What’s new at DC Entertainment? In addition to DC Comics’ New 52 and Vertigo’s horror and mature readers titles, recent years have seen considerable excitement for Cartoon Network series like “Young Justice” and “Teen Titans Go!” and films including last year’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and the upcoming “Man of Steel.” And, of course, blockbuster fighting game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” hit stores this month, giving fans the chance to pick their favorite hero and put the hurt on Batman, Green Arrow, and more. For DC’s first panel at C2E2, Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, Editorial Director Bobbie Chase, and VP Marketing John Cunningham were on hand to present the publisher’s upcoming projects in comics and beyond.
The panel, titled “DC 101,” was intended to introduce new fans to DC’s heroes in all media, Cunningham began. After introducing Harras and Chase, Cunningham turned to his first slide promoting We Can Be Heroes, DC’s campaign to raise money to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.
“Man of Steel” was next up for discussion. “The countdown has begun, we’re less than two months away–the movie opens June 14,” Cunningham said. The Superman reboot is directed by Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. Cunningham then played the popular third trailer.
Asked who his favorite Superman villain is, Harras cited Brainiac. “He would show up and steal an entire city, keep it in a bottle–as a kid, it was just terrifying.” Chase chose H’El, a New 52 villain she described as “very creepy.” Cunningham picked Zod.
For Free Comic Book Day, DC will be offering a Superman comic highlight Zod as well as a DC Nation Super Sampler for kids, featuring “Beware the Batman” and “Teen Titans Go!”
“Arrow” came next, with Cunningham describing it as a big success and mentioning it has been renewed for a second season. He showed a preview for an upcoming episode from this season. The season finale is May 15.
“I think what ‘Arrow’ has done is in a lot of ways what we’ve done in the New 52,” Harras said. “We’re trying to make Ollie a guy you identify with,” he added, noting that he enjoys the integration of characters like Deathstroke.
Chase noted she’s impressed at “how dark ‘Arrow’ goes,” saying that “he’s not always the hero.”
“Injustice” drew large applause, as fans are enjoying the recently-released fighter and its digital comic tie-in. “I think what’s making ‘Injustice’ such a big hit is that it’s really connecting on a story level, as well,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham next turned to “Smallville Season 11,” which is published first digitally and then in print in single-issue and trade paperback editions.
“Teen Titans Go!” came up, with Cunningham saying that its primetime slot gave it a large, broad audience. “Beware the Batman” will also run on Saturdays, and fans were treated to a brief preview of that show. Cunningham said that the show will feature more current villains, including Professor Pyg from Grant Morrison’s run.
C2E2’s con-exclusive figures got a shout, including the Aardman Studios Batman and Robin and a Green Lantern set featuring Guy Gardner and Larfleeze.
“Lego Batman: The Movie” is the project Cunningham is most excited about, he said, and a clip followed. It will be in stores May 21.
In a similar vein, “Batman ’66” came up next, a comic series based on the Adam West/Burt Ward TV show continuity. But on the creepier side, Cunningham said the first printing of the “Death of the Family” trade will feature an acetate cover replicating the Joker mask covers from the single issues.
Cunningham showed the Chip Kidd-designed covers to the “Before Watchmen” hardcovers. “Start with ‘Watchmen,’ and when you’ve dug your claws into that continue with these,” he said.
“DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2013” will be a free comic-sized supplement highlighting the publisher’s back catalog, to be published at the end of May in print and digital. Originally intended as a retailer tool, Cunningham said that, while in production, “we decided we really have to show this to everybody.”
Cunningham then opened the floor to questions.
A fan asked about the possibility of DC’s “dark” characters in other media. “I know from working with Geoff Johns and his crew that that is his intent,” Cunningham said, but “first we have to get past the majors.”
The next question asked whether “Arrow” would eventually feature super-powered characters. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” Harras said. “I don’t know, but anything could happen.” Chase added, “We’ve heard a lot about what characters they want to use, but not how they’ll use them.”
A fan asked about a DVD collection of the “DC Nation” animated shorts, a question that Cunningham said had been echoed the previous day by retailers. He did say that many of them are available on DCComics.com.
After a question about Shazam–“the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel”–Harras said what’s being done with him in the comics is “leading toward something epic.”
Given the many takes on the Teen Titans in cartoons, a fan asked whether fans of one version or another would be divided. “My personal dream is that all Teen Titans fans live in harmony,” Cunningham joked. But he said he hopes that the quality of the current version will speak for itself.
Asked about a Justice League or Wonder Woman movie, Cunningham said “Watch this space,” adding that fans should go see “Man of Steel” to show an interest in the heroes. And, alluding to the pace of Hollywood, “decisions have been made, watch this space.”
A fan suggested a “Judas Contract” or “Final Crisis” animated movie, naming a few others in the process, and adding that he’d like to see fans vote on the next movie project. Cunningham said the fan “may have named a thing that’s already in development, but I’m not going to tell you what.”
Asked about future Lego properties, Cunningham said, “I think it would be everybody’s dream to see Vertigo Legos.”
Cunningham said that are plans for many more video games. “Video games are hot hot hot,” he said, adding that, in addition to “Arkham Origin,” there are “many projects we know about and I would be shot through the head if I named any of them.”
Although the “Fables” television show failed to materialize, Cunningham said there are plans for something new in that area.
A fan asked about a potential “Crime Syndicate of America” series in the New 52. After Cunningham and Harras shied away from answering, the fan said that he’d been waiting years to ask. “You asked that question about a month before you should have asked it,” Cunningham said.
The next fan asked about DVDs of the “Static Shock” cartoon, to which Cunningham replied that fans could take to Twitter and Facebook to make their voices heard. The fan added that he would also like to see a new Static comic.
Harras said unambiguously that there are no plans to publish any new pre-“Flashpoint” stories, as the New 52 is where they are right now.