DC Comics opened its C2E2 presence with the All Access panel. Featuring Editor in Chief Bob Harras, Editorial Director Bobbie Chase, Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns, J. Michael Straczynski, Shane Davis, David Finch, Kevin Maguire and Scott Snyder, the panel gathered in a jam-packed panel room during the late hours in day one of C2E2 2012 for a backstage pass into the current events of the DC Universe including the latest storylines of the New 52.
The panel kicked off into full speed with Geoff Johns speaking about the DC Free Comic Book Day issue. “It’s a story that really sets the stage for a lot of things that are coming in DC Comics,” said Johns, who teased a 4-page Jim Lee foldout.
Johns also mentioned the second storyarc for “Justice League,” called “The Villain’s Journey.” “By the end of ‘Justice League’ #12, the team is radically different,” Johns teased.
The writer also expounded on the expanded role and evolution of Cyborg. “You’ll see his storyline as the story unfolds is pretty integral to the whole team,” said Johns. “He can actually boom tube around,” but one out of every dozen times, the team actually gets transported to Apokalips.
“Aquaman” and The Others was next, and Johns teased the presense of a “golden relic” with ties to Atlantis. Although Johns was tight-lipped on “Green Lantern” development, he did note Black Hand would have a major role to play in the upcoming storyline.
Johns also gave a few details on the highly anticipated “Batman: Earth One” original graphic novel. “It’s a very different Alfred in the book, it’s a very different Commissioner Gordon,” he said. “Gary’s just doing the work of his career on this. The script is 180 pages long. … I’m really, really excited about it. … You’ll actually say, ‘I can’t believe Alfred’s a badass.'”
This led to a perfect transition to “Superman: Earth One” Volume Two by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis. “Against us, we have a huge action setpiece as the Parasite emerges for the first time. He’s a serial killer needing energy getting that from people including Superman,” Straczynski said, noting the Clark side would consist of him attempting to move to Metropolis, find an apartment, flashing back to having “the conversation” with his dad and an awkward kiss with a girl next door.
Davis noted Straczynski’s concept for Parasite heavily influenced his design for the villain, which includes throbbing yellow blisters in his most dangerous form. “Stage one is he can barely even walk. Stage two is the commonplace version,” said Davis. “The final fight will be with [stage three] version of Parasite. Since he’s a serial killer, I liked the idea he knew how to fight. … I worked in things like knees to the head, there were some cheap punches.” Davis also said Straczynski vetoed one part of the fight which involved Superman gouging Parasite’s eyes out.
Scott Snyder was up next, speaking first about the newest “American Vampire” arc, “The Blacklist,” which picks up in 1955 in Hollywood. “This one really brings Pearl and Skinner together killing vampires in glamorous Hollywood,” said Snyder. “It brings back Calvin and a lot of characters in the first arc. Rafael [Albuquerque] said earlier, ‘If we both died and this was the last arc we did…that would be okay.'”
“American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares,” takes place in Europe at the same time as “The Blacklist,” but stars Felicia, Hobbs and Gus against Carpathian vampires with art by Dustin Nguyen.
Snyder moved on to “Swamp Thing,” with a cover reveal of Abby as the avatar of the Rot. “This is the big finale to the arc we’ve been doing,” said Snyder. “It brings the big arc we’ve been doing all year to a close, but it also starts the next one where we introduce Arcane.” The writer also teased a bit about the big “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing” crossover later this year.
The room burst into applause for Snyder’s next tease: “Batman: Night of the Owls.” “This is the big turning point where Bruce is going to kick some serious ass,” he said, saying Batman would be using every Bat-gadget to bring the hurt to the Court of the Owls. “One of the fun things about the storyline is each of the writers [got to decide] which era their Talon was going to be from,” Snyder said, referring to the generations of assassins in the Court, saying how proud and honored he was to be working with the other Bat-book writers. “I’m thrilled just to be a part of it, myself.”
With more Batman goodness, David Finch discussed “Batman: The Dark Knight’s” upcoming issue in “Night of the Owls.” “A lot of the issue shows what happens in ‘Batman’ but from a different angle,” Finch said, mentioning the issue is written by Judd Winick.
Kevin Maguire was up next to speak about his involvement in developing the relationship between Huntress and Power Girl in “World’s Finest.” “I don’t think I’ve ever done a book like this where I do a third of the book,” said Maguire. “I’m doing the stories of when they came from Earth  to Earth . It’s been fun to develop and create the dynamic between these two characters.”
Bob Harras spoke briefly about another “Second Wave” book of the New 52, “Earth 2,” calling it a “grand epic that will effect the New 52 for years ahead.”
After the blitz of creator descriptions, the panel opened up for questions, which kicked off with Snyder teasing there will be an exploration into the relationship between the Waynes and the Kanes.
Harras mentioned the reintroduction of the multiverse has actually been planned since before the beginning of the New 52. “Just bear in mind that everything has been thought out and we really do have new stories coming up with the introduction of this new world,” said Harras.
DC will continue using TV ads to help promote the New 52 collected editions and “Before Watchmen.”
Johns teased Martian Manhunter would play into “Justice League” #8 in some capacity.
Snyder wasn’t able to reveal anything heavy about the events following “Night of the Owls,” but he did tease a bit about the tone. “We’re going to do a big storyline after ‘Night of the Owls’ that’s going to be even bigger and darker,” he teased.
Other questions included requests for old favorite characters and titles to return — one audience member even asked about whether it was a good use of the talent involved in “Before Watchmen” could be better served to help build the universe of the New 52.
“Well, one doesn’t preclude the other,” said Straczynski. “These guys are there because they really want to do it and add to that history. One doesn’t preclude the other.”
Johns spoke about the exploration of Aquaman’s dual life between the surface and the water. “‘The Others’ really explores the dichotomy between his life on land and his life in the ocean and that leads to the whole Atlantis arc that’s coming up next,” said Johns. “Giving him a lot more anchors to the land because he’s connected to it … helps us balance it out.”
skill in order to work for DC Comics.
“It works by hard work,” said Harras. “It works by sitting at your desk and showing what you can do. It works like any other business. … It’s something that takes time.”
“I’d also suggest putting your own books together,” said Johns. “If you hand me an independent comic book, that’s your sample.”
“Trust your own voice, trust your own background,” said Straczynscki. “You have your own voice, respect that. That’ll take you to where you want to go.”
With that, the panel closed. Stay tuned to CBR for more C2E2 2012 coverage.