Sundays at comic book conventions are traditionally Kids Day, and C2E2 in Chicago this weekend was no exception. Dan DiDio, the Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, served as moderator for a free form discussion that asked as many questions to the young attendees about their reading habits as it answered them about upcoming events in DC Kids titles.
Joining him on the panel was Art Baltazar (who brought his father, Art Baltazar Sr., up on stage with him) and Franco of Tiny Titans, as well as Mike Norton, artist on Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! Before the brief set of announcements, DiDio said about the Kids line that “they don’t sell the best, but they are the most important books we do.”
First was an upcoming issue of Tiny Titans, “Crisis on Infinite Toddlers” with the accompanying image of tiny Supergirl holding a baby Kid Devil and the other characters arrayed behind her in a clear homage to the famous George Perez Crisis on Infinite Earths cover. Baltazar explained he “loves Perez’s art and wanted to do this for a long time.” And that “it’s the story of Supergirl trying to get the younger Tiny Titans to go to sleep.” When the chuckles of the audience died down he continued, “We try to make ourselves laugh.” “So you write to your own level?” DiDio shot back.
DiDio then explained that with Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! “We wanted to keep the Captain Marvel franchise going, since we are not really using him in the core continuity.” After asking Norton to elaborate on his artwork choices, Norton explained he "liked Jeff Smith’s take and wanted to bring back the burly Captain Marvel…with the pixie-like Mary Marvel floating around.” An upcoming issue dealing with a plot of aliens abducting disguised cows, is an adaptation of a ‘true’ story of a paranoid Dutch farmer trying to protect his livestock from aliens in the same manner.
DiDio then asked the audience if anyone watches Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and complements poured in, including one mother who was happy that her 3 year old now knows who Jonah Hex is. In the comic version, DiDio teased the upcoming appearance of the Cyborg Superman.
In Scooby-Doo, DiDio revealed a cryptic Blackest Night tie-in involving props from that storyline appeared issue #150, “We did OMAC once too,” he added.
After Crisis on Infinite Toddlers, the next Tiny Titans cover was displayed, calling back to Tiny Flash’s ability to sculpt hair with his powers. Baltazar then joked about his desire to do an issue with a bald Conner Kent, to reference his other father, and find a way to deal with the “Conner has two dads” situation in Tiny Titans
Following the cow abduction issue of Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! will be the return of DC Golden Age villain the Mad Mummy, giving Mary an opportunity to, says Franco, “kick mummy butt…and jaw…then what’s left of his face, because he’s a mummy.”
DiDio then announced that board book versions of DC Kids titles were on their way for smaller children, and then opened the floor for some informal questioning.
-One young reader asked why there were no adult’s faces in Tiny Titans?
Baltazar said it was in reference to the old school cartoons and the Peanuts strips, as it’s “how a child sees the world”
-A tiny Sinestro Corps?
Baltazar invited readers to wait until the Green Lantern movie comes out.
-A mother in attendance asked about another Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade mini?
DiDio: “We are looking into it; there will be something for the kids, either Supergirl or Superman”
-A young man asked about an animated Tiny Titans TV series?
Baltazar hopes so, and made a note to talk to Geoff Johns.
-The father of an eager young man asked about more Lego Batman.
DiDio elicited applause from the audience when he asked the likelihood of them wanting to read a Lego Batman comic.
-A young man asked about a Blue Beetle movie?
DiDio: “I wish, he’s a great character.”
-Ra’s-al-Ghul in Tiny Titans?
Baltazar mused that that could work, as he has a daughter, Talia.
-Any of the rainbow of Corps set to appear in Tiny Titans?
Baltazar: Duella Dent will become a Yellow Lantern, but she’s not really a villain.
-Wonder Twins in Tiny Titans?
Baltazar hinted that something is coming up with them soon but can’t say. After a brief pow-wow, DiDio semi-elaborated that they are going to be “in that set.”
-A planned end to Tiny Titans?
Baltazar: “No, we’ll do it as long as we can.”
DiDio ended the panel by reiterating how important he felt the DC Kids line was, and asked the panel about their early experiences with comics. Franco described how he was/is a high school art teacher and that he loves to draw. Baltazar spoke about his father, who was seated next to him, and how he read comics to a young Art Junior and drew characters for him. But when Art Senior’s job shift changed young Art started to draw them himself. Norton explained that he learned to read using comics and that all he wanted to do was draw and joked that it was now too late to do anything else.