WonderCon. It's like San Diego Comic Con only less insane, and without Marvel having any sort of official presence. (Seriously.)
DC is planning their actual big reveals tomorrow at Fan Expo Dallas, but today, let's see what they have in store! Perhaps there might be a surprise or two? (And probably a silly April Fool's gag or so.)
The panelists? Sam Humphries, James Tynion IV, Julie Benson and Shawna Benson, John Semper Jr, Geoff Johns in a surprise appearance, Chad Hardin, Phil Jimenez, Danny Miki.
Geoff was asked about his favorite addition by other creators on panel. Came to say Thank You to fans who have given Rebirth a chance. He can't stay, but it was worth trying.
Geoff is proud of everyone's work, happy with Sam's work on Green Lantern, remembering when he had an Afro, Phil was the first artist he met at DC. (Phil: "I think you're right.") He drew some of the most iconic images in DC history in DC Universe Rebirth.
Geoff is asked for any teases or information. "I am going to be doing a series later this year. It will follow up on Rebirth stuff."
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey:
Julie and Shawna are amazed by Yanick Paquette's covers. Roulette was introduced to spread out the DC Universe influence, the fight club feels more familiar, it makes the DC Universe more real. The title has given a new Oracle to the DC Universe. It was scary as fans of Barbara as Oracle to create a new one, but they feel his story will be great going forward.
Blackbird is the new villain. Batman has staple villains. Birds of Prey haven't really haven't, so they created a new recurring villain that is powerful enough to give them all a problem.
"Why is there no Justice Society book? Why is there no Legion of Superheroes book?" stated Geoff Johns, strongly suggesting that these will be coming.
Tynion stated how much Cassandra Cain was an important part of his start of reading Batman monthly, as he started around No Man's Land (where she was introduced.) He wanted to bring her into the foreground of the Bat Family. The League of Shadows is the current arc, the connection between this new group and Ra's Al Ghul will be revealed in this new arc. Batman is caught in the middle of supervillain struggles, as Ra's will not be an ally here.
The simple fact was that the League of Shadows was a cool name that came out of other Bat Media, that Tynion felt that it had to be introduced to the DC Universe properly, and use it to help make the League of Assassins continue to feel scary at the same time as making a new character.
King's Batman fighting list stated Cassandra was the most dangerous fighter, and Tynion occurs. "Cassandra is a fighter." stated Tynion. He points out that Cassandra isn't as good as of a detective, but in a pure fight, Batman might not win. "It'd be close."
She views herself as a weapon, which is the core tragedy of the character, as she worries about that.
Geoff Johns was asked about the process of writing Rebirth. James asked to write the overwhelming majority of the Bat-Family, and Geoff was pleased with it, but wanted to make sure he could do it properly, that his reasons to write characters were more than just nostalgia.
"Batwing is more Bruce Wayne than Bruce Wayne." stated Geoff, giving an example of how they explore these characters to make them more interesting.
Sam Humphries is working on the title with Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, both Geoff creations. Sam was at first wanting to do Hal, but then got excited about the potential for these two characters. "Screw Jordan." stated Sam Humphries.
Sam Humphries states that GL fans are getting the best of both worlds, with space adventures with Hal and John Stewart, and Earth stories with new characters. Earth gives them a base, their families, familiar surroundings. They are experiencing so much for the first time, they can then go back to a restaurant and eat pancakes.
Jessica's anxiety issues make her a fantastic character, stated Geoff. "It's fun to see a character like Jessica who has this anxiety to overcome." He remembers that there's a reason why people like him get attracted to the fantastic world and characters of the DC Universe.
Simon's use of a gun getting addressed in recent issues of Green Lantern was brought up. Geoff brought up that Simon was worried about not having a backup, but Sam took that to be Simon used the gun because he was afraid of the ring failing him, and then used Batman in that storyline for greater contrast.
Sam Humphries was asked how he came up with his cliffhangers. Geoff Johns, warns writers to never have a character walk into a building, then have the building explode. "I've read that too many times." Sam explains that physical danger isn't enough, as we know the heroes won't die, but that the emotional stakes need to be there.
Geoff explained about wanting to write Cliffhangers that he'd want to read, and that they should be full of impact. He talked to Phil, stating that Phil's blood is in the DCU, joking that Phil must never return to Marvel.
Huge issue one cliffhanger. Phil brought back electric Superman as Lana. Phil has a hard time reading his work after published. My memory said I had a really good time. Two fold, a story about characters who may or may not have been friends or gotten along, that would be better together than apart. Women coming together, we might not be friends but we work well together. Geoff helped Phil beat out the first arc, watching it on that white board, every issue, including the cliffhangers could spin out a 1000 different processes. He learned a lot about villain making from this. Phil wanted to make the book more quirky, and use Lana to address some of the quirkiness of the DC Universe. Lana calls Lex out on his BS, and DC didn't stop it, which is one of his favorite moments of writing ever.
Geoff agrees. "He is an awful human being. That's why I love writing him."
What was the idea behind giving Lana Lang superpowers. Phil remembers that Lana was on the list of who should get powers? Phil suggested having two of them, ala Superman Red and Blue, that Lois was the one behind their heroic action, the beauty of Rebirth in that writer's room was that it felt safe to do so. He'd been in writers rooms before where he felt worried about people's opinions of his work. Steel and Natasha Irons were added to the book. Phil jokes that Riri Williams got so big, while Natasha Irons has been around for so long, and that Superwoman was sort of the Superman Castoff Book.
Geoff Johns heads out, but not before pimping the Wonder Woman movie.
Chad Hardin, artist on Harley Quinn, mentioned that the book is high brow and educational, learn about making Kosher Hot Dogs, when an alien who looks like a cow gets made into hot dogs and creates a zombie apocalypse in New Jersey. Chad points out that the entire staff on Harley Quinn are 12 year olds at heart, and that they push the jokes as far as they can until DC Legal says no.
One of the Jokers showed up in Harley Quinn. Chad read Killing Joke early on, so Brian Bolland's Joker is the one for him.
Danny Miki, inker of Batman is here. "What's it like to ink David Finch?" Miki points out that he has a Heavy Metal style, his art is like a puzzle. Danny Miki works on pages out of order, he finds the ones that sing to him and begins to work. (Phil Jimenez nods in agreement.)
Is there anything that David doesn't draw that you fill in? Miki points about how he gets he meticulous about lines being straight, he tries to ensure that certain things are properly handled in the inking phrase.
He recently designed a Bat Stealth, he showed to Finch, and it entered into the book properly. Miki beamed about it being like working for Wayne Enterprises.
John Semper Jr jokes that he can't do a cliffhanger with an exploding building now that Geoff laid down the law. Cyborg ends up in an 8 bit land in an upcoming issue. "Wouldn't it be fun to take a high tech character in a low tech world and see how he fares?" thought Semper. This stand alone issue is here as a breather, as it's been intense lately.
There will be a rap concert in an upcoming issue. "It's part of the flavor of Detroit." Semper is exploring all the corners of Detroit, making it part of the book.
DC Comics announces a sweepstake at dccomics.com/sweeps
Twitter asks: Who are other returning characters that fans can see once again?
Tynion: In the big summer storyline in Detective Comics, Zatanna will be showing up. Exploring her history with Bruce Wayne and Batman, with giant assassin robots. She will be back in her classic costume.
The Bensons: Some female former associates of the Birds of Prey will be returning, as will be a big villain.
Humphries: Sam and Jessica will meet Kyle, Kilowog, John Stewart and Mogo, along with someone else…
Semper: I'm bringing back Beast Boy.
Fan asks a question about Ozymandias, but is corrected to state "Mr. Oz" before the question can go forward.
Tynion: Check out the Button, and lots of DC Comics. We definitely can't hint at anything. All of your questions will be answered. Stay tuned.
Next question: What is the relationship between Superwoman and Kara Zor-El?
Jimenez: Superwoman was Lois Lane and Lana Lang, though Reborn has removed Lois Lane from that. Lana Lang is who Superwoman was.
Next question: Is there space for more big revelations that fit in continuity like the Court of Owls?
Tynion then becomes self-conscious about his image being displayed on the screen. Don't be! After composing himself, he affirms that sort of storytelling will continue.
Next question: Sam Humphries is asked which was his favorite cliffhanger that he's ever read.
Sam: Lost the TV Show had some of the best I've seen, and was I disappointed on it at the end… eh… some great people worked on that show!
Next question: When introducing new villains, is it hard to keep them original and make it seem like they fit in?
Shawna: In regards to Blackbird, she started by thinking of the BoP as family, and using that as the thematic base to figure out an appropriate villain, that the three of them working together are an incredible force. What is the antithesis of family? A loner. To feel that emotional attachments make you weaker. A character who does not want any emotional ties. She leaves students in the dust. Her MO. That's how we created that character.
Next question: Tynion has been doing some amazing work with these characters on Detective Comics that might stick around. Will it last?
Tynion: The two characters that have arcs that are going large, Stephanie Brown, before the current continuity she was a bit of an outsider, even when she was Batgirl, that is core to her that she does not always agree with Batman. A big story that leads to her, she wants to help people, she doesn't agree that costumed vigilante is the best way to do it. Becoming the Spoiler, to stand in the way and not let costumed heroes or villains hurt people's lives. The other character is Clayface, the sadness at the core, he believed he was the monster he was transformed into. Batman knows what it's like to have a terrible day. In that moment, you can build yourself into something that fights back against it. Clayface succumbed to that moment, which is why Batman believes he can be more than the monster he has been for so long, even if Clayface doesn't.
Final Question: How do you keep the quality high? asks someone from Comic Quest in Lake Forest.
Sam: I just will never suck again.
Shawna: Writing things I'd want to read.
Semper; I will never let DC fire me.
Scott Synder and Greg Capullo have a livestream tomorrow that fans are advised to watch… just at another show! FanExpo Dallas!
Peter S. Svensson continues to write at WonderCon for Bleeding Cool.