DC All Access’ Jason Inman appeared at Comic-Con International in San Diego to offer fans the latest updates about DC Comics’ “Rebirth,” digital comics and more in a special “DC All Access: No Boundaries” panel with “Cyborg” scribe John Semper Jr., “Midnighter and Apollo’s” Steve Orlando, “Batgirl” writer Hope Larson, Amanda Conner and “Batman Beyond’s” Bernard Chang.
“Well, in recent time, it seemed to me that he really… he was kind of a cipher. He was a bit unknown,” Semper explained. “I had no real idea who this guy was. So, when I was reading the issues that precede mine, I started asking myself all kinds of questions, about his personality… his hobbies. I really wanted to know who this guy was.” He added that “Cyborg” will feature more humor, but refused to reveal much more than that, so that readers have “an incentive” to pick the title up.
“Paul [Pelletier] wasn’t going to do the book, but then he read the script and he said he wanted to,” he added. “We’re also going to take time to slow down and find out more about Victor… I was a producer for ‘Spider-Man: The Animated Series’ years ago, and what I used to tell my writers was that we’re not doing the Spider-Man show, we’re doing the Peter Parker show.”
“What was his life like before he became Cyborg? Who are some of the peripheral people who aren’t at STAR Labs? How does he relax? Does he relax?” Semper continued. “Just keeping in mind he does have a human side.”
“Paul has done the first three books. Will [Conrad] is just getting started… I’m loving what I’m doing right now,” he concluded.
Conner spoke a little about “Harley Quinn” as well, saying, “We’re just going to keep her the same… She’s just going to keep doing her crazy insane stuff. We’re going to bring in a lot more friend — and enemies — from the DC Universe. You’re going to see a lot more of the DC Universe.”
“She is always getting new hobbies. She’s got that ind of an attention span… one of her favorite hobbies is trying to be a new superhero,” Conner explained. “We’re going to give her a new hairstyle. She’s going to have a mohawk! She actually has to fight zombies, because everybody’s fighting zombies nowadays… It’s all about the hot dogs.”
As to Lobo’s upcoming appearance in “Harley’s Little Black Book,” Conner said, “They have kind of a love-hate relationship because they’re so alike.”
Chang showed off his “Batman Beyond” shirt, joking, “I’m Batman.”
“Working with Dan [Jurgens] is like working with another artist. We speak the same language… He’s very loose in some of his description, and that lets me some room in terms of pacing and creativity,” he said on a more series note. He added that he just started working on the new “Batman Beyond” series.
“There’s a fine balance between whether it’s too story-centric, or if it’s graphic and design oriented. Ours is a little more graphic,” he said of his covers for the series. “Comics is a medium of teamwork… it’s a whole team effort.”
Larson weighed in on taking “Batgirl” into “Rebirth.” “My book is another one where I’m not really reinventing anything… I’m just continuing on from the previous run. She’s going off to Asia… so I’m taking her out of Burnside briefly, but we’re not changing the costume or the character. Her friends aren’t out of her life; they’re just back home. She’s going away from arc, then she’ll come back,” she explained. She added that “Batgirl and the Birds of Prey” takes place after her series; they do not take place at the same time.”
“It’s a travel book, so I’m taking to a number of real places. She’s going to Japan, Singapore, Seoul… basically, it’s all the places I wish I could go,” she said.
Orlando spoke about “Supergirl,” sharing, “It’s been a while since she’s had a book. It’s been an interesting take to unify the impressions people have of the character… She’s been around for such a long time!” He revealed that a Kryptonian werewolf — a character who has not appeared in comics since 1979 — will appear in the “Rebirth” issue.
“Strength means so much more. It means compassion,” he said. “Plenty of people will catch the bad guy and send him to jail, but Kara will catch the bad guy and send him to jail and check up with him two weeks later… The Girl of Steel to me doesn’t just mean to me bullets bouncing off her chest; it’s her resolve.”
“Unlike Superman, her experience is so much more real… Kara had a life on Krypton. She had friends. She had teachers… I think that informs her whole perspective,” he added.
“We’ll be digging in a little bit with Cyborg Superman. We know that [he is Zor-El] as readers, but she does not,” he revealed. “Despite being a killer robot, he’s extremely relatable… There’s no price he wouldn’t pay [to protect his daughter]. He wanted to save her. He wants to make up for lost time.”
“I think it’s definitely [a good jumping on point] for new readers,” he said. “Supergirl is about hope. Supergirl is about compassion… The show gets it.”
He also touched on his other upcoming series, “Midnighter and Apollo.” “‘Midnighter and Apollo’ started as one thing, which was to me an action-romance story. In the past couple months, it’s still that… but, at the same time, it has potential to mean more than that… It’s about believing yourself, and that’s powerful… He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t stop.”
“There is going to be a character that I thought would never get past editorial,” he shared. “It’s high-octane action but it’s totally different than ‘Midnighter.'”
“There will be no foes [for Cyborg]. There are a lot of different ways to get at someone’s backstory… building up a world around Cyborg, we want to have the core group around STAR Labs, but I want to start developing people outside of that,” Semper said in answer to a fan’s question. “We’re expanding his world.”
Another fan asked the panelists to fan cast their main characters. “I always fan cast Luke Evans as Midnighter,” Orlando said.
“My character has already been cast,” Semper pitched in. “The actor that’s been cast in that role is going to do a wonderful job.”
“I would have to cast somebody with a comedy background, because Barbara Gordon is kind of a mess in her personal life,” Larson said.
“I want to see Kaley Cuoco play Power Girl,” Conner added.
“I’d like to see the guy playing the Black Ranger [in ‘Power Rangers’] to play Terry McGinness,” said Chang.
“[‘Apollo and Midnighter’] picks up after the last series,” Orlando explained, adding that they will not be married in New 52 continued. “They will definitely be together.”
Asked if the screen adaptations of the characters influenced their works, Semper sid, “I would have to say that it’s in the back of my mind a lot, that this character is going to be in a very prominent [role].”
“Not at all,” Larson added.
“We’re kind of a little influenced by the movie,” Conner shared. “We changed Harley’s hair like the movie. A lot of the times, we’re more influenced by crazy things that happen in the world.”
“I would love the for the chance to be influenced by a ‘Midnighter and Apollo’ movie,” Orlando said.
“Not so much cinematic, but with real world issues… being in a colorful world is the world we live in. I want to reflect that,” Chang said.
One fan asked if “Rebirth’s” Batgirl will marry the original and New 52 versions of the characters. “The way I’m writing her is pretty similar to the last two arcs,” Larson explained. “The tone of my book is maybe a little darker than theirs. It’s not as much freewheeling 20-somethings.”
“As we progress through to ‘Rebirth’… we’re dealing with the Jokers. Terminal is also going to pop up,” Chang said of “Batman Beyond’s” new direction. “McGinnis has an awesome rogues gallery of villains… Terry will be back in the suit. [The editor] said, ‘Go ahead and try to paint a new path.’ This is a series set in the DC Universe.”
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