2010 Comic Book News Archives


March 14, 2010: DC Nation Panel Coverage from MegaCon - Orlando, Florida

By Jeffrey Taylor

In attendance: Dan Didio, Ethan Van Sciver, Jimmy Palmiotti, Tony Bedard

The theme of the panel discussion was that you can't please everybody all the time.

Dan Didio began by explaining his new role at DC. Their new boss is Diane Nelson while he and Jim Lee are co-publishers. He said, "Everything you like is done by Jim. Everything you don't like is done by me." Geoff Johns is now the Chief Creative Officer, which means he'll be heading up how the comics translate to film, animation, toys and more.

Yesterday, Didio let a few spoilers slip during the DC panel. He explained that it's hard to remember what has been announced and solicited compared to what he's currently editing.

DC Nation's most important announcement concerning Superman is that he might be appearing in his own book soon.

Look for a lot of changes taking place with the Justice League in the coming months.

There was a lot of conversation with the audience concerning Justice League: Cry for Justice, especially about the shocking ending. Rest assured that Green Arrow's controversial decision will be specifically dealt with in the near future. "It's the strength of James Robinson's writing that pulled that off. The fact that you got such a reaction both ways is basically because it's a well written story."

Another question about Cry for Justice noted that the lateness affected the story since James Robinson pushed elements into the plot of his Justice League of America proper. Didio pointed at that some books are going to sit on a shelf for an extended period of time, so the art should remain consistent, even at the expense of lateness. He also noted the lateness of Flash: Rebirth. "In some cases we want to wait to make sure it's the best material and sometimes it's more important to just get the story moving. And those are decisions we battle every day."

About less popular characters being pushed to the forefront, Didio said they are always trying to bring up lower-tier characters to see if new readers will latch onto them. Sometimes they work and that makes the whole exercise worthwhile. Palmiotti explained that readers either embrace the characters or they don't, and Ethan Van Sciver chimed in questioning whether it's the creators' faults or the character's. It was unclear, but I believe he was pointing out that both can affect sales.

Jimmy Palmiotti discussed that his ideas for Powergirl were sparked when Geoff Johns and Amanda Conner worked on her four issue run at the start of JSA Classified. That story gave Powergirl a voice outside of JSA that resonated with him. Ethan Van Sciver added, "I love the whole idea of Jimmy (Palmiotti) and Amanda (Conner) coming out and saying, 'this is our Powergirl movie' and it doesn't have to be some Stan (Lee) and Jack (Kirby) 150 issue run. Just come in there and do your Powergirl epic movie the best you can and then tap dance off the stage."

Didio mentioned that the generational gaps with certain characters can be the DC Universe's great strength and also a weakness. There was much discussion that some readers are turned off by a certain version of The Flash or The Legion of Superheroes, but stressed that if it's a good story, it should remind the reader why he or she loved The Legion or The Flash in the first place. The goal is to find one strong interpretation and build the fan base around that. It alienates some people, but that's not at all the goal. Palmiotti added that he embraces how some creators can take one version and rework it into something fresh and cool.

Tony Bedard added that Geoff Johns's greatest talent is to take several versions of characters and put them together in a solid story.

There will be a Batman Beyond series starting soon. Terry McGuiness will also be making an appearance in Superman/Batman.

An audience member asked how J. Michael Straczynski got his job writing Superman and Wonder Woman. Didio explain that he has always loved Straczynski's work and that the subtlety of storytelling in his run on Brave and the Bold was exceptional. "The emotional impact of doing 22 pages is not an easy task and he does it on a regular basis. Superman, hands down, is his favorite character." Coming out of World of New Krypton and War of the Supermen, DC wanted to spotlight something different about the character. "He has a take on Superman that is basically a 180 degree turn from where the book is right now. It's that dramatic and it's everything true to who Superman is and what people believe him to be."

Jimmy Palmiotti fielded a question concerning how to bring more new readers to comics. He said that a few days ago he was wearing a Green Lantern shirt in a bar and a woman asked him to explain the character to her, which is not an easy task. He went on to stress that the movies coming out make the characters available to new people and some of them might track down an issue to find out more.

Jimmy then explained that Making DC heroes the greatest means needing to do more than just comics. Together all the companies, like Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and independent works raise the consciousness of comics as a whole, which is vital to the entire industry.

I asked about the creative team on Action Comics. It was already announced that David Finch is doing the covers and Pete Woods is on Art, but this was the first time I had heard that Marc Guggenheim is writing it. Captain Atom will return to Action Comics soon and there will be a rotating backup feature.

Didio stated that digital distribution is the future of the industry and that Jim Lee will be working on that. It's a question making sure it can work and they keep the creators in mind. They want to make money, but make it affordable for readers. Palmiotti added that DC has always been the fairest company in awarding their creators and stressed that illegal downloading hurts the industry.

Thanks to the popularity of the Lantern Rings as promotional items, there will be a Legion of Superheroes ring available soon, as well as a Flash ring. I asked if there would be a "Supermen of America" ring like the limited edition ones from the 1940's and someone asked about an Alan Scott/Green Lantern ring, but the answer to both was "no."

Adventure Comics will feature a "Secret Origin" story of the Legion, and they will also have their own title back soon. Although it's in no way Superman related, Batwoman will finally receive her own title as well.

The "Zero" issues are meant to be good jumping on points for readers. Coming up soon are War of the Supermen #0 on Free Comic Book Day, and Brightest Day #0. Also, the final issue of Blackest Night will be oversized and contain a foldout, but the price will remain the same.

Ethan Van Sciver announced that he has something in development with Gail Simone, but it was too early to say more. He'll also be putting out a creator-owned project through the Wildstorm imprint.

Concerning how co-features like the backup stories in Action Comics will be handled in collected formats, Didio explained that if the backup story is integral to the main story, it will be in the collection, but when it's not, it will either be collected separately or not at all.

With very little time left, the panel was asked about the status of Grant Morrison's "Multiverse" project. Didio said that he is moving on it. He's seen the "Earth 2" storyline and that there are a couple of Earth's that haven't been introduced yet. "If we're going to do Elseworlds, this is the way to do it.

As we left, I got a picture with Dan Didio and he asked me where my writeups are published. When I told him The Superman Homepage, he assured me that as a Superman fan, I will appreciate Straczynski's upcoming story in Superman because it gets back to the core of what Superman has always been about.

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