DC presented another packed panel at Wizard World Chicago with an overview of the line.
Dan Didio hosted, and initial panelists included Gail Simone, Sean McKeever, editor Jann Jones, Aaron Lopresti, Greg Rucka, Jai Nitz, Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Shane Davis, and Jim Califiore. Two lovely ladies dressed and Catwoman and Mary Marvel were present on stage, and Ethan Van Sciver would join later to much applause.
Didio opened with a story about the late Michael Turner. A very emotional Didio recalled that he got a chance to work with Michael Turner when he first started at DC. At the time, Didio said DC was going to do the return of Supergirl. Turner didn’t see that it was a big deal, so Didio and others (like Jeph Loeb) spent about a month convincing him that it would be a big deal and that he should be involved. Didio notes that this time was one of his favorite times in the business. He went on to say that, “We really lost of the of the real energies in the business.” Didio also pointed out that one of the last times that he saw Turner was at WWLA; Turner signed for two hours from a wheelchair because he didn’t want to disappoint the fans.
Didio introduced the panel and explained the absence of Geoff Johns by saying that he’d gone to be of help with Turner’s friends and family. Didio and the panel then took the crowd through a series of slides covering various books.
Final Crisis: With issue 2, said Didio, “You’re really starting to see the turmoil.” He further explained, “You’ll see how evil wins at the end of issue 3.”
Final Crisis: Requiem: Sattler noted that “This book should answer your questions and more”, concerning the demise of J’onn J’onnz. He said it also has “fantastic art by Doug Mahnke.”
Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge: Didio humorously asked if anyone was reading the book before realizing that it hadn’t shipped yet.
Didio’s discussion of the Rogues was interrupted when he called on a fan with a question. The fan asked why there was a delay between the first issue of Final Crisis and the Requiem special. Sattler explained that the death of J’onn was done very specifically to Grant’s wishes, and that this special would build out on that for the fans.
Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds: Didio asked Rucka to be Geoff Johns for a second. Rucka laughed, then reported, “I got to see issue #1 yesterday and . . .” he trailed off into a gaping expression. When he spoke again, he said simply, “ It’s Geoff writing all 3 Legions, so you know . . . you KNOW.” He also confirmed suspicions that “[George Perez’s] art is just outstanding.”
Final Crisis: Revelations: Rucka said that it has “Nice cover [and] art by Philip Tan, who is incredibly talented.” With genuine enthusiasm, he continued, “This is probably the prettiest book that I have ever had the opportunity to work on.” Didio and Rucka continued to sell it with mentions of The Question, the Spear of Destiny, and the fact that it “executes an idea Grant threw out in 52 regarding the religion of crime and rolls it up in one big catastrophe.”
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond: It’s written by Grant Morrison, and Didio says that it’s [Grant’s] favorite thing he’s ever written. Didio then deadpanned, “I can’t explain it.” The story involves Superman going thru the multiverse . . . in 3D; the art is by Doug Mahnke.
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns: Shane Davis asked, “How many people think that Sinestro should be held accountable for his crimes against the universe?” There were a few shouts of “No!” and little applause. Davis goes on to say that the book is “crazy, a lot of crazy ideas, very violent.”
Trinity: Didio asked “Who here likes weekly comics?” There was much cheering. He followed with “Who hates them? “ One guy yelled that it’s too expensive. Greg Rucka said “Stop buying Marvel books” to much laughter. Didio defended weekly comics, pointing out that they have Busiek and Bagley on every isuse, which is a great thing to see. He went on to say, “Believe me, we love to do this. As long as you guys like and support, we’ll do it . . . it’s a fun way to do business.”
Wonder Woman: Of Wonder Woman, Gail Simone said, “Wonder Woman’s awesome!” Didio asks about Manazons as a name. Gail invented it and hates it. Jann Jones then cracked on Didio’s mispronunciation of the name as “Mamazons” from Heroes Con last weekend. Gail steers the ship back to the book and says, “Aaron’s doing the best work of his life on it.” After the barbarian arc, they start into a huge story with “Wonder Woman’s Doomsday”, a new character named Genocide. The villains created it from the soil from all the genocide locations on Earth from the past 100 years (explaining the panels in DCU #0. Aaron’s plan as artist of the book is that he hopes the current barbarian storyline boosts the value of his ‘70s barbarian back issues.
Secret Six: Ongoing in September with Nicola Scott on art, this book “pushes the limits of DC a little bit”, says Simone. “We will have nude Catman,” she declared as Rucka feigned beating own head on the table. “We’ve gotta have a certain amount of Beefcake.” Four original members – Catman, Deadshot, Scandal, Rag Doll – will be present, plus a new Batman villain and a new character from Scott and Simone.
Action Comics: Panelists called this “the story of the true Brainiac”. It leads up to a bigger story in October.
JSA: Sattler says that in the fall there will be three Kingdom Come/JSA Specials. Didio acknowledges, “When we saw the feedback and the excitement building up”, Geoff Johns and Alex Ross got together and came up with the stories. They will be character spotlights, much like the one-shots that came out of the Sinestro Corp arc.
Batman Books: Regarding Batman RIP, Didio asked the crowd, “Is Batman going to make it thru okay?” Many fans yelled in the positive. When Didio asked why, one fan succinctly shouted, “He’s the goddamn Batman.” There was, of course, much applause. I was also intimated that Catwoman will be a major supporting character in Detective now till the end of year.
Batgirl: Jim Califiore said, “I really like her look”, indicating the stitches across the mask. Adam Beechen will be writing this new mini, with Califiore on art. The artist continued, “We’re starting off with her living in the mansion, trying to explain actions she had taken before.” He goes on to explain that she’s got a little bit of an agenda. That will have her running up against Batman’s no killing rule; she wants final revenge on Cain and Slade.
El Diablo: Jai Nitz, mainly known for his kids line work at DC, is writing this new take on the Hispanic super-hero. The art team is Hester and Ande Parks.
The Flash: Didio looked at Ethan Van Sciver, teasing about his involvement. EVS deadpanned, “Yeah, good stuff. I wish Geoff were here.” Didio followed up, “Which Flash would you talk about?” Van Sciver shot back, “Why not all of them?” Didio pretended to be incredulous “In the same book?” Van Sciver drove it home with, “Why not?”
Teen Titans Sean McKeever took the helm for the explanations. “Ravager’s off the team,” he said of the consequences of the newly finished arc. Next isuse lightens up with a team up between Kid Devil and Blue Beetle. He alludes to the “weird images” in this week’s DC Nation column (Kid Eternity, etc.), and says that the version HE has also has four addition characters on it. He notes, “Some exciting stuff, some roster changes, 11 characters.” In October, he’ll be working with Joe Bennett on a Terror Titans mini with Ravager starring. He promised, “ Lots of blood.”
Legion of Super-Heroes: Didio said, “You’ll see how this legion feeds into Legion of 3 worlds by the end of the year.”
Titans: An old member makes contact with the team, and brings someone along who’s more than a match for the rest of the team. Joe Benitez will be the regular artist on the book. Didio said, “I think he’s a great artist, and I think he’s the perfect guy for the team.”
Tiny Titans: Jann Jones gushed, “I love this book; it makes me happy.” She also happily reports, “ I get a lot of parents coming up and telling me that their kids love it.” Jones went on to testify to the awesomeness of Billy Batson and the Power of Shazam. Didio reiterated “We’re making a real commitment to kids’ products.”
The panel then went to Fan Questions (questions are paraphrased for succinct reporting).
Question: I really really really love the JSA Classified arc with Wildcat. Any chance we’ll see a Wildcat book?
Didio: No plans.
Question: I thought Kid Eternity was killed in the old JSA series . . .
Didio: He came back in Teen Titans during the OYL jump.
Question: Freddie Willaims said that he and Peyer are leaving The Flash and you’ll be relaunching the book?
Didio: What’d he say? Ethan, what’d he say?
Question: The best thing that came out of Countdown was Captain Carrot and The Final Ark? Is there a follow-up? (The fan also asked a question about the fate of Pig-Iron).
Didio: Unfortunately, Pig Iron sacrificed himself so that others would live. (That got a big laugh).
Sattler: We have a chart of how many Pigs there are in the 52.
Didio: We have no plans for Pig Iron at this time.
Q: Any plans for Green Arrow (solo)?
Didio: Plan is to play [Green Arrow and Black Canary] for a while . . . the book has a real sense of family . . . it’s a great showcase for both Green Arrow and Black Canary in that book.
Question: I’m reading Final Crisis and enjoying, but I’m not a huge DC fan (continuity is a little dense)…do I need to read Requiem [and other tie-ins]? Can I just read Final Crisis?
Rucka: Everything with a Final Crisis tag was specifically planned, layed out, and executed to support what Grant’s doing.
Didio: It’s a bigger story; if you want to follow the Rogues, go to Rogues Revenge. They all feed back into the Final Crisis . . . you should read them because they’re great books. You don’t have to buy everything else for Final Crisis; you don’t have to buy 91 crossovers for an 8 part story.
Didio also paused to point out the special nature of Legion of Three Worlds. “We’ve got Geoff, we’ve got Geroge, we’ve got SuperBOY Prime (yes, we can say that again).”
Question: What’s the first thing any of you would do if you were EIC?
Question: Women of the DCU poster . . .what hints are in it?
Didio: Not with Greg Rucka sitting next to me.
Question: Blackest Night? Is Ethan drawing it?
Van Sciver: I’m involved, but maybe not on interiors.
Question: Will it involve the rest of DCU?
Didio: It will spill out into the rest of the DCU.
Question: With Genocide as WW’s Doomsday, does that mean you’re planning to kill her off?
Gail: Why would I tell you that?
Question: (From a small boy) Are you guys ever going to kill off Superboy Prime?
Didio: Ooops, we gotta go! (After laughter . . .) NEVER! He’s one of the best villains in the DCU.