Recreates The DC Universe."
There's also a member of the Shazam legacy due to be in the Justice League.
"Grant said there's gonna be a multiverse at the end of Final Crisis," DiDio said. "Not me!" He also said there are no plans for "Batman Beyond."
"Zatanna" will be out between January and March 2009.
"Greg wanted me to have the Spectre DOOT DOOT Doctor Light," Tan said. "You've really gotta check that scene."
Wayne indicated some "All Star Squadron" Showcases might come out.
"The Trial of the Flash" will not be in trade paperback soon. "The Fastest Man Alive and the slowest story ever told," Wayne complained.
Wayne noted that there are no plans for Spanish-language editions of "Blue Beetle" despite some discussions, and that the English language fans are needed to keep it alive.
DiDio dissed a retailer called Atomic Comics where "Blue Beetle" sells out and admitted, "I'm tired ..."
A final video was shown, when DiDio said "Before we finish, I wanna talk about 'Batman RIP.' That story comes to a conclusion in November. Following that, we're gonna go through a two part story looking at what Gotham has become, written by Denny O'Neil. My voice is hurting, we're just gonna roll a little video ..."
Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert are on board for the series in January 2009, which got huge applause from the fans and closed the panel.
In the video was seen a coffin with a bat signal ascending from lower right to center screen, as a scroll at the top of the screen read "Whatever happened to the caped crusader." Then text came on the scree, "Neil Gaimnan. Andy Kubert. January 2009."
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