At the New York Comic Con DC Comics: Justice League panel, DC Entertainment CCO and writer Geoff Johns, artist and Co-Publisher Jim Lee and other DC creators gathered to talk about the “Justice League,” the Justice League characters and launch Johns and artist David Finch’s new “Justice League Of America” series.
The panel began as moderator and DC Entertainment SVP of Sales Bob Wayne led the crowd in cheering for the Justice League, plugging DC’s We Can Be Heroes campaign to end the hunger crises in Africa.
Brian Cunningham, the editor of “Justice League,” then entered, announcing the rest of the panel: former “Justice League” artist Lee, current “Justice League” writer Johns, “Justice League Of America” artist David Finch, “The Flash” writer/artist Francis Manapul and co-writer/artist Brian Buccellato and “Wonder Woman” artist Cliff Chiang.
First off was a sneak peek of “Justice League” issue #16, which was part three of the “Aquaman” and JL crossover, “Throne Of Atlantis.”
“Atlantis isn’t just an underwater army that comes up and fights, they’re almost alien,” Johns said, adding it will redefine Aquaman and Cyborg’s roles on the team.
The panel moved to “Aquaman” issue #16 where Johns let the audience know that the Trench creatures from the beginning of his run would be coming back. He also announced that Paul Pelletier would be the new penciler on “Aquaman.” Current “Aquaman” artist Ivan Reis then joined the panel, praising Pelletier’s artwork and his previous work over at Marvel Comics.
Johns also said that in “Justice League” the very next issue after the #12 issue would address “what the hell that [kiss] was about,” Johns told the laughing audience as Wayne threw an image of Wonder Woman and Superman kissing. Lee said that his drawing of the image was actually filmed for DC Entertainment and that, “Eighty percent of the time I’d draw and erase…the last hour and a half I drew the cover that was there, so that just shows how much time I waste,” Lee joked as the audience laughed.
The room cheered as Johns displayed an image of the “Justice League Of America,” Johns telling everyone that once they saw the first issues they’d understand, “Why Catwoman was on the team,” Johns said as the audience laughed again.
The line up also includes a character Johns labeled as one of his favorites Katana, Stargirl, Hawkman, Simon Baz Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Vibe and Martian Manhunter.
“This book will make Martian Manhunter the most dangerous hero in the DC Universe,” Johns said to wild applause.
The audience laughed as Finch admitted that after drawing Batman, “Everything I draw is based around shadows!”
Bringing up the “Rise Of The Third Army,” Johns said in the upcoming issues the Justice League is ordered to hunt down Simon Baz but in their first encounter, “He just stares at them and says…I’m not going to fight, you’re Superman! You’re going to kick my ass!” Johns said as the crowd cracked up.
Moving to “The Flash,” Manapul stated that right now, “There are a lot of Gorillas,” joking about the current “Gorilla Warfare” storyline. Manapul added as the room laughed, “They want to catch Flash.”
“They can’t catch him!” A fan shouted at the panel as the audience and the panel cracked up again.
Turning to “Wonder Woman,” Chiang showed an image of Wonder Woman covered with flies. “She doesn’t like flies,” Chiang deadpanned as the audience continued to laugh. Chiang then announced that Orion of the New Gods would be part of the “Wonder Woman” cast for most of next year.
“Orion playing off of Wonder Woman is a lot of fun,” Chiang added.
Wayne opened the floor to audience questions, and one of the first fans to the microphone wanted to know how much the individual books have to coordinate around the “Justice League.” Johns told the audience that the scripts for Justice League and the other books get shared with the creative teams and there are a lot of conversations.
“The books will probably get a little tighter in the coming year as we’re in the now, now,” Johns added.
A Wonder Woman fan wanted to know if there were plans for a second book around the Amazon.
“She’s going to get the focus in the next couple of issues with the Cheetah,” Johns said about Diana’s role in the upcoming “Justice League” issues after #12.
Johns then announced that Booster Gold may be making a comeback very soon and that Shazam will be joining the Justice League. He also added Black Adam may be a central character soon and the audience should keep their eyes on the trinity.
The audience erupted in wild cheers and applause as a fan implored the panel to bring back Wally West.
“We have Daniel West in our book who is going to play a major role in the Flash universe,” Manapul told the fan.
A young boy wanted to know why Nightwing’s costume was now red. “Black and red look awesome as a color combination…and we wanted to shake up things visually,” Lee said, adding he felt it “synched up more” with Robin’s past.
Speaking about how he tackled drawing the Justice League, Lee told the audience that while he had Superman and Batman down he constantly fiddled with how Wonder Woman looked and her costume, adding “You always get it by the end of the run.”
A Stargirl fan wanted to know why she was in the main DCU Earth rather than Earth 2. “Because I wanted to write her,” Johns said, adding to audience applause, “She’s like an anti-Paris Hilton, anti-Amanda Bynes character. She’s the one everyone looks up to, she operates out of Hollywood now…she’s kind of the face of America.”
An Injustice Gang fan wanted to know if they would be introduced before or after “Trinity War,”and Johns told her to read “JLA” issue #1.
“I don’t know how awesome Vibe is going to be,” Johns said about reinvigorating Vibe, one of the “Justice League Of America” characters. He then said that when Vibe is picked, “He feels like he’s a Red Shirt, as soon as they meet a villain or another hero he [thinks], ‘I’m gone!'” Johns joked.
“People write these characters off way to quick, and I think they all have the potential to be special,” Johns added about Vibe, Aquaman and Mera.
Lee and the panel deflected questions about a “Justice League” movie, saying that they were focused on the publishing arm of DC Entertainment.
Johns told the audience he believed there may be plans for Raven in the works, answering another fan’s question about whether “JLA” will elaborate on Martian Manhunter’s background and history with a, “Yes!”
“I call him a one-man illuminati,” Johns added.
Speaking about Simon Baz’s Arabic background, Johns said he drew from his real life friends and family and “life experiences” to write the minority character, but there would be plenty of “Superhero action and fighting.” An African-American fan asked if there were any plans to bring Static Shock over to the Teen Titans, to more audience applause, and asked about Icon, Hardware, Rocket and the rest of the Milestone characters.
“Geoff and I actually have a meeting on some of that,” Lee told the fan, adding, “Stay tuned for 2013!”
A “Secret Six” fan wanted to know if there was a possibility of those characters appearing the New 52 soon, Johns stating that because Gail Simone defined them so well he wanted to leave them alone for a while and focus on characters that were less well known, but “Never say never,” Johns added.
Johns also explained that the team on the CW’s “Arrow” read “Green Arrow” books for inspiration while Chiang emphasized that “Wonder Woman” would not transform into a New Gods title, it would still be very focused on Diana.
“‘Rise Of The Third Army’ is sort of a precursor to a larger story that will involve everybody, and that will start February,” Johns told a Blue Lantern fan who wanted to know if Saint Walker would be more involved in the greater Green Lantern universe.
Johns also teased the return of “a Black Lantern” in the books soon, grinning and wrapping up as the last audience member to the microphone labeled himself a Vibe fan.
“You’re the guy!” Johns said as the audience laughed.
“I hope you like Vibe — if you don’t, I’m sorry!” Johns added as Wayne brought the panel to a close.
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