NYCC: Jim Lee and Dan DiDio Up Close and Personal at DC Meet the Publishers

DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are sitting down with fans at New York Comic Con for an up-close and personal look at the future of DC's comics and magazine lines, from tried and true DC favorites like DC Universe: Rebirth to the upcoming Dark Matter, set to spiral out of Dark Nights: Metal.

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DidDo and Lee took the enthusiastic flair for their "Highly professional and stately Meet the Publishers" panel (according to DiDio) "The next panel is the one they're all waiting for, all these guys are just waiting to get the good seats."

DiDio spent some time talking to fans before the panel but found that fans are "uncomfortably content with the DCU right now," He joked. "What are we supposed to be talking about this time around?!"

"Fans wanted to hear about Connor Kent, JSA, the Legion of the Super-heroes..." DiDio teased, "But we're not gonna talk about them. We're gonna talk about Doomsday Clock."

The panel dove right into Doomsday Clock with a slide featuring Johns and Frank. "This is the culmination of everything we've been doing in Rebirth." DiDio said.

"Johns invested hours, countless hours retooling and reconfiguring the characters and the pitches for Rebirth," Lee explained, "This is a labor of love on Geoff's part. It all came from an idea, for this story, that isn't a classic misunderstanding between stories. It's a very different story and I think you guys are really going to like it. It will be a sequel to Watchmen, the Watchmen will meet the DCU, but [...] we're not saying much more than that." Lee went on to explain that Geoff has not divulged too much information about the plot of Doomsday Clock because he wants it to all be a surprising experience for fans to read.

DiDo went on to plug the Doomsday Clock panel at NYCC this year that will be occurring later in the con. "We won't spoil things here, but you might find out more there."

DiDio then explained that he's heard fans concern about Metal and Doomsday Clock but is confident in the fact that both events can coexist happily -- more than happily. "Having a diversity of story types is important --" DiDio explained, "While Metal is out there with cross overs and all this stuff, Doomsday Clock is a self contained story."

"We're taking a lot of care and concern in building our line, we have to make sure that everything we put out is worth your time and worth your money. We know you guys spend a lot of money on these books and we want to make sure you're getting your money's worth." DiDio said, to applause from the crowd.

"Metal is an event that is a story, while Doomsday Clock is a story that is an event." Lee bookended the point.

Lee went on to explain the Batmen who spiraled out of the Dark Multiverse, highlighting the evil Batmen and teasing the fact that some of them might stick around for the DC Universe after Metal.

The panel moved on to "The New Age Of DC Heroes" which is an apparent re-branding for the Dark Matter line.

The New Age of DC Heroes is "about what makes comics characters great -- not just us, but everything." DiDio explained, sighting the methodology of Image and Marvel as well as DC history as inspiration for the line. "This is a way to build out and build on for diversity in the DC Universe, all of these books will be a great way for new readers to pick up a comic in a way that won't [isolate] them from the main line."

Lee went on to joke about the upcoming Action Comics issue 1000, saying he wants to do "a thousand variant covers to celebrate."

DiDio went on to explain that Rebirth has been about looking into the longevity of stories, citing the fact that the New 52 canceled too many books, too quickly for them to find audiences. "What I'm really excited about is now that we feel the Rebirth line is stable, we can focus on other stuff -- like Hanna Barbera."

Grant Morrison then arrived at the panel as a surprise guest!

DiDio called out Morrison's work on Batman but moved the focus right to the second Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel. Morrison showed a panel of the upcoming pages, featuring two new Wonder Woman costumes -- one a baseball uniform on Diana, and the other a more traditional Grecian looking garb. "I always hated the idea that Diana would only have one costume, so we're doing a new costume for her in every panel," Morrison joked.

Didio then warned Lee that we was about to tease something -- "I reached out to Grant, and he's actually going to co-write some of the issues of Sideways with me."

Morrison spoke about his conversations with Scott Snyder leading up to Metal "I think it's important that the DC Universe is crafted over decades, and I think it's super important to acknowledge that there are corners of this universe where you're favorite characters have never gone away. So that's what the world I'm doing with Dan on Sideways is really trying to do."

Lee then took over to speak about his New Age of DC Heroes book, Immortal Men. "We had a list of characters who were inactive in DC and Immortal Man was on that list, so he was the one who jumped at me. There's so much work that's gone into the building of the DC Universe -- the things Grant has done with the cosmic thinking in this world. Grant spoke for three hours yesterday and it was just fascinating to hear someone speak about comics for that long and stay fully engaged."

"What would that sort of thinking mean for characters who are immortal?" Lee asks, "That's the fun of Immortal Men."

Morrison spoke about his work with Immortal Man in Multiversity, "These characters can have so much scale and depth and context."

Picking up the point on a tangent, DiDio confirms that "All these characters -- Shazam, the Legion, the JSA, Connor Kent, they're not going away. We want to get these ones right. We want to make sure we're not going to constantly keep re-launching, it's gotta stop."

Morrison then exited the panel to head to a signing while Lee pivoted to speak about The Wildstorm. "Ellis could have picked up where he left off with The Authority but he's decided to go somewhere completely new. He had these plans for books that would spiral out of this new story."

Lee explained that the Wildstorm universe is going to be a separate universe -- but one that will include elements of the main DC Universe, just in "warped, new ways that only someone like Warren Ellis could think up." He teased, specifically, that an alternate version of Ollie Queen will be in the first arc of Wildstorm: Michael Cray #1.

Next up came a spotlight on Young Animal. "The story behind the story for Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye is that Gerard Way wanted to know why Carson had the cybernetic eye. We didn't know. We couldn't figure it out. We tracked it back to the first time the cybernetic eye came up, it took six to eight months, and it turned out that it was just a future story where they needed to show he had aged. So they gave him an eye." DiDio laughed, "But Way is the sort of guy who says "I can make a story out of that!"

Lee picked up to explain that Vertigo's 25th anniversary is coming up with an impending re-launch where big name creators were both write and curate books. "It's coming next August and that's all I can say."

DiDio then introduced Bill Morrison as the next executive editor of MAD Magazine. "We're launching the new MAD on April first. We're assembling a new team of idiots -- helmed by Doug Thompson and Susie Hutchinson -- and we're excited to see where things go."

The floor then opened for questions, but DiDio was quick to joke that there would be no answers for JSA, Connor Kent, Legion, "not in my life time," He laughed.

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