WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, CA continued with the DC Comics: The New 52 Panel as the editors and creators behind DC Comics’ New 52 books gathered in Anaheim to speak to fans about the comic books, the characters, and what’s coming down the pipe for DC.
Led by DC Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras, Executive Editor Eddie Berganza and Superman group editor Matt Idelson, the editors were joined onstage by “Flash” co-writer/artist Brian Buccellato, “Batman” and “Swamp Thing” writer Scott Snyder, “Batman Beyond Unlimited” artist Dustin Nguyen and “DC Universe Presents” artist Ryan Sook.
Kicking off the panel, moderator John Cunningham introduced the other panelists comprised of writers J.T. Krul, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Adam Glass, Kyle Higgins, Scott Lobdell and artist Bernard Chang, who joined the others on stage. Walking through the six new books debuting in May, Cunningham began with Grant Morrison’s “Batman Incorporated.”
“We see the plan Grant has, he’s going to take you on a great journey,” Harras told fans, adding, “What is going to happen in ‘Batman Inc.’ I can’t stress enough, Eddie and I have seen what will happen and it’s going to take you places with Batman you didn’t expect to go.”
Harras then moved onto James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott’s “Earth 2,” asking fans what they thought of the new Flash costume.
“Awesome!” multiple fans cried in unison as the crowd applauded. Harras then showed penciled pages by Scott and designs of the Earth 2 heroes by Jim Lee. From there the panel moved onto “Worlds’ Finest.”
“We explore things about Power Girl and Huntress in the New 52 that get back to their roots,” said Harras, explaining that there were reasons Karen Starr was showing up in “Mister Terrific” before “Worlds’ Finest” began.
The audience applauded as Berganza and Harras then brought up the cover image for “Dial H For Hero.”
“It’s called ‘Dial H’ not ‘Text H’ for a reason,” said Harras as the audience laughed. Comparing it to “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing,” the editors then showed an image of some of the characters of “Dial H,” including an emaciated scarecrow-looking monster in a top hat.
Moving onto “G.I. Combat,” Krul spoke to his section of the book, “The War Time Forgot,” saying that he actually did a lot of dinosaur research when deciding which dinosaurs should show up in the book.
“It’s dinosaurs and soldiers fighting, what’s better than that?” said Krul.
“The Ravagers” was up next, Harras declaring it the “return of Ian Churchill to DC Comics.”
“We’ve laid seeds all along the line from “Teen Titans,” “Superboy,’ and ‘Legion Lost,’ that will come through in ‘Ravagers,'” said Harras.
Berganza then showed an image of a re-imagined Warblade, redesigned by his original creator Jim Lee for the new series.
“What’s very exciting is we don’t know which way these characters are going to go… we’re exploring free will,” said Harras.
With that Snyder took the microphone to talk about “Batman” to tumultuous applause. “Issue six and seven is where it turns around for Bruce, and he’s going to pull out the heavy artillery and punish the Court,” said Snyder, adding that the “biggest secrets” about the Court Of Owls will be coming up in the next few issues, as well as a new female character.
Snyder then hopped over to “Swamp Thing,” saying #10 marks the beginning of events that will spin into the “Animal Man”/”Swamp Thing” crossover, which begins in issue #12. The issue also marks the return of Anton Arcane.
“We just can’t wait to see what you think of it!” said Snyder to more applause.
The audience audibly “oooed” as the image for “Batman: The Dark Knight” arrived on screen, showing a Batman with a sewn up mouth. Harras and Berganza continued to praise artist David Finch for his work on the series.
“We’re going to introduce Gorilla City in a new way,” Buccellato promised fans, speaking about upcoming “Flash” issues. He and Francis Manapul will reintroduce Gorilla Grodd and lead up to a showdown with Flash and the Rogues.
Fialkov spoke next, saying that “I, Vampire” will be tying into “Justice League Dark.”
“Andrew is dead and this primordial evil…takes all these tiny puny vampires and pumps them up,” said Fialkov, explaining the JL Dark team will show up to help the remaining “I, Vampire” crew fight vampire Armageddon.
“It doesn’t end well for anybody!” said Fialkov. After that story arc ends, Fialkov grinned and promised a cheering crowd “Vampires versus zombies!”
“I have been waiting my entire life to show these sissy boy vampires what the walking dead can do!” said Fialkov, adding again, “It does not go well for anybody!”
Fialkov also teased attendees that “Stormwatch” will be showing up in the book “real soon.”
Higgins took over next, apologizing for having werewolves instead of zombies coming up in his issues of “Nightwing.”
“Out of what happens in issue seven, we have the Night Of The Owls crossover happening… and out of that crossover there’s a little bit of a new direction for ‘Nightwing,'” said Higgins, who revealed Dick Grayson will be getting a new job in Gotham City.
“God, I wish issue #7 was out!” added Higgins, before taunting Fialkov that he had a better beard as the audience laughed.
“I’m actually 35, I just started shaving,” joked Fialkov.
Lobdell showed an image from an upcoming issue of “Superboy” fighting a T-Rex with Wonder Girl.
“He’s been getting pretty close to Wonder Girl and what he’ll find out is that she’s got someone else,” said Lobdell as the audience moaned. Lobdell also promised that in “Superboy” #10 fans will see how he gets his tattoo on his arm after spending a night hanging out with Bunker.
Then in “Teen Titans,” Lobdell said there will be a three-part story that reveals Wonder Girl’s origins and dives more into Kid Flash that happens during a road trip with Red Robin and Superboy. However, the rest of the team will be coming up against Amanda Waller as she tries to shut down the underage team.
Lobdell also spoke about “Red Hood,” promising a disastrous date for one of the Outlaws and the entrance of Starfire’s sister.
“For everyone who enjoyed my interpretation of Starfire, you are going to love my Blackfire,” joked Lobdell.
Turning the floor over to “Suicide Squad” writer Glass, he told fans that they would soon start learning more about El Diablo, King Shark, and the others after the “Hunt For Harley,” as well as a couple of new characters coming in.
“Some people on the team may not be who they say they are, may not be on the up and up,” said Glass, adding in a whisper, “Suicide Squad” as the audience laughed.
Sook and Chang, spoke next about the Vandal Savage story in “DC Universe Presents,” written by James Robinson.
“Vandal Savage, one of the most preeminent villains in the DC universe, makes an appearance, and we’re going to see his daughter Kass,” said Chang.
“And we don’t know if that really is Vandal Savage or if he’s telling lies,” added Berganza, explaining the comic will explore what it’s like to have a dad “murdering through the centuries.”
“So it’s a heartwarming book,” joked Berganza as the audience laughed.
“As you can see, there’s a little bit of a messiah complex with Captain Atom, and we’re going to explore that,” said Krul, speaking about his series “Captain Atom.”
With that the floor opened to audience questions, the first female fan asking if readers should expect to see Traci 13 anytime soon.
“She is magic, so maybe you already have seen her!” joked Berganza as the audience laughed.
Berganza told the next fan they would see new characters popping up in “Justice League.” Cunningham awarded the fan a “Justice League” poster signed by Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.
A black New 52 fan then asked what characters or stories have come from the creators trying to address the issue of diversity.
“When I was asked to redo the Teen Titans I looked at their membership and it occurred to me that over 30 years there hasn’t been a gay teenage superhero,” said Lobdell.
Krul then pointed to Solstice from his run on “Teen Titans” as his chance to bring in diversity into the DCU, Fialkov adding, “The best way to show the powers to be that you want more diverse characters is to buy the books.”
Cunningham then gave the fan a retailer variant copy of “Action Comics” #1.
“Will Donna Troy be coming back to the DC Universe?” asked a male fan dressed in drag as Wonder Woman.
“Only if she rocks that outfit as much as you do!” said Lobdell, and Cunningham awarded the fan a copy of the “Batman Incorporated” trade paperback.
A comic book retailer then came up to the microphone, thanking the panelists for the New 52 relaunch as it had “doubled” his sales at the store as the crowd cheered.
The next fan on the floor identified as a gay fan and thanked Lobdell for adding Bunker to the team.
“I think audiences should be able to see themselves reflected in comic books,” said Lobdell.
A “Batman” fan asked Snyder about the inspiration for “Night of the Owls.”
“It dawned on me how scary the Gotham history would be if it was brought to bear against Bruce,” said Snyder, saying that he began thinking about it in his “Detective Comics” run.
“There’s things in my very first issue of ‘Detective Comics’ that hint at the Court Of Owls,” said Snyder, praising all the other Batman writers who were participating in the “Night Of The Owls” crossover event.
Another audience member asked Lobdell how he approaches comics now versus back in ’90s, laughing as Lobdell hid his head at being called a “veteran” writer.
“I’ll hear a company say, we have the next three years planned, and to me if you plan ahead you aren’t excited for what’s coming up,” said Lobdell, explaining that his writing style is “fluid” and ever changing.
“I surprise myself so I think that’s why there’s that maniac anarchy going on,” added Lobdell.
A Green Lantern fan wanted to know if there were going to be more new characters in the Lantern universe. Berganza told the fan there will be some new guys popping up over in the Lantern corner of the DCU soon.
The final fan wanted to know if any older “Legion” characters will be popping back up in the New 52, to which Berganza and Harras answered affirmatively, wrapping up the panel.