DC Comics held its first New 52 panel at Comic-Con International, in San Diego, with more panels focused on the line-wide September relaunch to follow throughout the weekend. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio was joined on stage by Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, Executive Editor Eddie Berganza, JT Krul, Paul Levitz, Paul Cornell, Cliff Chiang, Dan Jurgens, Freddie Williams II, and Scott Lobdell.
“The words I heard in the beginning were ‘scared, worried, nervous,” DiDio said of the New 52 initiative. He then asked fans who felt this way, why. One fan said simply, “I was scared and nervous you were going to screw it up!” Another said, “I was scared we’d lose the diversity and that everyone would be white males again.”
DiDio then asked, “what would we have to do to change your mind?” The suggestion “Hire women!” got loud applause. When the fan asked why the rate of women in credits had gone from 12% to 1%, DiDio pressed him for names of who DC should hire. The fan’s suggestion was “Valentine” writer Alex De Campi, and other suggested Nicola Scott.
DiDio said that DC hears fan concerns, and understands their anxiety that the publisher respect past stories. He added that the goal is to breathe new life into the publishing program. “People talk about numbering, but those numbers don’t matter if they end and there’s nothing to replace them.”
A fan asked why Batwoman is the only Jewish character. Levitz noted that Colossal Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes is Jewish.
DiDio then had the creators speak about their work. Jurgens began with “Justice League International,” which will now be sponsored by the UN and “a team of international members from all over the world, with a constantly changing membership.
Chiang said his and Brian Azzarello’s “Wonder Woman” would “hit the ground running.” “We don’t need to know what Wonder Woman’s origin is again.” Chiang said that, in a digital age, he wants his style to look “hand drawn.”
Addressing the question of Wonder Woman’s seemingly disappearing pants, Chiang said, “her pants are actually retractable.”
Chiang added that the gods will feel contemporary-“they can change how they look”-and may initially be unnamed, leaving readers to investigate who’s who.
Speaking on “Captain Atom,” Williams noted that it wouldn’t be entirely clear from colored artwork but “Captain Atom is rendered in greywash,” giving a visual cue that the hero is separate from the harsh lines of the rest of his world.
Lobdell then spoke about “Teen Titans.” “How many of you are excited about ‘Teen Titans?” he asked, to applause. “How many think I’m going to really screw it up?” again to applause. “You are so wrong!”
Lobdell also said he would try not to repeat things that have already been done with the characters, noting distinctive new features for Red Robin and Wonder Girl.
In “Green Arrow,” Krul said Ollie Queen will again have a corporation, Q-Corp, which is “a little Apple-esque, with the qPad and stuff like that.” Trick arrows will also return as “we’re amping up his power set.”
Jurgens, who is pencilling “Green Arrow,” said George Perez is “doing a bang-up job” inking.
Cornell hyperbolically described “Demon Knights” as “The Malificent Seven,” and described the fall of Camelot as “quite messy,” showing art to illustrate his point.
“I’ve got the entire Medieval DC Universe to play with! It’s awesome!”
Moving on to “Stormwatch,” Cornell said, “Yes, they are, in reference to the question you’re all going to ask-I should get a t-shirt made that says, ‘Yes, they’re still gay.'”
He said that Stormwatch look down on the “strange amateurs in capes,” and would never call themselves superheroes. A page was shown of the team fighting the moon. “It’s the favorite line I’ve ever written in comics-yes, they’re fighting the moon!”
Cornell said that Oracle fans may want to check out one of his new stories, though he admitted that it’s impossible to simply “replace one character with another.” Cornell said that there’s a new archer in “Demon Knights” who “rides a horse because she can’t walk.”
After Levitz said that his vision of the Legion’s future era changes every chance he has to start fresh, DiDio opened the floor to questions.
In response to the first question, DiDio said that DC does want to use the Marvel Family, but they’ve been in the process of sorting out where he fits. “By the time the second wave [of new titles] comes out, we should have something for the Marvel Family.”
Asked about overload, Harras said, “I’m very aware you’re paying money for our books,” and said that the goal of the New 52 was to get people excited, and that the new art that’s coming through is exciting to him.
A fan suggested bringing Neil Gaiman to the DCU. “There are certain people who happen to have an open invitation to come back. Neil Gaiman is one of those people,” DiDio said.
Will Booster Gold be aware of the reboot? Jurgens said, “In the final issue of ‘Booster Gold,’ which is #47, we’ll address that.”
DiDio said that “the first 52 books are not the only things we’re doing,” but added that he didn’t want to overload the market. He added that “we are not going to miss shipping on any of these books.” DiDio noted that fans have stopped buying late titles, so DC is now committed to making sure books arrive at their expected times to hold fans’ interest.
Clarifying a fan’s question about Hal Jordan losing his ring yet being n the Justice League, Berganza said that “Justice League” is set five years in the past, as is “Action Comics.”
DiDio added, “you get two interesting bites there, but the rest take place in the current DC Universe,” with the notable exception of “Demon Knights.”
Asked about Wally West and his family, DiDio said “there are no plans for Wally West in the ‘Flash,'” because that series is about the “uniqueness of who [Barry Allen] is and how he moves through the world.”
Berganza has a timeline of the new DCU “that you will never see,” but one that organizes the new universe. He added that real people “have history, but that doesn’t mean you tell people about it all at once.” Characters in the new DCU will reveal themselves in the same way.
DiDio said that “Damian Wayne is still Robin, and Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd have all been Robin, too.”
A fan asked whether the new “Wonder Woman” comic might focus more on her compassionate, embassadorial role rather than her warrior persona. Chiang hesitatingly said “we’re not focusing on that,” but “there will be a human side to her” and “the covers may be more extreme than what’s in the book.”