PLAN Diego: Day One

Everybody back for your nightly dose of Comicon news? Excellent. Now, without further ado, here is what’s on tap for tonight’s reading pleasure.

James Hatton here, PLAN: Diego Field Representative. What is a ‘tap’ joke without last year’s butt of Nexus humor, me. You can find me as your cyanish colored reviewer while you’ll find new Nexus-er Jimmy Lin writing in purple, the color of masculinity and royality. On with the show.

Dragonlance
Batman
Ultimate Universe
Pia Guerra
The Spirit
Green Lantern

Feel free to read only what you care about, but let me warn you in advance that you are doing yourself a disserve if you fail to read every damn word we’ve written tonight. This work is a thing of genius.

Dragonlance

For those who are a fan of the Dragonlance Universe there were a few bits of interesting odds and ends. First off, the panel was not just Margaret Weiss as I expected, but Tracy Hickman was there as well as a representative from Wizards of the Coast, and Devil’s Due Publishers. Here are the highlights:

-Weiss & Hickman will be returning to the world they created with a new set of books called the ‘Dark Chronicles’. These will be the stories that happened between the pages of the original trilogy.

-Devil’s Due, starting in August will be starting the Chronicles comic adaptation. Each of the books will be given 8 issues, and with only a possible pause in a month for a trade paperback, the next book will be started up right afterwards. The art seems to be very standard to the fantasy work over at Devil’s Due – a hand painted feel, but mostly computer touched.

Batman

Bob Schrek played host at the Batman: Year of the Bat panel which featured creators Greg Rucka and Bill Willingham and newly promoted Senior Editor Joey Cavalieri. Late in the panel, the group was joined by surprise guest Jim Lee, who many of you may know from books like Divine Right and a recent stint on a book called Superman…whatever that is.

So we don’t make your eyes bleed from excessive text, here were the highlights in rapid fire bullet point format

-Bob Schrek briefly took the time to discuss the editor reorganization at DC that has led to such things as his move off the Bat titles and onto All Stars and Joey Cavalieri’s promotion. The previous system, which involved Group Editors on families of titles (like the Bat group, the Superman group, the JLA group, etc) is gone and replaced by two man teams on different titles. Thus, no longer are all the Bat and Bat related titles overseen by one editor. Instead, Batman and Detective have their own two man team while Robin has a different one and so on down the line. “It’s an experiment,” he concluded, saying that they’ll see how it works for now and go from there.

-Bill Willingham jokingly claimed that for the sake of the new Batman mini-crossover “War Crimes” he committed a few himself in the name of research. His inspiration in the matter was none other than Comics Nexus’s own Geoff Johns and his research into being a jet pilot for Green Lantern (plug, plug, read all about GL later in this very column. If you dare!).

-Willingham later complimented the writer of the other two issues of “Crimes”, Andersen Gabrych, saying that Gabrych wrote such an absolutely perfect Joker line that Willingham was forced to steal it to use in his issue as well.

-In the future for Gotham Central is wrapping up the current “Dead Robin” storyline which sees Brubaker leaving the book. After that is another one shot collaboration with Steven Leiber on art. The single issue story springs out of a specific scene in Infinite Crisis #1 and involves Captain Marvel in Gotham City

-When asked if “Crimes” would effect Central at all, Rucka admitted that he did not actually know as he had yet to see any of “Crimes”. He added that while they are planned through issue #40 in Gotham Central, that doesn’t mean that all those issues are written. Thus, it is easy enough for him to go back and tweak elements of the story to reflect any events in “Crimes” that would have an effect on the police in Gotham.

-Cavalieri laid out the slate of upcoming Legends of the Dark Knight stories, following the current Mr. Freeze centric arc “Snow”. First up is an arc penned by Will Pfeiffer that Cavalieri considers to be “some of the best stuff we’ve done” with the book. Also on tap is a Eddie Campbell/Bart Sears collaboration in prestige format.

-In reference to a question brought up by a fan, Willingham admitted that yes, it does look a bit like Robin is packing heat on the cover of an upcoming issue of the Boy Wonder’s title. As for the why of that and whether the cover image is entirely accurate, he responded, “The answer is: Read the issue.”

-Damion Scott, Willingham’s past Robin artistic collaborator has, as most know, left the book with Scott McDaniel replacing him. As far as where Scott went, Willingham could only say, “I hear he’s doing a new project. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what that is.”

-In OMAC, the next issues unfold similar to this, according to Rucka: in issue #4 Batman is “removed” from action for some reason, #5 sees him start to come back and finally, in #6, the moment a lot of fans have been waiting for. Batman goes to great length to redress any grievances caused by his past errors.

-After OMAC, there will be more Sasha although the panel played coy with what exactly that would mean

-A member of the audience inquired if a new Checkmate series would come out of OMAC, this one being “good” in comparison to DC’s effort in the 80’s. This lead to Rucka claiming that there was one in the works, but that it was to be “astonishingly mediocre” and others on the panel to claim that it would include “c list talent” to bring it to life. Calming down and getting serious, Rucka admitted that there had been talks but there was really nothing else to it at this point.

-Lee is with the All-Stars book as long Miller is and that, at the point, looks like it will be longer than the 6 issues that were initially announced

-Paul Pope has a Batman project in the works called “Batman Year 100” that would deal with what happens to the mantle of the Bat when the originator has long since given it up and shuffled off the mortal coil.

-Not related to the Batman news, but still of note: according to Schrek, All-Star Superman has enough art in now for about an issue and a half. We does not have a release date yet but did that when it does come out it will be very good.

The Ultimate Universe

Tim and I rallied together to go watch the Ultimate Universe panel, which was moderated by Joey Q himself. With Orson Scott Card, Brian K Vaughn, and Brendan Petersen on the panel – I think I was hoping for a little bit more than we got. It seems there is a lot of moving and shaking going on in the Ultimateverse, but the fact is that Joey remained tight lipped about it, but promised in a few weeks (Wizard World Chicago?) much would be revealed. We did get these bits of info which you might or might not know already.

-A few preview sketches showed us that Ultimate Spiderman shall be joined by a slew of special guests over the next few months including returns by Elektra, Black Cat, and in issue 86 we will be given the first appearance of Ultimate Silver Sable and Wild Pack.

– A cover of Ultimate X-Men #64 revealed a crossover with the Ultimates

-Ultimate Extinction is slated for December ’05, and with a bit of a tongue in cheek, Joey Q stated that Ultimate Nightmare will finish before it begins.

-Ultimate Extiniction will of course feature Galactus, but Petersen who was completely fanboying over his own project (which I completely approve of the love he showed), made a point to tell us that not only will there be Ultimate Silver Surfer, but this is not yo’ momma’s Galactus. It involves the entire Ultimate Universe, and will not be ‘a huge man in a pink and blue suit’.

-A question about how hands on Brian Singer’s run of Ultimate X-Men will be, especially since he is currently embroiled in Superman. BKV said that he was just the translator and that the project was theirs, and he was happy to see that Singer was as involved as he ended up being.

-A bit of discussion did come up about the Ultimate Universe ‘aging’ and it was said that as far as Joey Q was concerned, the characters will remain unaged. Since Ultimate characters are supposed to not be caught up in the same continuity baggage that the standard MU has, they will remain timeless, much like Steve Ditko wanted for Spiderman.

-The only other important question that didn’t involve Joey Q talking about how in 3 weeks we will find out all the important data, a question came up about the standard Marvel U (616) ever meeting up with the Ultimate Universe. Joey Q, as far as I am concerned, gave the best answer he could when he said that if the 616 and the Ultimate ever meet, then Marvel has officially run out of ideas.

Spotlight on Pia Guerra

Pia Guerra’s a hella cool chick with a hella cool sister. We got the life story, thoughts on being a lady in the industry, etc. It’d be boilerplate, except that her story is actually interesting. It’s not every day that you hear about a mom who encouraged her daughter to draw on the walls, how a 7-year-old girl discovered that X-Men comic books were 10X better than General Hospital, and how a severe case of scoliosis led a young girl to hone her drawing skills.

-Pia left us some interesting tidbits about the optioning of 01/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_ur_2/103-2290632-3445436?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
target=new> Y The Last Man
for film or TV. Possible leads she doesn’t approve of are Leonardo Di Crapio and Jamie Kennedy, but she thinks Jake Gyllenhal would be a perfect Yorick and Sandra Oh a wonderful Dr. Mann.

-Future facts about Y: the cast heads to Australia, there is a Beth-centric story, and there will only be 60 issues to the whole book.

-My personal highlight on Pia’s Spotlight: she bitched, moaned, and yelled
non-stop during Constantine. That’s my kinda girl.

The Spirit

I was happy to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Spirit Panel while waiting to hear Bruce Campbell. I almost felt guilty about how I watched as Jeph Loeb, and Darwin Cooke spoke quite fondly of Wil Eisner’s effect on the industry, and I was there to hear a man with a square chin answer questions about Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason (which, for the record will never happen.)

I did get to hear as what seemed to be a fairly emotional Cooke spoke on how there will be, coming in December a Spirit meets Batman crossover. It shall be a 40 page one-shot and it’s main purpose is to bring the largest possible audience a taste of the Spirit and hopefully bring those readers to go out and find all of Wil’s work.

Followed by that, the New Frontier team (with Cooke included) will be going on to do a Spirit ongoing series. It will remain untouched by the standard DCU for at least the first year. The way that was said by Cooke made me believe that he is currently only slated to do those first 12 issues.

Information on the Spirit movie seemed a bit harder to get anything definite on. If production was to start tomorrow, they said that it would be expected to be done within two years, but they had a long way to go. Since Eisner’s vision was to have the Spirit be more of a timeless character, the movie would be a stylized contemporary look of the world rather than a period piece.

Green Lantern

Sadly, advertised guest Dave Gibbons could not make the GL panel because of a delay with his flight. However, the line was still well represented by Editor Peter Tomasi, writer Geoff Johns, and soft spoken artist Patrick Gleason.

-Looking back at the previous volume of the series, Peter Tomasi clarified that Kyle’s mom was, in fact, not dead. After a few attempts to explain what the deal with the head in the oven was then, Tomasi finally shrugged and admitted, “I don’t know…we’re sorry.”

-When queried about balancing the GL history with the desire to make each issue understandable to new readers, Johns summarized his viewpoint explaining, “I believe in accessibility, but I also don’t think that people are stupid.

-Fans of the GL book can look forward to the following villains: Sonar, Shark, Black Hand, Hector Hammond, and Mongul. There will be new villains introduced to the book at well.

-The Sonar story is one “so bizarre that only Van Sciver could have co-plotted it”

-In Green Lantern #4, Jordan deals with the Corps again for the first time post Rebirth and the results, says Johns, is not going to be what you think,

– Also in #4, there will be an appearance by a GL from Ch’p’s sector although it will not be Ch’p. However, there is no plans for the return of G’nort

-In issue #7, Ollie Queen swings by for a story drawn by Carlos Pacheco

-Given the somewhat lousy deaths of past female GLs, Johns plans to reintroduce strong female Lanterns into the cast

-Carol Ferris will be moved offstage in GL and a largely new supporting cast will be introduced in the months to come.

-Guy fans everywhere can rejoice as Mr. Gardner himself will have a big role in the DCU, especially in Green Latntern Corps Recharge.

-Why Kyle opted not to return to the JLA will be addressed in GL Corps Recharge #1

-John Stewart is currently the JLA’s Green Lantern and has a big role in the arc after Crisis of Conscience wraps up. “After that…” Johns tailed off teasingly about his future in the JLA.

-The chances of an ongoing Corps book is “very good,” but ultimately dependent on the sales of Recharge

-LEGION’s opinion of the return of the Corps will be found in Infinite Crisis #1

That wraps another dark, intriguing, and dangerous day here in the city of San Diego.

Just so you all know, the celeb count is at three with the addition of Seth Green (Austin Powers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Robot Chicken) who happened to be drinking at the Hyatt while Jamie and Danielle were. The “Hey, you look like that guy from Smallville” count is at two with one particular woman saying, “Well, you aren’t as tall as him, of course, but otherwise you really do look like him.” Thank you woman I’ve never met for telling me that my 6 fee tall is not quite good enough.

Well, enough of that. On behalf of all the Nexuser, this is Tim Stevens signing off. Good night (well, morning really) and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Here’s today’s fun hotel fact to leave you with: Wyatt Earp stayed here often when he was in San Diego.