SAN DIEGO, DAY 2: DC Comics, Superman, Batman Round-Up

Friday was a big day for fans of DC Comics in attendance at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with three major panels over the course of the day.

The day began with a DC superheroes panel, which featured an array of creators, including James Robinson, Judd Winick, Phil Hester, editor Bob Schreck and Geoff Johns.

Robinson may have ended "Starman," but that doesn't mean he's left the characters and setting behind. In addition to looking at doing either an Adam Strange or Ralph Dibny miniseries.

"The idea [behind the Ralph Dibny miniseries] would be 'The Thin Man' meets David Lynch," Robinson said.

Robinson said there is also a possibility of a paperback collecting the "Shade" miniseries, along with the Shade journal entries from "Starman," although DC has suggested he'd need to create some additional material to fill the book out.

Winick was fairly oblique about upcoming issues in "Green Lantern," saying only that "we promise something big" for the double-sized issue #150.

Winick was forthcoming about other upcoming work, including a back-up story in "Detective Comics," and a vampire comic for DC/Vertigo in 2002.

"Oddly enough, they're sexy vampires," he laughed.

But the panel attendees were there because of "Green Lantern." Asked if the late Hal Jordan would be showing up in the pages of the book he once starred in, Winick smiled broadly and said "maaaaaaybe."

"Green Arrow" was represented by series artist Hester, who isn't going anywhere any time soon: "I'll stay until I'm fired," Hester said.

Green Arrow will be showing up in issues 5 and 6 of the new "Hawkman" series.

Schreck said that inter-company crossovers are in the works, but they weren't ready to be announced as of the panel.

Johns told fans in attendance than "a Hourman" will be showing up in the pages of "JSA" soon. For writer Johns, though, the biggest news of the convention was something that wasn't comics-related at all, although it happened at the Friday morning panel. Click here for details on Johns' big day.

Next up was the Superman panel theoretically focusing on the fallout of the current "Our Worlds at War" crossover.

"The point of the war, from its conception, was to show its effect on Superman," Jeph Loeb, writer of "Superman," said at the panel. "Eventually, as we all know from our own lives, if you have a day like that, eventually something happens. ... Wait until the end of the summer and see what happens."

And if you've been waiting to hear what project Loeb and Sale will be doing to follow up on "Batman: The Long Halloween," "A Superman for All Seasons" and "Batman: Dark Victory," the wait may be over soon.

"We're getting to a place where we know what we're doing, but I can't say what it is," Loeb said.

Mark Schultz, writer of "Superman: Man of Steel," will be doing some heavy lifting in the coming months, handling the apparent contradiction between the two alternate versions of Superman's home planet of Krypton, the fate of apparently killed-in-action Steel – "He'll be taken care of. Things won't be easy, though." – how Frank Rock is alive in the present day and perhaps even whether or not Superman and Lois actually can have kids.

"That has been explored as a story" idea, Schulz said. "And maybe one day you'll see that story."

Schulz went on to ponder out loud, and somewhat facetiously, that it was awfully interesting that both Earthlings and Kryptonians just happened to evolve with five fingers on each hand and other nearly identical bodies.

"I'm saying there's a connection there that hasn't been explored yet."

Late in the day, it was time for the Batman panel, although creators in attendance got in some plugs for other work outside the line – "Detective Comics" writer Greg Rucka's newest Atticus Kodiak novel comes out in October, while "Gotham Knights" writer Devin Grayson indicated "I think I may even have some," she made an X with her fingers," in my future."

Rucka also gave more details on "The 10 Cent Adventure," the lead-in to next spring's "Batman: Fugitive" storyline running through all of the Bat-titles for two months.

"Someone dies violently, and there is a question as to who did it," Rucka said. "It is an honest to God mystery, with clues."

"Cutting the fans a break," as Schreck put it, some of the clues will actually be on the titles of the other Bat-books during the storyline, meaning that not every title would have to be picked up to understand the story.

"All bets are off," Grayson warned. "You don't know what's coming next."

"Some of you will be very angry," Rucka said. "But remember, don't judge the story until you've read all of it."

Editor Matt Idleson indicated more shake-ups were on the way, including some starting in issue #100 of "Robin."

"You'll get to see Robin in a real different light if we get the story approved," Idleson said.

Also in the tentative stages is a big name creator getting involved with "Batman" #600, although the editors wouldn't announce who it was until the contracts are signed.

Schreck – who has just started seeing colored pages from Frank Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again," shed a little light on the eagerly anticipated series.

"'Dark Knight 2' is coming along wonderfully," he said. "He's almost done penciling the second volume."

Lynn Varley is using a computer to color with for the first time, and despite her initial misgivings, "I've never seen anything like it."

Of course, Schreck is excited by the whole package, saying it captures the best of all of Miller's past works.

"It really is something to behold. '300,' 'Ronin,' all of it is in there, plus."

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