This Saturday at the inaugural Long Beach Comic Con, a crowd of hardcore DC Comics fans packed themselves in a room to ask questions of the company's best and brightest. Among the panel were Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne, Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
There were few new announcements, though lots of fan interaction. Among those new tidbits revealed by the panel, Geoff Johns announced that Wally West will be getting a new costume, designed by the inimitable Ethan Van Sciver. "The Flash" will also be a 30 page book featuring a Barry Allen lead story by Johns and Francis Manapul, with a co-feature by Johns and Scott Kollins on Wally West.
The other major news to come from the panel was DC Executive Editor Dan Didio will be writing the "Outsiders" ongoing and will be joined by artist Phillp Tan, currently the artist on "Batman & Robin" with Greant Morrison. In a post on DC's The Source blog, Didio said, "This is an exciting time for me both personally and professionally. I have been a fan of The Outsiders since their inception and with Pete Tomasi moving on to some very exciting projects in 2010, I have been afforded the opportunity to work with some of my favorite characters. Most importantly, this also gives me the chance to work with the immensely talented Philip Tan, and together I hope we can meet and exceed all expectations for this series."
After that, the panel opened the floor to questions. Ian Sattler grabbed a microphone and walked the halls taking questions from the audience. One fan asked if, now that The Predator has been revealed in the pages of "Green Lantern," what was the next back issue fans would be seeking out to research potential hints?
"It's all pretty new stuff now," Johns answered. "I'd recommend 'Green Lantern' #9, the first appearance of Sinestro."
Another fan wanted to know whether Geoff Johns was going to deal with the Rainbow Rider in the near future. "Yeah, he's going to be called the Black and White Rider," Johns answered.
"You're not kidding are, you?" Sattler asked.
"I'm not actually," Johns answered.
One fan asked who some of the new "Titans" were likely to be. The panel hinted, either jokingly or not, that it may be Deathstroke.
"Will we be able to get a glimpse at Dexter's origin?" One fan asked, referring to John's "Secret Origins" series.
"Are you surprised at the popularity of the cat?" Sattler asked.
"A Little bit," Johns answered. "I'm allergic to cats myself so I'm rooting for the dog to win."
Another fan expressed her enthusiasm for "Wednesday Comics" but also her frustration that she'd missed the early back issues of the series. "Are you going to put 'Wednesday Comics' out in trades in a way that we'll get the full story?"
"We'll take a look at it," Wayne said cryptically.
One fan asked if DC had any intention of reprinting the "Who's Who of the DC Universe" with updated information. The panel recommended the "DC Encyclopedia," a massive hard cover which was recently updated. "It's only eight months old now," Johns said.
One fan pointed out that the DC Universe had seen a recent costume change for Stephanie Brown and another one upcoming for Wally West. "Are characters like Superman and Batman ever going to see a costume change... or are they always going to have their same initial look?"
"Personally, I think those characters have a great look and you wouldn't gain anything from changing it," Sattler said.
Two fans had questions about the future of "The Flash." "So Bart is Kid Flash now and Barry is the Flash, does that make Wally West Medium Flash? Or will there be two Flashes?"
"Well, Jay Garrick is called Flash," Johns said.
"You mentioned at San Diego there may be a new speedster," a second fan began. "Is it going to be a guy or is there any chance it could be a girl?"
"Could be a girl," Johns answered.
"Will there be more Elseworld books, such as 'Kingdom Come?'" another fan asked.
"We just did Kingdom Come Superman in 'JSA,'" Johns said. "So you can check that out. It's out in trades right now."
"Will we ever see a follow up to Brian Azzarello's joker?"
Wayne responded, "Would you like there to be a follow up to Azzarello's Joker?" The audience answered with loud applause. "I'm seeing Brian next week. I'll ask him about it. Seriously."
Sattler recommended Azzarello's "Batman/Doc Savage" mini-series to fans who enjoyed Azarello's "Joker".
"Did you laugh when you found out Marvel was bought by Disney?" The last fan asked, spurring laughter from the crowd. "It seems like you guys laughed when you found out," Wayne said.
"If I had Marvel stock I would have laughed," Johns said.
"All the way to the bank," Sattler added. "Booya!"