ECCC12: DC Comics' New 52 Panel

Gail Simone won a lot of fans with her long run on DC Comics' "Birds of Prey." But in the post-New 52 world, she's racked up a whole new cadre of followers. The Emerald City Comicon visitors who approached her about her ongoing scriptwork with "Batgirl" were, for one thing, younger - a demographic DC Comics specifically set out to capture when it rebooted to the New 52 Universe in August 2011.

"I wasn't getting as much of that with 'Birds of Prey,'" writer Simone said during a panel devoted to the publisher-wide revision of its beloved heroes. "It had a good readership, but it wasn't the same readership. ... Something new needed to be done. And unfortunately, it's not going to capture everybody."

"What we're dealing with are characters that are more or less modern mythology, and every now and then you have to revitalize that in order to introduce it to new readers," said Francis Manapul, writer-artist of "The Flash." "They're kind of starting over, but at the same time they're a new version of them."

And thanks in part to trade collections, Manapul said, "The past is still there. You can read it and enjoy it. ... I think a lot of people who were able to let go are really enjoying the new stories."

The full-capacity crowd was largely positive about the change. ("Thanks for getting rid of Superman and Batman's underwear," one panelgoer said.) Applause was especially strong for the relaunch of "Batman Incorporated," one of six new titles to launch in May. The Grant Morrison-driven Bat-book will "carry over storylines that we started before the revamp," said DC's Batman group editor Mike Marts.The creation of new titles, however, means the death of others, like the relaunched "O.M.A.C.," ending in April.

"Batman" artist Greg Capullo, greeted with a birthday cake at the panel, said he and writer Scott Snyder "were at first a bit of an odd couple," with differing approaches to scripting and art. "But now we're really in sync," said the effusive former "Spawn" artist. "We're hoping that it's translating into the book and you guys are feeling it, 'cause we're bleeding. We're bleeding."

Manapul and fellow artist-writer Brian Buccellato, in turn, said they've established a vital energy on "Flash" by integrating art and script."I think I talk to Brian more than my girlfriend, my mom, or anybody that I know," Manapul said. "I think it really helps with the story, having the art be an integral part of the way it's being told."

Marts also used a portion of the panel to pitch "We Can Be Heroes," DC's initiative to aid humanitarian organizations fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa. Donors can text the word "HEROES" to 80888 to contribute.

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