With it's Rebirth initiative, DC Comics isn't only trying to appeal to longtime fans. Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the publisher also highlighted the young side of both Metropolis and Gotham City at its Young Gotham/ Young Metropolis panel.
Headlining the panel were a wide range of talent contributing to the line in a discussion of what's on tap for new stars of DC, including the "Batgirl" team of writer Hope Larson and artist Rafael Albuquerque, "Superman" family creators Jorge Jimenez and Dan Jurgens, "Earth-2 Society" artist Bruno Redondo, "Teen Titans" artist Jonboy Meyers, "Supergirl" writer Steve Orlando and "Batman Beyond" artist Bernard Chang.
"Batgirl's just come off a really tough fight that she almost didn't win, and so she needs to go on vacation and figure out who she is both and Batgirl and as Barabara Gordon," Larson said of her book, noting that the first arc will see Gordon go on a backpacking trip through Asia where she'll meet up with a face from her past. "I see a lot of myself in Batgirl. I see the messy parts, which make her a lot of fun to write."
Albuquerque said the collaboration between the two has been remarkably easy since they started working on the series, though he's become jealous of the places Barbara gets to visit on the page that he only sees via Google.
Talk shifted to the other iconic young woman of DC's line as Orlando spoke to his plans for "Supergirl." "It's about looking to [tomorrow]. It's not just about fighting the villain of today but also rehabilitating them for the future," he said nothing that Supergirl's more optimistic look on the challenge of defeating threats from his previous DC character of Midnighter has been a breath of fresh air. "She's a person who understands you and hears you."
"The easiest thing for me to write in the book is Cat Grant because she's so sarcastic," he laughed. "Every time she's on the page, watching interaction with the new cast members and existing cast members is very exciting." The writer said that if he's writing a story where the iconic moments don't automatically play theme music from the Superman and Supergirl movies and TV shows, then he's not doing his job.
Orlando said that his kick-off one-shot will let the Maid of Might fighting a Kryptonian werewolf in the depths of space. "'Supergirl: Rebirth' is old school comics, though I probably reference '2001' more than any other movie in my script for it," he said. "I love that perspective. They're these godlike characters, but when you take them out into space they're still so small." From there, the main series will build up Supergirl's rogue's gallery including her reincarnated father as the Cyborg Superman while also including new supporting cast like DEO agent Cameron Chase.
Jurgens and Chang talked about reviving Terry McGinnis in "Batman Beyond" and their collaboration where Jurgens offers his artist a "Marvel Style" plot breakdown before Chang goes off and tells the story visually. With an architecture background, Chang has been working to design the world of future Gotham while adding more detail than previous series have had while adhering to the animated style of the original.
Future issues of the series will include the somewhat tragic story of how Terry revealed his secret identity to his younger brother Matt and the return of villain Spellbinder.
The idea of legacy in the DCU came up with "Teen Titans" as Meyers spoke to his role in redesigning the young team. The artist explained that he wanted to keep the look and color schemes of the characters intact from their original versions. In particular, he was happy with the return of a more classic Raven as well as a streamlined yellow-and-red costume for Kid Flash. The artist also redesigned Titans Tower by building a 3D model to full realize the base. "When you're young you want to forge your own path, and it's really important to have a place where you can express yourself," Meyers said of Damian Wayne's plan for the location. "It's hard to be a really cool Robin and be your own Robin when Batman is looking over your shoulder...you need a place where you can be a kid. Titans Tower is way cooler than the Watchtower or the Batcave."
Meyers continued to characterize who his characters are describing Kid Flash as a showoff who wants to one-up his mentor. "He's the outgoing guy of the group. Gar [Beast Boy] is a showoff too, but he fancies himself a ladies' man...Kid Flash has a bit more sizzle." Raven is the dangerous member of the team, and so he's drawn her with more spiky sharp edges. "She's having some issues with trying to hide the fact that she's the daughter of a demon," he said.
Jimenez spoke about shifting from his work on "Superman" proper to designing and launching the forthcoming "Super Sons" book which teams Jon Kent with Damian Wayne on solo adventures. The artist spoked about designing a new Super costume for Jon. "I imagined people at comic-cons wearing this jacket," he joked. The story will spin out of this week's "Superman" #3 and where that story leads in the months ahead.
"I love the character [of Superman]. It's my favorite character at DC," Jimenez said. "In the last issue, they gave me a splash of Superman in space, and when I read that in the script, I thought, 'Oh man...I got it!'"
Fan questions opened up with a query on whether "Batgirl" would draw in villains from the DCU, though Larson explained that for the Asia story, the team needed to create new threats because they couldn't find a lot of existing villains that fit the profile of their story.
Meyers came close to blowing some supposedly secret plans for the old "Teen Titans" team like Tim Drake and Connor Kent, but he held his tongue. The artist for the time being pointed fans towards "Detective Comics" to catch up with Tim. Similarly, there may be a nod in the future to connecting Dick Grayson's "Titans" team to Damian's current group. Finally, the artist announced that there is a hidden member of the "Teen Titans" team that hasn't been seen yet, but will be revealed early in the book's run.