SDCC '08 - DC Nation 2, Neil Gaiman to Write Batman

'Sunday's DC Nation: One Weekend Later' panel at San Diego Comic-Con Sunday began with DC's Dan DiDio beginning a couple of minutes early and asking how many people had seen the con's previous DC panels.

DiDio then introduced his cohorts for the panel, including Bob Wayne, VP of Sales, Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Senior Editor Matt Idelson, Editor Jann Jones, Final Crisis: Revelations artist Philip Tan, and Geoff Johns.

DiDio said that he surveyed the room before the panel and found out that people wanted a recap of everything that has been announced so far.

Keeping with the interactive nature of the panel, DiDio asked audience members to give updates on earlier announcement, like Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver's "The Flash: Rebirth" , starring Barry Allen, which the crowd seemed excited about.

DiDio asked the fans about Wonder Woman and Justice League of America, the latter segueing into DiDio reminding the fans of yesterday's announcement of DC integrating the Milestone characters into the DC Universe.

Johns talked about "Legion of Three Worlds", saying it's about "Superboy Prime punching a lot of people," and suggesting that "if you're a fan of speedsters," you might want to read it - further teasing it involved "teenage speedsters."

DiDio repeated Thursday's announcement of Kevin Smith writing the three-part miniseries "Batman: Cacophony" . "Guess what? We already have two scripts completed," said DiDio after a fan heckled "Will it come out one issue a year?" "It's true," verified Jones. "I have the first two scripts on my desk."

DiDio told the crowd about yesterday's other announcement, that DC acquired the Archie Comics superheroes, and that J. Michael Straczynski will be introducing them into the DC Universe via "The Brave and the Bold".

Johns mentioned "Justice Society of America" briefly, then DiDio brought up yesterday's announcement of Mike Grell working on "Warlord" again.

Johns made a non-comic book, yet DC-related announcement to the crowd - that he wrote an episode of "Smallville" this coming season introducing the Legion of Super-Heroes.

DiDio brought up one of the fans that read "Final Crisis #3" at Friday's Final Crisis panel, letting the crowd ask the fan questions. "Did it make sense?" "Kinda," said the fan. "Did anything happen?" "That's the other book," said DiDio (a crack at Secret Invasion? Perhaps).

DiDio brought up a woman in a Supergirl costume to talk about Supergirl, so she could fill the crowd in on what's happening with that book, but she said she hadn't read the book in 10 months.

DiDio then asked for questions for the audience, joking that "If you still have questions, god bless you. The line is getting shorter and shorter with each panel we do."

Q: Possible to have both Jason Rusch and Ronald Raymond as Firestorm? Johns said that Ronald Raymond will be a Black Lantern (he's been making lots of jokes about dead characters becoming Black Lanterns this convention, but he seemed serious), and that Jason Rusch will be involved in "Blackest Night."

Why no comic book adaptation of "The Dark Knight"? "We didn't want any of you to give the excuse 'I already read the comic,'" said Wayne in his trademark dry way. "And so far it's working out great!"

Any new All-Star titles? "Not at this time," said DiDio.

Will Justice Society keep their "cast of thousands"? Johns: "Yes."

A fan asked Geoff Johns how he gets into the "humanity" of characters. "I don't like to tell a story unless it affects a character on an emotional level," said Johns.

The same fan asked about Robin and Spoiler, and DiDio said they will be in "Tiny Titans".

Status of Batwoman? She's going to be in James Robinson's upcoming "Justice League" title, DiDio reminded.

Any "inside news" on "Batman R.I.P."? "Stay to the end of the panel," said DiDio. "We've got a little bit of an announcement to make."

A fan who said he "cancelled all his Marvel subscriptions" expressed a desire to see Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada in a "steel cage." "That's OK," said DiDio. "Joe is a good guy."

More Archive editions? Wayne said they're still doing them, they're just not all necessarily called "Archives," and more will be on the way.

Is Bruce Wayne really dying at the end of "Batman R.I.P."? "I need Black Lanterns," said Johns, with a laugh.

A fan thanked Geoff Johns for "Booster Gold", with Johns saying that people told him doing the book would be "career suicide," and saying that Dan Jurgens would take over as writer (he's been the artist since issue #1) with #15, after the two-issue stint by Rick Remender and Pat Oliffe.

A fan asked if Vic Sage would be coming back from the dead. "Black Lanterns," said Johns in what's now DC's official re-occuring joke of Comic-Con 2008.

Discussing the reintroduction of the Archie superhero costumes in "The Brave and the Bold" , DiDio equated it to work by JMS at Marvel, using lesser-known characters in books like "The Twelve" and "Supreme Power".

"He really has an affinity for these characters," said DiDio, adding that there's not going to be a large line of books with the Archie superheroes, it'll be contained to that one title.

Speaking of bringing other properties into the fold, a fan asked if Sam Kieth's "The Maxx" could be brought into the DC Universe. "You don't have any homeless, purple superheroes that live in a box," said the fan. "You're right, we don't," said DiDio. "There's a reason for that."

A fan, apparently having some difficulty with the concept of exclusive contracts, asked if there was a possibility that Johns could write a Marvel character, specifically mentioning Spider-Man. Johns said he writes for DC, and that he'd rather be handed "Doom Patrol" or "The Outsiders".

Any chance of a Marvel family member in JSA? Johns said yes, with DiDio adding that there will be one in "Justice League", too.

A couple of questions that have come up repeatedly at this convention - will Jack Knight return as Starman (no) and will there be a "Batman Beyond" comic (no) - were asked.

A fan asked about Grant Morrison's comment that there will be a multi-verse at the end of "Final Crisis", with DiDio saying that it was Morrison that said that, and that he didn't want to be blamed for spoiling it, therefore declining to discuss it in any more detail.

"Blue Beetle" came up, with DiDio saying that DC "fully supports" the book, and the character was put in "Teen Titans" partly to support his solo title. He also said the book added "fun" to the DC Universe, and "diversity."

Only one Dr. Light after "Final Crisis"? Tan hinted that something happens with Dr. Light and The Spectre in "Final Crisis: Revelations". DiDio called it a "frightening scene."

Kamandi hardcovers? "We've done two Kamandi hardcovers," Wayne said.

"Oh, I'm an idiot, sorry," said the fan.

Trade paperback collection of "The Trial of the Flash"? "You mean the Fastest Man Alive and the Slowest Story Ever Printed?" said Wayne. "Please don't make us!"

"I like that story," said Johns.

A fan asked Johns what other DC books he wanted to write, with Johns rattling off a nearly-exhaustive look of titles, including "Mystery In Space" and "Aquaman". "And he's got proposals in for all of them," joked DiDio.

Chance of a collection of the past stories Morrison's been referencing in his current "Batman" work? "We're working on something along those lines," said DiDio.

Status of the Monitors? "There's going to be a lot of addressing of the Monitors in 'Final Crisis'," said DiDio.

A young fan asked "will all the people that came back from the dead be Black Lanterns. "That's a really good question," said Johns. "You're going to find out in June." The crowd booed.

"What, am I supposed to spoil it now?" the writer said.

DiDio cutoff the questions after this, saying that he wanted to talk more about "Batman R.I.P." He said that long-time writer and Batman editor Denny O'Neil is going to be doing some work post-"R.I.P.," in a story focusing on the status of Gotham City after the "R.I.P" story.

He then showed a video, saying "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" and "Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, January '09."

There was at least one audible gasp when Gaiman's name hit the screen, and loud cheers.

Want to know more right away? Check out our video interview with Batman editor Mike Marts.

Not only is "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" a deliberate reference to Alan Moore and Curt Swann's classic "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", the story is also a reunion of the "1602" creative team.

DiDio didn't comment further, and ended the panel by thanking the fans for coming.

Twitter activity