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WonderCon 2018: 5 major things we learned from the DC Publishers Panel

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Mar 24, 2018

Some major bombshells were dropped at the Publishers Panel hosted by DC Comics at Wonder Con in Anaheim, California. With the panel emceed by publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio, we learned a ton about DC's new imprints: Ink, Zoom, and Black Label as well as what books we'll be seeing for each one with both writers and editors appearing on stage and in short video clips.

In addition, there was a segement of the upcoming Sandman Universe comics arriving under Vertigo's banner, the announcement of MAD Magazine's rebbot under executive editor Bill Morrison, and Scott Snyder's spoiler-filled rundown on all the new Justice League titles. All in all, it was a very informative panel with tons of exciting news and insights from the publisher's golden content creators. For your convenience, here are the top 5 takeaways we learned from the event. 

1. The Ink and Zoom imprints are being pushed to April 2019:

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Credit: DC

Ink and Zoom were going to be rolled out at the end of 2018, but in order to really get them right, DC is pushing them back to April 2019. This was revealed when editor Bobby Chase and writer Mariko Tamaki were onstage. Tamaki's Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass will launch Ink, which, along with Zoom, was described as books for younger readers who enjoy manga and graphic novels. Harley's book finds Joker's eventual paramour being raised in a house of drag queens. Tamaki said the story is party inspired by Little Red Riding Hood and voiced that Harley's such an interesting character to write for because while she's a villain, she's also totally loveable. Other books under these imprints will focus on younger versions of Bruce Waye, Selina Kyle, and the Joker. DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis by Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat will kick off the Zoom imprint. 

2. Miss Martian returning to Titans:

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Credit: DC

During his time onstage, Scott Snyder expounded on Dan Abnett's plans for the Titans book. Led by Nightwing and Raven, the team brings together a lot of fan favorites and serves as the next Justice League in-training. They'll not only be at odds with bad guys, but with the current League as well as the Titans learn secrets about the team and Hall of Justice. In addition to Nightwing and Raven, there's Beast Boy, Steel, and Miss Martian, who will be making her comeback. As a friend of Martian Manhunter, Miss Martian (aka Megan Morse) made her DC debut in 2006 as a member of the Teen Titans, created by Geoff Johns and Tony S. Daniel. She soon became a favorite of readers and the audience erupted in applause and cheers when Snyder announced her return. 

3. A TV writer is taking over Teen Titans:

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Credit: DC

It was announced that Adam Glass and Bernard Chang will be writing and drawing a Teen Titans series for DC Comics. Glass is known for his work on television shows like Supernatural and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which will allow him to bring an almost cinematic approach to these stories. Spinning off from the repercussions of Metal #6, Glass and Chang's run will called New Titans and begin with Issue #20 in June. "At the end of No Justice, Damian realizes he needs to do this his own way, so he re-forms the Teen Titans," said Snyder. "[Glass] takes it in a new, rebellious direction that's gonna be crazy, crazy fun." 

4. MAD Magazine's new logo and (polybagged) cover:

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Courtesy of DC

"What, me worry?" There's no need to worry anymore because MAD Magazine (and its grinning mascot  Alfred E. Neuman) is making a comeback under DC with a major reboot of the publication. As one of the guests, the magazine's editor Bill Morrison showed off the "new first" issue and a revamped logo, launching April 17. The logo itself was actually inspired by the one drawn by artist Harvey Kurtzman for the magazine's comic book issues during the early days at MAD. "We're creating something new and fresh, but we're also going back to our roots," said Morrison. The panel also brought up legendary MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who, in all of his 56 years with the magazine, only ever missed one issue. 

5. Sandman Universe's imprint title began as an internal moniker:

Sandman Universe Cover

Courtesy of DC

There was an extensive portion of the panel devoted to the upcoming Sandman Universe books, which will created a shared universe of Neil Gaiman's iconic graphic novel series from the 1990s. According to the executive editor of Vertigo (and DC's new Black Label), Mark Doyle, the name "Sandman Universe" started out as the internal title the creative teamed used for the project. However, they soon realized it was the only logical title, particularly after they ran it by Gaiman who loved it.

One of the writers, Nalo Hopkinson, was brought onstage to discuss her contribution to the universe, House of Whispers, which is set in New Orleans. What she loved about being able to join this initiative was taking what she loved about the original Sandman stories and exploring/amplifying them further. Newcomers to this world may be shocked to find that one of its characters, Timothy Hunter, is a young wizard who wears glasses, has a prophecy made about him, and is hunted by some bad people. While he predates Harry Potter, lovers of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world may have their entire worldview thrown into chaos. 

Sandman Universe kicks off with a special one-shot comic this August. Take a look at three of the pages from House of Whispers that were teased during the panel:

Sandman Universe Cover

Credit: DC

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sandman universe Cover

Credit: DC