|Marv Wolfman and George Perez at the Baltimore Comic-Con, 2006.|
Little in the way of announcements were revealed in Saturday’s DC Comics “One Year Greater” panel at Baltimore Comic-Con, but panelists found plenty to talk about: hints of a Superman family coming to “Action Comics,” Executive Editor Dan Didio’s reasons to kill Dick Grayson, and, perhaps for the first time, how Bruce Wayne could have been like Paris Hilton. As the panelists loaded in, DiDio beamed “This could be the last panel of the year.” Moments later he adds, “Or my career!” Joining Didio was a packed lineup of creators and staff, Jan Jones, Coordinating Editor for DC Comics, Kurt Busiek (“Superman”, “Aquaman”), Marv Wolfman (“Nightwing”), George Perez (“Brave and the Bold”), Barry Kitson (“Legion of Superheroes”), Mark Waid (“52,” “Legion of Superheroes”), J.G. Jones (“52,” “All-Star Batgirl”), Bill Willingham (“Fables,” “Shadowpact”), DC Vice-President of Sales Bob Wayne, and Jan Jones’ assistant, the stuffed Hiram the Alpaca. Didio told the audience he wanted the hour to be an extension of the earlier DC Nation panel.
Future plans for Aquaman? “Target for greatness, every issue gets better,” said Busiek, who said he hopes it will eventually end as a big sprawling adventure novel. Busiek said it will never return to what it was before. When asked about the mystery of the Dweller’s identity, Busiek said it was never supposed to be a mystery for the readers, just the characters. The last panel of his first Aquaman issue confirms that the Dweller is Orin, the previous Aquaman. More will come out in the next two issues.
A fan asked about a collection of JG Jones’s covers for “52.” Didio put it to the audience, eliciting a big round of applause. Didio confirms it’s something they’re looking into for Adam Hughes, Brian Bolland and Joe Kubert.
Nightwing was supposed to die in “Infinite Crisis”…. why didn’t he? According to Waid, “the reason he didn’t die was me and Geoff took turns holding a big club over Dan.” Wolfman said he found out Nightwing was supposed to have died when he was offered the series. He said, had it happened, he’d have jumped through the phone and strangled Didio.
Pressed further on Nightwing, Didio said he was looking for the big death. “‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ had two big deaths, Flash and Supergirl. We needed something that had equal merit and worth.” Didio added that he thought Nightwing was becoming a redundant character – replaced by Robin, and never to be Batman. When the consensus amongst creators became “we love Dick Grayson,” Didio’s reaction was “write better stories about Dick Grayson.” He said that’s what’s coming with Wolfman’s run.
Mark Waid discussed Tim Drake’s relationship with Dick Grayson in “52” as “partners.” The characters discuss in the story which one of them, if either, would ever become Batman in the future.
Jason Todd’s future role in the DC Universe? Didio said there’s a big Jason Todd story coming up in Green Arrow that addresses who he is and where he’s going.
Didio put a question to the panel: who’re your favorite characters and why?
Wayne: “Right now, the Question, because of the Montoya relationship.”
Kitson: Usually declines to answer, but was tempted to say Nightwing just to annoy Didio. Kitson dances around the topic and eventually settles on Supergirl because he’s drawing her currently. He said that on balance, it’s Batman.
Waid: “Superman. Who didn’t see that coming? Because he could do anything, and chooses to help other people.”
JG Jones: Whatever character he’s doing at the time. Soon, he thinks, Barbara Gordon.
Willingham: Kirby’s Fourth World stuff. Mister Miracle in particular, and Detective Chimp.
Perez: “Wonder Woman, because she has the sexiest fans.” Mark Waid chimed in and said he wanted to change his to Wonder Woman.
Wolfman: “After Casey the Cop, easily Superman,” Wolfman said, dating back to when he was five years old and saw the TV show. .
Busiek: Over time, Hal Jordan. He’s the antithesis of Batman, who doesn’t have things figured out ahead of time. Right now, Superman. Kamandi, as far as characters he’d like to write.
Jan Jones: Batman, because she loves the psychology of it. Jones said Bruce Wayne could have turned out like Paris Hilton had his parents not died.
Jan Jones: Harley Quinn.
Busiek: the Galactic Golem, because he looks so cool.
Perez: Joker. “A great character to write, a fun character to draw.”
Willingham: “Dr. Alpaca.”
JG Jones: Streaky the Super-cat, “because if you see what he did to my couch…” Jones also likes Mister Miracle villains.
Waid: Mordru the Merciless and Composite Superman, they were the only ones who scared Superman.
Kitson: Iron Maiden.
When are the Blackhawks coming back? Didio said the one genre DC hasn’t gotten into are war books, and if they go down that road, Blackhawks would come up. He adds later that more Western titles will be coming.
A fan asked about solo series for Mr. Terrific and Power Girl. Didio said “JSA Classified” will become more of a showcase book – if something breaks out, they’ll put them into a series, like the original “Showcase.”
A re-confirmation from today’s DC Nation panel, Terra will appear in issue #12 of “Supergirl,” written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey, with art by Amanda Conner. Terra won’t be brought into the Titans yet, they’re still waiting for a special story before they tie her in.
Any setup for the Wonder Woman arc in “52?” Mark Waid said yes, “it’s one of the key pieces and hardest ones to transition into.”
Long term plans for Shadowpact? Anyone added to the group? “Since they’re in a bar, there’s always folks they can draw into it,” Willingham said, adding that at least one character will be added to the membership. Also coming up: a storyline where the Shadowpact get into trouble and the extended cast forms a “substitute Shadowpact.”
Mon-El in Legion? “Who is this Mon-El you speak of?” Waid said, and hints it’ll be in the next issue of “Legion.” Waid said he isn’t touching Mordu yet because it’s one of his favorites and because, for the first few years of “Legion” he and Barry wanted to keep away from the classics.
No Arsenal miniseries coming up.
Will a General Zod similar to the Terence Stamp movie version appear in Richard Donner and Geoff Johns’ “Action Comics” run? “Yes!” Busiek yells.
Another question from Didio – what’s the panel’s favorite comic they’re reading?
Waid: “All Star Superman.”
JG Jones: “52.”
Willingham: “All Star Superman.”
George Perez said he doesn’t read comics much anymore. When he’s not drawing comics, he’s with his wife. Waid chimes in, “If you knew his wife, you’d understand!”
Wolfman: “Most of the Superman line and Legion.”
Busiek: “Usagi Yojimbo” and “Fables.”
Didio said he sat in the meetings for “52” and nothing matches. Regarding the cover of an upcoming issue: “What the hell’s the Yeti doing on the cover of ’52?'” Jones adds that she works next to Dan and always knows when the next issue of “52” comes in.
Will George Perez ever do any Adam Strange? Sure, he said, “but I would love to get my hands on the Legion – sorry Barry.” Waid adds, “You’re presuming that Adam Strange lives through ’52,’ which is adorable.”
An audience member comments that Jason Todd’s biggest nemesis is the fans – any chance of another vote? Waid said it’s a really cool idea. Didio said they still have to pay everyone back who voted for him to die.
Any plans for Manhunter beyond her own title? She’s in “Birds of Prey” #100.
Where’s Jon Stewart? “It’s because he’s black,” Busiek joked, causing a spit take across the audience. Perez said he’s on the first page of “Brave and the Bold.” “In ’52’ he and Hal Jordan will function as partners,” according to Waid. Busiek adds that he has a good Stewart story he wants to tell.
Will there be a return of the Superman Family, since Clark Kent lost his powers for a year and never had to worry about the Larry Niven “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” concept? “Keep reading ‘Action Comics,'” Busiek stresses.
As the panel reaches its’ final minutes, time for the last Dan Didio lightning round of the year — but first, he asks for the panel’s characters they’d like to kill.
Wayne: “You already know my list! You said we weren’t going to kill Nightwing!”
“You’re leaving off the word ‘yet.'” Didio adds.
Kitson stresses again, trying to think of an answer.
“Why do you do panels, Barry?” Didio said.
“Say Dream Girl!” Waid whispered.
“Pick someone from JLE!” Didio said.
Kitson settles on a character whose name he couldn’t quite recall, “A Superman villain with fishnet stockings and smoke coming out their back.” Kitson added that when he’d worked on “Adventures of Superman,” Mike Carlin wouldn’t let him kill them.
Waid: Jonathan Kent
JG: Streaky the Supercat again
Willingham: Wouldn’t kill any character, loves everyone.
Wolfman: The Incredible Hulk
Busiek: Jon Kent, then Prius.
The lightning round begins…
If he’s so badass, why can’t Deathstroke kill one measly Titan? “He’s secretly named Woundstroke.”
Will we see the Heckler again? “Always a chance.”
Where’s Wally West? “He never writes,” Waid said.
Is Bruce Wayne a Republican or Democrat? “Yes!”.
Do alpaca have soft feet? “They’re easy on the land.”
Will more of the DC’s past be addressed, as well as what revisions were made after “Infinite Crisis?” Busiek said more will be revealed.
No speedster on the new “Justice League of America” lineup? “There actually is, he just goes too fast to be seen.”
Will the fact that Batman found his parents killers be addressed in a story? According to Waid, it was just a matter of undoing the revision that had been done in “Zero Hour”: “It wasn’t the greatest idea, because he’s the world’s greatest detective.”
Black Lightning – is this his costume for good? Didio confirms that’s the new look.
Finally, why is the Yeti on the cover of “52?” “Because they’re awesome!” JG Jones said. Waid’s answer? “Because they’re easy on the land and have soft padded feet.”