CCI: DC Nation

The DC Comics DC Nation at Comic-Con International saw some unexpected news and a fair number of laughs as panelists Dan DiDio, Joe Michael Straczynski, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Jim Lee were joined by Darkseid, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern.

DiDio began by showing the "Blue Beetle" live action test footage. When technical difficulties delayed the presentation, however, a fan shouted, "It worked for Geoff Johns!" "Everything works for Geoff Johns," DiDio joked. The footage included a transformation scene in which the beetle armor emerges from Jaime Reyes's body and covers him, before the hero flies out a window.

Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison then joined DiDio and Stracynski on stage. A fan in an amazing Darkseid costume was also called up on stage.

Straczyski joked that Morrison and Darkseid "have the same profile." "You're my father, Darkseid!" Morrison laughed.

A front-row fan in the new Wonder Woman costume was also called on stage. DiDio asked what fans were hoping to see in JMS's "Wonder Woman." The first said he was curious about how her changes would affect the rest of the DCU and hoped she wouldn't be "tucked away." "Oh, hell no," Straczynski said. "We want her out there." Then, "For those of you who are not sure about the costume, give me two issues, I will turn you around." He said there will be a staged reading of "Wonder Woman" #602 tomorrow night.

JMS said that Wonder Woman would be facing several new villains, all based on classical mythology.

When the focus turned to Geoff Johns and his titles, a female Green Lantern was called on stage to sit beside Johns.

A fan asked when there when Dex-Starr would fight G'Nort. "I'm gonna do a Dex-Starr Valentine's Day special next year," Johns said. "I'm not kidding." He added he wants to do "a bunch" of holiday specials, including "Atrocitus Fourth of July Special where he's puking up fireworks." "I've actually got to pitch this," he laughed.

Grant Morrison then spoke about his current run on Batman. "Someone said to me, you've incorporated everything from Batman except for the Joel Schumacher stuff," he said. "I love the Joel Schumacher stuff, I love the color but I love the really fruity outfits," Morrison added, recalling the scene in which Alfred presents Robin with a costume. "'I took the liberties,' sir and he lifts up this rubber thing, with the nipples," Morrison said in his Alfred voice, noting that sewing rubber requires a certain skill set. "He learned to sew up these really obscene rubber costumes," Morrison laughed.

David Finch has designed a new costume for Bruce Wayne's return in "Batman Inc.," in which "the whole Batman operation is upgraded." Batman will meet the Silver Age Kathy Kane, too, who "has been in a simultaneous affair with Batman and El Gaucho."

Talk then turned to JMS's nascent run on "Superman." A fan suggested that Superman needs a fanny pack so he doesn't run out of money in diners, as he did in a recent issue. "Superman's costume's a lot tighter on him than yours is on you," Straczynski said.

As talk moved on, JMS said, "There are going to problems he encounters that he can't deal with very easily." "I think putting him in situations where he has to do something other than hit something is really interesting," Straczynski continued.

On to the Flash, by show of applause Wally West was by far the preferred speedster, outpacing current Flash Barry Allen. "I love the Flash," Johns said, explaining that with this and "Green Lantern" the idea was not to "bring back the real Green Lantern." He didn't want to write another Wally book because he'd already written Wally as the Flash. Instead, Johns said, he wanted to "expand not contract" the Flash universe and do something new.

DiDio then showed the "Brightest Day" teaser image and opened the floor to questions. "My favorite thing is Black Manta's eyes right behind Aqualad," Johns said.

Johns said that the Predator entity would be the focus of either issue #57 or #58. He also said that the Parallax entity is in the Green Lantern film.

"Gary Frank is drawing 'Batman: Earth 1' volume 1 now," Johns said, "and I've just seen a page where Batman really messes up." The writer added that Morrison's Batman is highly skilled, so Johns wanted to do a story where he's "learning to be Batman, and he messes up, his gadgets don't work."

DiDio said there would be a new "Who's Who" next year.

"Grant and I are actually going to do a big project together," Johns announced. He wouldn't say more, but it will happen next year.

A fan asked how Morrison knows he hasn't already been hit by Omega beams. "I don't, and I really don't care," he said. "If this is one of those awful lives, it's not so bad." JMS joked that he's already been hit because, in a previous life, Morrison had a New Jersey accent. Morrison put on such an accent and sputtered, "What the--Jesus Christ! What's going on!" After laughter subsided, he said, "Now you've all got to do Scottish accents.

DiDio said that DC would begin reprinting some "Young Justice" material in October.

Straczynski began answering a "Brave and the Bold" question in a bad Scottish accent, before announcing that the series would see the Inferior Five meet the Legion of Substitute heroes, and Jor-El meet Pa Kent.

Asked about the aborted "Flash" backup, Johns said "we have a lot of Flash material," adding, "I promise you'll see more of Wally soon, and it won't just be a co-feature."

A fan asked whether "Manhunter's" Marc Andreyko would be writing any new series. DiDIo noted he's doing work for other companies, but nothing is set up with DC at present.

Asked about characters to watch, Morrison said Kathy Kane, Johns offered Aqualad, and JMS said "Jim Olsen in 'Superman Earth One.'"

Straczynski said there would be a Challengers of the Unknown/Metal Men team up in "Brave and the Bold."

A fan asked whether Stephanie Brown would be appearing more outside her own title. "She'll be in something I'm working on outside of comics," Johns said.

"We're doing a second Flash book next year called 'Flash: Speed Force," Johns said, featuring Bart Allen, Jesse Quick, XS, and the other speedsters.

Johns will do more Rogue profiles in "Flash," with Captain Boomering in issue #7 first up.

A fan asked whether Superman would be fighting "a big stalk of corn" in Omaha, but the confused panelists heard "a big stack of porn," leading to a general round of laughter.

Morrison said he'd love to write more "Frankenstein" (from his "7 Soldiers"), but "I can't write everything."

Asked about how changes to Wonder Woman affect past events in the DCU, Straczynski said, among other things, "We don't have time to deal with the Maxwell Lord stuff in my book." The changes to Wonder Girl and Donna Troy would also not be addressed, because "in a story, you deal with what's in front of you, and they don't appear in this story."

Fan: "Can we hope for a second 'Batman Beyond' movie?" Johns: "You can hope." He added that DC is looking at different things to do with the character, and DiDio said he's been pleased with the performance of the comic.

Johns said there was a lot of discussion about using Resurrection Man in "Blackest Night," but "I couldn't fit him in."

DiDio said DC is "working very hard" to maintain the $2.99 price point, though some prices were going up. "Less than 25% of our books are $3.99, but people focus on the ones that go up," he said.

Asked about the future of Dick Grayson, Morrison said, "I love Dick Grayson, I think he's the consummate super hero. He's the only person who can contain Damian.

"Which is why I put a bullet in his head in the next issue, so you'll have to see how that pans out for him."

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