During the DC Comics All Access: Justice League panel at New York Comic Con, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer and “Justice League” writer Geoff Johns joined writers Brian Azzarello (“Wonder Woman”), Dan Jurgens (“Justice League International”) and JT Krul (“Captain Atom”) and writer and artists Brian Buccellato (“The Flash”), Cliff Chiang (“Wonder Woman”), Yildiray Cinar (“The Fury of Firestorm”) and Tony Daniel (“The Savage Hawkman”), to discuss the books and their plans for upcoming issues.
Moderated by DC Senior Vice President Bob Wayne, Wayne began the panel by bringing Geoff Johns and Jim Lee up onstage. The writer and artist of “Justice League” entered to huge applause and cheers, waving at the audience. They then showed a page from the upcoming “Justice League” #2, the first image of which showed Green Lantern fighting Superman.
“That’s Hal saying someone help me out!” laughed Johns, pointing to the image onscreen.
The audience cheered when an image of the Flash popped up on screen next.
“That’s Flash saying I’ll help you guys out,” joked Johns as the audience laughed.
The duo then showed some un-inked penciled pages, including the first look at a penciled Darkseid. “Darkseid is going to be very different, we’re not going to get into the fourth world too much,” said Johns. With a laugh he added, “He doesn’t have thigh-high boots or a skirt either.”
“Yeah, he has a thong!” joked Lee.
Wayne then brought Dan Jurgens onstage to talk about “Justice League International.”
“We have a new villain by the name of Praxis!” said Jurgens, pointing to the cover image from issue #4. Going through two pages of the issue Jurgens showed Booster Gold and Batman teaming up on one page with Ice and Rocket Red teamed up in another.
Switching to “Aquaman,” Johns brought series artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado to show off pages from issue #5. “He’s fighting in an airplane and he falls out…and when he looks up he’s in the middle of a desert,” said Johns as the audience gasped. John also said that issue #6 would be a Mera issue.
The audience broke into applause when Wayne brought “Wonder Woman” writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang onstage. The first thing Wayne asked was about the decision to change Wonder Woman’s origin.
“We didn’t change it, we enhanced it,” said Azzarello as the audience and panelists laughed.
“I was sick of the conversation about her being about her pants, I wanted it to be about her genes,” added Azzarello as the audience groaned. They then showed pages from issue #5, displaying a new villain named Strife and the amazons.
Fans cheered again as “The Flash” writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato came onstage.
Speaking about co-writing the series, Manapul told the audience, “We were able to combine my enthusiastic fan boy writing of the Flash with [Buccalletto’s] story structure.”
“I think part of the reason why our pages look so energetic is that it’s just the two of us, from idea all the way through colors,” added Buccellato.
“It’s exciting to have coloring tell a story,” said Manapul, pointing to images of the Flash running around the world. “In issue #2 you find out Manuel is a government agent, so he’s going around the world trying to solve the mystery,” added Manapul.
He then pointed to a page where the title is incorporated into the artwork. “I’m a big Will Eisner fan and we’ve been trying to incorporate the title logo in each issue,” said Manapul.
Tony Daniel, writer for “Savage Hawkman” then came onstage to talk about his book. “It’s been a real privilege to helm this story, I have the task of reinventing him for the fans,” said Daniel. He also praised artist Phillip Tan, saying, “He’s so excited to do the character I’m privileged to work with him.” Showing images from issue #3, Daniel spoke about creating villains for the character, saying, “You can’t make Batman’s joker in one issue, but this is one of the first thing I wanted to do with Hawkman, give him a dangerous villains” list.”
“Mr. Terrific” writer Eric Wallace entered stage to talk about the next issues. “Outer space, that’s where we’re going!” said Wallace as he showed an image for issue #4 with Mr. Terrific in space.
Wayne then introduced Yildiray Cinar, artist for Firestorm as they showed an image of a huge Firestorm creature called Fury in issue #2. “When Jason and Ronnie get together, they become something called Fury, it’s a walking, dangerous nuclear bomb,” explained Cinar. The artist then added that he was a “Firestorm” fan from the ’90s.
“Captain Atom” writer J.T. Krul entered, laughing, “the platform is going to collapse from all the people!”
“We want to explore the nature of his powers and how he struggles with him…so this is him seeing all the wireless signals,” said Krul as he showed an image of Captain Atom surrounding by multicolored pastel swirls from issue #2. He then showed an image of Captain Atom shrinking himself down and entering a young boy’s brain also from #2.
Writer Ann Nocenti then entered stage to talk about “Green Arrow,” entering to audience applause. “Obviously when you look around the room, I’m the token female,” said Nocenti, adding, “I think there was pressure on DC to add more women, so I’m the token female, but I’m happy to be the token female.”
Talking about her plans for the book, the audience clapped again as Nocenti said, “I give Green Arrow a Typhoid-class new girlfriend/villain.”
Wayne then asked Jurgens on behalf of the online fans about Booster Gold’s continuity and whether Booster remembers the timeline from before Flashpoint. “Booster’s experiences are still relatively intact,” said Jurgens before continuing, “But it’s one thing to have those memories, it’s another thing entirely to recall those memories.”
“Is Rip Hunter coming back?” Johns asked him.
“There are still stories to be told,” said Jurgens, before dashing Johns hopes that Skeets would reappear anytime soon.
Throwing the floor open to audience questions, Johns and Wayne told the first fan to the microphone that the higher-priced “Justice League” book would be getting a backup feature. “Starting in issue #5…Gary Frank and I are going to be doing a second story in every issue called ‘The Curse of Shazam,” said Johns, adding, “Gary and I are going to be relaunching Shazam through the second story.”
A female fan wanted to know why Azzarello specifically choose Zeus as Wonder Woman’s father. “I’m not going to tell you that!” said Azzarello, adding, “Read the book!”
The audiences clapped as another fan asked who the hooded woman in all the number one issues. “I don’t know what he’s talking about, next!” joked Wayne, dodging the question.
A young fan asked the creators why they did the New 52 altogether. Johns asked the little boy if he read the New 52.
“Well–uh,” the boy stuttered as the audience laughed.
Jim Lee then said that they did the New 52 and renumbered the comics so as to not scare away new readers who might be intimidated by the long numbering. “It’s to allow new people to come in an experience the DC universe for the first time,” said Lee.
The next fan to the microphone wanted to know if the large numbers of books purchases might be more insular and not actually bringing in new readers.
“We signed on with Nielsen and we’ve been doing surveys of readers…so we’ve actually been doing some analysis to see who is reading the new 52,” said Wayne, adding, “From anecdotal stuff I think we are not reaching the same folks as before.”
The same fan then asked about the thinking behind changing Starfire and Catwoman, which has alienated many female readers.
“It’s a little premature at this point to judge that character based on one issue,” said Lee, defending Starfire’s appearance in the first issue of “Red Hood.” He then added, “But it’s really good to hear the feedback…because that’s part of comic books.”
The next fan to the microphone asked about Cyborg getting “promoted” to the Justice League. “I think he’s one of the best black characters in comics, everyone knows him from Teen Titans,” said Johns, adding, “For me, I didn’t just want to do a ‘Justice League’ that’s the same seven members than before.”
The very last fan wanted to know if they were going to see Artemis in “Wonder Woman” any time soon. “You’re not going to see her,” said Azzarello.
Lee then plugged Nocenti’s work, especially “Longshot” and “Daredevil,” bringing the panel to an end by addressing Nocenti’s remarks of being the “token female” at the beginning of the panel.
“I know she was being semi-facetious being the female writer, but we were talking about her before San Diego Comic-Con,” said Lee, wrapping up the panel by praising her and DC editor Bobbie Chase as two of DC’s high-powered and very exciting female contributors.
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