Less Lesbians and Teenage Death In Upcoming DC ComicsS

Hope you weren't getting too excited about that Batwoman series that Dan DiDio said was happening last night; today's DC Universe panel included DiDio admitting that he'd made a mistake, and that it was actually Batgirl who was getting her own series, not DC's favorite lesbian crimefighter. Other than that, the DC panel was again light on actual announcements, with DiDio answering one question with "If you go to the New York Comicon [in April], I'd have answers for all you guys [asking about new series]." That said, there were some interesting hints and answers amongst the bantering about Final Crisis, dead teenagers and why DC as a company is going to start cracking down on creators. More after the jump.

In response to rumors about DC instituting a new zero-tolerance policy for creators who break deadlines, DiDio dropped his usual huckster persona to talk about the problems that the company faces with late books. Admitting that the "reality is, a lot of people can't meet the monthly schedule," he said that DC's aim was to make sure that books shipped in a timely manner:

We had a month where we didn't put any Superman books out because they were all late... In our minds, that was inexcusable.
Pointing out that he thinks that harsh deadlines can be essential to making sure that creators actually get around to working, artist Mark Bagley chimed in, saying "I find that paychecks are essential. If I don't hand the work in, I won't get paid."

Asked to "cut back on killing and maiming young heroes" in their comics, VP of Sales responded that "Sidekicks die!" should be the ad copy for upcoming comics. DiDio admitted that it was a concern, and said that they'd try to cease with the teenage torture. On a related topic, the panel all agreed that they didn't want to pull back on teenage suffering of the emotional type, with writer Judd Winick pointing out that "they can't all be happy, who the hell's gonna buy that?"

The amount of potential deaths was also a topic for discussion when it came down to DC's big summer series, Final Crisis. When asked if there would be a limit to the amount of deaths happening in that series, DiDio said that he couldn't promise anything, and announced the official tagline for the series for the first time: "It's the day evil wins." We also found out that "The Great Disaster" that's been the plot McGuffin of Countdown to Final Crisis will happen within the pages of Countdown (and may include a giant turtle version of Jimmy Olsen fighting New God Darkseid), and that the Final Crisis is something altogether different that may spell doom for the multiverse: "It's called Final Crisis for a reason," DiDio said.

Before that happens, fans can expect to see Power Girl go home to Earth-2 in the pages of Justice Society of America in a way that may lead to a future solo series for Superman's parallel-universe cousin. One of the reasons that the multiverse may be about to end again is that even the creators can't keep the various earths straight; when someone asked about Earth-13, no-one on the panel knew exactly what Earth that was. "I have a big white board - " DiDio started to explain, before Countdown editor Mike Carlin cut him off by saying "This is why we have charts."

New titles teased, besides the Batgirl series, were a new Lex Luthor miniseries focusing on his evil genius and technology, as well as a return of the 1990s Milestone characters (better known to most from the WB's Static Shock cartoon); asked about a possible return of those characters, everyone on the panel got very nervous as DiDio chose his words very carefully: "I think the Milestone characters are great," he said, "I think it'd be very exciting to see that creative strength in the DC Universe." Bob Wayne broke in, adding "It's a subject that takes more lawyers than fans to make happen."

The panel closed with DiDio telling everyone that the upcoming The Dark Knight and The New Frontier movies were projects that everyone at DC were very excited about, and inviting everyone to tonight's world premiere of the latter at the convention.