CCI, Day 1 : Johns, Austen, Garney, Kelly & Carlin talk JL-anything

Today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, DC Comics held its "In The Name of Justice" panel to discuss all things JLA, JSA and anything else regarding the series, On hand were group editor Mike Carlin, "JSA" writer Geoff Johns, "JLA" interim writer Chuck Austen, "JLA" artist Ron Garney and "Justice League Elite" writer Joe Kelly. The floor was opened to questions from fans.

Though it took a few minutes for everyone to begin raising their hands, a number of questions were asked and the panel soon turned into a chance for the pros to poke fun at current top ten writer Geoff Johns, made famous for his succinct answers. When asked about "JSA" character Atom Smasher, Johns initially said "keep reading" and then when Garney was asked about who would inks his pencils, he did his best Johns imitation and said, "Read the credits," which elicited laughs from the audience.

Grant Morrison's long-awaited Justice League series was announced, entitled "Justice League Classified" and Morrison will be on the series for at least one arc with "Superman/Batman" artist Ed McGuinness. The series is to be an outlet for more "arc oriented" stories, wherein various writers and artists can tell tales of the JLA in any era of their history. Carlin said it was possible that writer Gail Simone's JLA arc with legend Jose Garcia-Lopez may be folded into that series, as well as the "I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League" mini-series, of which artist Kevin Maguire has completed three issues.

Carlin also confirmed Kurt Busiek, hot off "Avengers/JLA," will be the regular writer on "JLA" for the near future along with artist Ron Garney. Carlin said the next three years of "JLA" are planned, including a fill-in issue by Chuck Austen that may be used if the need is seen. Though Austen may seem vilified on the Internet, he received a loud ovation from the audience and explained that he's enjoyed working on "JLA," so he'd love to work with more DC teams and Carlin said he'd be pleased to work more with Austen. Carlin said he felt experimenting with rotating creative teams on "JLA" was successful and that fans of that format would enjoy "Classified."

Kelly then spoke about "Justice League Elite," a series that would focus on undercover missions by the JLA and would seem more dark than other titles. Look for more on the series in a CBR interview tomorrow.

As fans would expect, Johns was tightlipped about "JSA" but said that Power Girl's origins would be revealed soon, despite his intention to do the story two years ago and also mentioned most of the JSA make cameos in the first episode of Cartoon Network's "Justice League Unlimited." A fan asked about Captain Marvel breaking up with Stargirl and Johns explained that it wasn't Billy doing that: it was his mature Captain Marvel self who felt it was the wisest decision. Johns also said that Marvel would rejoin the team next year, but that the cast wouldn't expand two greatly except for two unrevealed characters. A plot thread from years ago involving Mr. Bones will come into play soon, revealed Johns, as the DEO head has a secret that affects the DCU.

Garney provided most of the humor for the show, referring to most of the female characters as "hot" and providing the necessary Wonder Woman punchline when Johns seriously ruminated about the joy of putting characters between Batman and Superman. Carlin also claimed to mentally channel the words "She's Hot" in Garney's mind when asked about Zatanna.

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