Saturday's star-studded "DC: A New World" panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego unveiled a bevy of exciting new projects, the most well-received being "Batman/The Spirit" by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke.
"I can't tell you how excited I got," said Cooke. "I don't know what else to say except that this is the most exciting thing I've ever been involved with in my life." Except, perhaps, the all new Spirit monthly to be written and drawn by Cooke.
"I wanted a mission for my sins. They gave me one," the writer-artist sighed, invoking the classic Martin Sheen line from "Apocalypse Now." "I feel like I'm following the greatest act in the history of our business. The greatest strip by the greatest storyteller in the history of our medium." Cooke explained his series would take place in the present day, and he feels it's important for the character to exist in a world with the last 40 years of human growth and technological development. "Don't worry, I promise you he won't have a cell phone or a cyber-eye." Cooke says there will be one or two fill-in issues, to give him a break and to allow other creators the privilege of working with Eisner's most famous creation. "I was just talking to Dave Gibbons, actually ..."
As if the one-two Spirit punch wasn't enough, Mark Waid and Dan DiDio had this nuclear bomb to drop on the already hyped-up crowd: Waid will be writing a new series of "The Brave & The Bold." DiDio also announced that Mark Waid was now exclusive with DC Comics. For more on that story, see an interview with Waid over at Newsarama.
Other new announcements included an all new Sgt. Rock miniseries by Joe Kubert to be drawn in his classic style; "Superman Chronicles," which will collect every Superman story from the Golden Age to today; an Absolute edition of Crisis On Infinite Earths; a "Best of" Spirit collection with introduction by Neil Gaiman; "Batman: Hopelessness And Faith" by Tom Fontana, creator of "Oz" and executive producer of "Homicide: Life On The Street;" and "Death Of Magic," a major Infinite Crisis tie-in to be written by Eisner-winner Bill Willingham, who claimed to have just found out about the assignment on Tuesday.
"I was at a bar with a jolly, inebriated Dan DiDio. I wasn't sure he was serious. So, yes, I guess I will be killing all magic. The magic went out of my life long ago. If I don't get any, nobody does."
The announcement of a new Jonah Hex monthly series received thunderous applause from Saturday's crowd.
"We're handling the book in classic western style," said writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. "He's mean, he's ugly, there's lots of blood and nasty stuff going on. It's a self-contained issue every month. We're going back to that tradition of picking it up anywhere along the line and getting into it."
"And if it helps, it ties in with 'The OMAC Project,'" one panelist joked, making reference to the fact that seemingly every DCU book for the rest of the year ties in with Greg Rucka's explosive mini-series. Upcoming issues of "Firestorm," "Manhunter," "Wonder Woman," and "Adventures of Superman" all feature everyone's favorite death robots in a unified company march to Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez's "Infinite Crisis."
"One of the things I always clamor for as an artist is working with a writer who will write me something I want to draw," Jimenez said in praise of Johns. "I started reading DC Comics with the first Crisis, so it's kind of a circular thing. I'm very honored to be a part of it."
All the panelists were eager to express their immense joy to be doing the work they're doing with the people they're doing it with. Mark Waid had this to say about his work with Barry Kitson on DC's somewhat-of-a-surprise hit, "The Legion Of Super-Heroes."
"Barry and I are doing the kind of book we've been wanting to do since we were kids ... it's time to gear up into that big intergalactic war we've been promising you since issue 2."
"Always a pleasure and never a chore," proclaimed Ian Churchill of his "Supergirl" collaborator Jeph Loeb.
"The first issue deals with [Supergirl's] relationship with Power Girl and the differences between them. Issue 2 is Teen Titans and Superboy ... I guarantee you the end of 'Supergirl' 3 will put the Internet back together again."
The panel concluded with the inevitable Q&A, in which it was revealed that there were plans for the Seven Soldiers after Morrison's series-of-miniseries wraps up (but what those plans were, DiDio wasn't saying). "Empire" will return when Waid and Kitson "can find the time." There will be repercussions for Zatanna's actions in "Identity Crisis." And while "New Frontier" was split into two volumes to make it more affordable for the average reader to buy, at some point, DC would "love" to have a single volume collection of the title, according to Bob Wayne.