CCI: DC Universe

CBR's live coverage of Comic-Con International in San Diego continues with DC Comics' DC Universe panel. On hand for the panel are Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Joe Michael Straczynski, James Robinson, JT Krul, Gail Simone, Judd Winick, Aaron Lopresti, and Nick Spencer.

Sattler began by discussing the 'Brightest Day" teaser, suggesting a fan's thoughts yesterday about the White Lantern logo on the tree marking the Tree of Life. After a brief tease about "Return of the Black Lanterns" in October, a new image revealed a new "Birds of Prey" image. Simone said readers will soon discover who White Canary is. Alvin Lee, who was the artist on Simone's "Deadpool," will be doing an arc. "It takes place in Thailand, we're going to have Mui Thai fighters, it's going to be awesome.

Winick thanked readers for reading "Justice League: Generation Lost," and said that since it's bi-weekly, "It's pretty much all I'm doing." There will be an arc focusing on Ice coming up. The next issue, though, "is a Captain Atom issue," Winick said.

"Aaron's going to do an issue with the return of the Metal Men," Winick said, "and it's 22 pages of the JLI fighting the Metal Men-it's awesome."

After further comments from Sattler, Winick said, "We are building to a big ending," and compared the structure to a novel.

Krul then spoke about "Green Arrow." "The coolest thing about Green Arrow is making Ollie front and center again in his book," he said. The October issue will pull in some of the Black Lantern conflicts Green Arrow dealt with in "Blackest Night."

The next slide showed "Time Masters," the Rip Hunter story tying in to "The Return of Bruce Wayne" before moving on to Superman's current "Grounded" arc.

"He started out as a champion of the everyman, and we want to get him back to that," Straczynski said of Superman. "The next issue will see him spend most of the issue looking for the bathroom, and the issue after that looking for a place to make change for $100 after ten o'clock," he joked.

After Straczynski repeated the idea that Superman would be facing problems he couldn't solve by punching people, Sattler joked, "If that doesn't work, can we have an arc where he just goes around punching people?"

Nick Spencer will be writing a Jimmy Olsen co-feature in "Action Comics," and wore a bow tie to commemorate the occasion. "Jimmy Olsen's always been one of my favorite characters," Spencer said. His story will be about "what it's like to be a normal guy in the DCU." Olsen is "determined to live life to its fullest, and that puts him into some crazy situations." Chloe from "Smallville" will appear in the backup feature as an ongoing character.

"Somebody changed the timeline so that Paradise Island was destroyed many years ago," Straczynski said of "Wonder Woman," the next slide. He referred to Schroedinger's Cat, the idea that there are two quantum possibilities which are both real until one is observed. A new internal page was shown with Wonder Woman's vision of herself in the classic costume and JMS said, "There's something going on, and it involves Schroedinger's Cat."

The next slide was Frank Quitely's cover to "THUNDER Agents" #1, written by Nick Spencer. "When it's your first DC book and they give you Frank Quitely for the cover and Darwyn Cooke for the variant, I'm happy to be here," Spencer said. The series will find several characters at their end of the rope given an opportunity to redeem themselves, with the catch being that accepting means death within the year. The interior artist is CAFU.

Sattler announced a new title called "Weird Worlds," starring Aaron Lopresti's Garbage Man and other characters. "Monster books, they've become horror books in the last fifteen years, but I want to get back to monsters as superheroes," Lopresti said of the character. There will be two additional leading characters, Sattler said of "Weird Worlds."

The next slide was "Legion of Super Heroes," but without writer Paul Levitz on the panel as originally planned, Sattler said he would be postponing a planned announcement to allow Levitz to make the announcement on the Source blog.

Felicia Henderson will be writing a "Static" ongoing next year, Sattler said, reiterating an earlier announcement. Krul then said a few words about "Teen Titans," revealing that there will be a brand-new Titans character introduced soon, plus appearances by the Damian Wayne Robin. "Issue 100 will launch a crazy, crazy story," Krul said.

After the JSA crossover in "Justice League of America," Robinson said the team you see "will be the team for quite some time." "In issue 50, you'll see the Justice League take on the Crime Syndicate," he added, pitting Supergirl against Ultraman, Dick Grayson as Batman fighting Owlman, and so forth. "You'll see these characters fighting big battles that will affect the DC Universe," Robinson said.

"By 2011, James is going to be on some major big books at DC," Sattler said, though he said it was not time announce these new projects yet. "It's things you haven't seen before."

At this point, Sattler opened the floor to questions.

The first fan said that he began reading comics with "Blackest Night," around the time he was diagnosed with HIV. He thanked DC for publishing a story about literally fighting death, which inspired him. In the midst of applause, Sattler walked down to hug the fan.

In response to a question about tension between Dick Grayson and his former fiance in the Justice League, Robinson said he was looking forward to using Starfire in "JLA," but "she was needed in 'Rebels.'"

Regarding Catwoman, Sattler said hesitantly, "There's no news, and that's good news. You'll have to trust me on that." He suggested there might be some word on her soon.

Sattler asked the panelists which lesser-used character they would most like to write. "Creeper," Lopresti said. Spencer said Barbara Gordon, Simone said Knockout, Vigilante for Robinson, Red Devil for Krul, and JMS offered Inferior Five.

Winick described the animated "Red Hood" screening as "better than my wedding." "I can say that, because my wife was there and that's what she said," Winick joked. "It was a thrill to see it up there."

A fan asked about more Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew. "No," Sattler said. "If I don't get Wild Dog, you don't get Captain Carrot."

Asked whether anyone will realize "what an awesome hero Booster Gold is," Winick said, "Yes." Sattler added there is a scene in "Generation Lost" that nods to this, "and it's one word balloon."

On the status of low-selling titles "REBELS" and "Jonah Hex," Sattler said, "they're not going anywhere."

Winick said that future DC movies would be both adaptations and original stories and properties, in response to a fan question.

Asked why Tim Drake wasn't in the "Red Hood" movie, Winick said, "Movies are structured in a certain way, and Tim didn't fit into that story." He added that it would take away from the film's dramatic impact. "If, at the end of all this, Batman says, 'I think I'll get a new Robin! Because it worked out so well last time,'" Winick said. "It never occurred to us to make Tim part of this story."

When a fan asked whether a stable JLA lineup meant Dick Grayson or Batman, Sattler laughed, "Stop trying to backdoor Batman questions into JLA questions-it's very crafty, but you're not the first." Robinson added that Dick Grayson will continue to appear in the title.

Regarding the just-published "Justice Society" issue, Robinson said, "I wanted to make sure even Mr. America had a cool moment-because everyone thinks he's the lamest character in the DC Universe, right? That a guy dresses a Paul Revere costume with a whip in the modern day, he's either the kinkiest freak in the superhero world, or this gallant fellow, and either way is really interesting."

A fan asked for clarification as to which Vertigo characters can appear in the DCU. Sattler said he couldn't answer that, "but I know for sure that Death from 'Sandman' will be appearing in 'Action Comics.'" The editor added, "that might not be the end of it."

Another fan commented that he "would read the phone book" if Gail Simone wrote it. "If I wrote the phone book, there would be lots of sex and bad words," Simone said.

With Chloe Sullivan appearing in the Jimmy Olsen feature, a fan asked if other non-powered characters like Snapper Carr would show up. "Snapper's awesome," Spencer said. The writer said he's interested in seeing how normal people, especially young professionals, fit in with the superhero world. "Somebody's getting Lex Luthor's coffee in the morning," Spencer said.

"Don't be surprised if you see Snapper Carr in the Justice League," Robinson said.

"The stuff that's coming up with Hawk and Dove in 'Birds of Prey' will completely change how you think about those characters," Simone said in response to a question about Hawk's anger.

There are plans for Black Adam and Isis, Sattler said. "It's not like we just made them statues to say, pfoof, now we don't have to deal with that again."

Asked about her opinion on "bringing Barbara Gordon back to her feet," Simone hesitantly said she's thinking about that issue but can't say much more. "My thought is that we need Oracle," she said.

A question came up about telling the stories of Harvey Dent filling in for Batman, which took place during the "One Year Later" gap. Robinson said, "I have an idea in my head" as to how things went down, but the writer is busy enough that "you won't see it soon, if ever."

The next fan began to ask the panel about "the time Zatanna comforted Barry Allen after Iris's death," at which point Sattler cut him off with a long shushing, "Shhhh-shhhh--sh." Then, "no, shhhhh-shhh."

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