In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Baltimore Comic-Con, DC Nation came together for a low-key, non-multimedia presentation. DC Comics Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler chose to present the panel as a more free-formed discussion.
Before he could even introduce the panelists, Sattler received the first question: "Where is [DC Co-Publisher] Dan [DiDio]?" DiDio was billed as guest at one point during the lead up to the Baltimore Comic-Con, but, due to scheduling conflicts, had to cancel his appearance there. Sattler's answer was simple, and one word, "Toronto." (Be sure to check out the DC Comics coverage from Toronto right here on CBR.)
The fan offered a follow up, "Why does Toronto get priority?" Sattler quickly refuted that with a gesture toward the dais. "It doesn't," he said.
The panel to which Sattler pointed consisted of Sterling Gates, Shane Davis, Nick Spencer, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Ivan Brandon. Sattler started his questioning with Palmiotti. "Your new book, Jimmy. Do you know what it's called?"
"It's called 'Freedom Fighters,'" Palmiotti said. The title is set to debut in September and features art from Travis Moore and Trevor Scott. In the first issue, the Vice President is kidnapped. Palmiotti said that readers unfamiliar with the Freedom Fighters could jump right in with the first issue as he and co-writer Justin Gray will be introducing the team as they go on.
Sattler said "Freedom Fighters" is a bit "National Treasure," but replacing Nicolas Cage with the Human Bomb.
Ivan Brandon is taking Doc Savage in a "bold, new direction." Doc will be going to the Middle East of the "First Wave" world, which is basically like "Mad Max." Brandon said that Doc Savage should be the coolest character in comics. Sattler called it, "pretty horrifying stuff, in a good way."
Nick Spencer gave a bit of information on his upcoming Jimmy Olsen co-feature that will introduce "Smallville" character Chloe Sullivan to the DC Universe. He hopes to take Jimmy in new directions, while paying respect to the Jimmy Olsen stories of yesteryear. R. B. Silva and Dave McCaig will be handling the art chores for Jimmy Olsen's story in "Action Comics."
Shane Davis has finished work on "Superman: Earth One" with J. Michael Straczynski. Advance black and white copies are floating around the DC offices, featuring a story that panelists described as "an amazing way to reinterpret the character."
Davis shared that "Superman: The Movie" director Richard Donner has said of the book that he "believes every word of it." It's a look at Clark Kent as a 21-year-old out in the world. Davis used for reference buildings from all around the planet, striving to make Metropolis truly appear as a metropolis - a crossroads of countries.
"Like EPCOT!" Palmiotti chimed in, which got quite a chuckle from the assembled fans.
It was explained that "Earth One" is not so much a retelling of the origin of Superman as much as it is an investigation of an experience in his life that maybe hasn't been investigated clearly before. Sattler said he read it once to be able to write the DC Nation piece about it, but he was so compelled that he wanted to read it again.
Sterling Gates said a Supergirl-Legion team-up is on the way for the "Supergirl" series, followed by a Cat Grant two-part story around Christmas that will involve the Toyman, who famously murdered her son.
Gates will have more coming up soon, but that work cannot be discussed in detail right now. Sattler was visibly enthused regarding Gates' next project, but assured fans it was not "Wild Dog," which is a dream project of Sattler's.
Sattler asked the crowd, "Is there a book that we're not doing right now that you'd like to see come back?" Sattler asked the gathered fans to applaud when they heard something they agree with.
"All-Star Wonder Woman" was the first title mentioned, with quite a bit of crowd support. Sattler assured the attendees that the editorial team at DC wanted to see that one happen too. Next up was "Metal Men," specifically an ongoing series starring Dr. Magnus' robots, and this suggestion was met with great applause. Receiving almost as much acclaim was a request for a Lobo ongoing, while a suggestion for the Crime Syndicate elicited a light response.
Other properties that were mentioned as being missed by the fanbase included: Ambush Bug, Captain Carrot, Manhunter (the Kate Spencer version), Wild Dog, Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes, which garnered much applause). Sattler then spoke up about "Justice League: Generation Lost," referencing Jaime's appearances there. Sattler said that book extends things out for the DC Universe beyond "Brightest Day."
Also invoked were Black Orchid and Starman. Sattler wanted to know, "Does 'The Shade' from James Robinson count?"
Requests continued for "Wednesday Comics," which Sattler suggested be renamed "Thursday Comics" and recommended that attendees stop by editor Mark Chiarello's table to request the series.
The Phantom Stranger? He's got some appearances coming up in "Superboy."
Captain Marvel: "I would do that in a heartbeat," said Shane Davis. Sattler said there are plans, but they are a ways off.
A fan asked when Deadman would return to the dead. Sattler said Deadman was wildly popular in his current incarnation as "Aliveman."
What about "Gotham Central?" Sattler said DC is "working on something that will fill that niche."
A younger reader asked if "the man Question" was going to come back. Sattler said Renee Montoya is the question for the time being.
When pressed for what is on deck following the completion of "Brightest Day," Sattler insisted that any hints of what comes after "Brightest Day" would "train wreck" how that series concludes.
Will there be printed product tied to the much ballyhooed "DC Universe Online?" Yes, Sattler assured the fans, but did not reveal any details.
Questions popped up regarding some recent wardrobe and identity switches. Sattler set the record straight, informing all that Tim Drake is Red Robin and Damian Wayne is Robin for the foreseeable future. Wonder Woman's costume is also locked in for the foreseeable future as well.
Will we be seeing the original seven of the Justice League fighting together any time soon? Amongst each other, over the dishes, or for the check were among the counter-questions posed by panelists.
Are there any plans to create some wonderful new villains? Davis revealed that there is a new villain introduced in "Superman: Earth One." Gates was quick to offer that there are two new villains coming up in the next few months of "Supergirl."
How is work coming along on the frequently announced but as-yet unsolicited "Who's Who?" It is progressing, Sattler said. As a matter of fact, even as the panel was discussing it and even as you are reading this article, the "Who's Who" is being worked on. But it's a lot of work, as DC's projects cause it to morph as it is being written. Entries are outdated once they are finished and it is proving to be a bit of challenge to keep those entries updated.
Is anything coming up with Cassandra Cain? "She's been re-invented and reintroduced a few times," Sattler said, adding that he wants to make sure the next iteration of Cassandra Cain is 100% right.
Is there any chance that we'll get to read Geoff Johns' version of Sinestro's origin? That should be coming up at some point, according to Sattler.
Will there be a Damian Wayne miniseries or solo storyline? There is a chance.
How about Greg Rucka doing some more "Batwoman?" "That's up to Greg," Sattler said.
When asked about Vertigo characters like Madame Xanadu and Swamp Thing returning to the DC Universe, Sattler said there is no specific plan, but if there is a really good reason to crossover, then it will happen. He went on to cite Paul Cornell's use of Death coming up in "Action Comics" as one of those good reasons that was well thought out and, in the case of Death, approved by the creators like Neil Gaiman.
How long is Grant Morrison staying on Batman? Sattler personally chatted with Morrison about this at San Diego and said that Morrison has some great ideas planned for Batman, specifically mentioning the upcoming "Batman, Inc." series. Sattler then went on to say that Morrison has a number of Batman stories in various stages of proposal and development, including a story that could be the greatest Batman story ever.
When a fan asked about the possibility of an ongoing series set in the DCU Animated universe, Sattler said that there are no plans, but he did seize that opportunity to mention that there would be a "Batman Beyond" ongoing series announced very soon.
Does DC plan to do any new "Watchmen" comics? This was met with a low moan that didn't quite make it to a "boo." Sattler physically backed up, and quickly asked for the next question.
Asked if DC was actively working on getting Morrison and Frank Quitely's "Flex Mentallo" reprinted, Sattler said it's more like "passively."
How long is Lex Luthor going to be the star of "Action Comics?" For a while yet. The Lex Luthor story really pays off in epic ways, Sattler said, adding that so long as Cornell is writing "Action," it is a comic definitely worth picking up.
Asked about Dick Grayson sticking around as Batman a while longer, Sattler said that "The Return of Bruce Wayne" was a pretty good sign of what's going to happen. As mentioned previously, Damian Wayne is confirmed as Robin, Tim Drake is confirmed as Red Robin, but nothing has been said, locked down, or confirmed for any of the other characters.