The DC Nation panel took place Saturday afternoon at Chicago Comic-Con, with Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler moderating a group including Freddie Williams, J.G. Jones, J.T. Krul, Francis Manapul, Art Baltazar and Franco, Brian Azzarello, and Chris Yost.
The DC panel was delayed by traffic coming out of the Twilight panel immediately preceding. “Twilight is one of the 52 multiverses,” Sattler joked.
Brian Azzarello will write a “Batman/Doc Savage” special with Phil Noto art and J.G. Jones on covers, Sattler announced. It will be published in November, and does not take place in the DCU.
“We’re creating a 53rd world,” Azzarello joked. “Doc Savage is an established character in it and Batman is just getting started. Batman month one.” The Dark Knight quickly attracts the attention of established heroes like Doc Savage, Blackhawks, the Spirit, and the Avenger. “There are no superpowers, so I feel comfortable writing that stuff–rather than the stuff you guys love,” the writer joked.
“I pretty much taught myself to draw and paint by drawing Doc Savage,” Jones said.
A mega-series will follow with art by Rags Morales.
On “Red Robin,” Yost said that Tim Drake makes “significant progress” in his quest for Bruce Wayne in issue #4.
Next was a slide for “JSA All Stars,” a new monthly series by Matt Sturges and Freddie Williams. “There’s a miniaturized flying monkey,” Sattler said. Williams said the series would focus on about 10 younger JSA characters. “It basically takes them from being excellent individual superheroes and makes them into a really cohesive team,” the artist said. Sattler added that there is a reason the current Justice Society team splits up, which will be seen in the main book coming up.
Next up was some talk about the recently Eisner Award-winning “Tiny Titans.” “The next issue is all about love, it’s the most lovey girlie issue you’ve ever seen. I encourage men to eat meat while they read it to keep their testosterone levels up,” Baltazar said. He also teased that fans should be “aware of issue 25,” though Sattler would not let him say why.
Manapul confessed that he wasn’t sure “Adventure Comics” would be a good fit for him, but said that he suggested to writer Geoff Johns that they approach the series with an Americana feel.
Next was a slide for “Blackest Night: Titans.” “I don’t like that, sir,” Baltazar said of the cover, which features Donna Troy and her dead children.
“It’s about taking everything that we love about these characters most and turning it against them,” Krul said of the “Blackest Night” specials.
Sattler noted that DC could have tied every series into Blackest Night, but elected instead to spin off only a few miniseries and specials. “We’re taking relentless caution with what we’re calling Blackest Night,” he said.
Sattler then opened the floor to questions.
When will Billy Batson return as Captain Marvel? “Not for a while,” Sattler said. “But it will be awesome when he does.”
Manapul confirmed that “Adventure Comics” will feature the Legion in Superboy’s main story, in addition to their backup stories. Regarding the various Legions, Manapul said that “all three” would appear, and Sattler added that DC needed to establish who the Legion are before they get a dedicated book.
Does the current Solomon Grundy miniseries tie into Blackest Night? Sattler: “Yes.”
“Keep an eye on Red Robin and Green Arrow,” Sattler said of potential breakout characters over the next year.
The co-features will receive their own trades, Sattler said. “In cases where the co-feature ties into the main story, we’ll figure things out as we go.”
A fan suggested Brian Azzarello write a Shadow series with Eduardo Risso on art. “I can’t argue with that,” Azzarello said.
Will the new Batman affect the Robin in “Tiny Titans?” “The Batman of ‘Tiny Titans’ is Bruce Wayne,” Baltazar said. Azzarello confirmed that Bruce Wayne is also Batman in the Doc Savage special and series.
Can you give us a hint as to what the Indigo Lanterns are about? “No. Nonononono,” Sattler said. “Geoff would murder me.”
A new weekly after “Wednesday Comics?” Or a second series of “Wednesday?” “We’re talking about it,” Sattler said.
Will Doiby Dickles appear in “Blackest Night?” “Who?” Sattler asked. No one on the panel appeared to know about the character, but a fan explained that he was the Golden Age Green Lantern’s sidekick.
There will be a new “Spirit” series spinning out of “Batman/Doc Savage,” Sattler said.
Why isn’t there a DC booth at Chicago Comic-Con? “That’s not my deal dude, I don’t know,” Sattler said.
More Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s “All Star Batman and Robin?” “You’ll see more.” Timeframe? “No.”
Sattler said fans can read only the eight-issue main series of “Blackest Night” and get the full story, but the tie-in miniseries will focus on other characters that readers can enjoy if they like those heroes.
More Brian Azzarello on the Joker? “I told the story I had,” Azzarello said. “Maybe. If this Doc Savage thing tanks, I’m absolutely going back to the Joker!”
A fan complained about the lack of a DC booth because “I came all the way out here for a portfolio review.” “I’m sorry dude, but I didn’t have anything to do with that, and I didn’t promise anyone a portfolio review,” Sattler said.
Collections of John Ostrander’s “Suicide Squad” or “Spectre?” “I love those books, just keep asking us,” Sattler said.
DC is “looking at” doing more with “The Mighty,” Sattler said.
Asked about the further ramifications about Barry Allen’s return as the Flash, “We are not retiring Wally West,” Sattler said to applause.
Fan: “How come the Joker isn’t flipping out that Batman’s died?” “Hooo-boy,” Sattler said. “I talked about Geoff killing me, but there’s also this guy named Grant [Morrison], who will also kill me.”
Being half human and half Kryptonian, is Superboy not allowed on Krypton or Earth? “We’ll find out,” Sattler said.
Any chance of a Black Lantern ring on Spectre’s host? “Yes,” Sattler said with an amused smile.
“Wednesday Comics” will be collected into trade according to strips rather than altogether, Sattler said.
“Aquaman Reborn” by Geoff Johns? “Ah, Aquaman,” Sattler sighed. No answer, but not in a “maybe” way–more exasperated.