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DC Nation: Senior VP of Digital Comics, Possible Red Lantern Comic [NYCC]

At New York Comic Con’s DC Nation Town Hall panel Sunday morning, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee announced that the nucleus of shuttered imprint WildStorm Productions will be re-forming in Burbank, CA as the DC Digital Comics division, headed by former WildStorm Vice President Hank Kanalz. Lee was quick to credit Kanalz with a lot of DC and WildStorm’s recent successes, including a lot of their licensed comics and the current digital rollout. The panel also came with hints of new Red Lantern and Jim Lee projects.It was a lively but very conversational panel, much like most of the Town Hall panels, so formal announcements took a back seat to discussions, running jokes and back-and-forth between fans and creators. The conversation largely centered on the in-progress digital revolution, with DiDio and Lee continuing to point out that print comics are far from dead while seeking opinions from the audience about the emerging new market. Kanalz mentioned the possibility of adopting the Blu-Ray model, where print comics include download codes so that fans don’t have to double-dip with print and digital copies.

On DAY AND DATE: Lee discussed logistical problems with day-and-date comics, mentioning that the approval process for the Apple Apps Store, the leading marketplace for digital content of this nature, currently takes longer than the lead time required for printing a traditional comic book.

On DIGITAL-ONLY COMICS: Kanalz promised announcements at an upcoming panel focused on the subject.

On ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS: DiDio told a story about a fan reading “Brightest Day” on an iPad in an airport lounge at 12:30 in the morning. Not realizing that “Brightest Day” was not a legal digital download, DiDio leaned in and complimented the colors and quality, at which point the fan replied: “I know who you are, Dan DiDio. I promise I’ll buy the trade!”

On a RED LANTERN COMIC: “If there were one, I’d love to see it in the first quarter of next year,” DiDio said.

On ART IN DIGITAL COMICS: Jim Lee compares seeing his work digitally to how actors were frustrated with high definition video, because it exposed more detail than the creators intended. Like filmmakers, comics artists will presumably have to modify their methods to suit the high definition age.

On KIDS COMICS: This will also be in Hank Kanalz’s purview, and DiDio said he’s working on “the most ambitious young readers’ comic ever.”

On JIM LEE’S JUSTICE LEAGUE: DiDio asked fans what they’d do if they were running DC, and someone said he’d have Jim Lee on “Justice League of America.” Lee did not say anything and just nodded in a manner best described as coy, so it’s probably safe to assume that something along those lines is in development.

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