C2E2: DC Universe Panel

Saturday at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo began with the DC Comics DC Universe panel, where Executive Editor lead a host of writers and artists in discussion about "Flashpoint," "Brightest Day," and more. On hand for the panel were Senior Vice President-Sales Bob Wayne, Franco Aureliani, Mike Norton, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham, Kevin Maguire, Gail Simone, and Brian Azzarello.

The panel began with the creators talking about their books. Simone said the next issue of "Birds of Prey" will be the Huntress/Catman date. "It doesn't go well for anyone," she said. Maguire said of his new creation Tanga in "Weird Worlds," "I have not enjoyed myself more in my entire career." Burnham suggested that "those of you reading any of the Bat-books really need to read ["Batman Inc."] #6-because everybody is in it!"

Berganza then spoke on "Brightest Day." "You guys are going to be shocked when you see the last pages of the book," he said, followed by a quick discussion of "War of the Green Lanterns" and "Flashpoint."

Snyder, who is working on the Superman "Flashpoint" tie-in, said that Geoff Johns invited creators to explore characters in this alternate world to tell the stories they wanted, but the tie-ins are not essential to the main series. "This is who Flashpoint Superman is, if you're interested in that," he said.

"I don't get involved in these events. Ever," Azzarello said. "I don't like them. But this one's different. I'm involved," he continued, deadpan. "You don't have to buy it all; you'd be idiots not to." Getting more animated, Azzarello said, "I hate to say 'it won't ever be the same,' but god dammit, this time it won't be the same!"

Berganza announced that Chris Burnham is now DC exclusive. Burnham joked that his next project was "Bruce Wayne is going to die again-it's Buffalo Man from now on."

Maguire said that he doesn't know quite yet where second six chapters of Tanga's story will appear after "Weird Worlds" ends its six-issue run. "It's got to be somewhere, because it ends kind of right in the middle." "I wanted to create something for the DC universe-well, I created Maxwell Lord and G'Nort," he added, but said he likes bringing his own sensibilities to a character.

Showing a "Tiny Titans" cover featuring Kid Flash, Franco joked that, "we were pissed off that we were left out of 'Flashpoint,' so Kid Flash has to sharpen his pencil to a flashpoint." Then, "the universe will change forever."

Norton said that he designed the "Young Justice" version of Psycho Pirate. "They said to not make him too costume-y-which, if you've seen Psycho Pirate..."

Berganza asked for a show of applause as to whether readers preferred Aqualad's dreadlocks in "Brightest Day" or his short-haired look in 'Young Justice." The latter won overwhelmingly.

The question and answer session then began.

Simone said that Manhunter will return to "Birds of Prey," in response to the first question.

A fan asked about the potential return of Amethyst-"the real princess of Gemworld" teased on Rip Hunter's blackboard-and whether Gail Simone would write it, Simone replied, "Are you saying I'm a princess?"

Huntress "plays a pretty big role in upcoming 'Birds of Prey' issues," Simone said, and suggesting there are further plans for her later this year.

Regarding the revelation in "Bruce Wayne: The Return" the Bruce Wayne's mother's maiden name was Cain, Snyder said the issue is being discussed in the Bat-office and that upcoming "Gangs of Gotham" will feature the return of Cassandra Cain, the former Batgirl.

A fan asked if there are plans for a "Tiny Titans" TV show. Franco turned to Berganza: "Yeah, is there?" Then, to fans, "That stuff comes from you guys. Hint, hint."

Asked whether "Batman: Europa" will come out soon, Azzarello said he wasn't sure before adding, "Within ten years, definitely."

Asked about releasing Dwayne McDuffie's "Blink" and "Don't Blink" as a collection. "We'll certainly consider it," Wayne said. "It's been on the list before." It may come in the form of a "DC Presents" issue.

Simone said that her "Birds of Prey" episode of "Brave and the Bold" has been delayed for US release because "there was a bit of animation during the song that had to be changed." "It's got a lot of double, triple, quadruple entrendres in it," she laughed, though she also said viewers in Australia "didn't have any problems with it."

Renee Montoya, the Question, will "not immediately" be appearing in "Birds of Prey," Simone said in response to a question.

Asked whether Batgirl would "get her own city" when she goes to London, Burnham said that the character is "infiltrating a school for girls that may not be exactly what it seems."

A fan asked whether Maxwell Lord "could ever be a good guy again." "Have you been reading 'Justice League: Generations Lost?'" Berganza said. Azzarello then joked, "there's a chance!"

Another question dealt with possible appearances of the Endless in the DCU. "Desire and Larfleeze would be a hell of a matchup," the fan said. Berganza said that Paul Cornell initiated bringing Death into "Action," and that DC is open to the idea. Azzarello turned to question around to ask about DC characters going Vertigo. The fan responded by saying he would expect a significant change to the character, similar to the shifts seen in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman." "That's a pretty good answer," Azzarello said.

"I think you could argue that Brian's 'Joker' graphic novel knocked on the door of that neighborhood," Wayne said.

Berganza said that Ravager will be appearing soon, but probably not where readers expect. He gave a similar answer about Starfire.

Asked whether all of the "Flashpoint" miniseries have been announced, Wayne said, "We think so," before adding, "but Eddie's probably going to tell me about a new one as we walk off stage."

There are plans for the Freedom Fighters after their series ends, Wayne and Berganza said.

Remarking on DiDio hugging an "Outsiders" fan, there was a suggestion that Wayne and the others should hug DiDio to get information on what's coming up for the series, and pass that knowledge on to him. "We are not going to follow your suggestion," Wayne said. "Because we have a human resources department."

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