During the course of his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, James Robinson discussed with the assembled fans his work in the comics industry, past present and future. Aside form a brief interruption by the CCI staff who arrived to present the writer with an Inkpot Award, Robinson allowed the fans direct the flow of the panel by running the entire hour as a question and answer session.
The panel opened with a look to the past as the first question posed to Robinson was about his long running comic series “Starman,” from DC Comics, asking how much of the story the writer had plotted out in adnvace and what he came up with on the fly, since there was clearly a definitive beginning middle and end to the tale. Robinson said the series was “about 50/50” planned and freestyle. He praised the DC editorial team, saying that he was given “freedom to find my own way,” joking that his real goal had been to beat the length of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” run.
Asked if there would be a Starman in Robinson’s current DC book “Earth 2,” the author declined to go into specifics, saying only that he will likely address that question next year. He did, however, inform the audience that they should be keeping their eyes peeled for the reveal of Hourman in issue eight. He also said “Earth 2” will be leading toward an eventual crossover in which the Justice Society meets the Justice League.
At this point, a representative of Comic-Con international arrived to present Robinson with the coveted Ink Pot Award, causing the assembled fans to erupt in cheers. “I am quite moved,” Robinson told the audience upon receiving the award.
Once things settled down, Robinson continued forward with the question and answer session. It was not long before someone asked about the controversy surrounding the sexual orientation of Earth 2’s Green Lantern, Alan Scott. “There are so few gay characters in comics. I didn’t think it would be a problem because DC is a pretty cool company.” Most of the controversy revolved around the fundamentalist group One Million Moms, which urged people to write to DC in protest. However, the group was instead ended up shutting down their Facebook page after fans spoke up in support of the new Alan Scott’s lifestyle. “I have a responsibility to make him a well-rounded character,” Robinson told the audience. “It could be a positive thing.”
Indeed, it is Robinson’s intent that the Justice Society be considerably more diverse than your typical super team. He discussed plans to introduce more international characters to the team, including a Canadian version of the golden age Sandman and some characters who may be undergoing sex changes.
As he continued to discuss upcoming “Earth 2” plans, Robinson also delved a bit into the series’ development, saying the original idea was for the story to take place in the 1960’s before it was decided to go with a younger Justice Society in our current time period. This ended up flipping the ages between the Justice League and the Justice Society, leaving the Justice League characters (who survived the first issue) the elder statesmen. Robinson also said that on Earth 2, all of DC’s traditional fictional cities like Gotham and Metropolis have been destroyed and the stories will take place in real locations.
For fans looking for more female characters in their comics, Robinson hinted at having some things up his sleeve. Though he would not reveal the identity of any upcoming characters, he did say “Earth 2” will feature a black female reporter.
The discussion moved on to some of Robinson’s creator-owned properties as the writer hinted at an announcement during the then-upcoming Image Comics panel, a project CBR readers now know is “The Saviors” with art by J. Bone. Unfortunately for fans of his previous creator-owned work, “Leave it to Chance,” there are no plans to continue forward with the series at this moment, as artist Paul Smith has gone “missing in action.” Robinson did make a point of telling the crowd that if he and Smith ever reconnect, he would love to do more.
The panel circled back to “Earth 2” to close when Robinson answered in the affirmative a question about whether fans could expect to see Dr. Midnight join the new Justice Society. Robinson sees the Justice Society as “a core team with a floating space,” a membership slot which can be filled by any number of characters depending on what the story requires.