It’s the first day of New York Comic Con, and DC Comics got things rolling on Thursday afternoon with the “DC All Access” panel featuring Marguerite Bennett (the writer of the freshly announced new “Batwoman” series), Steve Orlando (“Supergirl” and “Midnighter and Apollo”), Joshua Williamson (“The Flash,” “Frostbite”) and Shea Fontana (“DC Super Hero Girls”).
On the panel, along with Bennett, Orlando, Williamson and Fontana: DC Collectibles VP Kevin Kiniry and Warner Bros. Interactive lead designer Sean Dugan. Kiniry kicked things off by showing a look at a Nightwing statue from the “Batman: Black and White” line, based on the art of Jim Lee from the “Hush” storyline; plus statues from the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film.
Kiniry discussed the impact of Bennett on giving stories to “DC Comics: Bombshells,” as the comic book series she writes was inspired by the DC Collectibles line. “It really was Marguerite who brought them fully to life,” he said.
“We took eight months and designed this complete world, this alternate history, with all the iconic DC heroines, with the conceit that all the women came first — that no heroine would be derivative of a male counterpart,” Bennett said. “I wake up giddy to work on the series every day.”
Bennett also discussed the newly announced “Batwoman” series, announced earlier today. “There’s a period of these lost years in Batwoman’s back story,” she told the crowd. “We’ve got this missing time. We’re going to be going in to those lost years, meeting with people she thought she left behind, and suffering the consequences — for her and the Bat-family.”
Orlando addressed the upcoming “Justice League of America” series, and why there needs to be a Justice League “of America” when there’s already a Justice League. “‘The Justice League “of America’ is the Justice League that looks like America,” Orlando said, speaking of the importance of representation throughout the team’s roster. Among the team members: Atom (Ryan Choi), Killer Frost, The Ray, Vixen.
Orlando on Vixen: “She’s a character that demands respect, and has untold potential with her power.” Speaking of The Ray, Orlando said the character has “the hottest jacket every created” and that he’s excited the character, established as gay in “Multiversity,” represents “visibility, light and hope.” Orlando said he wasn’t able to talk much about Killer Frost’s role yet, but readers will see why she’s part of the team.
Moving to “Supergirl,” Orlando said the character’s strength comes from compassion. “It’s easy to react with violence, and certainly there are characters that do that, but it’s even more powerful to look at them in the eye and try to understand them,” he said. “What’s powerful is her point of view.”
Williamson told the crowd about “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.” “There’s a lot of fighting in this book,” Williamson said, adding that there are things in the final product he didn’t think DC would let him do — but they did. “In the world of the Justice League, why is there a Suicide Squad? Why are they necessary? There are reasons. Does Batman agree with those reasons? No. He’s Batman.”
There are 25 characters in the “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad” story, according to Williamson. “There is a lot of fighting, but there is some definite emotional stuff.” Williamson said he’s especially excited about Howard Porter drawing the final issue of the series, as he’s a major fan of Grant Morrison and Porter’s late ’90s “JLA” run.
After the screening of a new “DC Super Hero Girls” short, Fontana talked her experience working on the franchise. “It’s so fun to get to play with all these characters, as you’ve never seen them before,” she said. The “DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 2: Hits and Myths” original graphic novel is scheduled for release on Oct. 26, featuring Etrigan the Demon (known for rhyming) as a poetry professor.
“DC Super Hero Girls” will also get a digital-first series, titled “DC Super Hero Girls: Past Times at Super Hero High.”
A trailer screened for new mobile RPG “DC Comics Legends,” available in November. “This is a game that once you download it and start playing it, there will be a regular rhythm where new characters are added to the game, so it’ll be an ever-growing roster,” Dugan said.
Orlando and Williamson briefly told the crowd about the promises for current Batman titles crossover “Night of the Monster Men” and Vertigo series “Frostbite,” respectively.
Orlando on “Midnighter and Apollo”: “They spent time apart they know they can stand as individuals, but they know they’re stronger together,” Orlando said. “With Apollo there, the scale is larger,” the writer continued, comparing the series to the “Midnighter” book he wrote.
Talking the importance of writing “DC Super Hero Girls,” Fontana said, “Everything they do, no matter if it’s good or bad, it’s their own choices. It’s a huge responsibility, to show these heroes and to have this diverse, inclusive cast of characters.”
Bennett said there’s a “five-year plan” for “DC Comics: Bombshells.” Talking “Batwoman,” she said as a child the character she loved were Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman — because they didn’t have to be good, they just had to be themselves. Bennett told the crowd the interaction of the Batwoman character was “genuinely life-changing” for her, seeing a lesbian Batwoman take a prominent place in the Bat-titles.
“She was passionate, and she was flawed, and she screwed up, and she got back on the horse,” Bennett said at the conclusion of the session. “She was always the dream. I’ve hit the ceiling. I can’t go up from here.”