SAN DIEGO, DAY THREE: Loeb/Sale Exclusive to DC, Announce Sequel to 'Long Halloween,' 'Dark Victory'

Marvel Comics editor in chief Joe Quesada alluded earlier in the weekend to the deep pockets possessed by their Distinguished Competition, and the proof of that continued on Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, when DC announced that the creators of "Hulk: Gray" have signed a contract to be exclusively DC creators once their Hulk project wraps up.

In the wake of the news that "New X-Men" writer Grant Morrison was now going to be exclusively a DC Comics creator, award-winning collaborators Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are will be DC exclusive for "years," DC marketing executive Bob Wayne said at the Saturday afternoon DC heroes panel.

"There come times where you look at situations that are available toyou," Loeb told the audience in attendance, "And this one was just too extraordinary."

Marvel's bad news is DC's good news: Loeb and Sale will be giving fans a third installment in the series that began with "The Long Halloween" in "Catwoman: When in Rome." The new six part series spins out of a moment in the second limited series, "Dark Victory."

"There's a moment in 'Dark Victory' after Valentine's Day where Bruce and Selina are no longer seeing each other, and she vanishes until the end of the series," Loeb said. "When in Rome" tells the story of where she went. Surprise, it was Rome, where Catwoman gets mixed up with a very different detective and a mystery of her own. The book will be done in the inkwash style used in the duo's Marvel projects.

Following "When in Rome," Loeb and Sale have another project planned that Loeb says is "gonna be huge," but no details were forthcoming at the convention.

Another pair that recently has done good work at Marvel are Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. While no details were available, DC announced the pair will be working on several projects for the company.

Other news at the panel included the announcements of Golden Age Sandman Archive and Adam Strange Archive editions to come in 2004.

Fans of the Eisner-winning Bruce Timm/Paul Dini collaboration "Mad Love" will have a three issue "Batman: Harley & Ivy" series to look forward to in 2004, and editor Joan Hilty promises shower scenes.

In other DC news, fans of the new "Not Necessarily the Justice League" miniseries can look forward to a sequel in 2004, "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League." Look for big changes coming to Carter Hall in "Hawkman" #23. This October, the Pander Brothers begin the eight issue limited series, "Batman: City of Light," in which a visionary architect proposes to wipe out Gotham's shadows once and for all.

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