Young comic book fans (and their parents) scampered into one of the larger panel rooms at C2E2 2012 for an appearance by the comic book industry's secret weapon to recruit new readers: the imitable team of Art Baltazar and Franco. The pair was on hand to gauge reaction to the ending of their breakout hit book Tiny Titans and the launch of the new title Superman Family Adventures. They were joined by Christopher Jones (Young Justice) and DC Editor Jim Chadwick for a very fun and funny panel moderated by Ian Sattler.
Sattler kicked things off with a slide show of new covers starting with the dual-covered Free Comic Book Day flip-book which on one side featured the Green Lantern and Young Justice teams of the DC Nation animated series and on the other featured Superman Family Adventures in the classic Art/Franco style.
The next cover was for the 100 page, magazine style DC Nation Super Spectacular book which will feature not only comics from the DC Nation Green Lantern and Young Justice series, but also the interstitial shorts that appear during the commercials of the animated block. Baltazar then teased an appearance that he might be making during one such commercial break using footage recorded at the most recent Comic-Con International San Diego.
The cover for Superman Family Adventures was next, featuring Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and Lois Lane battling an army of Brainiac robots. Baltazar then first teased, then revealed that in the second issue a new super-pet based on one from a classic Superman comic would be making an appearance: Fuzzy the Krypto-Mouse, and this diminutive rodent powerhouse will help the Man of Steel battle Bizzaro. Baltazar also revealed that a slightly older version of the Tiny Titans will appear in issue #2, confirming that this new book takes place in the same universe and that Tiny Titans issue #50 contains a subtle element that will help readers make the transition to the new book.
Christopher Jones described the upcoming Young Justice #16 as being broken up into three vignettes each featuring a young hero paired with their mentor: Robin/Batman, Artemis/Green Arrow and Kid Flash/Flash. A future issue will feature a villain team up between Cobra, Mammoth and Shimmer. Jim Chadwick reminded attendees that the action in the comic version of Young Justice ties closely to what is happening on the televised version, telling stories about what the other characters are doing when they are off screen.
Promoted by Chadwick, Jones then shared his excitement on getting to work with the character of Ra's al Ghul, but shared humors frustration that continuing adventures in Atlanta followed by a trip to Gorilla City meant a lot of tricky work for him.
When the floor was opened to questions the first was by Art Baltazar to the young audience on how they react when they see a character in a book they don't recognize. Baltazar expected the answer to be “Google” but it was in fact “Ask Dad.”
A question on the possibly of Parallax making an appearance in Green Lantern, Baltazar could only say 'someday' since they are dealing with the Red Lanterns for now.
Asked about the possibly of a new book dealing with a younger version of the Tiny Titans, the panel could only laugh at the mental image of diaper clad team of “Tinier Titans.”
When one young fan asked why there were "so many text bubbles," Jim Chadwick cracked to the laughter of the audience: Are you an editor? Baltazar shared that he never liked captions growing up and Franco said that he never read them which led to a lot of confusion as to what was going on in the comics he read as a child. Baltazar then joked that he didn't like text boxes so much that he didn't even like it when robot characters talked with square word balloons.
A very young fan of animals asked if the Young Justice team could get pets, Jones reminded that Superboy has Wolf then asked back if they have to be crime-fighting pets. The answer was yes.
Another young fan wanted a Green Lantern on the Tiny Titans team, Baltazar reminded him of the GL Squirrel B'dg (pronounced Badge).
A request for more of Lauren Faust's (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) Super BFFs was well received by the panel and the audience.
Ian Sattler broke into the questioning to prompt the panel to generate art for the young people asking questions based on random suggestions. A request for a pic of Batcow eating grass engendered a humorous discussion that settled the fact that all Batcow does is eat grass and is in fact female, because: udders.
A fan knowledgeable of the Scarab's alien origins requested an appearance by Blue Beetle in the pages of DC Nation Green Lantern, and Baltazar agreed that that was a good idea, then digressed into an upcoming Grundy/Swamp Thing battle he is working on, promoting Jones to muse that Swamp Thing should have a Chia-Pet as his pet.
Along that vein a fan of the DC Super-Pets books asked about a book for Terra's pet which could be a Pet Rock, an idea that delighted Baltazar.
A local asked if the Tiny Titans or the Superman Family could visit Chicago, which let Baltazar revealed that the books unofficially all take place in the Windy City, home of Art and Franco, and that the Hancock Building can be seen in the background frequently.
The panel closed with the news of Art and Franco's new comic book shop in Skokie, Illinois called Aw Yeah Comics that will be for all ages of readers and open officially on May 5, 2012.