NYCC, Day 2: DCU, A Better Tomorrow-Today!

width="230" height="181" alt="" align="right" border="0">The second DC Universe panel at the New York Comic-Con began ten minutes behind schedule as the Hellboy sneak peek ran behind schedule. As audience members filed in, DC Comics Executive Editor Dan Didio began introducing panelists. First was "Brave and the Bold" artist George Perez. Didio asked him what characters won't be seen in the title. "No such thing as won't," Perez replied. He said the irony of "Brave and the Bold" is that when he heard it was being relaunched he was already assigned to another title. Didio then called him to ask if he could start the series out. Expect him to be on the title for at least the first year or nine issues. "If you like it," Perez said, "we'll see after the first year."

Didio brought up "52" and "Checkmate" writer Greg Rucka. Didio asked the audience if anyone was reading "52", leading to a large eruption from the audience. According to Rucka, the series will end "exactly the way it begins." Expect a couple more surprises in the coming weeks. "If you can make it 42 weeks," he said, "you can make it another ten." Rucka also said that by the end of week 51, eyeballs across the country will be popping out of their heads.

Didio segued from "52" to "World War 3", and introduced one of the event's writers, Keith Champagne. Expect Firestorm to get some time, along with Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and the Suicide Squad. "Everyone you want in the book is in the book," Champagne said.

"Amazons Attack" penciller Pete Woods was up next. What do the Amazons do in the series? "They attack," Woods said. "They blow up Washington DC pretty much, come in and they kick butt."

Didio asked the crowd if they like weekly comics, receiving a raucous response. "Addictive, right?" Didio then brought up "Countdown" head writer Paul Dini. What happens in "Countdown"? "S___ blows up!" Dini said. One of the writing teams working with Dini on "Countdown" is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey, who were also present. Expect more "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters", including "some things you've been dying to see."

Sean McKeever was also introduced. McKeever claims his "complete lack of knowledge about DC" is actually helpful, "since I don't have an affinity for any of the characters, I can just kill off any of them and I don't care."

"That's why Dan likes you!" Rucka added.

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"Birds of Prey" and "All New Atom" writer Gail Simone was brought up. She said that there'll be a lot going on in "Atom", that the title character Ryan Choi is "a little guy, big presence." Over in "Birds of Prey", after the Spy Smasher arc is the Birds versus the Secret Six. Expect a great fight between Big Barda and Knockout, which she said will be a must-see "for those of you who want to see two larger women fighting each other."

The panel was rounded out by Michael Siglain, editor of "52", Matt Idelson, editor of the "Superman" titles and "Wonder Woman", and vice-president of sales, Bob Wayne.

Didio prefaced the question and answer segment with a recap of announcements from last night's DC Nation panel. Expect another "Uncle Sam" series, a "Captain Carrot" miniseries, and the return of "Manhunter." Didio said that the series is "ongoing, back for good." He told how one zealous fan sent him a giant fortune cookie that contained the message "Good fortunes for those who keep Manhunter alive.""I believe that was from [series writer] Marc Andreyko," Wayne joked.

For the upcoming "Countdown" weekly, expect the lead characters to be Jimmy Olsen, Mary Marvel, Trickster and Pied Piper. Didio asked what the writers' favorite characters from the series were. "Jonah Hex," said Palmiotti. "Spider-man," said McKeever. "But then it won't be weekly."

The question and answers then began. Should we expect an ongoing "Secret Six" series?Simone mentioned their appearances in "Birds of Prey". "There's stuff going on with Secret Six, we're trying to work it out." Expect some "special Catman stuff."

A "Batman: the Animated Series" fan asked co-creator Dini his favorite episode, which is "Heart of Ice."

How will "52" trades work? Wayne said to expect them to come out a few weeks after the conclusion of the series. There'll be four books that will just feature the main lead stories, but not the backups. "We'll find other ways to sell those to you further down the road," he said.

Can we expect an "All-Star Squadron" trade? Wayne said there were no plans, but he asked how many would buy a collection, eliciting a good applause.

Any chance for George Perez doing any work on "Nightwing"? "Will Nightwing be around that long?" Wayne said. There are plans in Nightwing to bring back a "previous character he used to have interaction with."

Can we expect the now-DC exclusive Mike Norton to reunite with "Gravity" writer Sean McKeever? Norton will be the new penciller on "All New Atom."

Where has Darkseid been? "He's always been here," Rucka said. "He's hanging around," Dini added.

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Didio took a moment and asked the panel their favorite moments of "52."

Rucka: "When Clark throws himself out a window to get an interview with Supernova." He added that the scene was all Mark Waid. Gail Simone seconded Rucka's answer.

Champagne: The revelation that Supernova was Booster Gold.Woods: How Booster redeemed himself when he died.

Dini: "I like the crocodile guy."

Justin Grey: "I like the ending"

Palmiotti: "I like the origins in the back because they really help me out."

McKeever made a joke about Captain America giving up. He adds that his other answer is Sobek.

Siglain: "When that last script came in." He added the death of the Question and confirmed that the character is really dead.

Idelson: "The third issue when Montoya's dead partner showed up and became Chinese." Wayne: The scene in Rip Hunter's lab.

Some further hints were dropped for Sobek (the Lizard Guy)-"you won't like him."

Expect to see Scott Free as Mr. Miracle in "Countdown."

Cassandra Cain will play a significant role in the DC Universe in the future. Siglain also pointed out that she shows up in "World War 3."

Any more animated DC series on the way? According to Dini, the next one coming out is "Death of Superman" later this year. "Legion" and "The Batman" continue, but nothing else is on the horizon.When should readers be expecting the return of the multiverse? Wayne dropped strong hints to look for the 51st and 52nd weeks of "52."

Should we expect the return of Superboy or any Superboys in a book? "None that I can find," Idelson said.

With the release of "Brave and the Bold", should readers expect the return of other anthology titles like "DC Comics Presents" or "Showcase"? The Showcase name will continue to be used for trades, and expect the original title's approach in books like "JSA Classified." As far as "DC Comics Presents", they'll wait to see how "Brave and the Bold" does before moving forward.

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Didio polled the panel again on what characters they'd want to work on that they hadn't yet.

Simone: "I sound like a broken record, but Marvel Family."

McKeever: "I like that Batman guy."

Palmiotti: "Always wanted to write a "Haunted Tank" story.

Grey: "Krypto: Year One."

Dini: "Blackhawks."

Woods: "Martian Manhunter or the Spectre."

Champagne: "Legion."

Rucka: Wants to do a World War II thing.

Any more of Grant Morrison's "Seven Soldiers"?

"Yes," Didio said, "Absolutely."

What will DC do to raise the profile of "Manhunter"?

"Originally the idea was to cancel it every five or six months, but they caught on to it," Wayne said. "It drove Marc Andreyko crazy." Wayne said that DC has gone back to press on the series' first trade paperback, and that those trades are helping to fuel the periodicals. Simone added that Manhunter is also being featured in "Birds of Prey."

Will Grant Morrison's ideas-in particular his new interpretation of the Joker-- continue in other books? "Believe in Grant," Rucka said. "Trust in Grant."

Dini said that with "Detective Comics" he's just "telling these little detective stories that happen off on their own." Dini said he has no plans to use the Joker. Didio added that Morrison and Dini are the ongoing, regular writers on both Batman books.

Didio was then asked if the small hand on the "Countdown" teaser is actually Ray Palmer. While the audience member further explained, Didio crossed the room, grabbed a large "Countdown" teaser poster with the headline "The Search for Ray Palmer", and held it in front of the questioner. "Sorry, I can't give that away right now," he added.

What's the panel's favorite supporting cast members?

Wayne: Woozie Winks

Idelson: Krypto

Siglain: Alfred

Simone: Krypto.

McKeever: Mary-Jane Watson.

Palmiotti and Grey: Talulah Black.

Dini: Krypto.

Woods: Alfred.

Champagne: Kilowog.

Rucka: Commissioner Gordon.

Can we expect another Deathstroke/Green Arrow fight "Yes!" Didio said.

Will there be a "Legion" Showcase collection? Wayne confirmed that one is in the works.

Any chance of a "Titans: Classified"? Didio said to expect a Titans mini coming soon.

With stories like "52" taking place in real-time, is there any worry that characters like Robin or Wonder Girl might get too old? Didio said that they're "trying to get to the point where Dick Grayson is older than Bruce Wayne."

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Any word on the "rumored" Streaky the Super-cat series?

"The cat's out of the bag," Dini said.

Anymore Hippolyta in JSA? "She's still dead," Didio said.

Has a comic book ever made you cry?

Rucka: "Batman: Year One" and "Maus."

Champagne: "Men don't cry."

Woods: "Working on them can make you cry."

Dini: "Boys Ranch" #3.

Palmiotti: "When they cancelled 'Monolith.'"

McKeever: The last book of Lucifer.

Simone said that one instance in "Secret Six" was difficult to write and she cried alone in her office.

Siglain: "'52' over and over and over."

Idelson: "Dr. 13 backups."

Wayne: "The most recent issue of 'All Star Superman.'"

Didio said "the sales figures on "Civil War" #1," then added "Superman" annual #9, with "For the Man Who Has Everything."

What's next for Isis? "Ten more weeks to find out," Rucka said.

Will Matt Wagner be working on another project? Didio said Wagner is talking to other imprints, not just DCU.

Any details on how "Countdown" is going to be crossing over in the regular books?"What we're trying to do is establish a sense of continuity in the DC universe," Didio said. He said the book will be allowed to establish itself before crossing over.

The Bleed seen in "Ion"-is that something we'll see a lot of? Didio confirmed that it's a "great device to bring in everything we own."

Any details on the new character, Cyclone, in "Justice Society of America"? "All Geoff Jones."

The panel ended with a high note, as an audience member asked Didio if the Flash and Red Robin in the "Countdown" teaser were Barry Allen and Jason Todd, respectively. Didio, uncharacteristically flustered, appeared to confirm the information. Bob Wayne then removed the microphone from Didio's podium. Didio tried to rebound with a last question for the panel: Who should we kill?

Only Rucka answered: "I'm looking at him."

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