Early Saturday afternoon at Wizard World Los Angeles, DC Comics Executive Editor Dan Didio and a series of panelists spoke about their upcoming projects and answered questions from a spirited crowd of convention attendees.
Didio brought up each panelist one at a time and began with a writer who has an extensive history in writing and rewriting the DC Universe, Marv Wolfman.
Wolfman began by talking about his upcoming third storyline in “Nightwing” ongoing series. “There’s a missing year in Dick Grayson’s life, the year between the first “Teen Titans” run and “The New Teen Titans” [in the 80s]. At the same time he was out of the Batman books because he went off to college,” said Wolfman “Why he changed from this guy who spouted puns to the fairly serious character seen in ‘Teen Titans,’ what has changed him to some degree and the things that changed him in the 321 days that this takes place [will be addressed].”
“We also bring back, or recreate a character who hasn’t been seen in a long time.” Didio added that it’s someone that Wolfman originally created.
Didio then brought out writer Bill Willingham to talk about his series, “Shadowpact.”
Willingham promised attendees that he would answer any questions about “Shadowpact” to balance out the many questions that will be asked and cannot be answered.
In discussing “Shadowpact,” Willingham said, “Blue Devil has just been promoted in hell to a rhyming-class demon. To add further misery to his life, why have a devil from hell and not balance that by adding an angel to the group too and see what conflicts come out of that.
Asked about Detective Chimp, Didio interjected “You cannot add a chimp to anything and not make it better.
“Soon you will see why the entire DC empire is named after Detective Chimp,” joked Willingham
Didio next introduced “Teen Titans,” “Robin,” and “Countdown” writer Adam Beechen.
Covering current events in “Teen Titans,” which Beechen has recently taken over from Geoff Johns, he said, “Batgirl has recently shown up in ‘Teen Titans’ and we’ll be wrapping up Teen Titans East [arc]. There is a bit of a tie in with “Teen Titans” and “Amazons Attack” because Wonder Girl is of course there.”
Of “Countdown”, Beechen said, “It’s great to be working with Paul Dini and the other writers. Everybody is bringing something very different to the table and it’s going to be very exciting
Didio then brought out creators Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor.
Commenting on currently drawing “Supergirl,” Connor said, “I like to see superheroes out of their element and in strange elements,” referring to a recent scene of Supergirl attending a rave. In that scene Palmiotti and Connor placed many of their real-life friends.
“We’re working on “Terra” with Justin Grey,” Palmiotti said in reference to upcoming projects.
Connor went on to say “It’s a four issue mini-series coming up, introducing…” Connor looked to Didio for permission to reveal details of the series, which Didio granted. “She’s the new Terra. Nobody in the DCU seems to know much about her, but she keeps popping up and trying to save the day.” Connor also added “In the first two issues Power Girl shows up.”
Connor related a story about a scene in the beginning of the second issue of the mini-series. “Terra is running around ‘clothes-free’ and she’s in Doctor Midnite’s lab, not knowing how she got there. I had to be very ‘Austin Powers,’ trying to strategically hide things here and there.”
“Ours is a completely different character, yet in our series we explain where the other Terra’s came from,” Palmiotti said, also acknowledging Terra’s creator, fellow panelist Wolfman.
“And I’m killing the original Terra yet again in the ‘Teen Titans’ movie I’m writing right now,” Wolfman added, referring to the upcoming direct-to-DVD animated feature.
In talking about “Jonah Hex,” Palmiotti said “For the rest of the year, we’re going back to single issue stories with a bevy of guest artists.”
Palmiotti also addressed the possibility of recent “Jonah Hex” guest character, Tallulah Black, being given her own series. “I would love it, but it’s something the company would decide based on the fans making noise about it.”
Last on the list of introductions was Bob Wayne, Vice President of Sales. Following that, the floor was opened to a raucous series of questions from the audience and laughter-filled answers from the panel.
Asked about the future of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, Palmiotti said “In the fall there will be another eight-issue mini series” They will also be involved with the weekly “Countdown” series.
Asked about Tim (Robin) Drake’s many romantic entanglements in the different books he appears in, current “Robin” writer Beechen said, “Bruce Wayne’s got the playboy image and some of it has filtered down to Tim, but I think you’ll see some of those romantic entanglements dealt with.”
Further on the Robin topic, many attendees expressed an interest in why Spoiler is not memorialized in the Batcave following her tenure as Robin and death at the end of the War games story arc.
Didio said, “We don’t feel that she was really a Robin. She put the costume on herself; she put herself into that process. The relationship was more between Spoiler and Robin than between her and Batman.”
Willingham volunteered more information on the Spoiler/Robin topic. “It’s kind of my fault, the whole Stephanie/Robin thing. I went into writing ‘Robin’ [at that time] with a condition attached that by such-and-such an issue Stephanie is doomed, I knew that going into it.”
“There’s this bar across from DC,” Willingham continued. “We were all in this bar, the drinks were flowing and Bob Schreck was running the Bat office at the time. I said to him ‘If we have to kill spoiler, out of respect for the character can we give her one good moment for the character before we crush her like a bug. Let’s make her Robin for a little while.’ The only condition was to make sure that she’s out of the Robin costume and in the Spoiler costume before [she dies] because the one thing we don’t want to do is have Batman go through losing another Robin. If there wasn’t enough time between those events and was she Robin or was she not Robin, that’s my fault.”
Lastly, when asked about the future of Grant Morrison’s version of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, Didio said “Grant has more stories for those characters and you’re going to start to see some of them in books that Grant will be writing in the future. Right now, his schedule is a little full, but we put Shilo Norman in ‘Firestorm,’ Bulleteer in ’52’ and there’s a ‘soldierly’ presence in ‘Countdown.'”
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