I arrived late, for reasons I’d rather not get into, and was at first surprised at how empty it was considering the massive lines waiting to get in three hours after they opened. Same security folks it looks like. I guess the Wizard folks like these blackshirts. Early on I ran into my friend Rob of the Aquaman Shrine who was hunting down sketches. He was having a ball.
After walking the floor a bit I went to the Counting Down panel. While waiting for it to start I over heard a guy in his twenties talk about how he hated Flash and Justice League because of all the history involved. Man, was I in the wrong room.
The panel consisted of a few rather silent folks like editors Jim Califore, Eddie Bergenza, Mike Carlin and others and was moderated by Director of Sales Bob Wayne. And Countdown pins were offered as a bribe to sit through the whole panel. Talk about desperate, man.
There was a phone call made to Dan DiDio in Charlotte at the Heroes Con. That struck me as interesting. Heroes was more important that WW Philly? Wizard has taken a few steps down since the NY Con, eh? DiDio joked about Flash being cancelled with issue 13 and there being an All-Flash #1 coming shortly thereafter. There was much kidding about this, and it wasn’t until I got home and read them intranets that I found this was actually true, with Mark Waid returning as writer for the new series. You know it would be nice if these guys took their jobs seriously.
They discussed a few new things like Countdown to Mystery featuring Doctor Fate by Steve Gerber with Eclipso back-ups, a new Suicide Squad by John Ostrander, and a new Infinity Inc. with Steel and his niece. They also promoted the heck out of Countdown Presents, a six-issue series concentrating on the search for Ray Palmer. In the mini, Donna Troy, Kyle Raynor and Jason Todd explore the multiverse, including the Wildstorm universe, the Crime Syndicate’s Earth-Three and the vampire world from “Blood Rain.”
From there I snuck over to the Bendis panel just in time to hear him explain his theories on the return of thought balloons and to watch Mike Oeming and David Mack arm wrestle. No, I’m not kidding. Bendis really explained his use of thought balloons. And my first impression of Bendis in the flesh? A short Curly Howard, but a lot smarter, and almost as entertaining.