Similar to his duties during the DC Nation panel Friday, Dan DiDio once again took on the role of moderator-slash-carnival barker at the DC Comics Editorial Panel Saturday at Wizard World Chicago. He encouraged comments and fielded questions from fans, which he then dished out to the creators and executives who had joined him onstage to thunderous applause: Keith Giffen ("52" artist and "Blue Beetle" co-writer), Tony Daniel ("Teen Titans" artist), Andy ("Batman" artist) and Adam ("Action Comics" artist) Kubert, Geoff Johns ("52," "Green Lantern," "Action Comics" with Richard Donner), Jim Starlin ("Mystery in Space"), Bob Wayne (Vice-President of Sales) and Paul Levitz (President and Publisher).
The session started with DiDio asking each of the creators to reveal a secret from the books they're working on:
Starlin: "Comet has a talking dog."
Daniel: "Supergirl almost made the One Year Later 'Teen Titans' roster."
Geoff Johns said that his fourth issue of "Action Comics" will be in 3D, which prompted DiDio to remind him that that hadn't been approved by the publisher yet.
"Paul, can we make an issue of 'Action Comics' in 3D?" Johns immediately asked to laughter and applause from the fans.
Bob Wayne admitted that he reads each issue of "52" prior to setting its print run.
"I just finished a cover with Bizarro on it," Adam Kubert said, while his brother Andy admitted that "Batman's son is nuts."
Levitz discussed DC's direct-to-DVD series of animated films previously announced at Comic-Con International, the first of which will be a "New Frontier" movie based on Darwyn Cooke's 2003 - 04 story. Future films include an abridged "Death of Superman" story featuring Doomsday and "The Judas Contract," based on the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez "New Teen Titans" epic storyline. Each of the films will emulate the art style of the comic books they're based on.
When asked by a fan if Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" might receive the animated treatment, Levitz said it's possible, but would "depend on Miller's schedule." Miller is currently in pre-production for "Sin City 2," which he will follow up by writing and directing a film based on Will Eisner's "The Spirit."
Another fan wondered when Darwyn Cooke's "Spirit" comic was due to be released. "That will start off with a 'Batman/The Spirit' one-shot this winter [written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Cooke], followed by the 'Spirit' series" by Cooke," said Levitz.
Levitz also shot down hopes of a new animated series done in the style created by Bruce Timm for the 1992 "Batman: The Animated Series," last seen in the recently-ended "Justice League Unlimited." Timm is moving on, Levitz said. "I think the biggest challenge is that Bruce feels like he's been there, done that." He has other interests that he would like to explore, though Levitz didn't elaborate or specify.
Regarding a possible Johnny DC "Legion of Super Heroes" comic, DiDio thinks "there's a really good chance of that."
DC has no current plans to move into the world of online, digital comics, Levitz said, though he wouldn't rule out the possibility somewhere down the line. "I'm interested in the creation of comics that are intended to be viewed on a computer screen," Levitz said, citing the current crop of web comics and Flash animations. "I think you'll see us experiment in these areas in the next few years."
DiDio posed a second question to the panel, asking what comic book they'd most like to work on:
Starlin: "Green Lantern."
Levitz: "I'm with Jim on 'Green Lantern.'"
Daniel: "Superman" and "Batman."
Johns: "Suicide Squad."
Giffen: "Doom Patrol."
"A 'Time Masters' sequel," joked Wayne.
Adam Kubert: "Metal Men."
Andy Kubert: "Challengers of the Unknown" and "Green Lantern."
With all the recent changes that have taken place in the DCU, a fan asked if there will be a new "History of the DC Universe" book. DiDio explained that the current history is playing out in the pages of "52." "Basically you have to buy 52 comics to find out what's going on in the DC Universe."
Geoff Johns is hoping to remain on "Action Comics" for a while, citing Richard Donner's excitement at writing a Brainiac story and a Bizarro story.
After being announced in San Diego, "All-Star Wonder Woman," to be written and drawn by Adam Hughes, received another mention, and DiDio said there will be more "All-Star" titles in the future.
The darker nature of the DC Universe was questioned by a fan, citing "Identity Crisis" and "Infinite Crisis." "It's always darkest before the dawn," Johns explained, saying comics are cyclical, moving from the light into the dark and back again.
You have to really torment your heroes to show their mettle, DiDio added. "The greater the threat, the greater the hero."
Referring to the many possible futures hinted at in "Justice League of America" #0, a fan asked if a new Earth will soon be discovered. "Next question," Wayne coyly answered.
Arsenal will be appearing soon in the pages of "Green Lantern," Johns said. "He has a big role in the DCU. You'll see him soon."
When asked if Ralph Dibny will ever catch a break and have something positive happen to him, DiDio could only hang his head in shame, much to the amused laughter of the fans.