Dan Didio once again rode herd on panel including editors, Ian Sattler, Jann Jones and Mike Carlin, “one-man-band” Keith Giffen, writers Greg Rucka, Peter Tomasi, Bill Willingham, James Robinson (who’s soon to be taking over “Justice League”), Judd Winick and Geoff Johns, artist Ethan Van Sciver and VP of Sales Bob Wayne.
“Let’s do it, everybody ready?” Didio asked excitedly before bringing the panelists up. “We always like to keep this quiet and intimate. We wanna hear what you wanna say, what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re enjoying and what you’d like to see happen.”
“You know the rules of DC Nation: what’s said in DC Nation stays in DC Nation!” Didio joked. “No blogging, no internet! Just make up stories, I love to read those later.”
As he did in Chicago, he asked a fan who raised his hands about liking “Final Crisis,” “What’s it about?” The fan was flustered before saying “It’s epic, it brought back the best Flash, that’s all I need?” This led to a cheering poll about favorite speesters for panelists and fans (Wayne and Robinson liked Jay Garrick and others joked about “Flash Flood,” “Flash Thompson” and Winick chose Quicksilver).
“It’s got the Spectre, it’s got the question and it’s got payback,” Rucka said of “Revelations.” When Rucka talked about how good Billy Tan is on the work, Giffen said, “I thought you were writing it!”
“It’s about the pretty pictures,” Rucka returned. “Like you used to make.”
When asking fans about who should be Batman, on Jason Todd the crowd almost unanimously booed. “Jason Todd it is!” Didio enthused.
Kevin Smith was brought out as a special guest, writing a Batman mini in November, December and January.
“I’m here to talk comic books,” Smith said. “I’m doing a three issue Batman miniseries. It will start five years from now and end six years from now. I swored I’d get all the scripts done before we even got started. I’ve written two scripts, I’ve got one to go, I’ll finish that when my daughter’s sixteen. Walt Flanagan will handle art chores. It’s called “Batman: Cacophony” and brings back Onomotopoeia, the villain from ‘Green Arrow.'”
“When is it, January?” Smith asked.
“November,” Didio returned.
“November it starts? Optimistic. I’m great at first books. I’m mister foreplay, but if you need me to thrust, forget it. I never go past second base, I get winded, I get distracted. Ooh, look, there’s a bird in the window.”
“Does anybody here really believe I wanna kill Dick Grayson?” Didio asked the crowd. “You wanna kill everyone!” a fan returned. “Join us on the panel, you’re a DC editor now!” So the guy walked up on stage and took Carlin’s seat.
Robinson stated again that Jack Knight as Starman would not return.
A fan asked if this was the really “Final” Crisis. “When Darkest Knight Crisis comes out, when Flash Rebirth Crisis comes out …” Didio joked.
One of Geoff Johns advocates was 5’2″ and Didio brought him a chair to stand on. When Didio asked him to show off his Sinestro Corps shirt, he almost fell and hurt himself. “Don’t kill the customers,” a panelist yelled.
Giffen recommended stealing comics to the second fan complaining of financial hardship, and Wayne said, “They’re still cheaper than a gallon of gas!”
Johns said there would be more Ganthet and that Guy Gardner will stay in “Green Lantern Corps” and not get a solo book.
The next questioner stepped up and Didio asked, “Do you realize you’re wearing a cape?” The fan was offended, and Didio said, “We’re not giving you grief, look at the line behind you,” which included a man in an aluminum foil helmet, a man with a mohawk and a fully costumed Batman.
Indigo Lanterns come in April or May, according to Johns.
Catwoman’s series may be gone, but she’s going to be “prominent” in the Gotham-centric books, Didio said.
The mohawked guy asked for Wonder Woman in heels, and “what went wrong with ‘Countdown?'” “No heels,” Didio said. “What went wrong with ‘Countdown,’ what went wrong? You tell me. Every one of us works as hard as they can on these books. Some people liked it, some people don’t. I wanna know what you think was wrong with it.”
Different fans said it wasn’t cohesive and that “Death of the New Gods” and “Countdown” didn’t synch up properly with “Final Crisis.” “If we don’t hear what the problem was, we can’t fix it.”
A girl in a Misfit costume who said too much was going on in “Countdown” was told she could be a new editor, and the other gentleman left. Didio admitted coordination between the three teams of “Final Crisis,” “Countdown” and “Death of the New Gods” actually didn’t synch up, but they tried.
“What you’re saying about ‘Countdown’ is stuff we said ourselves,” Carlin said.
“Everything would be easier if Superboy Prime would stop punching things!” the “new editor” in the Misfit costume said, and Johns took away her mike. “He punches what he wants!” he pouted.
“You seem like a dictator at DC,” a fan asked.
“Am I a dictator, Bill?” Didio asked. “Say no!”
“I didn’t think so until you got rid of the new guy,” Willingham said. “I had a Detective Chimp proposal in, and he was behind it, but now the new girl, she’s chatty, she doesn’t have time to read it …”
“How long have we worked together?” Didio asked Jones.
“I don’t know, it’s aged me horribly,” she answered. “I’m kidding, nobody supports kids books like Dan, no matter what you read on the internet.”
A fan asked why the new New Gods are Black, and Didio said, “We went back to the Kirby source material. These are characters that have been existing in the DC Universe for thirty years.”
The guy in the Batman costume asked where Batwoman is, and Rucka said, “Gotham.”
“Shouldn’t you know that?” Didio asked. Another panelist yelled, “Master detective …”
Things were fast and furious with quips between fans and pros. As when a fan asked about the Spectre’s goatee and how it made him resemble Didio, Rucka said, “See previous question, re: Dan Didio, Dictator. Il Duce. Asked and answered, your honor.”
Fans were divided between Nightwing being with Oracle or Starfire, and Rucka suggested, “Nightwing should play the field as long as he can.”
“Best answer yet,” Didio said.
A fan applauded Johns’ work with Superman, and Johns said that he was working hard with Robinson and Sterling Gates on “Supergirl” making the Superbooks “more cohesive, but accessible.”
“Final Crisis: Resist” will involve Ryan Sook on interior artwork, according to Rucka.
“Everyone here will love Congorilla by the time I’m done,” Robinson promised.
“If you heard news Paul Levitz and I were returning to the Legion, how would you respond?” Giffen asked, and the crowd was shocked into applause. “Just wondering.”
Cary Bates is working on a new Elseworlds project, Carlin said.
Black Adam will be back in “Justice Society of America,” Johns said.
Lightning round had to start at 6:48 PM, with no word on the “Justice League” movie, and in response to the deaths in the DCU, Johns said, “We need Black Lanterns …”
“Simon Dark is sticking around,” Didio promised.
Andrew Christberg, from “Eli Stone” will take over “Green Arrow,” Carlin said.
A fan asked for the return of Rainbow Raider. “Okay, I’ll bring him back,” Johns said.
Zatanna will be back in a Paul Dini series next year.
Sinestro Corps War had to be two volumes due to cost, Johns said.
A fan missed footnotes, “We’re so familiar with the product, we think everybody else is, we’ll work on that,” Didio said.
Johns promised he’s stay on “Green Lantern” after “Blackest Night,” and the panel closed on that note.