DC Comics’ Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler was in rare form when he took the stage at Baltimore Comic-Con on Sunday morning, ready to chat with fans about some mutual love of comics. Alongside fellow panelists, DC Editor Rachel Gluckstern, Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne, “Tiny Titans” writer Franco and the fresh off of “Justice League of America” Len Wein, Sattler regaled the audience with humor, stories and the how and why of DC Comics.
The name of the game was Sunday Conversation, a tradition at BCC. For those unfamiliar with the concept, DC Comics hosts a panel where the panelists and the audience converse about everything from comics and sports to television and food. “It’s really my favorite thing we do,” said Sattler. “The idea is, we’re in this room because we love comics.”
One of the running themes throughout the morning was the success of Franco and how both he and “Tiny Titans” artist Art Baltazar are doing many of the books in the DCU, including “Ambush Bug” #7 (of 6). “Franco’s going to draw the new ‘All-Star Batman and Robin.’ We’re just going to pick it up from there,” said Sattler as an answer to a fan’s question about new issues of the popular mini-series. “We’re just going to let Art and Franco take over half our line. Anywhere we can spot-fill these guys, we put them to work. They owe us a lot of money.”
“Franco’s quarterbacking for the Panthers today. If that happens, Panthers win by 100,” said Sattler. “And then he’ll interview himself post-game,” added Rachel Gluckstern.
The gag continued when one fan asked which creative talent DC would most like to lure away from other companies. Sattler simply said, “Why would we want to when we have Franco?”
One fan asked what superpowers the panel would choose. “Mine would be to be Franco, ’cause you have all the superpowers at once,” said Sattler. “I already have that power,” said Franco. Gluckstern said, “Flight,” while Wolverine co-creator Len Wein said, “Since you already have the ‘being Franco’ power, I guess healing factor.” Bob Wayne said, “I’ll take invisibility for 100,” to which Sattler responded, “Yeah, if I didn’t already get it with the Franco package. It always seemed like a good one to have.”
For another fan sporting an Alex Ross “Justice” t-shirt, the laughs just kept on coming. Sattler first mistook his shirt for a “Marvel Zombies” product. Bob Wayne then mistook the shirt for a “Kingdom Come” shirt. “At least you got the right company!” said Sattler, who then immediately called on the same fan, identifying him as “the guy wearing the Geo-Force t-shirt in the back,” causing the panel room rumble with laughter.
Sattler was then asked by a fan asked about his career path. “I started shopping at Big Planet in Bethesda, Maryland when I was about 11,” said Sattler. “My mom found the store in the yellow pages, I started shopping there, and DC hired me 15 years later! No, but seriously, my experience in comics retail is one of the most important things I have going for me. Even when I was out of comics doing a bunch of different jobs, I would still work one Saturday a month at Big Planet, because I love talking comics to people. Retailers are the front line of everything that we do. I had customers there that I had known since I was in high school. I’ve said a lot about Baltimore and this show, and one of the coolest things about being a fan is the community aspect of it. I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for Big Planet or having started there. That led to another job in comics, and another job in comics. It’s not a huge industry, so when you start meeting people, it works out like that.”
A fan asked Bob Wayne about the possibility of more Jonah Hex collected trades, “I think the odds of seeing more Jonah Hex are good as you go into the release of a Jonah Hex feature film in 2010. I am required by terms of a settlement to say that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s ‘Jonah Hex’ comes out every month, and we are collecting those.”
Requests also came to Wayne from fans for reprints or collected editions of “The Heckler,” “Plastic Man,” “Angel and the Ape” and a continued request for “Wild Dog” from Sattler.
As for some actual DC news, Sattler noted that Len Wein has a project in line at DC that is “truly epic and awesome that I wish we could talk about.” Franco noted that “Tiny Titans” #25 is an issue to look out for, saying, “It’ll knock your socks off.” Sattler also brought the audience’s attention to the Wonder Woman renumbering postcard campaign, “If you go to DC’s The Source blog, you can see pictures of all the postcards we’re getting,” Sattler said. “We’re getting close [to 600 postcards]. They were in the 400s when I left a few weeks ago.”
Sattler closed the panel by saying, “We’re having quite a good time with the line right now. Grant Morrison on ‘Batman and Robin,’ Geoff Johns on ‘Blackest Night’ – it’s a heck of a time to be in the DCU. The Brian Azzarello Doc Savage and Bat-Man stuff is the coolest stuff I’ve read in ages. We’re going to keep bringing the awesome for as long as we can. I hope you guys enjoy it, because it’s all for you. We appreciate you guys coming out and liking the books so much. I can’t thank you guys enough.”