Saturday afternoon at New York Comic Con brought a DC Universe (not to be confused with last night’s DC Nation) panel. The big crowds continued, with the line to get in closed 20 minutes before scheduled start-time. (Though that was in part because they weren’t sure how many people in the preceding Robot Chicken panel in the same room would stick around—turns out, not that many.)
DC Universe executive editor Dan DiDio starting things off (about eight minutes past 3pm) by introducing his fellow panelists: senior story editor Ian Sattler, senior group editor Mike Carlin, Outsiders writer Pete Tomasi, Reign in Hell (“and writer of a Justice League I don’t even want to talk about any more,” joked DiDio”) writer Keith Giffen, Superman and Justice League writer James Robinson, Teen Titans writer Sean McKeever, Booster Gold writer/artist Dan Jurgens, Final Crisis: Revelations artist Philip Tan and Supergirl writer Sterling Gates and “everything else” writer Geoff Johns.
DiDio turned to Robinson for some Superman talk. "Basically, what we're doing is for reasons that make complete sense and don't seem at all contrived, is that Superman is leaving Earth to live on New Krypton," the writer said. "I believe for the first time both Superman and Action Comics will not have Superman as the lead character, which is the kind of forward-thinking Dan DiDio is known for," Robinson continued, with playful sarcasm in his voice.
"All of the stuff I'm sort of known for with Opal City, I'm going to do with Metropolis; make it a real place." Robinson said the book will star the Guardian, Mon-El, Steel, Zatara and others."We're trying to make every book unique and show these characters in a way that is cool," said Robinson. He turned things over to Sterling Gates, who said that Supergirl will deal with the title character being torn between two worlds, Earth and New Krpyton. "She makes a decision coming up soon," said Gates.
"All of these things are building to an exciting thing in the future you're all gonna love," said Robinson. He credited the work of Geoff Johns on the character, and plugged Johns' upcoming Superman: Secret Origin series.Peter Tomasi discussed Green Lantern Corps, saying "nothing is going to be the same on Oa," which leads to Blackest Night
"A new law will be introduced, which will be pressing some major buttons," he continued. "Some major, major changes happening."
Johns and Tan talked about their upcoming work together on the "Agent Orange" arc of Green Lantern. "It focuses on the Orange Lanterns," Johns said. "Agent Orange is probably my favorite of the new Lanterns to write," saying he's eager to share the character's oath. Johns added that Blackest Night starts in July, and reminded the audience that Blackest Night #0 will be a free book on Free Comic Book Day.DiDio asked Giffen what his post-Reign in Hell comic will be. "Two words: Doom Patrol," said the veteran creator. Giffen then asked how many of the crowd were fans of the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol. Many cheered. "You're going to be really disappointed," said Giffen. "How about the original Doom Patrol?" Slightly less cheers, but still positive. "You guys are going to be really disappointed," said Giffen, playing the audience. He said that they were going to make the Doom Patrol accessible to people. "So what's your problem with Justice League International?" asked Giffen in DiDio's direction. "Does anyone really think I have a problem with JLI?" DiDio snapped back. (Apparently, much of the crowd did.) This led to an announcement that the classic JLI team — Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire — will be doing Metal Men back-ups in Doom Patrol. Maguire then joined the panel.
Jurgens talked about Booster Gold some, discussing briefly an upcoming story with Magog, and that Giffen will write a story with Booster in the 1950s.
DiDio polled the crowd on Final Crisis (people seemed to like it), and then asked Ian Sattler about Final Crisis Aftermath. "During Final Crisis we ran those ads that said 'The Day Evil Won,'" Sattler said. "We started talking about what it meant to be a hero in the DCU, and what it meant to be villain, having survived these experiences and being in situations you couldn't punch or heat-vision your way out of," said Sattler of Final Crisis Aftermath. "I personally guarantee that there will be one moment in each issue you won't believe that we could do in the DCU."
The first book showed was Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!, with a slide of a cover featuring Human Flame. "The heroes hate him, the villains feel he sold them out to Libra," Sattler said. "His only choice is to run. This is a guy that feels the world owes him something, and he makes some terrible decisions. It tells you what life is like for an F-list villain in the DCU. It's fast-moving and a lot of people die. What else could you ask for?"Next was Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape ("Which Dan is actually editing," Sattler informed.) Nemesis was shown on the cover. "Dan described this book as a combination between The Prisoner and Saw. It's really a very heavy book," Sattler said. "Get ready for nothing you expect in that one."
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink, as the name implies, follows the adventures of Tattooed Man. "He tries to set out and do good," Sattler said. "It's about an addiction to evil, and cutting corners, and what happens when you can't stay away from 'the bottle' for too long. There's a riot in this book that's pretty awesome. There's a very disturbing surprise he comes across when he finds out what happens when the tattoos leave his body when he's at home by himself."The Super Young Team will be spotlighted in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance (the title elicited some giggles from the crowd). "This is about them trying very hard to learn how to do the right thing, and still make their photo shoots, and find out what happens when they take off their costumes and their Q-rating goes down. This one is very sleazy," said Sattler.
"This is very much DCU proper, it's just an ugly way of getting there," said Sattler.For more with Sattler on this project, check out this video. Johns gave some hints about Flash: Rebirth. "It starts April 1, April Fool's Day. It will come out." The writer talked about the return of Bart Allen, and said the goal is to have fun in the Flash universe in the same way they're currently having fun with the Green Lantern universe.
McKeever said there will be a new team of Teen Titans — eight in total — coming soon in the book. The character Jericho will try to "out Deathstroke Deathstroke," going after the Titans. He also spoke of an upcoming crossover with Vigilante, where famed Teen Titans writer Marv Wolfman will write the Vigilante issues.Carlin talked about Trinity, praising it thus far, and saying that it's about what the three main characters "mean" to the DC Universe. "We're trying to get them back in the storyline. In the next month or two I think you'll be pretty pleased with their supporting characters."
Before opening the floor up to questions, DiDio explained to the crowd the publisher's desire to strengthen their core characters, citing stories like Blackest Night, Flash: Rebirth, "Rise of the Olympian" in Wonder Woman and "Battle for the Cowl."Moving to fan questions, the first fan up asked about the reading order of Final Crisis and "Batman R.I.P.," leading to DiDio showing the flow chart from last night again.
Status of Terror Titans? McKeever said you'll be seeing more of the characters, as well as Ravager.A fan asked the panel if they've ever been "brokenhearted" when a comic got canceled. Chase, Suicide Squad, and the original Jonah Hex (DiDio's pick) were mentioned.
How many new laws of Oa have been established already? "Like four or five, something like that," said Johns.
"Where is Lucifer in Reign in Hell?" "Lucifer is in Hell, but we're only seeing one domain of a greater kingdom," said Giffen.
Will Johns "be cruel" and make Thomas and Martha Wayne be Black Lanterns? "I'd never be cruel," said Johns.
"What role does Sinestro play in Blackest Night?" "A big one."
"With Nemesis in Final Crisis Aftermath, what is the effect on Wonder Woman?" "It has a sadness effect," said Sattler.
Next for Simon Dark? "We don't know, but there is interest in the character," said DiDio.Cliff Notes for Final Crisis? "Bob Wayne says the Cliff Notes will be in the Absolute version of Final Crisis, for a $100, on sale a year from now," DiDio joked (well, we think it was a joke.)
Origins of Blackest Night? Johns said it goes all the way back to Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Static Shock going to appear outside Teen Titans? DiDio said he hopes so, they're looking at it.
And with that, the panel ended.More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page