C2E2: DC Looks to the Future and "Futures End"

Saturday programming at C2E2 began with DC Comics holding its New 52 panel. On hand for the discussion were "Futures End" co-writer Dan Jurgens, "Batgirl" scribe Gail Simone, "Harley Quinn" writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Executive Editor Bobbie Chase, and moderator John Cunningham
. They were joined later by "Superboy" writer and "Action Comics" artist Aaron Kuder.

Cunningham began by discussing Batman's 75th Anniversary celebration, hinting that this week will feature new announcements about events beginning in July.

"We're really happy about DC getting behind this the way they did," Jurgens said of "Futures End," the weekly series that begins on Free Comic Book Day. The series will explore "what the DC Universe looks like 35 years from now and, more importantly, what it looks like five years from now."

Jurgens also spoke about his new series "Aquaman and the Others," which "really deals with how these characters move forward" after receiving Atlantean weapons. The writer said there are ten weapons, and not all have been revealed. "We might also be touching on a little bit of 'Futures End' in that one, as well."

Next, Chase spoke about "Action Comics," which is currently running a "Prelude to Doomed," the upcoming storyline featuring Doomsday. A slide of Doomsday decapitating a polar bear was shown, as were several more pages. "This is some of Aaron [Kuder]'s best drawing."

Kuder is also now writing "Superboy," and Chase suggested that Chase is doing "some very bad things" to Jonathan Lane Kent. The editor said that, at present, Kuder was too busy to both write and draw another series, but it was a possibility in future.

Palmiotti spoke next about "Harley Quinn," which is illustrated by his wife, the acclaimed artist Amanda Conner. "We knew Harley was popular; we approached the book thinking, we love the character, but there are so many different versions. We made kind of an amalgamation of those characters." Slides were shown of Harley "ruining a burlesque show; she thinks it's real."

"The fun part of this book is, everywhere you expect it to go, it does not," Palmiotti said. He also previewed the one-shot "Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con." That book features the work of six different artists and is divided into chapters for each day of con. "We call it the red flag book in our house," he said.

Cunningham said that the issue is approved by Comic-Con International, and they had explicit instructions to "make sure everybody in every panel is wearing badges; nobody gets into Comic-Con without badges!"

Palmiotti said "I can't believe that everything got approved -- I think the key is to not leave people time to say no." Jurgens asked if she goes to Tijuana. "No, she doesn't need to," Palmiotti said. "And I will say that there are celebrities that appear, but they're not people who are celebrities to people outside this room."

Next, Palmiotti spoke about "Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie," which is about "an American soldier who's fought in all our wars." Palmiotti co-writes the series with frequent collaborator Justin Gray, with art by Scott Hampton. "It's part horror, it's part insanity," he said.

Also by Palmiotti, "All Star Western" returns to the Wild West, where Jonah Hex finds an impostor has taken his place. The storyline wraps up in #34, "which is completely illustrated by Darwyn Cooke."

Simone was up next talking about "Batgirl," which will feature a "huge story" in #32-34 "that I've been asking for since the New 52 started." "I get to do a lot of those things, things that people have been asking about," Simone said. She added that "Barbara also finds she has some allies she didn't know about."

With Kuder joining the panel, Cunningham flipped back to the polar bear slide. "I was really tempted to put a can of Coke in there," he joked.

Kuder admitted that "I took on more than I can chew" with the writing and art assignments, which has led to other artists doing pages in "Action." "Once my 'Superboy' arc has ended I'll be dedicated to 'Action.'"

For that arc, though, Kuder said that he's focusing on "the fact that Jonathan Lane Kent is dying." "It's been brought up as a plot point in other stories, but I'm going to be focusing on it."

Cunningham then opened the floor to fan questions.

Asked whether the New 52 had moved to more complex stories in "Superboy" after the "simplification" of continuity after the reboot, Jurgens said that "simplification wasn't really a part of it," with Simone saying that the New 52 was more of a "reframing."

A fan asked about a Poison Ivy series. Simone said there are no current plans, but the character features in the "Batgirl" annual.

Asked about the delay for "Forever Evil" #7, Cunningham said that "as we reached the end, Geoff Johns discovered he needed more pages." The fan also asked about the dollar price increase. The answer, of course, was related -- it's a bigger book.

No updates on the return of any animated series, but Cunnigham suggested fans take to social media. "Reviving IP is the word of the day," he said.

A fan noted that some of the more "out of the box" series launching in the New 52 failed to thrive, though Palmiotti's have done better. "It's really simple: we've got to sell more of them," Palmiotti said of making weird books successful. "The people who are fans of those tend to be die hards," he said, and it helps if those fans share their enthusiasm with friends.

Next came a question about whether there were plans for a "Shazam" series. Simone said she's been asking to do one "for eight years." "What an interesting question," Cunningham said. "Next Question."

Asked about changes to the Doomsday character, Jurgens said that he's a tough character because he doesn't talk or think. "But these guys are the guys who are doing Superman now, and I wish them the best with it."

A fan asked whether DC might start a digital subscription service similar to Marvel Unlimited. Cunningham said it was not part of their current digital strategy, but it was "on the table."

There was a question about a new Deathstroke series; no plans, but he stars in "New Suicide Squad" beginning in July. "We also have a certain weekly," Jurgens said. "You may see Deathstroke there."

Next came a question about Donna Troy. "Patience is rewarded in the New 52," Cunningham said, alluding to the recent return of Wally West in "Flash" Annual #2. "We're aware of how important Donna Troy is, that's not something we want to rush into; we have to build to it."

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