WonderCon '09 - DC Universe Panel: Winick's Bat-Return

Batman In Barcelona: Dragon

may want to headline that Winick is writing Batman again...

DC Comics hosted its second major panel of WonderCon on Saturday afternoon, the catchall “DC Universe” panel. The panel was once again hosted by Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, who introduced the guests: Editor Liz Gehrlein, Joe Casey, VP Sales Bob Wayne, James Robinson, Judd Winick, and Ivan Brandon.

Sattler kicked off the panel with a second showing of the Superman: World of Krypton trailer, and then turned the panel over to Robinson to talk about what’s going on in the Superman titles. Robinson gave a quick recap of the “New Krypton” storyline, including the fact that Superman has gone to live among the Kryptonians, which is being shown in Superman: New Krypton, which he writes with Greg Rucka.

The first issue of the series hits on Wednesday (look for a preview of the first issue on Monday, right here on Newsarama), and Robinson explained how World of Krypton will explore the new planet. The writer continued to outline the rest of the Superman line, and singing the praises of Rucka, both as his co-writer on New Krypton and Action.

Speaking of Superman, Robison reiterated that many heroes will play a role in that series: Mon-el, the Guardian and the Science Police, Steel, Black Lightning, and Zatara, who Robinson described lovingly as “a little s**t.”

“One of the things that Dan asked me to do,” Robinson said, “was to give Metropolis a personality along the lines of how I gave Opal City a personality and a feeling of being a real place in Starman.”

Speaking of Supergirl, Robinson said that both the comic and the character will play a very large role in the coming storyline, and writer Sterling Gates will play with the original aspects of Supergirl, that is, keeping her presence on Earth a secret, as all Kryptonians (expect Superman) have been outlawed.

Robinson then spoke of the coming Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, adding that the story won’t be a rehashing of stories that are already known, but rather fresh takes on the elements that allowed Clark Kent to become Superman.

The writer again said that the books are building to a “gigantic event” in 2010 that has been in the planning for over a year, “and I know you won’t be disappointed in the adventures to come.”

Moving to the Batman line of titles, Sattler gave a quick rundown of the coming titles of Gotham City, starting with March’s Batman: Battle for the Cowl, which leads to a new Bat-Universe in June. Sattler the announced that Judd Winick will be the regular writer on Batman beginning in June.

Winick joked that he’s the most reviled writer in comics who rams his agenda on books and characters and makes characters gay. He then ran down a list of events readers will expect from his title (noting that it was a work of satire): Batman and Robin fully explore their relationship, Blue Beetle returns from the dead, Jason Todd, dead again; Jason Todd alive again; Barbara Gordon walks again, Barbara Gordon loses the use of her legs; Batwoman permanent guest star; Bruce Wayne is elected Mayor of Gotham City and outlaws heterosexual marriages in a storyline called, “Judd Winick Wins Another GLAAD Award;” G’nort, and Bat-Mite: dead; Superman and Batman explore their relationship to the fullest in a story title “You Be My Midnighter and I Will be Your Apollo.”

Robinson interrupted Winick and pointed out a slide of the montage of Battle for the Cowl and asked him how many characters on that image that Winick actually knew – which led to calling audience members up to name all of the characters.

Sattler then moved on to the Final Crisis: Aftermath titles, handing it over to Brandon who set up Escape by saying that it begins with Nemesis awakening in Electric City with other of his Suicide Squad colleagues, but none of them will talk to him, and faceless Global Peace Agents roam the streets. The GPA wants something from Nemesis, but he doesn’t know what information he has that they could want. Brandon compared the book’s pace to The Prisoner and LOST, adding that the art is very claustrophobic and shown from a first person, “security camera” style.

The panel then moved to Casey who, in talking about the Super Young Team, said that the story is about the team trying to be heroes, but yet the world has no idea what they did. While they expect to join the pantheon of DC icons, there are forces that are trying to prevent that from happening. Casey said that a lot of what happens deals with what happened in Japan during Final Crisis, which will be shown in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance.

Moving on to Doom Patrol Gehrlein said that the first pages of artists Matthew Clark’s are coming in and just look fantastic. Adding to that, Gehrlein said that writer Keith Giffen is working overtime to make the book accessible to both Doom Patrol fans and readers who have no idea who the Doom Patrol is. “This isn’t your daddy’s Doom Patrol,” she reiterated. The series starts in August.

With that, Sattler moved to opening the floor to questions. Highlights included…

First up, the woman from Friday’s DC Nation panel who was given questions by her boyfriend to ask (who doesn’t know about comics)…a question – will the various Green Lantern Corps remain active after Blackest Night? Sattler: “Yes.”

Will readers see Terry McGinnis again? Sattler: Possibly.

Will Doomsday get a Black Lantern ring? Sattler: “He’s not dead.”

Can Winick promise he won’t bring back Scare Beast? Winick: “I wasn’t thinking of it until you mentioned it,” he said, joking, leading him to promise that he will be coming up.

After Flash: Rebirth, will Wally West play a role in the DC Universe? Sattler: “Yes.”

Asked about the Guardian – the Jim Harper version he’s using in Superman compared to Grant Morrison’s Manhattan Guardian, Robison said he chose to use Harper because the character has a history with Superman and with Metropolis. He added that he wants to deal with aspects of Harper such as wondering if the Guardian has a soul and the young girl clone that Harper has taken on as a daughter. At the end, Robinson added that he like Morrison’s Guardian, and is thinking that maybe they should meet some day.

Robison also said, in response to Black Lightning in Outsiders, that the character won’t be used as heavily as Robinson originally may have said.

Finishing out a round of questions directed at him, Robinson said that as Superman rolls on, John Henry Irons will be shown fitting into a role as the “anti-Luthor” of Metropolis rather than Steel, but will return to the armor, somewhat reluctantly. Steel’s niece, Natasha will play a role in Robinson’s story with Steel as well.

Asked if his upcoming Batman run will thematically be related to his previous run on Batman, Winick said that his will be the solo book, allowing for more introspection for the character.

Does Geoff Johns have a larger role at DC, beyond “writer?” Sattler: “Not officially, no.” Sattler added that he talks to him about many books, but his focus is on the books that he’s writing.

Which version of the Doom Patrol is starring in the Giffen/Clark series? “There are acknowledgements of the previous versions,” Gehrlein said. “We’re not saying that never happened, but the goal is to make it immediately accessible.” And the Chief will be in it, she added.

Was there a thought that Bruce Wayne might not return as Batman? Sattler joked that he thought about it personally, but no, that was not part of the plan.

Will Kon-el return in Blackest Night? Sattler: “Dead characters may equal Black Lanterns.”

Will there be a comic book tie-in to DCU Online? Wayne and Sattler declined to answer, but praised the game, which Sattler has played.

Will there be pre-Crisis characters rising from the grave? Sattler: “Maybe.”

Firming up what has been speculated upon, Sattler confirmed that the Milestone character Icon will be a member of Justice League.

Are there still plans to do a DC Atlas? Sattler: “We have something planned, but it’s not an Atlas.”

Asked about Legion of Super-Heroes, Robison said that there will be Legion material coming up in Superman. And ongoing Legion presence will be seen in 2010, Robinson said.

Will we ever see the story of the Blue Starman’s team up with the Martian Manhunter, which Robinson referenced in Starman? Robinson: “That’s a question for DC,” and Sattler added that it’s a good idea.

Are books like the Doom Patrol/Metal Men the future for characters that may not be able to support their own series alone? Wayne: “It’s a format that some of us are interested in…Dan DiDio is a big fan of the bigger format, so it’s one way of addressing that. We understand that you’re looking for value for your comic book dollar, and we want to make sure we give you something that’s compelling.

"[This format] also gives us the chance to work with someone who might not have time to do an ongoing regular monthly project, like Kevin Maguire on the Metal Men..”

Wayne added that he thinks readers might see some creators coming on to titles where stories are less than a full 22 page monthly, as the commitment isn’t as great for a busy artist as it would be for a regular-sized monthly series.”

Are there plans for Captain Atom to appear? Robinson: “There are plans for Captain Atom to appear in a couple of Superman books.”

Who will be Batgirl in the coming series? Sattler: “You should probably just read Batgirl.” Sattler explained that he feels publishers do a disservice to fans when they reveal too much to fans, and that the series will answer the question.

Is the Kobra Face of Evil one shot connected to Escape? Sattler: “No, but it is related to something else that is coming this summer.”

Who’s going to make an impact in 2009-2010? Prometheus, Green Arrow, and Zod.

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