Dan DiDio, VP Editorial, moderated the first panel of the day on the last day of the convention. That of “Superman/Batman.” The panel was moderately attended, due both to the early hour and the lack of expected announcements, but the panel was enjoyed by fans in attendance nonetheless and one impromptu announcement was made. In attendance were editors Matt Idelson and Eddie Berganza, writer Jeph Loeb, and artists Carlos Pacheco and Peter Steigerwald.
Early in the panel, concerns were raised about “Superman/Batman’s” slipping schedule. “The best answer I can give you guys,” Loeb responded, “…is that we are trying to produce the best comic in the market today.”
Loeb named off several titles from competitors and DC itself and commented “these are incredibly well-produced books and we want to be better….and sometimes that takes longer. We are trying very hard that when we do come back online we can run right into Carlos’ arc and stay [on schedule].”
Loeb spoke extensively on his overall view of the 25 issues he’s agreed to write. “There are parts in the series where you said ‘I don’t get it’ but it will all make sense.” As a prime example, Loeb cited the Kingdom Come-eque Superman that appeared in the first arc. “You’ll see his role and his function and how he got there.” Loeb cited a line spoken by that character, “There will come a time you’ll have to make an alliance” and suggested that will be revealed by the time issue 25 comes around. “When twenty-five comes out, you’ll be able to go back to issue one and say ‘I get it.'”
Loeb continued to explain that the story for the first 25 grew very organically. “It was Eddie who said the idea of the asteroid can be used to do this and this and this,” referring to the catalytic asteroid of the first arc that turned out to be carrying Kara Zor-El, the prime feature of the following arc. He also suggested that the coming arc with art by Carlos Pacheco grew out of the end of the current Turner run.
“When you wake up in issue 14, the world has changed and Superman and Batman rule the world,” said Loeb. “We have to see if that’s a good thing or not.”
Loeb also spoke on working with Pacheco who was also on hand at the panel. “I asked him who you want to draw and he said ‘Everybody,’ so I said ‘No, no, no. really. Who do you want to draw?”
The following arc will finish out Loeb’s run on the book and feature the return of Ed McGuiness to the title.” Loeb confirmed that he currently does not intend to extend the run past 25, but with a caution. “I never say never. I may get further out and find that I have more to tell.”
Moving on to other titles, DiDio made an off-the cuff announcement concerning Nightwing.
“We have a big story leading up to issue 100 that answers a lot of questions and heads in a new direction,” said editor Matt Idelson. “In ‘War Games,’ he gets the crap beat out of him and it forces him to go underground for a while.”
He also confirmed that writer Devin K. Grayson would be staying with the series.
Additionally, there will be a “Nightwing: Year One” with the classic Nightwing creative team of writer Chuck Dixon and artist Scott McDaniel.
The panel also included some non-comics news as Loeb spoke briefly about the inclusion of Lois Lane in the upcoming season of “Smallville,” on which Loeb is a producer. Loeb described her relationship with young Clark as being unlike one fans have ever seen before, likening it to the
new twist the series brought to the Superman/Clark and Lex relationship.