ComicMix at WWLA: The DC Nation Panel
Day one at Wizard World LA and we’re in the Mike Wieringo room for the DC Nation Panel featuring DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio, VP of Sales Bob Wayne and writer Adam Beechen.
Getting right to it, DiDio introduced the other members of the panel and then, as is his style at events like these, launched right into the Q&A, taking question from the eager fans in attendance.
First question out of the gate was about the "New Gods" and their story. Specifically, the fan wanted to know about their deaths.
To answer, DiDio explained that the stories originally created by Jack Kirby during his DC period were great but subsequently some of the later writers were trying to hard to honor his creations and execute what they thought Kirby would want.
Consequently, according to DiDio, "the Fourth World and the DCU never really fit together harmoniously."
"And now you’re killing the New Gods off?" another fan chimed in.
"Yes, but they’ll get better," DiDio answered. "Death of the New Gods is about closure to that story."
Pushing further on the Fourth World questions, another fan asked about Batman’s potential involvement, citing rumors on the Internet to that effect.
"You can’t react to rumors," answered DiDio. "They’re often misinterpretations of information or personal agendas. The rumor involving Batman is a silly idea."
Next, a fan asked: "Is another weekly series coming up after Countdown and will it lead to another big event?"
"There is another weekly series coming but it doesn’t lead up to a big event, it’s a big story on its own," DiDio said, referring to the upcoming Trinity series, the first half of which will be created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley.
DiDio elaborated that Trinity will be split into two parts, and is a contained story on its own and will not affect the continuity of other DCU titles.
Another fan asked about other comics that might spin-off from Countdown.
"Yes. Final Crisis," DiDio answered. "We wanted to keep Countdown pretty much contained. One of the reasons Countdown to Final Crisis #0 didn’t happen is because #1 pretty much wraps everything up," he elaborated.
"Boy, does it," added Beechen.
Next, DiDio confirmed that a new issue of Manhunter will be solicited next week with Marc Andreyko returning as the writer with Michael Gaydos handling the art. It will feature, according to DiDio, a "much more gritty" kind of storytelling.
"It’s going to be the Law & Order of the DC Universe," he continued..
At that point, Ethan Van Sciver came in and joined the panel, bringing word that there are big plans in the works for both Black Adam and the Marvel family. When prompted by the crowd, he didn’t elaborate further.
Next, a fan asked: "I just wanted to make sure I understood something about Teen Titans: Year One. Dick Grayson started the Titans because Batman beat him?"
To that, the panel answered that they believed "some kind of mind control" was taking place in the story and that more info would be forthcoming on that issue later.
A fan then asked if it was "too early to talk about ‘Blackest Night.’"
DiDio answered that no, it wasn’t, and added, "Green Lantern is a very important character in the DCU. ‘Blackest Night’ will be universe-wide."
"After the ‘Secret Origins’ storyline is the Red Lantern storyline. What you see now all feeds into ‘Blackest Night,’" DiDio continued. "Everything now and coming up is about that event."
DiDio also mentioned that the next Absolute Edition will be Frank Miller’s Ronin. He also told the room that JSA Classified is coming to an end.
At that point a fan asked about the reception to Jim Shooter’s Legion of Super-Heroes. For that, DiDio turned to the audience and asked: "How about it? Do you guys like Shooter’s Legion?"
"No," answered one animated fan immediately. "It’s so flat." He elaborated: "There’s no tone to it. All the characters seem to be replaceable with each other. The storyline doesn’t seem to be going anywhere."
DiDio then asked fans to raise their hands if they liked the Giffen/Levitz Legion, the Legion Lost group or the Waid/Kitson version. About an equal number of hands seemed to be raised in favor of each.
Continuing, DiDio then polled the audience, asking: "If we did a book called Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes would you buy that?"
A fan immediately asked, "You got the name back?"
"I said if," DiDio responded quickly.
Next, DiDio was asked if there were any plans for Batwoman? To that, DiDio said simply "yes" which caused him to be mocked not only by the audience, but the other members of the panel for his "terse" answer.
Wanting another chance, DiDio again answered the question, this time using far more words in a polite tone, but still not revealing anything.
DiDio was then asked about the long-anticipated and much-delayed Action Comics Annual which will finally bring an end to Geoff Johns and Richard Donner’s "Last Son" story arc. Bob Wayne fielded this one, confirming that a print run for the comic is being set up in a week.
DiDio also confirmed that a new Batgirl series will start in July as soon as a new creative team, which he didn’t identify, can be brought up to speed. He also confirmed that answers will be forthcoming as to why Batgirl has been acting so strangely lately, and that Cassandra Cain will be Batgirl.
At that point, DiDio again turned to the crowd and asked a question he’s asked before, especially after a casual and harmless mention a few years ago that the character might be killed off someday: "Why do you guys love Nightwing so much?"
This prompted some shouted "Boos" and answers from the crowd ranging from "He’s the son of DC" to "He’s everybody’s older brother and we all grew up with Dick Grayson" to "He’s DC’s most developed character."
Following along that line, DiDio then asked another question which sparked more heated debate among the assembled crowd: "Hypothetically speaking, could Dick Grayson become Batman?"
Answers of "Yes!" and "No!" filled the room with many in the crowd elaborating and spelling out why their answer was the right one. It seemed on this question, as it was with Nightwing, the audience was not going to agree.
However, one area where the crowd did agree was their universal disapproval of Jason Todd who, according to the crowd, should never, ever become Batman.
And with that, the panel was over with DiDio exiting the room, pausing only for this final parting shot.