SDCC '13: DC Comics: Meet the Co-Publishers Panel LIVE

DC's August 2013 Solicitations
Credit: DC Comics

Official Description: As co-publishers of DC Entertainment, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are the driving forces behind DC Comics -- The New 52, Vertigo, MAD, DC's digital initiative, and much more. This up-close-and-personal panel gives you a chance to step up and ask questions about your favorite comic book publishers!

John Cunningham is moderating the final main DC Comics panel of Comic-Con International: San Diego, and introduced Jim Lee and Dan DiDio to the dais.

Slides showing off Superman 75, the Man of Steel poster, and the Batman/Superman movie logo, which DiDio said was a complete surprise to him, he found out during lunch when someone tweeted at him.

He loves that they have a book with the two characters, "I couldn't be happier" about the news, said DiDio. Lee said that as a fan, he's so happy, because seeing Batman fight Superman in Dark Knight Returns was what made him decide to be a comic book creator.

Superman: Unchained is billed as a "widescreen" book. Jim Lee teased that the relationship between Wraith and Superman, "you think you know what it's going to be but Scott Snyder turns it on a dime." He teased a scene of Lois Lane going down in a plane, and Superman isn't there to save her - instead she figures things out and saves everyone.

Superman/Wonder Woman is coming out, which you may have heard if you've read any of our coverage of basically every panel DC has done this weekend! DiDio said, "We want to keep building on Superman's legend and lore. We also wanted to build on the story of this relationship. It's a centerpiece of the New 52 to show we're in a new area. It really helps that Tony Daniel was struggling, deciding whether to draw Superman or Wonder Woman, and we created this just in time. Soule's a new writer to DC but he is just making some really wonderful stuff." The cover is a wrap-around, fold-out cover, 3 pages.

Batman, the "best-selling title month-in and month-out" as Cunningham said, is in the midst of the Zero Year. Jim Lee says he "draws inspiration from Greg Capullo's art on this book. He is killing it on this book."

Trinity War, the Justice League crossover going on now "and the Phantom Stranger," says DiDio. "This tees up Forever Evil," said Jim Lee.

The new 3D covers are both front and back for Villains Month, with an Arkham Origins 3D ad on the back of the covers. Lee said the covers took "an amazing amount of time and artistry, a lot of overtime making sure these covers look great." The artwork is on five different layers. He said "I want to walk through a store and see all 52 covers, and feel like you're walking through this haunted mansion."

Forever Evil looks at "what it takes to be a villain," DiDio said, in a parallel to the way the New 52 has focused on what it takes to be a hero.

Cunningham mentioned a new documentary coming on October 25th all about the DC Villains called "Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics." The trailer for the doc said "The hero has to win every time - the villain only has to win once.

Harley Quinn gets her own ongoing in November, and DiDio asked if he can spoil something here. "The creative team is Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, who are two sides of Harley Quinn's brain. Harley is going to audition eighteen artists for her book - there will be 18 artists for the first issue, and Harley is going to choose which one gets to tell her story." Harley is in Coney Island and is psycho-analyzing people - including these artists who are auditioning.

Moving further into the DC Entertainment world, Cunninham mentioned The Flashpoint Paradox, the home video animated movie based on the series that ended the old DC Universe, and that the next movie after that is Justice League: War based on the first New 52 arc. Dan said, "Does this mean I have to throw away all my old animated movies, because they no longer count?" to lots of laughs.

Lee said it is really exciting seeing this, and seeing Scribblenauts Unmasked with the new Superman costume "just seeing the New 52 stuff coming to life in this way, it's exciting. It's not about one replacing the other, it's about one adding to the other."

Cunningham noted the DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology shows the order on how to read all the backstories of the characters you love. They're free, and covered by Ryan Sook art.

Digital-first comics got the next nod, including Batman '66, Smallville, the Beyond-verse, and Lee said he loves the variety there, and that it's legitimately bringing in new readers. "It was the holy grail of the industry, after the newstand went away." Lee also noted that Batman '66 is their first DC^2 comic, DC Dynamic Canvas, where individual elements are added to pages/panels rather than having them presented in their finished form all at once.

Credit: DC Comics

Vertigo: Defy is the new campaign to promote a large wave of new Vertigo titles, including Sandman: Overture, a project Lee and DiDio have been working on since they first became publishers.

Lee said that he thanked Neil Gaiman for "stepping up and showing the full potential of this medium, of this art form." Creators like him, "changed the business and brought in new types of fans, transformed the business. I love that we can talk about how awesome Batman '66 and Sandman: Overture are in the same panel!"

DiDio pointed out the incredible art by J.H. Williams III and showed some of the art from inside. Lee got deeper into the art saying he has a "level of inventiveness and creativity" to both his art and the way he creates it.

MAD Magazine is also under their purview, and Cunningham wanted to punch out the MAD idiotical Blog. DiDio said "the irreverence and cutting edge humor" is what he loves about the magazine, and that he loves this new blog with daily satire and mocking of the world.

A promo-video for Scribblenauts Unmasked shows Geoff Johns and Jim Lee playing with the game, creating a character together. Pretty funny.

And finally, Fan Q&A, and a lot of people lined up.

A fan who has bought every issue of every New 52 book (digitally, which his wife is excited about) asked about discount packages as possibility for the digital section. Jim Lee, "It is something we've entertained - it's not as easy as you'd think. But a discount if you're ordering groups of titles is something that's in discussion." - They also gave him an Amazon Kindle Fire to help him keep reading digitally.

Lee, answering a question about unexpected successes, pointed out Wonder Woman as something that has continually surprised him with the excitement and willingness to experiment. DiDio says "It all goes back to the last page of Detective Comics #1 with Joker's face hanging on the wall."

"Please do not let the Legion of Super-Heroes die!" said a fan, and he begged Lee to draw the Legion himself. Lee said, "Okay, that's a lot of responsibility!"

The same fan asked, prefacing saying "it's real curiosity, not a complaint," he loves Donna, Wally, and Dick as the Teen Titans growing up, and wanted to know if going with the younger characters as the first team in the New 52 was mainly because using those characters would make the JL be too old? "Yes, exactly," said DiDio. "It was a really hard decision. If You de-age the main characters, you bring Barry down to his mid-twenties, you bring Diana down to her mid-twenties, then how old is Wally, how old is Donna? We really do love those characters, and we didn't want to just slam them in, we may want to bring them back in the future, and use the right story, the right way to introduce them into this new universe."

Will you use 3D digitally at all? Lee said they're considering it, and looking at fun new things for print as well.

No plans to bring red trunks back. "You can't keep looking back, it's all about moving the franchise forward. I look to the past only for inspiration, you look to the dawn of the Silver Age, there was a boldness to that direction. They took the plunge and that was it. This will be this generation of readers' version of Superman."

Final Question: Any chance for a Wednesday Comics sequel? DiDio: "We're talking about it. It needs the right teams, and it's something we are ready to listen to Mark Chiarello on whenever he's ready to do it."

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