Baltimore: DC Nation Panel

Sat, September 27th, 2008 at 2:16pm PDT | Updated: September 27th, 2008 at 2:35pm

Comic Books
Richard Chapell, Contributing Writer

Sterling Gates looks on as Dan DiDio speaks at the dais during Baltimore Comic-Con 2008.

Dan DiDio and friends brought their DC Nation roadshow to the Baltimore Comic-Con Saturday morning. Jimmy Palmiotti, Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, James Robinson, Sean Mckeever and Ian Sattler discussed their upcoming projects and the roles of various characters within the DC Universe.

The presentation opened with a slideshow presenting cover art from some upcoming books while DiDio offered a running commentary.

In “Final Crisis,” they wanted to show what happens when the heroes lose. Not when things look grim, not when they’re on the ropes, when they lose. The break between issues three and four was intentional. Evil has triumphed, and they wanted to give everyone a break and set up the miniseries before showing what happens next.

One book spinning out of summer event series is “Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns.” When the time finally comes to execute Sinestro, the Red Lanterns want to do it themselves. Another is “Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds,” currently ongoing. This book sets up the future direction of the Legion. Not only that, but events playing out of Geoff Johns’ recent Legion stories in “Superman” and “Justice Society of America” will have repercussions in the contemporary DCU, especially for The Flash.

Also spinning out of “Final Crisis” will be a new Justice League book by James Robinson. This book will feature a more proactive team-actually seeking justice, instead of reacting to crises. Freddy Freeman and Batwoman will both be on this team.

James Robinson discussed the upcoming interactive story arc “Superman, New Krypton,” which will run through both Superman books as well as “Supergirl.” When 100,000 Kryptonians are unleashed on Earth, the heroes and many of the villains think they’re out of business. Sadly, not all Kryptonians are as cut from the same cloth as Superman. Kandor is a city like any other, with admirable and less admirable citizens. We’ll meet a new Superwoman as well as a new Flamebird and Nightwing. The upcoming “Jimmy Olsen Special” is also part of this, and contains lots of clues for things going forward. The Jimmy story proved to be too big for one book, so there will be a Guardian special as well. This story will make Supergirl a major part of the DCU, said Robinson. Since she arrived on Earth, all she’s wanted to do was go back to Krypton. Now Krypton has come to Earth. What will she do?

Other surprises for this series include the return of The Creature Commandoes and Ultra the multi-alien. The amazing thing, noted DiDio, is that the story actually picks up on old Creature Commandoes continuity. In their final story, they were shot into space to get rid of them. Turns out they were picked up by Brainiac.

Palmiotti is writing a “Power Girl” series, with Amanda Conner on pencils. It’s starting from issue one, so if you’ve never read Power Girl before, he says, this is your chance. “In the first few pages we bring you up to speed with her, and then it takes off!” The same team is doing a “Terra” series. It’s a new Terra, but it keeps up with old continuity. Palmiotti spoke glowingly of how much fun it was to write for his wife, Amanda Conner. “You have to write a bit differently, because she has a different way of seeing the world.”

The first issue of Sean Mckeever’s Terror Titans miniseries comes out Wednesday. “There will be lots of conniving, lots of controlling, lots of blood,” said McKeever. “There’s a whole lot of teen heroes beating the crap out of each other, but there’s also an actual story.” In issue 4, Static will make his first DCU appearance.

Other Milestone characters will be introduced shortly after. In “Justice League of America,” the Justice league will collide with the Shadow Cabinet. Icon will be a major part of JSA for a year or more. Although there have been crossovers in the past, the characters are being introduced as if we’re meeting them for the first time. Dakota exists in the DCU, and they’ll work their way back to Dakota after they’ve introduced the characters. DC is hoping to have at least two series out by the end of next year featuring the Milestone characters. Static is a no-brainer. There will also be Trade Paperbacks of the original Milestone books to come.

A fan described “Trinity” as a consistently good book. DiDio brought him up to sit with the panel, where he offered enthusiastic commentary and accepted compliments on his porn star mustache for the rest of the panel.

“Trinity,” said DiDio, may seem to be about three characters, but it’s not just about them, it’s about how they’ve affected and changed the entire Universe. Still, he noted, if you’re going to do a book about three characters, these are pretty good ones.

“Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom “is a Superman training Supergirl story. They go to a planet with a red sun, to teach her not to rely on her powers. They deal with storms, monsters, broken arms, and other normal stuff.

When the slide depicting the “Tiny Titans” hit the screen, the crowd erupted in cheers. Most DC books are for an older crowd, said DiDio, but they didn’t want to leave the younger kids behind, so they went out and created books specifically for kids. 6-11. Another new book in this line is “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade,” which will be released in December.

With “Final Crisis” they played with the idea of what happens when Evil wins. “Faces of Evil” will be a 1-month event giving the villains a chance to shine. They’ll the stars of the book. It’s a conceptual crossover. Instead of the stories tying together, the books will share a storytelling concept, and the covers will have a unified design. There will also be some one-shots, including a Solomon Grundy and a Despero one-shot.

After the presentation, DiDio took questions from the floor.

Will All-Star Batman ever come out on time? “No.”

Someone whose favorite comics store had just closed due to online competition asked what DC is doing to get people into comics stores. Bob Wayne reminded him that DC participates in Free Comic Book Day, and it’s just more fun to be able to talk books with your friends the week they come out instead of waiting for your online order. Ultimately, the market will decide how they want to get their comics.

Palmiotti said that part of the experience is going to the store, making friends, talking about the books, it’s a social thing! Ordering online can be convenient, but he hopes the social aspect of buying comics never goes away.

There are no immediate plans for another Suicide Squad series. The previous miniseries didn’t do as well as they’d hoped. The characters are appearing in “Manhunter” and “Secret Six,” and will continue to appear in other books. The same goes for “Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters.” If there’s demand, there will be more.

“Batman: RIP” is an exploration of Bruce Wayne and what makes him Batman. If you took everything away, would he still be Batman? It’s also an exploration of the other Gotham characters, including the various Robins and the Outsiders. What would they do without Batman?

What movies featuring DC characters are coming out? DiDio replied that they really don’t have much involvement in that end of the business. The Wonder Woman animated DVD is coming soon, but after that he‘s not sure. Geoff Johns added that the Legion of Super Heroes appearance in “Smallville” will be airing in February. There will be a villain from the Legion’s time that Johns can’t believe they let him use.

There is a weekly book planned after “Trinity.” It doesn’t run a full year, but there’s another to follow that has the potential to be open-ended.

By this time, people wanting to get into the next panel were crowding into the back of the room, so DiDio called the panel to a close.

TAGS:  dc comics, dan didio, geoff johns, james robinson

 
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