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NYCC ’17 Liveblog: Jim Lee and Dan Didio reveal the fate of AQUAMAN: EARTH ONE & more at Meet the Publishers event

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On Thursday afternoon, DC Comics held its annual Meet the Publishers panel at New York Comic Con. Co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio gathered in what DiDio characterized as a “highly professional” and “stately” panel to talk about the state of the DC lineup and make exclusive new series announcements.

Didio and Lee kicked off the panel by discussing Doomsday Clock, the followup series to Rebirth #1 from 2016 that saw Geoff Johns introduce Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen characters into the DC Universe proper. Doomsday Clock, written by Johns and drawn by Gary Frank, was characterized by Lee as a “sequel to Watchmen,” but “not a typical” mashup between two series where the characters just meet and fight.

Didio addressed the dueling interests currently in the DCU. He asked a question he had been asked– “how can you do Doomday Clock and Metal at the same time?” To that, Didio said that it’s about creating enough content to satisfy reader interest. Metal is characterized as a title that introduces “new directions” to the DCU as a whole, “taking risks” like the alternate universe crossover comics and introducing the Dark Matter line by the event’s end. Meanwhile, Doomsday Clock is an entirely self-contained event with “no crossovers” that brings together two classic universes into something new and exciting.

Lee turned the conversation over to Metal, complementing series stewards Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

Didio then introduced the “new age of heroes,” the tagline for Dark Matter. Speaking of the artist-led lineup, Didio said that DC is committed to creating “new characters” that add new things to the DCU and “build out and build on” what’s great about the universe and “reaffirm our commitment to diversity.”

Action Comics #1000 is on the horizon. Superman will turn 80 as the series hits the #1000 issue mark. Didio said there would be an eightieth anniversary Superman book coming out in April 2018 to celebrate featuring some of the “greatest” creators to ever work with the character.  There will be other promotional events in coordination with this milestone.

Turning to Rebirth, Didio and Lee shed a bit of light on why no books in the lineup have been cancelled a year into their runs, which is essentially unheard of in the modern era of comics. Instead of cancelling the titles, Didio said, the company has tried to switch creative teams and story plot points in order to help the series find their footing instead.

The publishers then brought on an esteemed guest, Grant Morrison, to the stage. Morrison is currently working with artist Yanick Paquette on a trilogy of Wonder Woman: Earth One titles. He characterized Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 2 as the “Empire Strikes Back” of the trilogy, stating that this is where “everything goes to hell” for Diana. He said that he and Paquette have come up with new costumes for Diana for every single scene in the book.

A fan jostled Morrison about Seaguy, a project that has long been in development hell. Morrison said he sent the script over to the artist three years ago.

Returning to Dark Matter, Dan Didio said he was very excited for Sideways, the series he will be writing for the line. He said that he wants to push the series to new places so in order to do so, Morrison will be co-writing several issues with DiDio. Morrison promised “weirdness, laser eyed dinosaurs, guys with stilt arms,” and more in the new comics coming from DC in the future.

When Dark Matter was first being formed, DC went through a list of titles that they owned but were in disuse. Lee was struck by “Immortal Men.” The general premise of this series is that Lee will be working with writer James Tynion IV about DC Universe characters that “work in the shadows.” The series is made for new readers to give them an entry point to the DCU, but it will have strong ties to the DCU through immortal characters like Vandal Savage and Ra’s Al Ghul.

Didio made an earnest promise about the DC line as a whole. He admitted that the company had made “missteps” with its line in the past, but he promised that they would not make the same mistakes because “we can’t keep relaunching. It has to stop.”

Lee then turned the panel to Warren Ellis’ relaunch of the Wildstorm universe, which began with his and Jon Davis-Hunt’s series, The Wildstorm. Now, the universe is expanding outward into its first spin-off series, Michael Cray, which focuses on the freelance assassin who has been betrayed by his former employer, intelligence agency IO. He will team up with a mysterious woman named Trelane to take down a billionaire named Oliver Queen. This version of Ollie isn’t the Green Arrow we know, however. There will be elements of the DC Universe that will be folded into the Wildstorm universe in unexpected fashion, Lee promised.

Didio turned to Vertigo, its mature readers lineup, which has struggled in recent years. Next year is Vertigo’s 25th anniversary and according to Lee, that’s the imprint’s  line in the sand. Lee promised a massive relaunch headed by former Batman group editor Mark Doyle, who wants to reinvigorate the line. The publishers teased three big name creators for the relaunch, who they promised would apply the “pop up” mentality that DC has taken with Young Animal and Wildstorm.

Attention then turned to MAD Magazine, the seminal satire periodical whose offices recently moved to the Burbank area from its original home in NYC. Lee and Didio brought on editor Bill Morrison, who promised a relaunch of MAD beginning on April 1st, 2018. Morrison teased the return of old talent to the MAD family, Doug Thompson and Suzy Hutchinson.

Finally, Didio let it slip that Francis Manapul is now both writing AND drawing Aquaman; Earth One, ending a mystery that has spanned several years.

This ends our liveblog coverage! Thanks for joining us.

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