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LOS ANGELES -- With his third DC Nation panel in four weeks, Dan DiDio was a little out of gas for Friday night's get-together at Wizard World Los Angeles.

"I don't know what we're going to talk about," he said at the beginning of the panel. "I'm not even sure what we've said at this point."

But it didn't take too long for DiDio to begin his mile-a-minute patter with fans and before the end of the panel, he revealed some new projects.

DiDio was joined on the panel by vice-president of sales Bob Wayne and writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Bill Willingham.

Following are highlights:

* Palmiotti said he's reduced his inking chores to one Countdown book a month.

* DiDio said he thought 52 turned out to be a "great experiment."

* DiDio reiterated that his return of Barry Allen statement at the New York Comic Con was a mistake.

* DiDio said that the initial plans for 52 began to unravel by the second issue as the writers got so involved with the characters. "The stories became about them and the whole concept got turned upside down," he said.

* Palmiotti said that a weekly comic like Countdown or 52 is a "massive project," and takes much coordination.

* Willingham is pitching a Detective Chimp mini-series. "There's no lame detective case if the monkey's doing the detecting," Willingham said.

* DiDio was asked about Jim Lee's lateness on All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder.

"Jim had other obligations that ate up his time," DiDio said. "That's not an answer for that and it's not an excuse."

DiDio said #5 and #6 are done, and work is underway on #7. Frank Miller has scripted through #8.

A fan said DC's lateness has broken his loyalty. "I understand that and we've pushed it to the limit," DiDio said.

DiDio said that with moving the DC Universe forward in synchronization should help with future deadlines. "The books have got to come out or the whole thing falls apart," he said.

* Willingham said he doesn't want the rules of magic in the DCU to be revealed like a textbook. "I'm hoping in Shadowpact to reveal it gradually," he said.

"You want people to understand the stories as they're being told," said DiDio, who added he's not a fan of Secret Files or Who's Who type books.

* Who are the new writer and artist of Legion of Super-Heroes? "We have a writer and an artist," DiDio said cryptically. He added that Tony Bedard will be writing some issues and then an announcement will be made.

* Palmiotti said the Halloween issue of Jonah Hex, with art by David Michael Beck, is "the craziest thing we've done." The issue guest-stars Bat-Lash.

* DiDio said readers will see the world of the Legion leak into the DCU.

* DiDio said Brad Meltzer is on board for 12 issues of Justice League of America. Ed Benes will remain on the book with a new writer.

* DiDio said George Perez is scheduled to draw the first 12 issues of Brave and the Bold. "We want to mix it up a little more," DiDio said about the heroes' combinations in the series.

* Palmiotti on the next Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters mini-series: "There's a lot of stuff doing on in the DCU and we'll reflect what's going on. and it's the next stage for the team."

* DiDiio announced a Booster Gold mini-series written by Geoff Johns and newcomer Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

DiDio said there will also be a new Infinity, Inc. book, written by Peter Milligan, with John Henry Irons in the lead.

* The Black Canary mini-series will launch in July.

* What exactly happened to Skeets will be revealed in the final issue of 52.

* DiDio said Doug Braithwaite is taking a month off after the conclusion of Justice. "We'll be talking to him about what he'll be doing after that," he said.

* DiDio said Jim Starlin is working on another book and there will be a follow-up to Mystery in Space.

* Palmiotti said the next year of Jonah Hex will probably be single-issue stories.

* DiDio hinted strongly there will be a Great Ten series. He also noted Animal Man has a lot of potential.

* DiDio said that Gail Simone is "getting her Secret Six jollies" in Birds of Prey and that she is pitching a Cat-Man mini-series.

* Wayne announced that there will be a collection of J.G. Jones' covers for 52.

"It is a beautiful body of work. J.G. did a masterful job on that," DiDio said.

* DiDio said he couldn't try to match that in Countdown, so he's using one cover artist per month.

* Palmiotti said Countdown is done more in a television model than how 52 was written. A 110-page bible has been built, with Dini assigning stories to the writers.

* Palmiotti said Countdown will have a cohesive look, similarly to 52.

* DiDio said World War III will explain the ties between Supergirl and the Supergirl in Legion of Super-Heroes.

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