NYCC: Batman - Battle for the Cowl Panel

Welcome to Day 2 of CBR's live coverage from the New York Comic Con. DC presented its Batman: Battle for the Cowl panel Saturday afternoon, announcing eight titles--some old, some new--that will be shipping in February. On stage for the panel are Peter Tomasi, editors Mike Siglain and Mike Marts, Greg Rucka, Tony Daniel, and Dustin Nguyen. Ian Sattler moderated.

Tony Daniel discussed writing and drawing the three issue "Battle for the Cowl," and said that in most cases "I got to have my way."

Marts then ran down the various tie in one shots including Man-Bat, Arkham, and Underground. He also said Gotham Gazette would be "told from regular joes on the street."

In June, DC will publish eight Batman books, "all of great importance" according to Sattler. To reveal these, a "Batman Family Feud" game board appeared on the monitor. Whatever fans guess will be announced; others won't.

First guess: Azrael. No love. "But please pick up the Azrael limited series!" Marts added.

Next guess: Jason Todd. "Nobody's booing that?" Sattler said. Wrong guess. Sattler encouraged "say something you know will be published, that Greg Rucka is writing." So "Detective Comics" shot up on the board.

"Batman" is also on the list. "You guys are on a roll!" Sattler joked. But then the third strike was spent on "Dark Knight Returns." Sattler then "switched to the other family" so that something new might actually be announced.

"Red Robin" is on the list, but "Nightwing" is not.

"Batman and Robin?" Yes. "Batwoman?" No.

No to "Oracle," but "feel free to pick up 'Oracle: the Cure,'" Siglain said.

Dan DiDio stepped to the mic to fire off a few... suggestions? "Outsiders" is on the list. Notably without the "Batman and" tag. "Batgirl" was the next positive announcement.

"Commissioner Gordon: International Man of Mystery?" No.

"Catwoman and the Bad Girls of Gotham?" No. After a bit of banter, though, "Gotham City Sirens" was revealed.

"Batman: Streets of Gotham" was then revealed, completing the set.

Sattler then opened the floor to "Battle for the Cowl" questions.

Bane is too busy in Secret Six to be involved in "Battle for the Cowl," Marts said.

Rucka said JH Williams will be on "Detective" for "twelve issues, guaranteed."

A fan asked about future Paul Dini Batman books. "The answer is yes and the answer is June," Marts said. "Possibly in more than one spot."

Will the fate of Wayne Enterprises be decided in "Battle for the Cowl?" "That's a June decider," Sattler said, but Daniel added that "we forshadow that in the first issue."

Is Renee Montoya on an alternate Earth? "No," Rucka said. "Is Grant Morrison on an alternate Earth...?"

"A lot of Owlman stuff will be revealed in the issue of Outsiders out next week," Tomasi said.

"Grundy want know what Joker be doing," a fan dressed as Solomon Grundy said. "You have to wait while for Joker," Sattler answered.

"Gotham Central" characters will appear in Rucka's "Detective Comics," "because I can't keep away from them," the writer said. He added that the first four issues would be one arc, followed by a three-issue origin of Batwoman. "I think there's a legitimate question as to why we should care about this character, other than that she's a Bat," Rucka added, "and after this arc we will see that it's because she's kick-ass cool."

The Battle for the Cowl itself will be "a three-way battle" that will be "limited to Gotham City," Daniel said, noting it would not cross over into books or characters such as the Titans. He did reveal that Knight and Squire, Catwoman, and others would appear.

"I want to get Alfred away from being a guy who's always standing there with a cup of tea and getting his ass handed to him," Tomasi said. "You'll see a tougher Alfred from here on in."

All of the combatants in "Cowl" have "different beliefs," Daniel said in response to the question of why Dick Grayson is not the annointed successor. For their own reasons, he said, Dick and Tim Drake will come to the realization that, though Bruce Wayne was irreplaceable, there needs to be a Batman.

"We also see the return of an old villain, but he's kind of new again," Daniel said before being hushed by the other panelists.

"We do plan to involve Anarky in the future," Marts said, noting the character appeared recently in Robin.

Sattler confirmed Grant Morrison will return to Batman in June, but would not announce an artist. "June is also the artist--that's her name," Marts joked.

In response to a question about "explaining what the hell happened in Batman RIP," Sattler offered to re-present the flow chart from last night's DC Nation panel. Fans present at that panel loudly asked not to see it again. It went up anyway.

"That corpse is something, and we're getting to it soon," Sattler said of the dead Bat-body from "Final Crisis."

Batman fall out will catch up to "Justice League" and other series soon, Sattler said. "It will be painfully obvious, because we'll put it right on the cover."

Next question: "What number do I have to call to get Jason Todd killed again?" Sattler joked that fans could opt in with a text message, or vote during American Idol.

Will Fabian Nicieza be involved in the Bat-books? "Yes," Marts said."He will be involved in the Bat-books for a long time to come."

The story of the green-eyed monster attached to Bat-mite "is a story that will be told," Marts said, joking that it might be Grant Morrison himself.

More Edward Nigma (Riddler)? "He will be in one of the one shots," Marts said, with Daniel adding that he appears in "Battle" #1.

"Superman's going to be on another planet for most of this time, and I don't think he's going to make that collect call," Rucka said of whether Superman knows the new Batman and what their relationship would be.

The Neil Gaiman "Batman" story, which begins next week, "is truly spectacular," Sattler said, with Marts adding that it is some of Gaiman and Andy Kubert's best work. "If there was any more Neil on Batman this year, your head might explode," Satler said.

Sattler then launched into the lightning round.

Birds of Prey in "Battle?" "Yeah," Daniel said, adding that they would play a pretty big role in the series.

Variant covers? Yes. "Am I doing them?" Daniel said. There will also be variants for the June issues.

Jason Todd vs. Azrael? "There's always a chance."

Third Batman from Morrison's run in "Battle?" "I was hoping no one would ask that," Marts said, before Sattler assured him the correct answer is "I don't know what you're talking about."

Who replaces Batman in JLA? "Very interesting answer to that, actually," Sattler said. "It's going to be an exciting year for the Justice League."

Which book will Stephanie Brown be appearing in? "She'll be appearing next in Gotham Gazette," according to Marts.

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