WWLA: DC Nation - Updated!

Fri, March 14th, 2008 at 12:00am PDT

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Andy Khouri, Editor

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Welcome to CBR's coverage of the DC NATION panel at Wizard World LA from the Mike Wieringo Room at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio, VP of Sales Bob Wayne and writer Adam Beechen are on hand to chat candidly with fans about the latest and upcoming developments in the DC Universe.

DiDio immediately opened the floor to questions from the audience, the first of which pertained to the New Gods -- more specifically, their deaths. DiDio explained that subsequent to creator Jack Kirby's original New Gods stories, other storytellers were merely trying to "execute" what they presumed to be Kirby's vision despite their not knowing where Kirby was going with the story. As such, DiDio said, the Fourth World and the DCU have never fit together harmoniously. Jim Starlin's "The Death of the New Gods" is, in DiDio's words, an attempt to more organically integrate the Fourth World into the DC Universe by "concluding" the story of the New Gods.

(In truth, Kirby sought to conclude the New Gods saga with the 1983 graphic novel, "The Hunger Dogs" graphic novel, but this attempt was at the time deflected by DC editorial)

"Is another weekly series to be created after 'Countdown,' and will it lead to another big event?" was the next question asked of the panel.

"There is another weekly series coming but it doesn't lead up to a big event, it's a big story on its own," DiDio said, reffering to "Trinity," the first half of which will be created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. The book will be split into two parts, with a back-up story that feeds into the main story. 'Trinity" will not affect the continuity in other DC Universe books.

Another fan asked about new titles spinning out of "Countdown" a la "Booster Gold" from "52."

"Yes. Final Crisis," DiDio said, explaining all the storylines of "Countdown" end in issue #1.

"Boy, do they," Beechen added.

Regarding the multitude of DC characters not featured in their own solo or as part of ongoing team books, DiDio explained that such characters have in recent years found part-time homes in such projects as "Shadowpact" and the forthcoming "Reign in Hell." DC is pleased with the performance of and reaction to these types of comics, and plans to do more "large ensamble" books.

As to exactly which Legion of Super-Heroes Geoff Johns will be writing and George Perez will be illustrating in the "Final Crisis" spin-off miniseries mentioned in this week's LYING IN THE GUTTERS, DiDio declined to comment, but Bob Wayne said, "Aren't there two or three versions in 'Action Comics'? I'd say he's writing all of them."

DiDio then confirmed the next issue of the critically acclaimed and various endangered "Manhunter" will be solicited next week, with Marc Andreyko returning to write and Michael Gaydos providing art. "It's going to be the 'Law & Order'" of the DC Universe," DiDio said,

Ethan Van Sciver then joined the panel to confirm big plans are in the works for Black Adam and the Marvel family.

The next question came from a fan who prefers to buy his comic books in trade paperback, and wished to know what if any effect his choice has on ongoing titles. After some tense murmurs from Bob Wayne, DiDio said that books like "Jonah Hex" that sell well in collected format but not in as well in single issues tend to remain uncancelled, as the market for trade paperbacks of such series has been established as healthy.

One fan was concerned about the unusually high number of heroes in the Justice Society of America, and DiDio joked that the next team meeting will be conducted in Los Angeles' massive Staples Center arena. The editor went on to explain that "JSA" in particular is very valuable to DC in this fashion, as it continues to introduce new heroes that not only generate diverse and character-based stories within that title, but serves to populate the greater DCU with more characters to use in more places.

"JSA Classified," however, is coming to an end.

Later, DiDio confirmed "Final Crisis" will be supported by two concurrent miniseries and a number of one-shots.

In response to a fan's question about the collected editions of "Sinestro Corps War," Van Sciver said there will be three trades: the first half, the second half, and a third collected the ancillary books. DiDio then said that following the "Secret Origin" storyline in "Green Lantern," the Red Lantern storyline will begin. "You'll have to read every issue leading up to 'Blackest Night,'" Van Sciver said.

As to The Question's involvement in "Final Crisis," DiDio said she will appear in the first and last issues of and "will tie to Kirby."

Asked about the next DC Absolute Edition release, Bob Wayne confirmed it will be Frank Miller's "Ronin."

As to the status of "Booster Gold" following the exit of co-writer Geoff Johns, DiDio said he's not allowed to announce anything, but that there is an answer.

A fan asked what the response is like to Shooter's "Legion of Super-Heroes?" DiDio turned that question to the crowd, asking "Do you guys like Shooter's Legion?"

"No!" declared one fan, saying, "It's so flat. There's no tone to it. All the characters seem to be replacable with each other. The storyline doesn't seem to be going anywhere."

DiDio then asked fans to raise their hands if they liked the Giffen/Levitz Legion, and then the Legion Lost group, and then the Waid/Kitson version. Hands were raised for each group more or less equally, serving to illustrate DiDio's point that not every fan can be served at every time.

The editor then asked, "If we did a book called 'Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes,' would you buy that?"

"You got the Superboy name back?" asked a fan.

"I said if!" DiDio answered. He then asked the LA crowd why they liked the idea of Superboy as part of the Legion, to which most fans answered, "Because he's a 'gateway' character," explaining that without Superboy as an anchor, many readers are lost in the formidable Legion roster.

"Any plans for Batwoman?" asked a fan. DiDio replied simply, "yes," but was readily scolded by audience and panel alike for his terse answer. He answered the question a second time more diplomaticaly, but with similarly scant information.

As to the long-awaited "Action Comics Annual," completing Geoff Johns and Richard Donner's "Last Son" story, Bob Wayne confirmed that a print run is being set a week from today.

"All-Star Batgirl" is confirmed to be on hold with a new creative team being sought to bring the title to life. DiDio said Geoff Johns and JG Jones were pulled in two different directions, with Johns writing the rumored Legion miniseries and JG Jones drawing "Final Crisis."

As he does in every DC Nation panel, DiDio asked the crowd why they love Nightwing so much, calling back to a years-old controversy that began when DiDio admitted to having considered killing the character off in "Infinite Crisis." Collectively, fans argued that Nightwing is the son of DC. "He's everybody's older brother, younger brother, and everybody's son. He's the first character to grow up in comics. To kill off Grayson would be to end Batman's legacy."

DiDio then asked, "Hypothetically speaking, could Dick Grayson become Batman?"

"Yes!" and "No!"erupted from the crowd, with everyone making their own cases. Where the crowd agreed unanimously was in the area of Jason Todd, who apparently nobody would like to see become Batman. "He's a killer!" said one impassioned fan.

The panel concluded with DiDio asking the crowd how long they'd been reading comics, and whether any of them had stopped and returned. Most raised their hands, and DiDio remarked, "That's our job, to keep bringing you back."

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