Welcome to CBR’s live coverage of the DC Comics’ DC Nation panel at New York Comic Con. Panelists include Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Eddie Berganza, Ian Sattler, Bob Wayne and George Perez. The panel is moderated by Dan DiDio.
DiDio first solicited the crowd’s response to Final Crisis. It was a mix of boos and cheers.
“At the end of ‘Final Crisis,’ there seemed to be a story beat that caused some commotion,” DiDio said, referring to Batman’s shadow in issue #7. DiDio then asked James Robinson to impersonate Grant Morrison’s accent and explain the “Batman RIP”/”Final Crisis” confusion. Robinson’s accent proved to poor to proceed.
DiDio declared he would make sense of everything using an animated PowerPoint diagram. It was explained thusly:
We start with the first issue of “RIP,” then we move to “Final Crisis” #1, which had cave drawings on the cover.Then we go to the conclusion of “Batman RIP,” where Batman jumped on a helicopter and “the damn thing blew up.” Next, in “Final Crisis” #3, something happens, and then Batman is trapped in Darkseid’s machines. Then Batman figures out he’s being manipulated and breaks free of the mind control. Then in “Final Crisis” #6, Batman shoots Darkseid and Darkseid hits Batman with the Omega Effect. And then in “Final Crisis” #7, we see a shadow of a bat drawing on a cave. From there we go back to… a picture of Grant Morrison’s head.
“Did that explain it for everybody?” DiDio asked.
“NO!” yelled the crowd.
DiDio then turned the floor over to the audience for questions, asking specifically for feedback on what did and did not work in the year before.
I like the beginning of Blackest Night. Can we get the Orange Lantern’s oath?
Geoff Johns: It’s my favorite oath, but I can’t, I’m sorry.
Can you please stop going back in time and going into space and going to alternate earths?
In response, DiDio took off his t-shirt to reveal a Red Lantern shirt. “No!”
“Green Lantern’s in space, I apologize!” said Johns. He also apologized for Booster Gold’s time traveling.
“We’re trying to contain that, honestly,” said DiDio, but added that Blackest Night will take place in space.
What’s up with Connor Hawke and his whole healing power
DiDio: We will be addressing it in the coming year.
Any chance of the cosmic characters showing up in Blackest Night, like Starfire and Animal Man?
DiDio: We actually have an Animal Man series coming down the pike. Starfire will be in Titans.
Did you cancel All Star Batman?
A fan then screamed out, “Can you, please?”
In a discussion about the nature of tie-in miniseries and specials like “Final Crisis: Submit” and “Resist” and “Revelations” and so forth, DiDio confirmed there will be no further “Crisis” series, but said he would like a Black Adam miniseries called “Cry Isis.” Geoff Johns shook his head in shame.
Geoff Johns announced that “Blackest Night” #0 will be free on Free Comic Book Day, and contain all-new material.
Does death mean anything in the DC Universe
Greg Rucka: Death does mean something. Not everybody is coming back, here. So watch your step!
Can somebody talk me out of dropping “The Brave and the Bold?”
DiDio: We have a lot of things planned. Three types of stories: a set of stories tied to what’s currently going on in the DCU, including a Booster Gold/Magog one-shot by Dan Jurgens. Then there’s going to be crossovers with new characters, primarily the Milestone characters and the Red Circle characters. Following, that JMS comes on board.
DiDio added that the Milestone characters were untapped sources for great stories, and that they are “unique and have a voice.”
When is Justice League going to be about JUSTICE?
DiDio: We’re going to push some hard stories and hard topics in “Justice League,” coming up.
Any sequels to “Starman” or “The Golden Age?”
James Robinson: The best possible sequel to The Golden Age was done by a gentleman called Darwyn Cooke (“The New Frontier). As for Starman, there will be a new Shade origin project.
Where can we see Bart Allen next?
Geoff Johns: He’ll be in “Legion of 3 Worlds” and in “The Flash: Rebirth.”
What happens after “Blackest Night?”
Geoff Johns: We already have the next big story planned.
What ISN’T changing in the DCU?
DiDio: Hopefully, good storytelling. We’re out there exploring every one of our characters in different directions. If we don’t do our job, people just want things to go back to the way they were when they started.
Most books seem to be six-issue arcs. Whatever happened to done-in-one?
DiDio: Paul Dini did done-in-one almost the whole run of “Detective.” Our goal is to keep you coming back every month. It’s as simple as that. We’re in the business of creating periodical stories, so we’ve got to create things that make you want to come back.
Geoff Johns: It’s hard to tell “Rage of the Red Lanterns” in 22 pages.
Any more original hardcovers like “Joker?”
DiDio: Absolutely. That’s an example of done-in-one.
Will there be more All Star comics?
DiDio: We’re only going to do it if we feel it matters, and right now what matters is what these guys are doing in the DCU.
How does George Perez feel about the sequels to “Crisis on Infinite Earths?”
George Perez: When I first found out about “Infinite Crisis,” it was very flattering. I may not agree or understand a lot of what has been going on. But to have that kind of impact — that they still remember it! Even if they change every single thing Marv Wolfman and I did in “Crisis,” it’s the starting point. After a quarter of a century since drawing that book, it’s very flattering that it’s still worth addressing. Every time there seems to be a “Crisis” book, they approach me to doing something. I’m very grateful. However it turns out, love it or hate it, my name is always going to be next to that asterisk somewhere. I’m grateful they’re keeping me alive!
Do you have any plans to do more iconic versions of these characters, like what the All Star line was originally pitched as?
DiDio: We’re always looking at ways to tell more stories with them. And if it means moving them away from continuity, we will do it. But the Superman and Batman books are really cooking right now.
How come “Tiny Titans” can’t get into the newsstand market?
Bob Wayne: The entire print magazine category — from “Time” and “Newsweek” and all the way down to comics — is incredibly difficult right now. It’s going to be a very, very tough period for almost anything to survive in that environment, and it’s very difficult to get any number of new comics into that environment. When we do put things in that environment, since it’s a returnable environment, we get so many copies back.
The reality is the distribution is there isn’t that much distribution out there; it’s not that wide. There aren’t that many places where [periodicals] are on sale anymore. Comics, in your lifetimes, have gone from something you can find anywhere to something you have to seek out on your own. All the forces of how the marketplace works are working against [reversing the direct market system].
Where can we look for Aquaman in the future?
Geoff Johns: He’s in “Blackest Night.”
With Batman “dead,” is “Superman/Batman” continuing?
In response to a fan’s question, DiDio said a new short-run weekly comics series is coming and it’s in a different format from “Trinity,” but one that the audience is “very familiar” with.
When are we going to find out more about Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s current place in the DCU?
Geoff Johns: They are alive in well in “Blackest Night” #0. They do have a part to play in the story.
DiDio then directed the audience and panelists to engage in a lightning round of quick questions-and-answers.
More Firestorm in JLA? Yes.
More Max Mercury? Maybe.
Future plans for Libra? No.
Carol Ferris? See “Blackest Night.”
Second Wonder Woman book? “We hope.”
Kid Flash back in “Titans?” “We have to fight about that.”
More Mad Hatter? Okay.
Barbara Gordon, keep her as Oracle? Okay.
New Gods plans? Yes.
Rennee Montoya in her own book or regularly appearing in another? “Look for her in June.”
Earth-2 Superman? “He’s still dead…”
Any chance of a “Young Justice” trade paperback? Not at this time.
Is there any color Hal Jordan’s not going to be? Tope.
When are the Indigo Lanterns going to appear? “Blackest NIght.”
Will “Jonah Hex” characters appear in “Blackest Night?” No.
Blue Beetle cast, will we see them again? Yes.
Will Ted Kord be a Black Lantern? “Done.”
Bigger commitment to the Legion in 2009? Yes.
More 3D? “Oh god, no more 3D.”
George Perez on an All Star book? “They won’t tell me what I’m doing next.”
Bruce Wayne in “Blackest Night?” “Kind of.”
Will any of the Black Lanterns come back to life? “No, but they’re really hungry, so they’ll eat the living.”
Can we get annotations in the back of the “Final Crisis” hardcover? “No, that’s Absolute Final Crisis.”
Any more Spectre? Yes, but they’re not going to say where.
Sinestro’s daughter? Three months or so.
Doom Patrol? Yes.
How long will Rucka be on “Detective Comics?” 12-14 issues guaranteed.
The Flash Rogues? See “The Flash: Rebirth.”
Who’s getting the Year One treatment next? See “Superman: Secret Origin.”
DC villains getting rings in Blackest Night? “There’s a lot of dead rogues out there.”
Where’s the Joker? Can’t say.
More Red Robin? Yes.
When’s Grant Morrison coming back? He’s coming back to the Batman books in June.