On Thursday, the opening day of Comic-Con International in San Diego, a duo from DC Comics — VP of Marketing John Cunningham and Batman group editor Mark Doyle — took to the dais to discuss upcoming DC Entertainment offerings across all their media formats. The crowd was anxious to hear what the pair had to disclose; while they ultimately left breaking news for panels later into Comic-Con weekend, the session was essentially at State of the Union address for the remainder of 2014.
With a crowd consisting of numerous fans in DC character cosplay ranging from Batman sidekicks Batgirl and Robin to his adversaries Black Mask and a Court of Owls member, it’s only appropriate that the session began with screenings of previously released Batman 75 shorts after the unveiling of Batman Day.
The first, a noir piece by Bruce Timm entitled “Strange Days,” highlights a silent Batman in combat with Doctor Hugo Strange and his henchmen. The Dark Knight speaks only a single line after vanquishing his foes and saving the damsel in distress.
The second was a “Batman Beyond” featurette by Darwyn Cooke. Set in the future, the piece showcases future Batman Terry McGinnis and an aged Bruce Wayne in battle against seven other Batman — plus a final reveal that had the crowd buzzing.
As the discussion shifted to comics, Cunningham discussed the free edition of “Detective Comics” #27 which was released for Batman Day before segueing to “Batman” #33. The issue completes the “Zero Year” storyline and Doyle said ends with “one of my favorite Batman moments of all time.” Cunningham also teased that “Batman” #35 will freak people out — “you will want to have [it] when it comes out.”
Following the discussion of Scott Snyder’s “Batman,” the topic turned to his Vertigo series “American Vampire,” also edited by Doyle. “It’s vampires. It’s the ’60s. What’s not to like?” Doyle asked the crowd. Since he and Snyder are both history buffs, Doyle shared a theory about the series, that it’s “just a trick to make people read about history” as much as he and Snyder do.
Cunningham then discussed their affinity for weekly series, which DC sees as a means of engaging the reader on a weekly basis in a serialized format. Beginning with “Batman Eternal,” Doyle indicated that in contrast to “Zero Year,” the book covers “everything that is going on in Gotham right now” and new storylines launching in October will see their seeds planted in “Eternal.” The pair then discussed ongoing “The New 52″ Futures End,” with Cunningham saying they are “more than surprised with how positive the reaction has been” to the otherwise unique series set five years in the future of the New 52, before reminding the crowd that the company’s third weekly, “Earth 2: World’s End” begins October 8.
Transitioning to cartoons, Task Force X — AKA the Suicide Squad — is involved in the next Batman cartoon release “Batman: Assault on Arkham.” Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, King Shark, Deadshot, Black Spider and Captain Boomerang come together for a mission involving the storied Gotham sanitarium.
Next on display was the trailer for 2015’s “Batman: Arkham Knight” video game, the latest sequel in the popular series that began with Rocksteady’s “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” The trailer begins with a voiceover from Bane before moving into realistic scenes of Harley Quinn, Two-Face and other various ne’er-do-wells in an onslaught on Gotham’s streets.
Unlike the gritty “Arkham Knight,” the next trailer was for the lighthearted LEGO video game “LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.” The game features the Justice League — including unlikely screen stars Plastic Man and Martin Manhunter — fighting a variety of well-known rogues including the Joker and Killer Croc. The trailer hints the game will be whimsical, although don’t tell that to the poor LEGO ducks from the trailer who suffer through the Batplane launch. The latest LEGO DCU title goes on sale this fall.
The session ended with trailers and teasers from the four upcoming DC properties on network TV. First was the previously released trailer of “Arrow” Season 3, highlighting Deathstroke and the Suicide Squad’s presence in the latest season of the hit TV show.
After the “Arrow” trailer ended, Cunningham said “we’re in the process of world-building with ‘Arrow’ on the CW” before announcing the first spinoff from the series, “The Flash”, and screened the arrow-catching teaser. He also indicated “The Flash” is the “most flat out, superhero TV show” he’s ever seen.
The third show previewed was NBC’s supernatural thriller “Constantine,” which premieres October 24, before transitioning to Fox’s crime-drama “Gotham.” The trailer teased the early years of the majority of Batman’s rogues gallery — Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and the Riddler — with nary a hint of the Joker.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on DC’s many upcoming projects.