WONDERCON 2011: DC NATION Announces RETRO-ACTIVE One Shots

With WonderCon just one hour old, DC Comics held their convention staple "DC Nation" panel early Friday afternoon in San Francisco. DC VP of sales Bob Wayne introduced the panel, starting with a very hoarse DC Entertainment co-publisher Dan DiDio — who blamed the condition of his voice on three conventions in a row (C2E2 two weeks ago, Megacon last week and WonderCon this weekend).

Joining Wayne and DiDio on the dais: DC executive editor Eddie Berganza, along with creators J.T. Krul, Eric Wallace, Frank Quitely, Francis Manapul, Len Wein.

DiDio describes Friday's affair as a "very interesting DC Nation" panel because they're under a "cone of silence" about what happens post-Flashpoint.

DiDio turned to the fans, asking them if they were enjoying the Aquaman, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, and Deadman storylines in Brightest Day.

Next up on the agenda was DiDio polling the audience on the currently unfolding "War of the Green Lanterns" story arc. DiDio said he's seen the next issue of the storyline and "there's a lot of fun stuff" coming up.

Moving on to Wonder Woman, the crowd contained a lot of old costume fans, and not a lot of new costume fans. (Comic book-wise, just to clarify.)

Of Justice League: Generation Lost, DiDio said the soon-to-wrap biweekly comic  "started in one direction," and completely turned around. One fan called out from the crowd that he enjoyed Rocket Red's character in particular.

In a search for old-school fans, DiDio asked how long members of the audience had been reading comics, starting with five years and stretching back to 50 years (there were a couple).

DiDio announced DC "RetroActive," with stories this summer hearkening back to the '70s, 80s and '90s (complete with a graphic featuring retro DC logos). From DC, we got the full list of books and details:

"RETRO-ACTIVE reunites classic writers and artists with classic characters Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Justice League of America, returning to the interpretations they are best known for. Each of these series will have 3 one-shots that pay homage respectively to the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.

Superman's one-shots will be written by: Martin Pasko (‘70s), Marv Wolfman (‘80s), and Louise Simonson (‘90s).

Wonder Woman's will be by: Dennis O’Neil (‘70s), Roy Thomas (‘80s), and William Messner-Loebs (‘90s).

The Flash will be written by Cary Bates (‘70s), William Messner-Loebs (‘80s) and Brian Augustyn (‘90s).

Justice League of America will be written by Cary Bates (‘70s), Gerry Conway (‘80s), and Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis (‘90s).

Taking on Green Lantern will be Dennis O’Neil (‘70s), Len Wein (‘80s), and Ron Marz (‘90s).

And writing the Batman titles will be Len Wein (‘70s), Mike W. Barr (‘80s), and Alan Grant (‘90s).

Each one-shot will have 26 pages of all-new story, plus 20 pages of classic stories, and run $4.99 a pop.

Audience Q&A included a fan asking if Lex Luthor will continue to star in Action Comics past-#900 (Berganza said to read that issue), talk of DC "holding the line at $2.99" and bringing back letters pages, whether the classic Titans will return to Titans ("Deathstroke has a few things to take care of first," Wallace responded), comics for kids (DiDio remarked that it was unusual how when his generation were kids, they bragged about parents not wanting them to read comics, but now parents want their kids to read comics), when the panel first started reading comics, the long-term prospects of new series like Xombi ("we want to keep these books rolling for as long as we can"), getting books out on time, and DiDio's belief that their company is "judged by" Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and they thus have to present the best possible versions of the character.

More Q&A! The future of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents with Nick Spencer being Marvel exclusive ("Nick is completing the story arc on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and then we will evaluate the future after that"), what anyone knows about Grant Morrison's Multiversity (DiDio said it'll probably start next year, Quitely said that he doesn't know much about it but whatever it is will probably take him a long time to draw), the character of Bane ("when you have a character named Bane, the last thing you would want is for him to be nice and cuddly," DiDio said), the character of Wally West (Manapul said it would be confusing for readers to have two Flash characters right now), if the Anti-Monitor's villainous career will be like M. Night Shaymalan's filmmaking career (one really great thing followed by disappointments, according to the fan), the new Aquaman ongoing series (more news on that in the DC Universe panel tomorrow), and whether there will be more with J. Michael Straczynski on The Brave & The Bold (DiDio had dinner recently with JMS, and he's busy working on film and TV and the second part of Superman: Earth One, so he's waiting for the right project).

When asked about Dick Grayson, DiDio unbuttoned his overshirt to reveal a Nightwing t-shirt.

More Wednesday Comics? (DiDio: "We are discussing a project like that right now.") Status of Batman Europa? Wanye said it'll be rescheduled at a later date.

Wayne brought up the new "DC Nation" programming block on Cartoon Network. DiDio said that along with DC animation, it'll feature "lesser-known characters" and "behind-the-scenes" of the comics.

Plans for Swamp Thing? "Swamp Thing is what got me into the DC Universe," DiDio said. he continued, saying they'd love to have plans for the character "in the near future for sure."

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