DC Comics held their first (yes, first - there's one on Sunday, too) DC Nation panel Thursday evening at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
DC executive editor Dan DiDio welcomed fans to the panel, then introduced writers Judd Winick, Keith Giffen, Geoff Johns, artist Ethan Van Sciver, Mike Carlin, VP of Sales Bob Wayne, coordinating editor Jann Jones, Superman and Justice League writer James Robinson, Checkmate writer Greg Rucka, senior story editor Ian Sattler, Green Lantern Corps and Nightwing writer Peter Tomasi, and Decisions and Fables writer Bill Willingham.DiDio then turned to the audience, reminding them of the “What's said in DC Nation stays in DC Nation” creed (whoops!), and asked what fans thought of Trinity (lukewarm response) and Final Crisis (warmer response). "What's it about?" DiDio jokingly asked the audience about Final Crisis.
A fan said Final Crisis brought back the "best" Flash (Barry Allen), and Johns said that Barry Allen fans will like Flash: Rebirth, starting in January from Johns and Van Sciver .Rucka talked about Final Crisis: Revelations, saying it'll have The Question, The Spectre, and "payback in spades." Johns discussion Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, featuring George Perez drawing "every Legion member ever."
DiDio turned to Batman: R.I.P., asking fans who they'd want as Batman if not Bruce Wayne. The mere suggestion drew loud boos, but then DiDio asked if fans would accept Dick Grayson in the mantle (cheers), Tim Drake (slightly less cheers), or Jason Todd (loud boos). "Jason Todd it is then," joked DiDio.
DiDio said that Batman: R.I.P. will come to a definite end in November, and then brought out a "special guest" working on Batman in the near future - Kevin Smith.
"It's so weird that we're at Comic-Con, and I was just at the Scream Awards panel, and that was in Ballroom 20, and this is a comic book panel, and we're squeezed in here," said Smith, speaking of the confines of room 6A.
Smith announced that he's doing a Batman mini-series, then joked "It'll be done in about three years."He said he had two scripts done, with only one more to go ("I should have that done by the time my daughter is about 16," he joked), then announced the artist of the project - Walt Flanagan, a longtime Smith friend (who's cameoed in several of his films), and the artist for Karny for IDW.
Smith said it was scheduled to start in November, then continued to joke about his history of lateness, saying "I'm great with first issues. I'm Mr. Foreplay, but if you want me to thrust, good luck." The comic is called Batman: Cacophony, and features Onomatopoeia, the villain Smith introduced during his Green Arrow run.
With that, Smith departed the panel, and DiDio solicited questions from the audience.The first fan up shared her conspiracy theory that in Batman: R.I.P., Dick Grayson will become Batman and then be killed off, playing off the old rumors of DiDio wanting to kill off the character during Infinite Crisis. DiDio countered, saying "Grayson survies. Big stuff planned for him."
When is the "real" Starman coming back, asked a fan, referencing Jack Knight. "He's not," said Robinson, echoing his comments earlier today in the Superman panel.
It's been asked before, but is Final Crisis truly the final Crisis?
The panel didn't give a real answer, instead joking around about the prospect of a "final" Crisis. The next question, from the same fan, also didn't get a straight answer (no pun intended) - "Which DC characters do you think are in the closet?"
A Flash fan not happy with the character's current direction was pacified by Johns reminding him about Flash: Rebirth."Whose idea was it to kill J'onn J'onnz?" No one on the panel wanted to take the blame (or credit). The same fan asked about Guy Gardner, with Johns telling the fan that he's in Green Lantern Corps. "What's up with Catwoman?" DiDio: "Even though her book has been canceled, she will not disappear from the DC Universe." DiDio assured the fan that she will be play some prominent roles, even if she doesn't have her own title for a while. A fan asked, creepily, "will we see Wonder Woman in heels anytime soon?" (he asked the same question last year, if memory serves correctly). DiDio said no. The same fan asked "what went wrong" with Countdown, with DiDio explaining that they all do work hard to make every book the best they can, and that some things work for some people, and some do not. DiDio then said that they wanted to do something very different than 52 ("Obviously we did," he joked, given the fact that 52 was well-received).
"We're trying to get everything as good as we've got Green Lantern going now," said DiDio. "And in 10 years you'll be mad at us for Green Lantern," said Carlin, half-jokingly. "Everybody should stop worrying about what came out, and be excited about what's coming out," said DiDio.More appearances of Sinestro Corps member Arkillo? Johns said that's coming in the future. A fan said, jokingly (perhaps), that DiDio seemed like a "dictator" in regards to DC. Jann Jones said that she's never had a "more supportive" boss, despite what reports might be out about him online. The same fan asked if "Batman R.I.P." stood for "replacement is permanent," with DiDio responding "replacement is possible."
Status of Batwoman? "Gotham," answered Rucka, succinctly. He then hinted, a la a Magic 8-Ball, "ask again in about 3 to 4 weeks."
The next fan wanted to "lose the goatee on The Spectre." "How do you shave a ghost?" asked DiDio. The fan then said that The Spectre kind of looked like DiDio with the goatee, with Rucka joking "and that's why he won't lose the goatee."
Aquaman? He'll be in Final Crisis #3.
A fan asked about Nightwing's love life, leading to another one of DiDio's surveys - Oracle (cheers), Starfire (a little less cheers), then Rucka said he Nightwing should stay a bachelor for as long as he can.
Is Ted Kord's death "too important" to bring him back? "That's my opinion, yes," responded DiDio.How does Johns plan on making Sinestro different than other cosmic villains? "I think he already is, pretty much," said DiDio.
Any Ryan Sook projects in the future? Rucka said he's doing interiors on Final Crisis: Resist, and "it's going to be really good."Any Elseworlds coming up soon? DiDio said there are a couple in the works.
Anything else coming from Tomasi? The writer said he's focusing on Green Lantern Corps and Nightwing for the time being.
Upcoming plans for Black Adam and The Question? Johns said Black Adam will come back in Justice Society, and Rucka reminded that The Question will be in Final Crisis: Revelations.A fan said her friend was new to comics but enjoyed Hush and No Man's Land, and asked for more Batman suggestions. Fans and panelists suggested things like Year One and Long Halloween.
New Green Arrow writer? It's Andrew Kreisberg, a writer on ABC's "Eli Stone. "
Will Rainbow Raider return? "Sure, I'll bring him back," said Johns.Plans for Zatanna? DiDio said there will be a new Zatanna series written by Paul Dini next year.
In a question that would not make sense to anyone outside of DC fans, "how many Cosmic Boys will we see after Legion of Three Worlds?" DiDio: "Read the book."
A fan wanted Brad Meltzer to write DC comics full-time, but of course, DiDio reminded the fan of Meltzer's day job as a bestselling author.Return of footnotes in comics? DiDio said he's bringing them back slowly, and they disappeared because the people making them were so familiar with when things happened, that they eventually stopped remembering to put them.
Last question - will Johns remain on Green Lantern after "Blackest Knight?" Johns said yes, he will.