Dan Didio has become a familiar face, and voice on the convention circuit. Friday afternoon, he hosted his latest DC Nation panel at Wizard World Philadelphia. In his usual style, he spent more time avoiding questions than answering them. He was joined on stage by ace writer Geoff Johns, DC VP of sales Bob Wayne, and Jan Jones, alpaca enthusiast and editorial coordinator of "52."
The purpose of the panel, according to Didio, was not so much to tell us what DC is planning, but to hear what the fans think. "When I hear what's going on in this room," he said, "I take it to the editors, I take it to the writers, and we take it from there."
As we entered the room, everyone was given a DC Nation button and a coupon. At tomorrow's con the coupon can be redeemed for a prize, although no one on the panel would admit to knowing what that prize would be. DC plans to give away DC Nation buttons at every major con for the next few years. At San Diego this year, there will be spotters on the con floor giving out prizes to people wearing DC Nation buttons.
Didio's first big announcement concerned the cancellation of "Manhunter." As soon as the news broke that "Manhunter" had been cancelled, people began writing in. As a result, the book has received a five-issue reprieve. Instead of ending at issue 25, it will go on to at least issue #30. "Manhunter is un-cancelled, for the time being."
DC is currently putting out a lot of concepts at the same time. It's up to the readers to tell DC which ones work and which ones do not. If a limited series sells, it will be followed by another one.
Also announced during the panel was a new "Mystery in Space, an eight issue miniseries set to hit in September. The series is to be written by Jim Starlin with art by Shane Davis with a variant cover by Neal Adams. The series will feature the new Captain Comet, with backup stories of "The Weird" featuring art by Starlin and Al Milgrom.
Didio was particularly evasive on the subject of The Flash. He did not reveal the identity of the Flash in the upcoming new series. He refused to say if we've seen him before, or if we'd be seeing Wally West, Bart Allen, XS, or the Speed Force any time soon. However, we will be seeing what happened to Superboy while he was trapped in the Speed Force.
The Luthor body in "52" is Alexander Luthor. He looks older because, as Geoff Johns stated, "Luthor screwed with the body."
Asked if The Question will be getting his own series, Johns replied that he's in "52" at least twice a month. "52" has been written up to issue 26, the halfway point in the series. He also confirmed that he will be returning to write "JSA" some time next year. Although there will be a Titans East springing from upcoming events in Teen Titans, he did not know whether they would be getting their own book. Wendy and Marvin will continue to appear sporadically in Teen Titans.
One attendee asked the panel who they'd wanted to see killed in "Infinite Crisis." Johns stated that he'd enjoyed killing Psycho Pirate, but declined to name a living character he'd like to see dead. Didio stated baldly, "I wanted Nightwing dead. Follow Nightwing's story- he was supposed to die!" Bob Wayne shrugged and said "Speedball" while Jones said she wouldn't miss Airwave. This led Johns to contradict her, stating unequivocally that Airwave was not dead.
The current DC Universe has not reverted to Earth One, as some people have feared. The DC Unverse is the same one that people have been reading about since "Crisis on Infinite Earths," with a few minor tweaks. For example, it has been re-established that Batman has brought in Joe Chill, the killer of his parents, and that Wonder Woman was a founding member of the Justice League.
Asked why DC didn't release any lighter, less angst-ridden books, Didio replied "We did Plastic Man. Nobody bought it." He went on to discuss his philosophy of humor in comics. "I don't want to sacrifice characters for a joke." He suggested she read Blue Beetle. "It's a very funny book."
Asked when Green Arrow would have a regular artist, Didio confirmed that Scott McDaniel was on board for the long haul.
Asked if James Robinson would do anything further with The Shade, Didio replied "Sure! You want it, you got it!" Whether or not he was serious remains to be seen.