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DC held their second DC Universe-focused panel of the day - DCU: A Better Tomorrow – Today!. DC’s Day 2 panel but a few pieces of news slipped in, including the identity of the Flash and Red Robin in th DC teaser image of a few weeks ago. Here's a recap of the entire panel...

by Kevin Huxford

DCU Executive Editor Dan Didio introduced the panel guests and discussed things briefly with them as they were introduced.

George Perez quickly discussed how he wound up on The Brave & The Bold. He was asked to do the B&B by Mark Waid and Joey Cavalieri. When he heard it was being relaunched, Didio had already asked him to do another series, but immediately thought “I really would have loved to do the B&B”. Next day, Didio called to ask if he would mind if he was switched to B&B. Worked out perfectly. Loves the team producing the book and feels they are great to work with.

Perez joked that he can’t trust the DC editorial staff…he often checks online columns to see what he is supposed to be working on. Didio shushed him and said he was giving away trade secrets, to laughs from the crowd.

Greg Rucka was then introduced, with Didio asking if anyone is reading 52 to big applause. Didio then asked, “Greg…how does it end?” Rucka said it ends the way it began, with Didio reminding him that we’re near the end so he can give away more. Rucka’s response was that he had no intention of giving away anymore than Didio already has in the last few weeks, complaining to the crowd that “Dan has been giving away the store.”

Didio brought up the WWIII coming up in 52 to segue into the introduction of Keith Champagne. He asked Keith how his experience with WWIII has been. Champagne shared that he found it “tough but great”. Pressed by Didio and the crowd about who we might see in the WWIII issues, he responded that we’d see Firestorm featured in the first issue, obviously a lot of Black Adam, Martian Manhunter has some big stuff, as does Aquaman, and Suicide Squad appears in the Ostrander issues.

Didio’s introduction was simpler with Pete Woods. He asked, “Pete, Amazon’s Attack, what is going on in that book?” Woods deadpanned, “they attack.” Pressed for more info, he shared that they basically blow up Washington, DC, there is a lot of conflict, and we see the heroes putting Washington back together.

Again, to smoothly move to the next panel member, Didio asked Rucka, “Does 52 end? “Yes.” “Does it have a definite end?” “Yeah.” “It is a complete story?” “Yes.”

This was all to launch into introducing Paul Dini as the head writer for DC’s next weekly series, Countdown. Fitting with the theme of the DC panels, when Didio asked Dini what happens in Countdown, the answer was, “sh** blows up.” Dini enthusiastically shared that everyone is on board for this title and has a lot of enthusiasm. “We meet on the phone before each issue” to make sure everything goes smoothly and all are on the same page. Dini plays continuity cop throughout the process to make sure everything fits.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray were introduced as working on Jonah Hex, Countdown, and the next Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters mini. Didio asked what is different about working on Countdown rather than their normal books. They indicated they are just working with a bigger group. They both feel like they are working with a great team and Paul is a great leader. They revealed that the next Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters is going to have some great things, things you’ve been dying to see and things you thought you’d never see.

Sean McKeever was introduced by Didio recounting how they had dinner last night and Sean admitted to knowing almost nothing about DC continuity. Didio asked McKeever how does it feel stepping into a major event like this with little knowledge of DC stuff? “Pretty much, I can come in and kill anyone I want without feeling bad about it.” Didio and McKeever confirmed that he has other stuff he will be working on, with McKeever saying he can’t say because he isn’t even sure what it is. Didio suggested he “talk to Georgie and go look at the websites to figure out what else it is you’re working on.”

Gail Simone was introduced to the immediate question of what is planned for the Atom and Birds of Prey. Ryan Choi has a big part in the search for Ray Palmer and fans should expect big things. In BoP, Spy Smasher is trying to takeover the team and then we’ll BoP Versus the Secret Six. Simone shared that the latter would be great for people who like to see large women fighting each other. Didio quipped, “no George, you can’t draw that,” with Perez shooting back, “already have.”

Rounding out the panel were editors Michael Siglain and Matt Idelson, and VP – Sale Bob Wayne. Perez then left the panel to make it to another commitment.

Didio and Wayne recapped stuff from yesterday that they are doing a Captain Carrot mini-series and that Manhunter is back from the dead again (with the added confirmation that this is for good…not a 5-6 issue reprieve).

Paul was asked to rundown who some of the main focuses of Countdown will be and supplied the following: Jimmy Olsen, Mary Marvel, Darkseid, Ray Palmer, Trickster, and Pied Piper.

Didio asked Justin Gray and Sean McKeever’s favorite characters in Countdown were. Both went for the joke, with Gray’s answer was Jonah Hex and Sean’s was Spider-Man. Didio said now we know it will sell…but it won’t be weekly.

Fan questions started early.

Simone was asked if we’d see an ongoing Secret Six? Didio and Simone said they’d like to do more Secret Six…Simone has more in her…but they’re just looking for the right timing.

Bob Wayne answered questions about when trades of 52 will start coming out. Four are coming out soon and they will chunks of issues, not limited to particular character stories. Backup stuff won’t be in the trades, but they will figure out a way to resell that to the audience at a later date.

Asked about All Star Squadron trades, Bob Wayne seemed to suggest that, based on audience response, they think they can do some large Showcase collections of the material.

One fan who particularly liked Marvel’s Gravity asked whether we will see McKeever and Mike Norton working together. McKeever said he hoped not (with tongue firmly in cheek). It was then announced by Didio and Simone that Norton will be the regular artist on All-New Atom after signing his exclusive.

Will the Wonder Woman continuity issues be addressed where Diana is Wonder Woman in titles other than her own? Yes.

Didio then asked what the panel’s favorite 52 moments were:

Rucka: Clark dropping out of the window to interview Supernova
Champagne: Booster revealed as Supernova
Woods: When Booster died to redeem himself
Dini: The crocodile guy
Gray: I like the ending
Palmiotti: I like the origins in the back. They help me
McKeever: (with Didio admonishing, “and don’t say when Captain America gives up!”) Sobek
Simone: Clark out of the window
Michael Siglain: The death of the Question. Didio asked, “He’s really dead?” Yes
Matt Idelson: Something about Renee Montoya’s barber becoming a Chinese martial artist…with Didio clarifying for the crowd that Idelson only reads his own books.
Bob Wayne: When they were in Rip Hunter’s layer and Time Masters was written on the board, because it is the closest he’ll ever got to TPBing that material

Will we see more Scott Free or just Shilo Norman as Mr. Miracle? Dini answered that we’ll some Scott Free in Countdown.

Will Cassandra Cain have a significant role in Countdown or outside of Teen Titans? Big story coming down the line for her.

Will there be something like One Year Later to go along with Countdown? No. Didio then laid out the timeline: Infinite Crisis to Countdown - The Four Mini-Series -> Infinite Crisis -> 52 -> OYL and the issues that followed -> Countdown. He then instructed the audience, “If you find any continuity gaffes, let us know, because as you can tell, we ignore them.”

Any new DC Animated? Death of Superman is next out and then New Frontier. As far as TV, it is just The Batman and Legion with no additional stuff planned right now.

How are they going to handle the multiverse? Didio asked Wayne what the question was and he said the gentleman just thanked them all for coming from such far distances and said he greatly looks forward to reading Weeks #51 and #52 of the 52 series.

Are we going to see the return of a Superboy? Nothing coming up right now.

With return of Brave and the Bold, are we going to see the return of DC Comics Presents or Showcase? Showcase is used for collections now and they are sort of giving the “Showcase” treatment to JLA Classified and JSA Classified. Will wait and see how B&B does before thinking about DC Comics Presents.

Didio then asked the panel: What character would you like to work on that you haven’t yet?

Simone: The Marvel Family
McKeever: Batman
Palmiotti: Haunted Tank
Gray: Krypto Year One
Dini: Blackhawks
Woods: Martian Manhunter or Spectre
Champagne: Legion of Super-Heroes
Rucka: Would like to do WWII with Mademoiselle Marie

Anymore Seven Soldiers stuff? Yes. Grant is just busy with 52, when his schedule clears, he’ll do some more stuff.

When a fan thanked Didio for bring back Manhunter, he revealed that uncanceling Manhunter was Bob Wayne’s idea. He saw the response and thinks he can make this work with the periodicals and the trades. They both took that to Paul Levitz and got a yes. They plan on getting it some extra attention by canceling it every 5-6 months (with the extra bonus of it driving Andreyko nuts). Trades are selling well. They put her in Birds of Prey to give it more exposure, as well.

Are we going to see more of Grant Morrison’s ideas in general, like the Joker, from him or used and reflected in the DCU? Rucka said, “Believe in Grant…trust in Grant.”

Dini isn’t sure how much of Grant’s Joker he is going to incorporate into his book, as he doesn’t have current plans to put him in the book.

How long is Morrison on Batman? Didio stated that Dini and Morrison are the regular writers on the Batman books with an open invite to stay on as long as they like.

Simone was asked again about doing the Secret Six and she said she really loves working with villains in a book like that and would love to do more of the title.

A fan asked about the teaser image where the Atom’s costumed hand is reaching out of the ground, Didio retrieved the Search for Ray Palmer sign, brought it up to the fan directly and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t give that away right now”.

Favorite supporting character:
Wayne: Woosie Winks
Siglain: Krypto
Idelson: Krypto
McKeever: Mary Jane Watson
Gray: Talula Black
Palmiotti: Talula Black
Dini: Alfred
Woods: Kilowog
Rucka: Commissioner Gordon

One fan said there doesn’t feel like there is a Flash in the DC Universe right now and Didio cut off the statement to say the fan was asking if there would be a Flash in the DCU, which he answered yes.

The same fan said that Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman was phenomenal; and that he wants Simone on the book so that way will come out. Didio asked how Matt Idelson would feel about having the Wonder Woman book come out regularly, to which Idelson replied that he has no idea what that feels like.

When asked, DC revealed that they will be doing a Legion of Super-Heroes Showcasevolume soon.

Will there be a Titans Classified? There are Teen Titans mini-series on the way.

What is the thinking with aging? Characters seem to age rarely in comics, but DC is aging the characters a lot now. Didio said they are trying to get Dick Grayson to be older than Bruce Wayne (to laughs from the crowd)

Any truth to the rumor of a Streaky the Super-Cat? Didio deflected the question by saying, “Paul?” Dini responded, “cat’s out of the bag”.

JSA Hippolyta with the JSA? Didio and crew answered, “No…she’s still dead.”

An attendee posed a question to the panel: has a comic book ever made you cry and which one? Didio, at first, said, “Excuse me?” The female fan clarified, “I’m not going all Brokeback on you,” to laughs. Bob Wayne said Didio’s had plenty that made him cry, not the way that the person was asking, though.

Panel responses:
Rucka: Batman Year One and Maus
Champagne: Men don’t cry…but then agreed on Maus
Dini: Boy’s Ranch #3
Gray: I got nothing
Palmiotti: When they cancelled Monolith
McKeever: “Last issue of Lucifer…that’s DC, right? Didio: “that’s Vertigo, it doesn’t count”
Simone: Taking Scandal into being a torturer made her cry
Siglain: 52 over and over and over
Idelson: The Dr. Thirteen backups
Wayne: Most recent issue of All Star Superman
Didio: The first issue sales on Civil War (to laughs) and then seriously answered Superman Annual #9 For the Man Who Has Everything

What’s next for Isis? Rucka: you have 10 more weeks to find out.

Matt Wagner on another project? Didio said Matt’s talking to DCU and other imprints.

What is the crossover looking like for Countdown? Didio clarified that they are trying to establish a sense of continuity, not trying to crossover entirely too much. There will be some issues with trade dressing (which Bob Wayne thanked him for), but the biggest focus is going to be making sure an injured character appears that way in Countdown and their regular series. Most important thing is that the full story has been broken down already and they are set to go.

Fan loved the Bleed and said it is a great device to bring in stuff from other universes and asked if DC planned to do anything with it. Didio just repeated back that, “it is a great device to bring in stuff from other universes.”

Cyclone was said to be completely Geoff Johns creation.

Dan Didio inadvertently answered that the Flash in the teaser image released several weeks ago is Barry Allen and Red Robin is Jason Todd..

He was then needled by Bob Wayne for it.

Dan Didio posed a question to the panel: Who would you like to kill?

Rucka (staring at Didio): I’m looking at him right now (regarding the Flash and Red Robin revelation)

The rest of the panel agreed with Rucka immediately.

For more from DC at the New York Comic Con, check out our coverage of Friday's DC Nation panel.

New York Comic Con 2007 coverage brought to you by Comicraft's ELEPHANTMEN #7, on sale right now from Image Comics!

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