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SAN DIEGO -- DC Comics kicked off its panels at Comic-Con International on Thursday with a panel featuring Countdown.

Dan DiDio moderated the panel. Panelists included Mike Marts, Mike Carlin, Dan Jurgens, Jim Calafiore, Sean McKeever, Tony Bedard, Adam Beechen, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Dini.

DiDio saved the biggest news for last, announcing that beginning with 26, the title of the book will be changed to Countdown to Final Crisis.

Below are highlights:

* DiDio said that while 52 was a world-building book, Countdown is more of a world-breaking movie. He also described it, in movie terms, as a big-event summer blockbuster.

* Dini said he found the weekly format "real exciting" and "daunting." "You get to see the stories come in and the art come in on a daily basis," he said.

* Marts said he moved off from Countdown because he had the chance to oversee the Batman titles.

* Carlin said his experience in delivering Superman comics in essentially a weekly format was a reason he took over.

* Jurgens said it's difficult deciding what to leave out of the four-page back-up because there's so much material.

* Calafiore said most of his work was not from Keith Giffen's breakdowns. "About nine pages," he said.

He said it very different coming back to DC. "One of the first things I did was drawing a two-page spread with Superman and it was a special feeling drawing that 'S,'" he said.

* Beechen said working on Countdown is similar to working on an animated television series, with Dini as head writer.

* Bedard said working at CrossGen was good training. He noted that he used to do the Secret Files books at DC and Countdown is a "cakewalk" compared to that.

* DiDio said that there's a reason Jimmy Olsen knew Jason Todd's identity and asked fans to be patient.

* DiDio said that the major events of Countdown will impact the lead characters in Countdown. "Things that happen outside of Countdown are essential to the books outside of Countdown," he said.

* When will DiDio explain the villains poster? "I think it's pretty self-explanatory," he said.

* Asked about the Legion, Marts said there are several versions of the Legion running around. "There is a grand story to this," he said, noting things will come into focus next year.

Bedard said to check out Supergirl #21 and #22.

* DiDio said that the Suicide Squad will grow and they have a definite goal.

* DiDio said DC is looking into collecting the Monolith series.

* Asked how much Kingdom Come will tie into Countdown, DiDio said Kingdom Come universe is going to tie into JSA.

* DiDio said there is an All Star Squadron project, taking place in the DCU, in the works.

*Jurgens said the first six issues of Booster Gold and Rip Hunter jumping through the time stream trying to make fixes.

* DiDio said Batwoman will appear next week in Countdown. "You'll see her again, absolutely," he said.

* When will readers see Earth-1 again? "We have no answer for that one," DiDio said.

* DiDio said although Deadman was recently used -- "I slipped it in" -- there will be no Deadman series in the DCU.

* DiDio said there are no current plans to draw in more animated characters into the DC Universe.

* Dini said he sees a lot of unexplored heroic potential in Jason Todd. "What can he do with a second chance?" he said.

* Carlin said there will be Barbara Gordon/Batgirl scenes in upcoming issues of Birds of Prey.

* DiDio said that Wally's identity is not publicly known.

* McKeever said that a memorial for Bart will take place in Teen Titans #50 and will lead into "Titans of Tomorrow."

* DiDio said he had breakfast with Dwayne McDuffie, but there are no current plans for Static.

* Asked about more involvement in DC animation, Dini said, "Never said never."

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