Kicking off at 4:00, the DC Nation panel at Wonder Con played to a packed room of DC fans. Joking at the fact that some of the assembled panelists had just done the same panel exactly one week earlier in New York, DCU Executive Editor and moderator Dan Didio joked that they would pretty much repeat themselves, though there was plenty of new information offered up for consumption.
Didio kicked off the panel by going over the rules, specifically the “quid pro quo” format, that is, in order to ask a question, the individual has to answer a question.
Opening the panel with a mention of Countdown, Didio asked how the audience liked weekly comics, and asked if anyone was burnt out yet – “As long as you keep it the same price!” came a voice from the audience. To answer, Didio pulled fifty cents out of his pocket with a chuckle, plopped it on the table and said, “I’ve got your first one covered, you’ve got to get the rest.”
Didio then introduced the rest of the panel members: Bob Wayne, Editor Jann Jones, Superman Editor Matt Idelson; and Green Arrow, Outsiders and Trial of Shazam Judd Winick.
Didio then reiterated the Countdown information from last week’s DC Nation panel at New York Comic Con, including showing the five teaser images. “He was not a Justice League International member,” Didio joked when pointing out the “Jimmy Olsen Must Die” image, “So if he dies, obviously I didn’t come up with it.”
Likewise, Didio joked that Winick has nothing to do with the Mary Marvel storyline, “The Seduction of the Innocent” so fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
“Hey – I put her in a coma,” Winick shot back, “You’re taking her out.”
Didio then went on to discuss the upcoming World War III event tied to 52, saying that it’s “Black Adam versus everybody,” as well as pointing out that the World War III specials will address many of the changes in titles seen as part of One Year Later.
“You’re like this over-caffeinated history teacher,” Winick said of Didio after the latter ran through the entire timeline of the DCU of the past three years, and how it leads to Countdown, which will run in real-time, that is, one month of Countdown equals one month of time in the DCU.
“The idea is to keep the universe moving, and keep it moving forward, and there will be events that tie in across the series,” Didio said.
Prompted by Didio to reveal something coming up that’s a tie-in, Winick said that there will be a “June wedding.”
Quickly changing the subject, Didio immediately referred back to last week’s question in New York about the Flash in the Countdown teaser image being Barry Allen, and Jason Todd being Red Robin. Didio clarified his previous answer, saying “That’s not the case, at least not completely. When it doesn’t happen that Barry Allen comes running back, don’t come running to me, I wasn’t lying, I was confused.”
Green Arrow will end with #75, Winick said, adding that the very last page of the issue features Oliver Queen offering an engagement ring to Black Canary. With that issue, Winick said, he’ll be off the series and character.
Newsarama Note: In clarifying his comment, Winick later told Newsarama: " I'm done, and DC is as well, with the monthly book Green Arrow. I'm not done, and DC is not done with
Green Arrow. And that's all I say."
Didio said that the repercussions of the engagement will be felt throughout Countdown and the DCU, and when prodded, Wayne said that there will most likely be a miniseries spin out of the end of the series.
Winick said that “repercussions” seen will involve other heroes throughout the DCU weighing in on the engagement.
Moving on to questions, in speaking of current developments in 52, Didio said of Isis: “I wouldn’t say she’s doomed, but there’s a lot more pain in Black Adam’s life before World War III.”
Other highlights from the Q&A:
The four issue Green Arrow Year One miniseries will begin in July, by Andy Diggle and Jock; at the same time there will be a Black Canary miniseries (which Wayne was referring to earlier) by Tony Bedard and Paulo Siquera. The plan for further year ones will be that they will launch every three months, allowing for a small amount of overlap between them.
There are no plans to put a memorial for Stephanie Brown in the Batcave, Didio said, noting that she became Robin out of her own resort, was never accepted into the full role and Bat-family, and died as Spoiler, not as Robin.
Superman’s continuity and origin issues will be addressed at some time, and there is an idea for it all, Idelson said, they’re just not planning on doing it soon. Adding to this, Didio said that DC wants to add in other large pieces of the continuity and mythology before going back and addressing the origin.
“World War III” Didio said in answer to a question if Supergirl will be returning to the present day from the Legion’s time. There will be a change in the title, he added.
Issues #5 and #6 of All-Star Batman and Robin are done, with #5 being solicited. All-Star Superman is going ahead, and no more All-Star books will be launched without a couple of issues in the can, Didio said.
Back to the Countdown teaser image – is the Batman shown Damien? Didio: “No – but there is a tie to it. You’re in the ballpark.”
Will the character of Chloe on Smallville be pulled into DC continuity? Idelson: It’s something we’re trying to do next year.
Will Jack Knight appear in 52? He was supposed to… Winick: “A lot of things were supposed to happen in 52.”
Didio added that after each issue in the coming 52 trades, there will be a commentary about the issue, and as Didio said, after he wrote his for issue #2, he was able to look back and see how much the story had changed from the original plan. Jack Knight, Didio said, was something that fell into one of the changes and didn’t make it in as the story morphed from the original plan.
Winick joined in saying that the original plan for 52 was that the changes reflected in the DCU titles in One Year Later were to be specifically addressed, but that changed as the story grew, and the main viewpoint characters’ tales began to grow and overtake the other stories. He then praised the 52 writers for their work, saying that they lived and burned themselves out for the story that ultimately came out.
“And this is why all our books are late,” Idelson said in exasperation as the question posed by Jones of “What are you more scared of, fast-running zombies or vampires with machine guns?” turned into a full-room debate, joking that they have had meetings that have gone about that very question for hours.
“We want Dick Grayson to be older than Bruce Wayne,” Didio joked back when asked about the real time “year-by-year” length of DC’s events such as 52 and Countdown and the age of their characters.
Didio said that there is hope for another solo Power Girl series.
“Come back when you’re older, and I’ll fill you in,” Didio answered a young fan’s of if Chris in Action Comics could become the new Superboy. It is widely believed that the “Superboy” character is in a legal gray area due to the activities of the Siegel family in attempting to regain the copyright to the name of the character.
A new Metal Men miniseries will be coming, written and drawn by Duncan Roleau.
Alan Burnett will write Superman/Batman arc with Dustin Nguyen which will feature a New Gods character that is rarely used.
Will Atom Smasher be joining the JSA again? Didio: “No. He will be joining another team.”
Didio reiterated that Manhunter will be continuing and will begin again with issue #31, starting in July.
Didio hinted that, in terms of Batman storylines, that Terry McGuiness (Batman Beyond) may be showing up somewhere in the DCU soon.
“It was so experimental that even I didn’t know about it,” Didio said of Grant Morrison’s recent issue of Batman which featured a prose story. Didio said that as DC had a couple of other Joker stories going, he wanted to make his experimental and different, and stand out.
Pointing to the dead Question image in the Countdown teaser image, Didio said that’s his only appearance that will be coming out after 52.
James Robinson does have a story in mind for more Jack Knight stories, and the door is open, Didio said, now, scheduled just need to match up.
Will Booster Gold stay as Booster Gold, or assume the Supernova identity? Didio: Wait until 52 #52 comes out.
A collected edition of the O’Neil/Cowan Question series? Wayne: “We’ll see.”
Jerry Ordway has a Superman project coming, Idelson revealed.
What’s going on with the Monitors? Didio: Countdown – trust me.
The Firestorm series: can it be saved like Manhunter? Didio: Not right now.
Are lesbians the only ones having sex in the DCU? How about some boy on boy action? Didio: See those two guys chained together in the Villains Defiant Countdown poster?
Wayne: Cold nights out there on the run…
A Krypto/Beppo All-Star series? Wayne: If they can get it out on time, sure.
Are there hopes that Captain Atom will not become Monarch? Didio: I think the answer is too late.
Will the Bleed be addressed in Countdown? Didio: Yes.
Captain Carrot and the Final Ark will begin in August.
Will Swamp Thing go back to the original DCU? Didio: We ask every day. We really do.
Anything planned with Alex Ross after Justice? Idelson: Sort of.
Is Legion of Super Heroes going to end at #30? Didio: No.
Will Detective Chimp ever have its own series? Didio: I hope so.
Anything going on with the Crime Syndicate? Didio: Yes. (not clarified if questioner meant Earth-3 or the Crime Syndicate from the JLA hardcover)
Will there be more materials coming out for kids from 10 and up? Didio: Stay. Tuned. Seriously.