SDCC: DC Entertainment: From Page to Screen Panel

There are a lot of films, TV shows and video games out there right now based on DC Comics -- and more on the way. The process behind these adaptations will be explored at the "DC Entertainment: From Page to Screen" panel Friday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with panelists including DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, "iZombie" co-creator and comic book series artist Mike Allred, "Arrow" executive producer Marc Guggenheim, DC Entertainment Director of Development Aria Moffly, "Bizarro" comic book series writer and frequent animated feature scribe Heath Corson and animation director and storyboard artist Jay Oliva.

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After trailers for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Supergirl" and "Batman: Arkham Knight" played on the screen, the session started with each of the panelists naming their favorite DC characters. Allred quickly answered "Adam West Batman." Guggenheim also said Batman -- but that he loves all of them. Moffly chose Wonder Woman. Corson picked the animated version voiced by Kevin Conroy. Oliva picked the Barry Allen Flash -- also Johns' choice, though he said it ultimately depends based on what he's working on at the time.

Johns discussed his excitement that blatantly superhero elements are being embraced by film and television studios, beyond merely "Easter eggs" - a term he said he doesn't enjoy. As an example, Johns cited the Jay Garrick Flash helmet appearing on the first season finale of "The Flash." "That's not an Easter egg, that's a story point," Johns said. "We're going to see Jay."

Johns continued, saying that it's gotten to the point where if major compromises have to be made in adapting characters, it's not worth it. "If Firestorm's not going to be two people that combine, then we're not doing it," he said.

"I can't believe we're having a freakin' 'Suicide Squad' movie," Johns remarked, praising writer and director David Ayer's enthusiasm for the source material.

Moffly spoke of her enthusiasm for the "DC Super Hero Girls" project, and the upcoming "Supergirl" TV series. "We were able to do a show that is very bright, very hopeful, very fun, which is working for us on 'The Flash' as well," Moffly said.

Conversation turned to "iZombie" and Allred's reaction to the show's first season success. "It's a roller coaster ride," Allred said, pointing out that "Madman" has been optioned as a film for years with very little progress made. "It just seemed like a crapshoot all along. As it progressed, panic set in. The control freak in me started to rear up." Yet he became secure when realizing that the show was in good hands.

"She looked like how I wanted her to look," Allred said of the show's lead, Rose McIver. "To know that they were using the comic books to design her makeup -- in a lot of cases, things get worse and worse. My experience with this just keeps getting better and better."

Allred commented on how much he enjoyed the famous opening of the '60s "Batman" TV series, and expressed gratitude for the "iZombie" opening sequence the he designed. "I'm living a dream."

"I want Mike to be proud of the show," Johns added.

Next up: "Legends of Tomorrow," with the previously revealed trailer shown to the crowd. "When we started doing 'Arrow,' never in a million years did we think we'd be here," Guggenheim said, with three shows set in the same world.

Guggenheim contrasted "Legends of Tomorrow" with "Flash" and "Arrow." "With 'Arrow' and 'Flash,' every week, we try to make a mini-movie," Guggenheim said. "In this show, on every week, we want to do a summer blockbuster."

Corson said he started working in DC animation by meeting frequent Warner Bros. Animation producer Alan Burnett, and after a year, being offered a Scooby-Doo project. That didn't happen, but Burnett did offer him "Justice League War" -- which at first excited Corson, before nerves hit. "Who wants to be the guy that screws up this great arc?" Corson said. "It was really intimidating." Corson also shared that he was given advice to divorce himself from his fandom of the source material, to gain a more objective perspective.

"Justice League War" led to many more animated films scripted by Corson -- which inspired him to pitch the publishing side on a comic, which led to his current work on "Bizarro."

Oliva named the two-part "Dark Knight Returns" as his favorite DC animated feature. "I try to appease the 11-year-old me when I do these films," Oliva said, adding that, along with his work on the Zack Snyder-directed feature films, he also did storyboards for the "Flash" TV series and fight choreography for the "Legends of Tomorrow' teaser.

"It's your passion, but you also have to be able to deliver," Oliva said. "I don't get any sleep. 'The Flash' will send me a script -- 'can you get this done by tomorrow?' I do it because I love it. I love all the projects we're doing internally in the company."

"Collaboration is the most underrated skill of a creator," Johns said at the close of the panel. "It's about putting your ego aside. You have to learn to listen to other people's opinions and welcome then. I think collaboration is such a lost skill set that's not taught to anybody."

To wrap things up, the panelists were asked which DC hero they'd like to see have a "moment," in whichever medium. Oliva: Booster Gold. Corson: Plastic Man. Guggenheim: Captain Marvel. Allred: Doom Patrol. Moffly: Raven. Johns: Aquaman.

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