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As part of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, the DC Entertainment – All Access: DC NOW! Panel featured a group of DC’s writers and artists, including Chief Creative Officer and “Green Lantern” and “Aquaman” writer Geoff Johns, “Batman” writer Scott Snyder, writer/artist Rob Liefeld, artist Amanda Conner, writer Jimmy Palmiotti, writer Scott Lobdell and writer/artist Brian Buccellato speaking to fans about their books and what’s in store for their characters heading into the future.
Promising an advanced peek at some of the things DC has in the pipeline for the #13 issues later this year, the panelists entered to cheers and applause from the audience, editors Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase joining the talent onstage.
Starting with “Batman: Earth One,” Johns began praising artist Gary Frank’s artwork on the graphic novel.
“It’s very character-centric and you’ll see new takes on Alfred and Batman…and Penguin,” Johns said of his story.
Showing the cover for “Aquaman” #12, Johns joked, “Aquaman looks pissed!”
On a more serious note, “This is an image that reflects Aquaman calling the Justice League out and saying we need to be a team, we’re not being a team,” Johns said of the issue. Moving onto “Justice League” issue #0, Johns promised that Shazam will be joining the team, “In their second year, and Black Adam is around as well,” Johns added.
Displaying the “Justice League” #13 cover Johns told the audience the issue will bring in the Wonder Woman villain Cheetah, leading into next year’s Trinity War.
“Why does a Green Lantern carry a gun?” Johns asked about the cover to “Green Lantern” issue #0, where a new Green Lantern kicks off the Third Army story. Johns then joked that the new Green Lantern carried it as backup in case the energy ring went out, as guns don’t need energy. Johns then explained that the story in the issue surrounds the Guardians as they try to clean up the universe by getting rid of free will, creating a “Third Army to get rid of free will,” Johns said.
“‘Green Lantern Annual’ #1 is where it all starts,” Johns added.
Johns then said the #0 issue of Aquaman will show Aquaman dealing with the lost city of Atlantis.
“I love that dog!” Johns said looking at the cover for issue #13 where the whole Aqua family appears as the audience laughed.
Moving onto the cover for “Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre” issue #4 Conner explained, “Without giving too much away she’s gone to San Francisco, and it’s just before the summer of love…and she’s experimenting with things not everyone should experiment with.”
“She may be doing the experimental drugs for reference,” Palmiotti, Conner’s husband, joked.
“I make you take them and tell me what they do,” Conner laughed.
“That’s why there’s a clown in ‘Jonah Hex’ next week,” Palmiotti laughed as the audience cracked up.
Going onto Palmiotti and Conner’s digital series “Ame-Comi Girls,” Palmiotti plugged the comic, explaining that the print version will come out in October and will collect the first four issues or so.
“I like drawing Amazons!” Conner said as an image of Wonder Women from the series flashed up onscreen.
Speaking about the #0 issue of “All-Star Western,” Palmiotti stated the issue will, “show how [Hex] became the man in front of us, ripping through paper and shooting into the air,” Palmiotti said as the audience cracked up.
“It’s an origin story but it continues the story into the next one, which is clowns,” Palmiotti added, explaining there is a Jekyll and Hyde “type storyline” in the upcoming “All-Star Westner” book as people in Gotham are getting infected with some substance driving them crazy.
Rounding out Palmiotti and Conner’s contributions to DC, they showed the image for the second issue of the “Phantom Lady” miniseries.
“You’re going to get the origin, who they are, what they are,” Palmiotti said of the first issue, stating that there will be more characters he and co-writer Justin Gray have worked on in the past popping in.
Snyder then spoke about the “Batman” #0 issue. “It exists in between the spaces you haven’t seen in Gotham…you’re going to see the Red Hood gang in a very different light,” said Snyder, adding that readers will see Bruce set up in a, “very different part of the Bat cave” and having a very different approach.
“Bruce is the demon before he learns to be a man,” Snyder continued, promising readers will see a brand new Bat cycle and gear.
Talking about the Joker story beginning in “Batman” #13, Snyder explained that Joker sees his place in Gotham as the court jester to Batman’s king, and is not happy about being forgotten by Batman during his year-long hiatus.
“[Joker] is like…I serve you as you serve a King…by forsaking me I will come after you,” Snyder said.
Snyder then explained that originally he was not excited about doing the “Talon” book as he didn’t, “want to milk the court of Owls.” However, when one of his former students came to him with a story, writer James Tynion IV, Snyder gave him the chance to write on the series, detailing the adventures of a Talon on the run from the Court.
On “Swamp Thing” #0, Snyder told the audience, “It focuses on Alec Holland and gives you the secret story to the explosion that turned him into Swamp Thing…but it’s told through the eyes of Anton Arcane.” Stating that the issue will also dive into Arcane’s past, Snyder said the issue sets up the “Rotworld” crossover beginning in issue #13 of his book and “Swamp Thing.”
“You’ll see him wearing little girl skin and tearing heads off and busting out of things…and then I go and play with my kid,” Snyder said as the audience laughed.
Talking about the Rotworld, Snyder said Poison Ivy will have a very big part and has positioned her as a “warrior” defending the Green against the Rot.
Speaking about the “Swamp Thing Annual,” Snyder said the issue will take readers to the castle were Arcane lives and show, “How many Swamp Things he’s killed, how many Swamp Things heads are on the wall and…Abby’s powers,” Snyder said.
Moving onto his Vertigo “American Vampire” series, Snyder told fans the next issues has Pearl and Skinner killing vampires in Hollywood in the 1950s, “And she’s also falling for Skinner, unfortunately,” Snyder said. He added that the story has a definite ending and the issues will begin changing things up with that in mind.
Liefeld took over with “Savage Hawkman” issue #0, telling audiences that in his first few issues Carter Hall has been trying to figure out the nth metal while being attacked by those interested in taking it from him, issue #12 leading right into the #0 issue.
“It’s a giant space opera with the fall of Thanagar…we introduce Carter was an adopted son of the royal family,” Liefeld said, adding, “It sets the stage for ‘Hawkman: Wanted’…[where] Carter learns that when he is located on Earth he is an intergalactic criminal…he now has to prove his innocence.” The issues after that will cross over with “Green Arrow,” and include Red Hood, Starfire and Deathstroke.
“It’s a little bit of Dune, a little bit of Ten Commandments,” Liefeld added, describing the book and showing an image of Lady Hawk on the cover of issue #12.
Describing “Deathstroke” #0, Liefeld continued that Slade’s origin issue ties into “Team 7” as Slade was a part of the team. “After #0 we spin into Slade’s demons coming back to haunt him,” Liefeld said.
On “Grifter,” Liefeld explained readers will learn how many like Grifter were created, as well as Grifter fighting with Voodoo in issue #13.
Lobdell, who took over “Superman” with #0 as well as writing “Superboy” #0, promised readers will see “Krypton in a way you’ve never seen before [in ‘Superman],'” Lobdell said.
“We’re going to examine what it means to be the single most powerful person on the planet…but you’re hiding out in humanity hoping to blend [in],” Lobdell said of his first story arc on “Superman.”
“I could not be more excited, I wrote a twenty-five page proposal…I championed for it like this was my very first job,” Lobdell said about his enthusiasm on taking over “Superman.”
Lobdell then promised in “Teen Titans” that Raven will be joining the team, as well as Supergirl. The audience cheered, then cheered again in response to Lobdell asking who wanted to see a “Teen Titans” spinoff.
“Teen Titans’ fights Joker and the Court Of The Owls,'” Lobdell joked.
“I love your Tim [Drake] story for ‘Teen Titans’ #0,” Snyder told Lobdell.
Buccellato then told the audience that he and Francis Manapul were not changing Barry Allen’s origins but will build up, “Side of Barry Allen you’ve never seen before,” in the “Flash” #0 issue.
After that, “350 billion gorillas are going to attack Central City, so the odds are not in his favor,” Buccellato said about issue #13 as the audience laughed. The “Flash Annual” Rogues storyline will also tail into the gorilla invasion, Buccellato said.
“And there is no Wally in this run, I’m sorry,” Buccellato added as the audience groaned.
On that note the panel ended, the panelists encouraging fans to support the We Can Be Heroes hunger initiative and visit the Darkness And Light gallery benefit exhibit located in downtown San Diego.