NYCC: DC Nation

DC Comics is holding its DC Nation panel at New York Comic Con from 6-7 EST, and CBR will be bringing you live updates throughout the hour. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio strutted on the catwalk as he waited for other panelists to join.

"It'ts been 18 months since the last New York Comic Con, and I've missed you guys," DiDio said. He then began by reiterating the announcement that prices would be reduced to $2.99 linewide, after noting that last year DC had tried to justify $3.99 with more value such as backup features. "But $3.99 is a tough price point. We're going back to $2.99, and we're going to hold it at $2.99."

The panelists then joined, including Senior VP of Sales Bob Wayne, Editor in Chief Bob Harras ("the only person to hold Editor-in-Chief title at both Marvel Comics and now DC Comics"), Co-Publisher Jim Lee, Jeff Lemire, Bryan Q. Miller,

DiDio began by asking fans who was reading "Brightest Day" and whether they were enjoying the Aquaman story. One fan praised the addition of the new Aqualad, particularly for adding diversity to the DCU. Another fan simply enjoyed that Aquaman "was kicking ass."

"Does anybody want to complain about Cassandra Cain and just get it over with?" DiDio joked. Several fans did. "She's waiting outside the Batcave for a memorial for the Spoiler," DiDio said.

There was less enthusiasm for the Hawkman/Hawkgirl story, but DiDio smiled as he said, "In San Diego, there was a Hawkgirl..." After DiDio trailed off laughing and a fan shouted "Good story!" he said, "That's another story." The Martian Manhunter story, though, received a lot of applause.

In discussing "Birds of Prey," when a fan said he liked Lady Blackhawk, DiDio laughed, "You know, there was a Lady Blackhawk at San Diego Comic Con..."

On "Green Arrow," a fan suggested DC bring back Lian Harper. DiDio was puzzled for a moment, then, "Oh, the dead kid." A young girl dressed as Speedy also asked for Lian's return, and was invited onto the dais.

A fan said "you've got to stop letting the Anti-Monitor lose to everybody." "I agree," DiDIo said. "It used to be Darkseid, now it's the Anti-Monitor."

The young girl on the panel perked up in a discussion about Grant Morrison and the Damian Wayne version of Robin. "What is Grant Morrison taking?" she said.

Miller then spoke about "Batgirl's" tie-in to "Batman: the Road Home" and indicated that Dustin Nguyen would be joining as artist from the next arc, going into Stephanie Brown's second semester. She will get some new rogues and "Damian Wayne will be entering her life in January." A Valentine's issue will feature Klarion the Witchboy.

A question about Cassandra Cain led to the young girl mentioning that the character will appear in "Red Robin."

Prompted by a fan question, DiDio asked what fans thought of the idea of Bruce Wayne dating Wonder Woman. There was some applause, but a lot of groaning. Fans preferred Bruce with Selina Kyle, Catwoman. "Grant's got a kinder, gentler Bruce," DiDio said when it was suggested he needed a darker interest, "and Grant's got some romantic stories."

Asked when Dick Grayson would go back to being Nightwing, DiDio said, "Dick Grayson is Batman now," to much applause. The girl derided Dick's appearances in the core Batman title under Tony Daniel, saying, "There's no characterization there!" Bob Wayne joked, "Yeah, we'll be talking about this at other conventions." DiDio joked, "This might be the end of inviting people up."

With the end of the back-up stories, a fan asked what would become of Nick Spencer's Jimmy Olsen's backup. The story will finish up in a one-shot, and other backup features may get specials or miniseries.

Building from this, DiDio and Lemire strongly suggested that Lemire would be writing an Atom ongoing series.

Asked about Red Hood Jason Todd, Harras said, "I like what Judd [Winick's] doing with him, and there will be more of him in the coming year."

"Superboy races Kid Flash in issue #3," Lemire said in response to a fan question about younger Flash characters.

A fan asked about Multiversity, the long-gestating Grant Morrison opus. "We're waiting for Bruce Wayne to get back-this is a story that only Grant Morrison can do, and I mean that with all my art," DiDio said, adding that Morrison has at least another year of Batman stories. He indicated the story would be presented in five chapters with five artists.

Speaking from the audience, Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler said that the arc of "Superman/Batman" after Winick's would be by a new team that could not yet be announced.

Fan questions yielded the facts that "Who's Who" will pick up once again after "Flashpoint," the Milestone character "Xombi" will return in a new series in February, and the Secret Six will appear in "Action Comics." Two separate Outsiders teams, one led by Black Lightning and another by Geo Force, will be vying for the title. Keith Giffen will be taking over on art after Philip Tan's departure.

A fan who had a question but was hidden behind a post was then invited on stage. "By the way, be friendlier than her," DiDio joked about the young girl. The new guest said, "I love 'Batman and Robin,' by the way." He asked whether Manhunter would return to "Birds of Prey;" no, but she will continue in "Streets of Gotham."

The new "Static Shock" book will launch in April, DiDio said. "We've got two Milestone characters back, fully working in the DC Universe."

DiDio asked whether fans liked the new Wonder Woman costume, now that it's had time to sink in. There was a solid level of applause, but also a few boos. One fan said she liked "that it's real," but another complained about "the straps and the jacket-it's too much." Another fan said, "Changing Wonder Woman's costume is like changing Superman's or Batman's-you don't do it." But several other fans shouted, "Yes you do!"

Asked about the future of Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes and the possibility of a new ongoing series, DiDio said, "We're getting ready to bring that character back in a big way. We're looking for the right tone, but the answer is yes."

Lee and Frank Miller's "Dark Knight: Boy Wonder" launches in February, Lee said. "Only having 20 pages will help me a lot."

"Batwoman" #0 ships in November, followed by #1 in February. "That's some of the most beautiful art by J.H. Williams III," DiDio said.

A fan asked about a return for Doomsday. DiDio laughed. Lee offered that Doomsday will appear in the DCU Online game.

The current team for "Teen Titans" will be more stable than it has been in past, both in terms of creators and cast. "I agree with you" that the constant shakeups had been a problem, DiDio said.

Lee said that he believed the recently-delayed DCU Online would be released in February.

A fan asked whether the current real-world issue of bullying gay teenagers might appear in DC Comics, possibly "Batgirl." DiDio said that there are important issues they would like to address, but the story would have to be right. Miller added that he would do it if it was organic to the story, but nothing on the table. "These are stories that we want to do, but it's important we handle it in the right manner," DiDio concluded.

A fan asked when "that Gail Simone/Ethan Van Sciver book would be announced." "Oh no!" Wayne laughed. "That's an interesting idea, we'll get back to you."

The next question: "What about Ralph and Sue?" A good level of applause followed. "You know, we come to these panels year after year, what we hear is, 'why can't characters stay dead?" DiDio said. "This is our gift to you."

Asked about gay and lesbian characters in the DCU, DiDio pointed to the upcoming "Batwoman" series and Obsidian leading a story in "JSA."He announced that there will be a "Starman" special in January, starring the Mikaal Thomas version currently appearing in "Justice League."

A fan asked about further integration of Vertigo in the DCU. DiDio dodged, saying, "that is a good question, it really is."

Beginning the lightning round:

"Is the evil martian from 'Brightest Day' J'onn's wife?" DiDio said, "No!" then "Shit!" at which point the crowd erupted in laughter and Wayne took over as moderator.

A bigger role for "R.E.B.E.L.S." in the DCU? Lee: "Why not?"

Asked to confirm January titles will be $2.99, Wayne said yes, adding, "Ask publishers at other panels to beat that deal."

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