Dan Didio And Jim Lee Talk Action Comics #1000 And The State Of DC Comics

Hugh Sheridan reporting from NYCC for Bleeding Cool

This Thursday afternoon, two of DC’s official “publishers” (i.e. senior executives, but just not as senior as WB bigwig Diane Nelson) Jim Lee and Dan Didio talked about DC and discussed their various current initiatives at the “DC Meet The Publishers” panel at NYCC.

Didio started off  by saying that he knows what people want to hear about “Connor Kent,  JSA, Legion, Shazam.”

We’re not talking about any of that

He did talk about Doomsday Clock – “the culmination of so much building for the last year” – Didio

Lee said Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are “putting a lot of work – it’s a labour of love”

It was Johns idea for story that started things going – it’s not just a misunderstanding between the characters and they end up teaming up – it’s a different kind of story:

It is a sequel to Watchmen, the Watchmen characters DO meet the DC characters

“Every panel is crafted with an incredible amount of focus and attention” according to Lee.

Friday panel will reveal interior pages and will be livestreamed for those of you that are not here (or aren’t bothered with the massive queues for the main stage).

They talked about the upcoming 1000th issue of Action Comics – which is also released at the 80 year anniversary of Superman’s debut. They have “ lots of projects planned – extensive planning” to celebrate but no details were revealed.

Except “1,000 variant covers!” – joked Jim Lee

“And you will do them all!”  Didio “Im up to 27 – trying to come up with new ideas – he picks up a pick-up truck this time maybe?!” he said, referring to the original Action Comics #1 cover.

Didio discussed how he wanted to expand and build out the DC Universe and was inspired by the energy of early Image in doing this.

He admitted that mistakes we made with New 52 – some series didn’t take hold straight away, “so we cancelled them too quickly” there was “constant churn – changes came too fast, on some books we changed teams too quickly and fans lost interest.”

They now give books longer to find an audience. He said he was happy to see books like New Superman find an audience.

Didio said he wants the ideas to come out at the right time, with the right direction and talent.  “We don’t want to be constantly relaunching all the time anymore” – “we’ve drawn a line in the sand on that”

Didio said that the Hanna-Barbera characters are a personal project for him.

Grant Morrison is a surprise guest – the next Wonder Woman Earth One book by Morrison was discussed and some art was shown

Every scene we have a new Wonder Woman costume.

A fan asked about Seaguy and Morrison said “ tell me about it – Cameron Stewart has been sitting on a Seaguy script for 2 years!”

Morrison’s Happy TV series starts on Dec 6 so he was asked about the difference between Television vs. comics – He says you can spend 6 months on a tv script working with other writers – but you do comics quickly and on your own which is so much easier. He says he loves his place in Scotland because it doesn’t have internet –“that’s great cos I don’t like the Internet”.

It was announced that Grant Morrison will co-write some issues of Sideways (a new Dark Universe book) with Dan Didio and artists Kenneth Rocafort and Justin Jordan. Grant will cowrite with Didio as it will be exploring some of his ideas.

Lots of multiple earths will be used – Morrison emphasized the importance of acknowledging the work of those of came before you.

Lee talked about Immortal Men – how they thought about “what would you care about if you are Immortal” – that they would work in the shadows. The series will be tied in to DC lore, Batman who laughs etc. and the characters will have connections to Vandal Savage, Ras Al Ghul, Hawkman etc.

Grant Morrison made reference to his Earth 22 version of Immortal Man whom he based on a “Howard Chaykin adventurer”– he said even obscure characters can be epic.

Batcow was mentioned by a fan – Didio and Morrison said they are always discussing the character “We love Batcow! Put him in a story and just writes itself” according to Didio. Then Morrison had to leave for another panel.

Lee praised Warren Ellis’ Wildstorm series– he said it was Ellis chose to start over “fun for fans myself included” as those characters are very special to him.

The new Michael Cray series by writer Brian Hill was discussed. A character called Trelane will assist Cray in his war with IO as long as he assassinates a billionaire called Oliver Queen – so DC elements will appear in Wildstorm – “weirdly warped as only Warren Ellis can do”

Lee talked about their “Pop up imprint” Young Animal.

The origin of the series Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye was discussed. It comes from the description of Carson they read which said he was “adventurer and spelunker with a cybernetic eye”

When Lee and co read that they were mystified – where did the cybernetic eye come from? – no-one knew , they finally tracked down the original story and talked to its writer,  Dan Abnett. He said it was a future version of the character so he had to show some way he was changed – so he gave him the cyber eye. Gerard Way heard this and said “I can make a story out of that”

Vertigo 30th anniversary – Mark Doyle is the new exec editor of the line and they have a lot of big plans for the imprint as they relaunch it but they did not go in to details.

Bill Morrison was brought on as the new executive editor of Mad Magazine and he talked about his plans for the title which involve reviving its satirical edge.

Finally a fan asked about Aquaman and Didio revealed he said by accident that Francis Manapaul is working on Aquaman Earth One – he asked that the crowd “pretend to be surprised when it is properly announced”.

About Bill Watters

Games programmer by day, geek culture and fandom writer by night. You'll find me writing most often about tv and movies with a healthy side dose of the goings-on around the convention and fandom scene.

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