The New York Comic-con would not have been complete without a DC panel announcing upcoming DCU books, especially in the aftermath of "Infinite Crisis" and the "One Year Later" books.
The hall was packed with faithful and enthusiastic DC fans as they gathered for "DCU: Better Than Ever" not only to get the dirt on new books but also to watch the guests enact what's essentially a jolly sitcom known as "Life at the DC offices", which they delivered in spades.
The panel consisted of Dan Didio, Bob Wayne, Paul Levitz, Joan Hilty, and artists Adam and Andy Kubert, Daniel Lacuna, Al Barrellevio and Jesus Saiz, with writers Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer showing up a little late, probably caught up on the temporary shutting out of further attendees from the con due to oversubscription and crowding.
Bob Wayne reeled off a quick succession of upcoming Spring titles, accompanied by a slideshow of cover artwork.
Didio ribbed Levitz into announcing himself as the writer of "JSA: One Year Later" for six issues.
Didio talked about how, when planning 52", Geoff Johns was "schumck enough to consider writing the whole series himself", and Levitz offered to fill in for one or two issues of "JSA" for him if he got overwhelmed. Then it turned out Johns wasn't writing all of "52" after all.
"So why am I writing it??" asked Levitz.
"…" was Johns' reply.
"He doesn't know either!" cried Levitz.
Brad Meltzer was confirmed as the writer of the new "Justice League of America", started with #1 debuting in July, with Ed Benes on pencils.
"'Identity Crisis' in my brain was always 'Justice league of America' #1" said Meltzer. "This is a League with history, and it'll embrace what it was before and do something new with it."
Bob Wayne proceeded to reel off new "One Year Later" titles like an increasingly hallucinatory stream of consciousness:
"Checkmate" written by Greg Rucka debuts in Spring, along with the new ongoing "Shadowpact" book and "Secret Six" written by Gail Simone.
A new "Blue Beetle" will debut, written by Keith Giffen and John Rogers, with Cully Hamner on art.
"Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre" begins in May, written by Will Pfeifer and art by Cliff Chiang.
"Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters" will be drawn by Daniel Lacuna.
"80-Page Giant: Brave New World" will carry a price tag of $1.
The new "Martian Manhunter" series will be penciled by Al Barrelluvio.
"Wonder Woman #1" has Allan Heinberg writing.
"Flash #1" by the writers of the "Flash" TV series Paul de Meo and Danny Bilson, with Ken Lashley on art. Editor Joan Hilty teased the audience by stating that there won't be multiple Flashes anymore, but the Flash at the start of #1 may not be the Flash that the series ends up with.
"JSA" will be written by Paul Levitz with art by Rags Morales and others.
Geoff Jonhs will introduce Titans East in "Teen Titans", and the main character will not be pleased that a group called Titans East exists.
"Outsiders" will return, though Judd Winick had said the team really "doesn't exist anymore" to pique readers' curiosity.
"Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis" will by Kurt Busiek and Butch Guice.
"Hawkgirl" will be by a pair of "newcomers" named Walt Simonson and Howard Chaykin.
"Green Lantern Corps" will be a new monthly by Dave Gibbons and Patrick Gleason.
Ron Marz returns to on post-Crisis Kyle Rayner in "Ion".
"Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes" by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson.
"Supergirl" will feature the new Nightwing and Flamebird, by Greg Rucka and Ian Churchill.
The movie adaptation of "V for Vendetta" will open on March 17th and "Superman Returns" on June 30th.
"Superman" will have a six-issue arc co-written by Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns, drawn by Pete Woods, followed by Busiek writing and Carlos Pacheco on art.
"Action Comics" will be written by a mystery writer and drawn by Adam Kubert.
"Seven Soldiers of Victory #1" arrives in April, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by JH Williams, concluding the epic storyline and revealing which character won't survive.
"Sgt. Rock #6" by Joe Kubert concludes the series in June.
"Batman" and "Detective Comics" will have an 8-issue arc written by James Robinson, after which "Batman" will be written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Andy Kubert, and "Detective Comics" by acclaimed TV writer Paul Dini and drawn by Rags Morales.
In summer, "Batman and The Spirit" by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke will pave the way for the ongoing "Spirit" book written and drawn by Cooke.
Didio took over the microphone as ringmaster of rapid-fire replies to questions from the fans:
John Stewart has a big role next year, and may or may not still be a Green Lantern.
Geoff Johns has big plans for Damage.
Anarky will appear in "52".
The status of Speedy, who has been MIA, will be revealed in "Green Arrow".
Plastic Man will officially return to the DCU after Kyle Baker's run on the book, though there are currently no plans to reintegrate him yet.
Johns and Hilty hinted that Suicide Squad will return and overlap with "Checkmate" especially now that Amanda Waller is in that book.
In "JSA", Levitz hints that Rex Tyler aka Hourman will see big changes in his life, and there will be a new revelation about Wildcat.
Asked if the Superman comics will feature a smaller "S" from the movie, Andy Kubert said he would not be ignoring it. Didio reaffirmed that the Superman books will adhere to their own continuity rather than try to emulate the movie's look.
Johns said there would be more appearances by Starman and Starboy.
Didio revealed that Firestorm will be in "52", but he has major events occurring in his own book, and he would be bound to Lorraine Riley, which surprised many fans.
"It's One Year Later." Teased Didio.
Bob Wayne denied there would be a sequel to "New Frontier" as Darwyn Cooke is too busy on "The Spirit", but hinted that there would be an Absolute edition of "New Frontier" and action figures (the latter of which is already available for pre-order).
George Perez has postponed work on the Teen Titans graphic novel "Games" in order to draw "The Brave and the Bold" written by Mark Waid.
Conor Hawke, the son of Green Arrow, will be getting his own miniseries.
Bob Wayne announced that more "Legion of Superheroes Archives" were due, and Didio ribbed Levitz by reminding him that Levitz' original run would finally be collected. Levitz visibly blanched and said, "You have to remember that I was really, really young and should have been allowed to do it…"
Jess McCann will write a "Krypto" miniseries based on the Cartoon Network series.
A fan praised DC for doing a better job at making comics than Marvel (though a Marvel fan would certainly disagree), and Levitz said DC was not about "beating Marvel" per se, but simply to make better comics. He credited the new sense of excitement and unity to Didio's background in television programming, bringing his perspective to comics. Previously, editors didn't think of the big picture when dealing with their own books, and Didio has changed the atmosphere, putting the editorial and creative teams together to make the universe tighter.
Levitz credits Didio with implementing so many ideas he had thought was impossible, like signing the Kubert brothers to the company, or ideas Levitz thought were terrible, like launching a new "Omac" series that was actually successful.
"I had a cake made in the shape of a crow," said Levitz. "So I could be seen eating it in front of Dan."
Overall, Levitz was very pleased that the mood at DC was now one of excitement no unlike that of the 80s when great works were being produced and the office was abuzz with receiving new pages for "The Dark Knight Returns", "Watchmen" and "Killing Joke", and the sense of surprise and excitement could be felt by the readers as well.
Finally, when asked if the Atom (Ray Palmer) was coming back, Didio turned to Meltzer, who held up a t-shirt that read: "I got my mind wiped by Zatanna, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!"
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