DC Comics kicked off its Saturday programming at New York Comic Con with the New 52 panel. Now in its second year, the big reboot has brought new takes on classic characters, building a new mythology for DC’s iconic characters. On hand for the panel were “Batman” artist Greg Capullo,” “Demon Knights” artist Bernard Chang, “I, Vampire” writer Joshua Fialkov, “Suicide Squad” scribe Adam Glass, “All Star Western” artist Moritat, “Green Lantern: New Guardians” artist Aaron Kuder, “Animal Man” and “Justice League Dark” writer Jeff Lemire, “Legion of Super-Heroes” writer Paul Levitz, “Sword of Sorcery” writer Christie Marx, “Team 7” writer Justin Jordan, and “Ravagers” writer Howard Mackie. editor Bobbie Chase, Editor in Chief Bob Harras and Executive Editor Eddie Berganza sit at the back of the stage, and DC’s VP Marketing John Cunningham moderated the discussion.
Harras began by speaking about Geoff Johns and David Finch’s “Justice League of America.” “If the Justice League are the world’s greatest superheroes, the Justice League of America are the world’s most dangerous superheroes.”
Beganza came up next to discuss the Superman arc “H’El on Earth.” “H’El comes and kicks him out of his house-he kicks Superman out of the Fortress,” Berganza said, adding that the Justice League and “someone else” would help in the fight. Meanwhile, Supergirl faces a new threat from Krypton in a story that includes “something Bob Harras didn’t want us to do.”
“Batman” writer Scott Snyder came up to the stage to discuss “Death of the Family” alongside Capullo. “This really is the biggest, craziest Joker story we could do,” Snyder said. Joker here has a purpose here, Snyder said. “He could have chosen anywhere,” Snyder continued, but he chose Batman. He sees Batman as a king figure, with Joker playing the truth-telling jester who “keeps him sharp.” “He’s coming up with the sickest, most twisted plan he had, but it’s out of love,” Snyder said.
Snyder also said Capullo is “like my brother on this thing” and contributes to the story itself beyond the visual duties. And, on the subject of fans worrying about Alfred, Snyder joker, “we’ll be as gentle to him as we can, even if we kill him.”
Capullo spoke next, saying he’s “not a BS artist” and doesn’t praise comics lightly. But, reading Snyder’s scripts, he said his face “contorts” through emotions. “One minute I’m in tears, one minute I’m pissed off,” and so on. He said he might be “jaded” and his wife doesn’t normally read comics at all-“so if it’s getting this reaction from us,” Capullo said, they may actually be creating the great “Batman stories you want and deserve.”
Bobbie Chase came next to talk about “Earth 2.” “We’re loving the stories we’re seeing coming out of James Robinson and Nicola Scott, and we hoped that would translate to you-and so far it has.” She said issue #5 would see the return of Steppenwolf and “the last Amazon of Earth-2.”
On “Animal Man,” Lemire said that he and Snyder had read each other’s scripts from the beginning, but a crossover with “Swamp Thing” wasn’t always in the plans. Now that “Rotworld” is happening, though, he noted that “second-tier champions are becoming the champions of the DCU.” The Green Lantern that will be appearing is “not one you’ve seen so far in New 52,” he teased.
Lemire also spoke on “Justice League Dark,” where Frankenstein will join and Andrew Bennet of “I, Vampire” will return. Ray Fawkes is coming onto the series as co-writer. The “Books of Magic” story arc will “reveal the fate of Timothy Hunter” but beyond that, readers will have to wait and see.
The Man-Bat of “Rotworld” is “not the Man-Bat you know but maybe another Bat you know, maybe someone who has her own book at the moment,” Lemire said,
Moritat said that there would a Hex/Adam Strange team-up in “All Star Western” when Hex journeys to the future of 2050.
Levitz, noting that “we’re becoming increasingly dependent on technology,” said that “in a thousand years, we may be even more dependent, and that stuff may all stop working.” That will be the focus of an upcoming “Legion” arc with Keith Giffen.
Glass next spoke on “Suicide Squad,” showing a cover that would suggest “Deadshot isn’t dead-I know, surprising, right?” A long-seeded plot involving Resurrection Man’s hand and other elements will change the dynamic of the team and its relationship with Amanda Waller.
In “I, Vampire,” Andrew Bennett has inadvertently “absorbed all the evil” of vampires, including “the First Vampire, making him the ultimate Big Bad.” In a reversal, Bennett’s former lover and series villain Mary is now human “and just wants Andrew back.”
Jordan said that “Team 7,” set five years before the present New 52, is a bit of an origin story for each character. The group faces Eclipso in its first arc, and “Eclipso is a world threat, so the team has their hands full.”
Continuing with “Deathstroke,” Jordan said Deathstroke is “a guy who, given enough time, can solve any problem, and usually his problem is ‘how do I kill this guy?'” The challenge, then, comes when Slade receives a contract to kill “a guy who literally cannot be killed.”
Mackie joked that the cover on display was a spoiler, describing how each of the character is maimed and dies before “the rest of the team goes on to murder the entire DC universe–but we kill Alfred last.”
New “Demon Knights” artist Bernard Chang said “before this book, I’d never drawn a book of this genre” but “I’m having a blast.” Chang described the current Avalon arc. “So I have to draw four armies battling each other over the course of three issues.” When Venditti takes over, “we’re going to be jumping 30 years in the future-it sounds like a long time, but it’s still way in the past.”
“Sword of Sorcery” writer Christie Marx began by saying that, “as a woman who has read comics her whole life, I’m very happy to see so many women here today.” As to her Amethyst story, she said there would be “a ‘Game of Thrones’ feel to it,” focusing on “dynastic intrigues” contending for power.
Kuder then spoke about “Green Lantern: New Guardians.” Capullo interjected to say ‘He was an electrician before with all this talent! … Now I feel like I have to go out and learn to be an electrician so we’re even!” Back on point, Kuder described the “Rise of the Third Army” issues as seeing Kyle Rayner fighting the Guardians, but, “apparently we don’t get there because everybody dies in ‘Suicide Squad.'”
At this point, Cunningham opened the floor to questions. The first was whether New 52 Wave 4 would hit in January. Cunningham dodged, but said there would be new series as writers come up with compelling stories.
A fan asked whether the Third Army, which is out to obliterate will power, ties into the Anti-Life Equation. He said that “I think you’ll be very surprised about what happens with the Third Army,” but would not confirm whether Anti-Life would play in immediately.
Asked whether Milestone characters will play in to the New 52, Cunningham said simply “Yes.”
Harras said there will be more “National Comics” one-shots, but would not reveal more.
On the subject of Wildstorm’s integration into the DCU, Jordan said he loved the original Wildstorm books and, for the revamp,”looked at the context of the DC Universe and what elements from Wildstorm makes sense-and not all of it does.”
Asked about the possibility of seeing Blue Beetle Ted Kord again. “Never say never,” Cunningham said.
The panelists were then asked what color lantern they’d be. Capullo: “I’m always in black, man.” Lemire offered “peuce,” while Fialkov suggested “Invisible.”
“I have to draw them all, so I can’t have allegiance to just one,” Kuder said.
Asked about Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, Cunningham suggested fans “keep reading the books.”
A fan wanted to know whether the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship would last. “You could ask that of any couple in this room,” Cunningham shrugged.
Cunningham said Static would have a big role to play coming up.
Asked how Capullo felt about the new Joker with his detachable face, the artist said it was actually easier starting fresh. Some of the new, fun tricks he can try is that “since the fact is no longer on ice, it could decay a little bit” and the joker could occasionally have to adjust his face the way others adjust their tie.
“And with that cheery note, the panel is over,” Cunningham announced.
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