ECCC: DC Entertainment All Access: Weeklies and "Convergence"

Mere days before the conclusion of "The New 52: Futures End," "Earth 2: World's End" and "Batman Eternal" plus the debut of "Convergence," DC Comics discussed both early Saturday afternoon at Emerald City Comicon's "DC Entertainment All Access: Weeklies Converge" panel. On the dais: Dan Jurgens, James Tynion IV, Marguerite Bennett, Jeff King and Stuart Moore, plus Gail Simone who joined in progress.

The panel started with a screening of the previously released Dan DiDio-narrated video detailing the bigger pictures of "Convergence."

"Convergence #0 spins out of '[The New 52:] Futures End,'" Jurgens told the crowd. Both "Futures End" #48 -- the final issue of that weekly series -- and "Convergence" 30 are scheduled for release this coming Wednesday, April 1. Jurgens, who co-wrote "Convergence" #0 with King, said that the issue is the best work he's seen by artist Ethan Van Sciver.

DC's Hank Kanalz, serving as panel moderator, asked King what it was like to balance so many characters in the "Convergence" story. "The challenge was balancing the epic with the intimate," King answered. "I kind of think that we've done it." King said that even if you don't read the main series he's authoring, the multiple two-issue companion series each tell a satisfying story on their own.

Moore talked the "Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes" series he's writing. "This story is about a clash between two futures," Moore said, as the Legion -- who live in a utopian future -- face the Atomic Knights, who hail from a post-apocalyptic future.

Tynion talked the conclusion of "Batman Eternal." "Taking on a weekly comic book series, I thought it was going to be one of the most difficult things that I ever did in my life," Tynion said. "Working with so many incredible writers and artists from the very beginning -- it was a room with no egos. It was a room that just wanted to build the best story possible. I think we did a pretty damn good job."

"Gotham City is burning, Batman is exhausted and beaten within an inch of his life, everything is falling apart," Tynion continued. "This is a story not only about Batman and his relationship to Gotham City, but all the people in it."

Tynion said the "Eternal" team had multiple in-person summits while constructing the series. "Scott [Snyder] is sort of the godfather of this project," Tynion said. "I developed the original concept of the story with Scott, and he was there to help shape it. He fell in love with all of these different pieces of the story."

Jurgens on the end of "Futures End": "The series started with Batman Beyond in the future, coming back to take care of Brother Eye. That is still going to be mission one, that is what we're going to build to with #48." Yet the "radically overhauled" Brainiac is also an important part of "Futures End," and will help to set up the world of "Convergence." The dynamic between Terry McGinnis and Tim Drake is also important to the end of "Futures End," Jurgens told the audience.

Jurgens is also writing "Batman Beyond," debuting in June. "The stuff [Bernard Chang] is doing on 'Batman Beyond' is absolutely astounding," the writer said. Jurgens said Chang is blending together many different past takes on DC's future, including the "Batman Beyond" animated series. "He's putting it all together and making it work."

Turning to "Earth 2: World's End," Bennett said it's unlike anything that she's worked on before in her career. "It was really fun and sort of surreal," she said, of the freedom granted in co-writing a series taking place on an alternate Earth. "It really forces you to get into each character's head really sincerely."

Bennett said her housemate overheard her crying while writing the series one night -- "I had to kill Superman!" "It was really insane going through this bootcamp with these other writers and artists," Bennett said, adding that she has developed a "special loyalty" to her co-writers on the series.

"It's rare where you tell a story where you don't win," King said. Bennett responded that the team was "terrified" of that outcome, but knew it had to happen.

Turning to fan questions, the first audience member at the microphone asked Jurgens, Bennett and Tynion what their individual contributions to their respective weeklies were. "I did a lot of work on the real spine of the story," Tynion said. "My key contributions were a lot of the key turning point issues." Tynion added that he has a lot of fondness for the teen characters, specifically Harper and Stephanie. Bennett said it was important to her to ensure "sincere emotional relevance" in "World's End."

King told a fan that his most experience with DC history was with Jack Kirby creations, like "Forever People." In speaking of the accessibility level of "Convergence," Moore said that his story is full of Easter eggs for old-school "Legion of Super-Heroes" fans, but that it's not reliant on prior knowledge to understand.

"I think conceptually, not to overthink it, is that what 'Convergence' relies on is that both canon and continuity are available to us as storytellers going forward," King said.

A fan asked Tynion what the future of Stephanie Brown may entail. "Stephanie Brown is a character that I grew up with," Tynion said. "Especially with the Chuck Dixon 'Robin' series. Tim Drake was my Robin from the very beginning. Being a part of bringing her back to the forefront in 'Batman Eternal' was a phenomenal opportunity."

"She has a firm place in the Batman mythos," Tynion continued. "I know there are a few little places she'll be making an appearance I can't reveal, but there are bigger stories to come."

Gail Simone joined the panel in midst of the fan Q&A. Discussing the "Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle" story she's writing, Simone said, "I thought I was done writing Oracle forever. I get an email one day from Dan [DiDio] saying. 'Hey, Gail. What about Oracle?'"

Simone said that her story is about Nightwing, "who is all about freedom," and Oracle, "who is all about self-possession," not willing to merely carry on and figure out how to live inside of the "Convergence" bubble. "Keep in mind, this is the Nightwing/Oracle story I've always wanted to tell," Simone said.

Turning to post-"Convergence" debuting series, Jurgens asked the crowd how many of the fans knew who "Bat-Mite" is -- much of the crowd did. Jurgens called the series the "ultimate palate cleanser" after writing a serious weekly series like "Futures End." Tynion talked "Constantine: The Hellblazer," and said he and co-writer Ming Doyle want the "young John Constantine that stepped dangerously into the pages of 'Swamp Thing.'" Tynion is also writing "Dark Universe," launching July, an exploration of the "magical corner of the DC Universe, set to "encompass a lot" of DC's magical characters.

Bennett said she's working on an as-yet unrevealed series with a "dream artist," which she called the most exciting project she's worked on yet in her career. That book is scheduled to debut in August.

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