Welcome to CBR’s live coverage of Comic Con International in San Diego. DC Comics has begun its Superman panel, with Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler moderating and Matt Idelson, Francis Manapul, Geoff Johns, Jamal Igle, James Robinson, Greg Rucka, and Sterling Gates in attendance.
Idelson began by discussing “Codename Patroit,” the upcoming Super-titles crossovers. He said it was “as much James Robinson’s problem as anybody,” and left the writer to talk.
“Gen. Lane has been a factor and these books, and we want to turn him into a supreme strategist,” Robinson said. He added that Lane’s influence over the military will grow and build into 2010’s big event.
Geoff Johns briefly ran down what would appear in “Adventure Comics,” drawing laughter when he mentioned “the good Teen Titans.” He also said, “If you don’t like Krypto, don’t read our book.”
Manapul liked that “Adventure” was a charming book “and I can actually show it to my mom.”
“It’s like a Norman Rockwell comic,’ Manapul added.
The co-feature will have JSA’s Starman, Lightining Lad, Polar Boy and Sun Boy in the first few issues, Johns said.
“Hunt for Reactron” will be a “Supergirl/Action” crossover in October, with both series co-written by Gates and Rucka for the arc. “It’s a big story with a lot of big, crazy action. And a lot of fighting,” Gates said.
Robinson returned to Project Patriot, saying that every character would be affected by the crossover, and Rucka added that the Supergirl/Action crossover would be directly related. “It’s a game-changer,” Rucka said.
“That storyline forces a change with what Nightwing and Flamebird are doing,” he said of “Hunt for Reactron.” The pair will then return to Metropolis “and James and I are talking about the damage we’ll do to Metropolis–Again,” Rucka said, before remembering that readers had not yet seen the first damage.
“One of the things we’re trying to acknowledge that there’s a new planet in our solar system, and that the race of Kryptonians had been conquerors. One of the races they conquered was the Thanagarians, who come by and are like, what the eff?”
Rucka noted that the Thanagarians arrive as the Kryptonians are moving one of Jupiter’s moons to New Krypton. A Joe Kubert cover will see the Hawk characters fighting Commander Kal-El. Robinson added that he will turn Jemm Son of Saturn into an “alien Namor” as “before now he’s always been regarded as a weak J’Onn J’Onzz.”
The final three issues of the 12-issue “World of New Krypton” will be an arc tying together developments on Earth with those on New Krypton.
“Coming out of ‘Codename Patriot,’ we’re going to finish the finish the book up to #700, with ‘Mon-el, Man of Valor,’ which will see him return darker, with a new purpose, and a new costume.”
The Superman Annual will be about the history of Daxam with art by Javi Pina.
Sterling Gates mentioned September’s “Supergirl Annual,” which is the origin of Superwoman. “Secret Files” comes out in conjunction with “Codename Patriot,” with art by Jamal Igle, Francis Manapul, and more.
Sattler then opened the floor to questions.
The first question was about New Krypton’s role in Blackest Night. Will NK be willing to accept Earth’s refugees? “You’ll find out more in James Robinson’s 3-part BN Superman special,” Johns said.
Will Kurt Busiek’s Krypto series be published? “It’s a great story, we’d have to find a place to put it, but I’d like to see it,” Idelson said.
Rucka said that Chris Kent is about ready for another growth spurt, and that his influences are among the best and worst people in the DC Universe.
“Superman: Secret Origin” will play into ongoing storylines, but not as much as “Green Lantern: Secret Origins,” Johns said.
“Geoff is managing to pick stuff you’ve never seen before,” Robinson said of Johns’s “Secret Origin.” “That’s quite an accomplishment” with such familiar material, he said.
Plans for Nuclear Man from “Superman IV?” “DC doesn’t own Nuclear Man, except for Firestorm the Nuclear Man,” Johns said.
Will Captain Atom tie into Superman? “Absolutely not, no bearing at all,” Rucka said. “I’m lying.”
“By the end of Codename Patriot, you’ll understand where we’re going” with Captain Atom, Robinson added.
Kryptonians vs. Black Lanterns? “Wait for Black Lantern: Superman.”
The next fan said that he has to find “the Superman I know and love” in miniseries and one-shots rather than the ongoing series. “He’s kind of whack here, he’s kind of weak here,” he said of the various interpretations across series. Johns asked him about the Brainiac arc, which the fan said he felt saw Superman a bit watered down, but still somewhat cool. “I think when these things come to a head, I think you’ll be happy with where Superman stands,” Johns concluded.
“The fact is that Superman isn’t Superman because he can lift a tank, or because he’s invulnerable — who he is is why he’s Superman,” Rucka said, noting that the current stories put Kal-El up against people who can all perform super-feats.
“Superman will kick a ton of ass this year,” Johns said.
What Legion/Legions in “Adventure?” “You’ll see every Legion in ‘Adventure Comics’ eventually,” Johns said.
Agent Orange and Parasite? “They might meet in Blackest Night,” Johns said?
Being contrary, Robinson disagreed with a fan and the rest of the panel, who would like to see the Showcase editions in color. He said they are affordable ways for kids and new readers to read the comics, “there’s a purpose for that.
Johns and other panelists joked about the frequent destruction and quick rebuilding of the Daily Planet. “This is the first year we haven’t knocked the globe off the top of it,” Idelson said.
Superboy Prime will appear in “Adventure Comics” #4-5, Johns said.
“World’s Finest” will be a team-up series of new Batman universe characters and new Superman universe characters, Gates said. There will be an issue with Dick Grayson Batman and Superman as Commander El.
Regarding the definitive Superman origin, Rucka noted that everyone has and is entitled to their favorite version of the character. “Your Superman might have a mullet, which is great. But it’s 2009 and we’re moving forward,” he said. Rucka said that writers have to respect what has gone before but must continue advancing the characters.
Will Cat Grant’s murdered son Adam return as a Black Lantern? “I don’t have plans for anything like that,” Johns said, but added that there are plans for Cat Grant.
Thoughts on digital comics, especially on Kindle? “I think you will see it, but it’s going to be a bit longer,” Igle said, citing conversations with friends in the industry. “I think once you get to the point where there is a color version [of Kindle] that is relatively inexpensive, and you have a majority of the publishing industry supporting it” is when this type of digital comics will become prevalent.
Long-term artist on Action? Rucka laughed that Idelson refers to “Action” as “the cursed book.” “Not in public,” the editor joked. They are hoping to hold some consistency.
After Rucka referred to the discussion of publishing as “showing how the sausage is made,” fan snickered led to a bit of elevation. “He’s trying to say that Action 881 will be a sausage of a comic,” Johns said. “And it goes right in to Supergirl 45,” Rucka returned.
Are Flamebird and Nightwing ever going to hook up? “Yeah,” Rucka said. “And it would be a real shame if something really terrible were to happen right afterward.
With that, the panel concluded.