Wizard World Chicago News & Views

Ah”¦day 3, also known as the day that I have to drive home. Unlike yesterday, the convention was much quieter, though we still couldn’t get in to see either Joss Whedon or Kevin Smith at their super secret panels or signings.

Before heading to our first panel for the day, we of course stopped to check in with our little ball of wonderful”¦otherwise known as She-Ra. However, we were again disappointed to find that she was there yet. How the hell are we supposed to start our day without our She-Ra fix?!? No seriously, I really want to know. I’m already going into withdrawals. Luckily, we hooked up with her hotness just after our first panel and got our fix.

Before we get to the actual panels for today, The Nexus has a scoop straight from Wizard World Chicago that you won’t find anywhere else.

It came to our attention today through an anonymous source that Ed McGuinness and Artxilla will be working on the original Hardcover adaptation of the Halo 2 video game to be distributed by DC Comics.

It was no surprise when we got to the show to see the sign saying that Kevin and Joss were off limits. Well, we expected that by now. Clearly this is a situation that Wizard should address at their future conventions. I don’t have a clue what a better system would be, but clearly, these major guests from the entertainment fields should do longer signings and more panels. I know it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but how many people came from out of state only to miss out completely on meeting or hearing their heroes speak. Truly an uncool situation.

Superman/Batman: A Team Effort
Featuring: Jeph Loeb, Dan Didio, Matt Idelson, Eddie Berganza, Carlos Pacheco, and Peter Steigerwald

The panel opened with Jeph Loeb speaking about the reasons behind the lateness of Superman/Batman. Loeb made some great points about maintaining the quality and said that the book should be relatively on-time once the next arc (featuring art by Carlos Pacheco) begins. Loeb also reiterated a few recent news that Ed McGuinness would be returning for Loeb’s final arc on Superman/Batman, which will carry the book through issue #25.

When Loeb was asked about the season finale of Smallville and the fate of Chloe his shocking reply was, “Yeah”¦she’s dead.” He followed up by saying, ” We wouldn’t have brought Lois on the show if we didn’t want to really change the dynamic of the show.” So, for those holding out hope for Chloe during the summer, your deepest fears look to be confirmed. (Unless of course he was lying and is just a sadistic bastard.)

After a lengthy portion dedicated to Superman/Batman the panel opened up to more general information on both the Superman and Batman lines.

Judd Winick will be using the Red Hood as a mystery villain when his ongoing stint on the main Batman title begins following War Games. From comments made by editor Matt Idelson, it appears that the identity of the Red Hood will be a major revelation down the line.

Expect the new Toyman, who recently debuted in the pages of Superman/Batman to continue to make appearances from time-to-time. Loeb compared the Toyman to Krypto, another character that wasn’t received so well in a new incarnation, by saying, “He doesn’t talk and, actually, he rips $h!t up and stuff!” So, it would seem, patience is the key.

The biggest news out of the panel was the impending hiatus of the title Nightwing following issue #100. But never fear Dick Grayson fans! The book’s not in any kind of trouble. Nightwing: Year One will be a six-issue, twice-monthly series by the men that put Dick Grayson’s solo career on the map, Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel. Following Nightwing: Year One Devin Grayson will return as writer of the ongoing title.

One of the funniest lines of the panel came from colorist Peter Steigerwald, who responded to a question about bringing Jason Todd back as a villain by saying, “We certainly couldn’t bring him back.” The whole dead-is-dead thing was beaten to death in most panels, but usually with rather hilarious results.

Following a fan question Jeph Loeb explained his feelings on putting Superman in more Gotham City settings as opposed to the more outlandish situations they’d be presented with. Essentially he views Batman as our eyes into the insanity of the DCU. We could potentially become the world’s greatest detective, but there’s no way we could be Superman. That’s why he likes to place Batman in situations that he’s not used to and being the “fan’s eyes.” Listening to Loeb’s explanation behind his writing and his other musings on the panel it’s clear why he’s had the number one selling book (between Batman and Superman/Batman more-times-than-not in the last two years).

X-Men: Reload
Featuring: Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, John Romita Jr., John Layman, Sean McKeever, C.B. Cebulski, John Cassady, Robert Rodi, Mike Marts, Chris Claremont, (late coming) Mark Millar, with special guest Joss Whedon.

Like most of the other Marvel panels, the real highlight of the panel was the humor that pervaded the room. There was also of course the addition of Joss Whedon on this panel, who brought with him a certain air of “fun.”

In what might be the biggest news of the convention this weekend. Joe Quesada made that announcement that Jean Grey/The Phoenix will be returning February 2005 for the 25th Anniversary of the character. Like we didn’t all see that coming. What we didn’t know was that Jean will be making her comeback in the pages of her own miniseries (the details on the length though were a bit unclear.) The creative team however was announced. The writer will be Greg Pak, and the stellar artist will be Greg Land!

Other than that, there wasn’t anything else new announced at the panel. The Q&A portion of the panel though was quite interesting.

Joss was asked, since he was “prone” to killing off characters if there were any X-Men he was planning on “offing.” He responded by saying, “I don’t really see Wolverine taking off anytime soon. He’s out!”

Quesada was asked if Marvel was planning on bringing Psylocke back. Chris Claremont jumped in by saying, “Sorry, the redhead stole that spot,” in reference to the previously announced return of Jean Grey.

An audience member asked the panel if the new director of X3 was currently sitting on the dais (directed at Whedon). Joss responded that according to the Internet it was a possibility, and that he was in fact in negotiations with the Internet on the project. With that in mind, he said, “it’s looking good.” A moment later, Whedon continued more seriously, “Right now it’s a fantasy”¦but it is my fantasy.”

Though it wasn’t planned to be announced, after an audience member asked about Longshot, Quesada hinted that you’ll “Ultimately have to read to find out.” Draw your own conclusions”¦

The recent Exile cast off was brought up during the discussion, and a question about when she’d be appearing in any of the regular X-titles was asked. Mike Marts quickly jumped in saying, “next month. Wow, that was really easy”¦”

Another audience member inquired about the future use of the Hellfire Club in the X-books. Quesada responded, “actually, yes. They’ll be used in quite a few titles in 2005.” Claremont interjected, “and Wolverine’s joining.”

Claremont joined the audience and asked Joss if there would be “Year two” to his run. Whedon responded by saying, “It’s a fantasy of mine, but getting through year one is my main fantasy right now.” As much as I like Mr. Whedon”¦I have to say, he certainly has a lot of fantasies.

Vertigo: The Next 10 Years
Featuring: Bob Wayne, Brian K. Vaughan, Peter Gross, Tony Aikens, Jonathan Vankin, Brian Azzarello

The Vertigo panel lacked any major announcements and suffered from a lack of excitement from the panelists. I think DC should move away from the prepared scripts that they use for these events and take a note from the hilarious panels run by Joe Quesada from Marvel. While the amount of announcements were of similar quality throughout the weekend there was almost always a palpable buzz running through the Marvel panels, something lacking from many of DC’s (save for the entertaining Wildstorm panel on Friday).

The Vertigo panel was abbreviated to allow the director of the new film Constantine to come in and show footage and do a Q&A.

Prior to the Constantine portion the only major information was about the Hellblazer spin-off miniseries Poppa Midnight. Debuting in February the book will be written by Matt Johnson with art by Tony Aikens, and will unveil the characte’s never before seen origin.”

Brian K. Vaughan mentioned that by issue #30 readers of Y: The Last Man will finally know why Yorick and Ampersand were the only male survivors of the plague. Vaughan said that Yorick would also be leaving the United States and to expect, “more sex.”

Brian Azzarello talked about his new western Loveless shipping next year. Azzarello spoke about the book with tremendous passion, it’s clearly a title that’s near and dear to him. The miniseries will be drawn by former Hellblazer artist Marco Frusin.

I have been to Wizard World Philadelphia the past three years and it pales in size comparison with the Chicago event. The event floor was well setup, the aisles, other than Saturday, were navigable, and there was plenty to do. Yet, with the massive size come some problems. In my trips to Philadelphia I’ve never had so much difficulty getting into the major events of the convention. Wizard clearly doesn’t skimp on attractions and things to do at their cons, but at Chicago there needed to be a better system for meeting the top attractions.

As a whole we had a fantastic time and enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to so many creators and fans. Keep an eye out the next couple of weeks as Daron and I will have several columns and reviews of books we picked up at the con.

Well, as sad as it may seem”¦that basically wraps our coverage of the Convention. Chris and I both hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. As you may have guessed, The Nexus will be attempting to cover as many conventions as we can in the future, so if you know you’ll also be attending let us know so we can say hi. As it was we ran into a few readers of the site this weekend, and it was pleasure to meet you all. As Chris said, we’ve had a blast this weekend, and it unfortunately went really fast. If you have any comments about our coverage or any suggestions for future conventions, please let us know.

Reporting for the last time from Wizard World Chicago, Daron Kappauff & Chris Delloiacono signing off.