CCI, Day 4: DC's Brave New World

Sun, July 23rd, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

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Wrapping up Comic-Con International in San Diego Sunday were DC Comics, hosting their "Brave New World" panel. In attendance were Mike Carlin, Matt Idelson, Gail Simone and Howard Porter.

Naturally, the panel focused on the "Brave New World" titles coming out of DC's special recent one-dollar issues of the same name. Idelson edits "Martian Manhunter," Simone writes "The All New Atom," and Porter is the artist on "Trials Of Shazam!" Carlin moderated the panel and quickly opened it up to questions from the audience. Idelson did a great impression of Dan Didio when he said, "You in the back!" eliciting laughter from the audience.

Porter said he hoped to give Captain Marvel a new unique, albeit recognizable, look. Carlin said there's room for artistic styles and versions of classic characters, such as Captain Marvel, who hasn't seen much of an update in recent years.

Billy Batson will be "forced" to grow up, said Carlin, and be forced to "Take a little bit more responsibility" in his magical area of the DCU.

"We don't want people to be eating while they read comic books," said Carlin of how he wanted fans to be invested in the events of DC Comics. A fan responded that it might just happen with the prices that DC charges for comics, which made everyone in the room, including Carlin, laugh.

Carlin said that the "Trials" series will put Captain Marvel in new situations, while Jeff Smith's "Shazam!" book will be a more classic take, and fan response will influence which version of the character moves forward with DC. Expect to see new villains to cross paths with the Marvel family.

Look for Captain Marvel Jr. to earn the Captain Marvel mantle ... if he can past the tests, said Carlin.

About the delays in the Jeff Smith "Shazam" project, Carlin said that three issue are almost done, so fans should see it in January and entitled "The Monster Society Of Evil."

Simone asked the crowd if they wanted see something about the "Hunt for Ray Palmer" and they responded strongly with a "yes." John Byrne will also be illustrating "The All New Atom" for three issues.

"It's going to be the most bizarre place in the DCU," said Simone of the town in "All New Atom." She said that the new Atom character was always intended to be Asian, even before she joined, and she chose the Chinese heritage because she's been to Hong Kong, Beijing and studied the culture quite a lot. Simone also said she hasn't felt friction as the result of her gender and that we'll see some big female characters in "Atom."

"He's going to be from Saturn now," Idelson laughed about the Martian Manhunter's mighty morphin' origin. Henceforth, J'onn will be the only Martian.

Idelson said for the time being, Martian Manhunter will have a more alien appearance, with "the head."

"This stuff changes every five minutes. We don't know what's going to stick," said Carlin of the changes behind the masks of certain heroes, such as Atom, Green Lantern and others in different years. Carlin reiterated that the fans have a big influence on the changes in their favorite heroes.

With the several Monitors in "Brave New World," a fan asked if there would be multiple Anti-Monitors and the panelists didn't seem to think there was another.

A fan asked if he could bribe Simone to never bring back the Jean Loring Eclipso and she joked that it was dependant on the size of the bribe.

One fan was particularly indignant about the continuity changes after "Infinite Crisis" and Carlin was surprised the fan thought the work after the original "Crisis" was more clear in terms of continuity. There's a new project from DC next year that will address continuity concerns, but Carlin restated that continuity continually evolves and changes each decade.

For the changes post-"Infinite Crisis," none of the DC characters know that anything changed, said Idelson, to which Carlin said, "Really?"

Why bring back the Monitor, who hasn't been seen in 20 years?

"Why not?" answered Carlin. There will be an explanation of the Monitor in other comics so readers unfamiliar with the character will understand who he is.

Why bring back the Creeper?

"I think I'm going to be as lame and answer as 'we're going through our old characters and he was next on the list,'" said Carlin, who said he is hoping this version of the Creeper sticks.

One fan found it odd that superheroes know each other's identities and Carlin explained that it's a natural progression of heroes growing together, and Carlin said it needs to be reset every so often, because it can get out of hand.

A Rann-Thanagar war continuation? We'll see it in "52" and "Hawkgirl."

Is Knockout dead in "Secret Six?" She's in critical condition, according to Simone.

Many of the books in "Brave New World" were planned as ongoing series but scaled back to mini and maxi-series to see where it goes from there.

Carlin feels that the current relationship between DC and Marvel is good, letting the "radioactivity" die down before going ahead with more crossovers or work together.

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