SDCC '08 - DCU: A Guide to Your Universe Panel

Saturday afternoon’s “DC: A Guide to Your Universe” panel at Comic-Con International promised a few new announcements from the publisher.

The panel began with DC Universe executive editor Dan DiDio and story editor Ian Sattler bringing up Geoff Johns to talk, briefly, about The Flash: Rebirth.

DiDio then announced that DC had acquired the rights to the Archie superhero characters, and the characters will be "incorporated into the DC Universe in The Brave and the Bold, to be written by J. Michael Stracynzski.

"We're going to do two issues per origin, create the characters fresh in the DC Universe," said Stracynzski. "Not the Hangman's cousin third removed, but the Hangman. Bring those characters, fully-fleshed into the DC Universe."

"But we're not stopping there," said DiDio. "This is about expanding the DC Universe; making it bigger and better."

"How many people are fans of the Milestone characters?" DiDio asked.

"Well guess what? We're going to be bringing the Milestone characters into the DC Universe proper," said DiDio, mentioning characters like Icon, and saying that Static will be joining the Teen Titans.

"These are great characters we haven't seen in a while," said DiDio, mentioning that Milestone co-founder Dwayne McDuffie would be joining the panel later to discuss the announcement further.

[and for much more on this announcement, check out our interview with Dan DiDio ]

Mike Grell was then brought up to the panel, to talk about a new The Warlord series.

"I began talking about the editors over there about the possibility of resurrecting Warlord, going back to the old, original Warlod," said Grell. "Reintroducing them, spinning them into a new adventure with new characters that can pick up the sword and carry on from there."

"We've got a few interesting surprises for you, some old stuff revisited, some new tricks up our sleeve, I think you're going to like it," Grell continued.

DiDio then turned to "Batman R.I.P.," rhetorically asking the audience what they thought would happen at the end. He then brought up "Batman R.I.P." writer Grant Morrison to discuss the story.

"'Batman R.I.P.' ends with quite a big shock," said Morrison, saying the ending will be followed by a two-issue story that is effectively the last Batman story. A slide was shown of Batman: Battle for the Cowl with Nightwing, Jason Todd, Robin, Hush and Catwoman appearing on the image.

Johns then talked about his Action Comics work and the previously announced "New Krypton" story, crossing over with Superman and Supergirl. An image was shown of an injured Superman with tubes and bandages on him.

[editors note - check out all the images from the projects announcd so far to your right, and look for much more all the big announcements very soon here at Newsarama].

DC coordinating editor Jann Jones joined the panel to talk about DC's kids line, praising Tiny Titans and Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam. She also promoted the upcoming Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade.

DiDio then brought out Wonder Woman and Secret Six writer Gail Simone, along with Wonder Woman artist Aaron Lopresti and Secret Six artist Nicola Scott.

Simone discussed her upcoming Wonder Woman plans, saying it's "the return of the Amazons" and "the biggest story she's ever written." She said that if fans enjoyed Villains United, they'd like Secret Six, saying each issue gets "more twisted and more wrong." She also promoted an upcoming fight between Batman and Catman in the book.

DiDio brought out Brad Meltzer to discuss DC Universe: Last Will and Testament.

"There are hints about where the DCU is headed," said Meltzer, repeating his comments from yesterday about the one-shot dealing with DC characters spending what they believe to be their last night on Earth. "You'll also see that one you face death, I believe, you try to find answers. Some people seek love, and some people seek the family, and some people seek drink, and some people seek sex. I can tell you for sure that Geo-Force tries to seek revenge on Deathstroke for killing his sister."

DiDio then praised Meltzer for winning an Eisner award last night for best single issue.

Greg Rucka was brought up to the dais, speaking on Final Crisis: Revelations, saying it'll have "Gotham City in the grips of evil like you'll never see it before," with a "lot of time spent in a church."

Titans writer Judd Winick joined the panel, teasing "I can tell you nothing" about the book. "We have an upcoming arc involving every character that has been done a Titan. So how do you like them apples?"

Ambush Bug: Year None writer Keith Giffen was brought up to the panel, saying an upcoming issue will reenact a scene from "The Graduate" with Ambush Bug, Lois Lane and Super Turtle.

DiDio then turned the panel over to fan questions.

"How big of a role will the remaining Sinestro Corps play in 'Blackest Night'? Johns: A huge role. "Sinestro will be in Green Lantern until...he's not."

Any more Suicide Squad by John Ostrander? DiDio said that Simone is doing something similar with Secret Six, specifically with a big role for Deadshot.

Is Etta Candy still married to Steve Trevor? Simone: Yes.

The next fan praised Trinity and the work of Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, then asked for more information about the Battle for the Cowl teaser image. He got a lot of jokes, but no real info.

Are you going to replace Wally West with Barry Allen again? "You need to read Flash: Rebirth," said Johns. "I hope I've shown I'm a Wally West fan. I did write the book for five years."

The same fan also asked if Martian Manhunter and Superboy were dead "for good." "Yes," said DiDio. "Why would we answer that," asked Rucka.

Any chance for a new Deathstroke ongoing series? "As anyone who saw in Identity Crisis, I love Deathstroke," said Meltzer, continuing to speak about the character's role in Last Will and Testament. "I actually asked Dan months ago if we can take him out of the DCU so we can do something really spectacular with him. You never really get to see his motivation, or what's going on with him, but you're going to see that with Last Will and Testament."

Any chance of a Hal/Barry team-up book? "It's too early for that," said Johns, but adding that Hal Jordan will be in The Flash: Rebirth.

Any news on Gail Simone's Wonder Woman project with Ethan Van Sciver? "We're re-imaging a DC villain that scares me to write," said Simone, adding that it was too early to say anything else.

Any plans for the Bulleteer? "Not me, but she might be in Final Crisis a little bit," answered Morrison.

A fan asked if, given DC's history of acquiring characters (reignited with today's announcement), and what they'd like to see next. DiDio mentioned Hanna-Barbera properties like Frankenstein Jr.

New James Robinson Justice League comic? Should start early next year (January 2009).

A fan asked about the "tattered remains" of Young Justice, with DiDio joking "Who's left? Grant needs characters to kill in Final Crisis."

Power Girl came up, with DiDio talking about the upcoming Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray/Amanda Conner series in the new year, and that she'll be in JSA.

Will Damage "get his face back"? "He's just going through the first leg of his story," said Johns, saying he really liked the character.

Any appearances of Black Adam in the future? JSA #23, said Johns, a Black Adam and Isis arc. "Also we've got Black Adam and the new Shazam fighting Mary Marvel in issue #5 of Final Crisis," added Morrison.

Any chance of bringing back the Heckler? Giffen said no, but it was joked that he would become one of the Black Lanterns.

Plans for Dr. Fate? "I'd love to use him." said Johns. Giffen said he'll be in Reign in Hell.

Morrison said the Earth-20 version "Doc Fate, a combo of Doc Savage and Dr. Fate, will be in Final Crisis (he could have been joking, but who knows with Morrison).

Trying to put Brave and the Bold back in "mainstream"? JMS said it's in " a really nice apartment next door to continuity;" essentially not directly tying in with other books but canon nonetheless.

Plans for Zatanna? DiDio pointed the fan towards her appearances in Detective Comics, and the previously announced (at this convention) ongoing Zatanna series written by Paul Dini, starting in the new year.

Will the Milestone characters origins change? "We want them just the way they are," said DiDio.

A "major Warlord fan" complimented Mike Grell and expressed his excitement for the new series. He asked if Grell will be drawing the series, with the writer/artist answering that he'll be doing covers "as much as possible," and that "somewhere down the line, you can bet I'm gonna draw it."

"I want someone working on this book who's art I wanna see," said Grell. "I think you guys are going to enjoy it when you see it."

JMS was asked about what other DC series he wants to work on. "There's a plan that Dan and I are talking about that's on the QT right now, but it should be very cool." He also quelled a rumor - brought up by the fan - that he'd be working on JLA.

Is Martian Manhunter "dead, dead" or "Geoff Johns needs a new Black Lantern dead"? The answer was the latter, though it was probably in jest (or not ... again, who knows).

A fan who was "very sad" when Jason Todd came back but came around, asked when we would see the character next. Morrison said there's a "big" Jason Todd series coming up after "Batman R.I.P." Winick then asked the crowd how they'd feel about Jason Todd being Batman (the crowd felt loudly negatively).

Appearances from Ted Kord Blue Beetle? Giffen said Ambush Bug #2 shows "the real reason" Ted Kord died.

Giffen continued, making a poorly received joke about Mary Marvel losing her virginity to Ambush Bug in the series.

Brad Meltzer's father then asked a question about his son's new book "The Book of Lies," coming out in September. Meltzer talked about it and its connection with comics (it involves the murder of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel's father).

The panel was asked about what comics would be best to follow the current DC Universe. Rucka mentioned 52, Meltzer praised All-Star Superman despite not being in continuity, Morrison and Grell recommended to check out as much as they can and to find what they liked.

"Any plans for Aquaman?" "Aquaman's in Final Crisis #3, and then there's more plans," said Morrison.

Any future plans for Green Arrow/Black Canary? "Connor Hawke's been missing since issue #5," said Winick. "That will wrap up. Unfortunately #14 will be my last. I've been writing Green Arrow for 5 and a half years, and I love the character, but these will be my last stories."

Giffen was asked if he'll be writing any more cosmic characters in the near future. "This is a good time to announce that I'm signing exclusively with Marvel," he joked, then saying that now that Jim Starlin is at DC, he'll probably have that avenue covered for a while.

Plans for Rucka after his Final Crisis tie-ins? "I'm doing two series that I can't talk about," said Rucka. "I haven't been able to talk about it for over a year!"

The panel wrapped with DiDio thanking the audience and reminding of tomorrow's DC Nation panel, the second of the convention.

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