I have been looking forward to the Baltimore Comic-Con for quite a while. While Baltimore is not on the same size as a Wizard World show or San Diego it is still one of my favorite events of the year. This year seems to be going off without a hitch. For those not familiar with the show, there is a history of bad luck with timing. One year a hurricane came through a few days before, another year had everyone a bit nervous due to the snipers in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas, and finally last year there was a fire alarm that made everyone have to leave the convention center in the middle of the day.
I started off the convention with a stop at the newly expanded DC Nation panel. This is normally an hour long event, but today we were treated to 1 hour 45 minutes of DC goodness. In attendance were Bob Wayne (VP of Sales), Dan DiDio, Jim Starlin, Kurt Busiek, Ron Marz, Sean McKeever, Jann Jones (Sr. Coordinating Editor) and Jimmy Palmiotti. Noticeably absent was Jann Jones' stuffed alpaca. Once the introductions ended the audience was asked which of the Countdown story lines were liked the most. As each storyline was named hands went up ranging from Mary Marvel (most of the room) to Legion (not many hands). The people who like the Trickster and Piper storyline were told that they might be better off finding a new storyline as things were not going to go well for these guys. :-)
After this one quick talk the floor was opened up for questions from the audience.
Someone asked if the "Palmerverse" was part of our normal universe or some place outside. DiDio explained that while there are only 52 Earths in the multiverse each one has it's own alternate dimensions, alternate timelines and microverses. About this time my head started to hurt...
One fan pointed out that the original Crisis simplified the DCU and having the multiverse back needlessly complicated things. DiDio asked the crowd if the 52 Earths complicated things or gave everyone more story potential. The resounding reply was that this created more potential.
One of the ways that we are going to be introduced to the many worlds will be the Challengers Beyond the Unknown series. Marz pointed out that characters exploring these worlds will act as a proxy for the readers and we will see how each world is different than ours.
Cassandra Cain and the Bat-family will all return in the upcoming Gotham Underground series.
McKeever verified that the "Titans Tomorrow" story takes place in our timeline, not in another world of the multiverse.
One fan asked about the thought process that went into the killing of Bart Allen. After joking about "what thought process?" DiDio explained that the plan had always been to bring back Wally as the Flash and that the idea to only have one Flash had been around for a while. With things happening as they did in Flash and the JLA/JSA crossover it came to be one of those things that just happened and to remain true to the storyline Bart had to die.
One fan asked why so many stories lately ended with the characters being dead. Palmiotti joked this was because "Herpes doesn't sell comics like death does." Oddly, about this time the screen flashed an image of the cover to The Death of the New Gods. When this was pointed out Starlin piped in with "Death was already in the title, so I felt obligated." The debate about too many deaths went on until...
Palmiotti pointed out that there was also a great wedding coming up and he pointed out the Green Arrow - Black Canary slide that was now showing.
DiDio said that while the fan did have a real concern, 2007 would be the year of four deaths and a wedding. He went on to point out that with the risk of what the heroes do, realistically more should be dead.
Jim Shooter will return to the Legion with issue #37 and big plans are in place for their 50th anniversary next year.
One fan wanted DiDio to promise that Checkmate and Shadowpact would not be canceled. Dan noted that both books have quite a few fans around the office but honestly answered that there are a lot of new books due out over the next year and it is difficult to say what will survive.
Manhunter will return, but not until DC has enough scripts to do the book monthly.
Barry Allen is still dead and there are no plans to bring him back.
One fan asked if Brad Meltzer would return to DC anytime soon. DiDio said that he is very busy with Buffy over at Dark Horse and working on his new novel, but he is welcome back whenever he has the time.
Kurt Busiek said that Carlos Pacheco would leave Superman with #668.
Grant Morrison's first storyline for All-Star Superman will run through issue #12. After that it will be several self-contained issues with various artists.
In the big announcement for the day, Robin will get a new writer after the current storyline. Chuck Dixon. The crowd went wild with this news.
DC is working on another Space Ghost series as well as one based on Jonny Quest.
Firestorm will be joining the Justice League.
Absolute Sandman will run 4 volumes. Vol. 2 is in transit now.
Jack Knight will be returning.
Shortly after this comment the panel ended. I think there may have been a few more questions but I was still stuck on the news of Chuck Dixon and the fact that we will see more Jack Knight in the future.
After this long sitting still I think i need to go wander the main floor for a while. Maybe I can find a few good deals on books I have been wanting.