The big DC Comics panel at Baltimore Comic Con kicked off on Saturday afternoon at 3PM, hosted by Bobbie Chase, featuring Greg Capullo, Cliff Chiang, David Finch, Dan Jurgens, Aaron Kuder, Paul Levitz, Joe Prado, Ivan Reis, and Peter Tomasi.
The year 2014 is the 75th anniversary of Batman, and DC aren't done yet, with a few more announcements to make this year, Chase said.
The panel started with a slide-show, initially with the cover of Batman #33, the famous "lions" cover. Capullo said that he just finished the first issue of Zero Year and it's more "wall-to-wall action", and he can't say much more than that. It's going to be a "bombastic ride" and one of the "biggest splashes yet". When showing a panel of "disco" Batman and the Riddler, he commented that Snyder had a lot to play with due to vagueness in the Riddler's history.
Chiang, shown the cover to Wonder Woman #33, was asked if he knew the end when he started the beginning of this arc, and whether it would be "bitter sweet" for him. He originally thought the story would be around 30 issues, and feels happy with reaching the end of the arc soon. Showing a slide of Wonder Woman captured, and things getting "bad" on Paradise Island, Chiang wanted these scenes to feel like a "World War II" film, he said. The cover for #34 shows a dangerous situation and they recently had a debate over whether to have a "happy or sad ending", Chiang said.
The "new girl" cover for issue #36 of Wonder Woman was addressed to David Finch. He said this is the first book he's ever done that won't be "late", and he loves where his wife is coming from in the writing on the book. That had made it much easier and more natural for him to work on it since he feels like he knows the character. Some inks were shown of Wonder Woman with the Justice League, focusing in on Aquaman. He likes a "nice big action story" as a creator, but he also really wants this to be a story about Wonder Woman and the elements of her world. He tries to stay out of his "wife's way" in her writing, and finds her accommodating to the kinds of things he wants to draw.
The discussion moved on to Finch and Swamp Thing, and a page that Finch says shows his homage to Bernie Wrightson. Finch explained that something happens and Wonder Woman feels that Swamp Thing is involved, and he showed a slide of Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing fighting in a scene that "was a blast to draw". He feels it's a "smart comic" that he hopes to make "exciting to look at".
Jurgens, talking about Action Comics, showed a slide with Superman trying to stop a giant ship from attacking. He gave a shout out to his colorist for doing so much "extra" to add to the work, making it something "you can feel". Slides were shown where Jurgens is thrilled to draw a character who can "morph" and wants to draw it every panel with the Hulk.
The discussion moved on to Multiversity, and Prado and Reis were asked if they had "gotten into the mind of Grant Morrison". No, Prado laughed, but he's an "inspiration" to them. He thinks that basically from what they've read so far, it's a "love letter to DC and to superheroes from Grant, and I hope from all the artists too", he said. They are able to spend more time on each page, and they have a back and forth about what they want to do as artists. Reis said that it's a "great challenge" to find a way to show Morrison's great ideas and that "translating that is crazy". This was the first script he'd had from a different writer than usual for 10 years, so it was a big challenge for him.
When Prado started to ink the book, Reis was already 20 pages into it. Then he did a spread, then jumped to a page shown on a slide with images that "channeled his inner child" showing a double page spread with vertical panels and a wide swath of heroes. A fan chimed in that basically we are inside the DC universe right now since we live in Earth 33 according to the comic, which "talks to you".
Jurgens spoke about Futures End and John Constantine who has been looking for "the real Superman" all this time and finds him "hanging out" doing his thing helping people without making a big deal about it. Kal-el has done something upsetting in his past and doesn't identify as a superhero, he said. Moving on to Futures End #19 we'll see more Earth 2 characters, he said. He discussed the lenticular cover for Aquaman, and whether we are "looking at" THE future or A future, which makes it even more fun for artists. Aquaman, for instance, is wearing a different costume five years from now, Atlantis was ravaged, and is now a city of refugees. They are trying to have more contact with the Earth world, and this story will set up Aquaman and the Others #1. Sean Chen's artwork on the book was praised.
Futures End Booster Gold came up next, an issue where "you all want to make sure that you get it", Jurgens said, since it'll be full of surprises. There are a lot of different artists working on this issue since it's taking place in several different eras. It harks back to the very last time Booster was seen in the DCU. Jurgens said he couldn't even show anymore artwork because it would give away too many surprises. Looking at Lee Weeks' work on Shazam and Superman in his work, his artwork was praised also.
Paul Levitz discussed World's Finest: Huntress and the Power Girl. He showed an image of a "frustrated and angry Power Girl" breaking into prison, but breaking in is easier than breaking out, he warned and once in prison, "You may never break out of it". Levitz commented that when Earth 2 was launched, it was launched with the death of characters and we really didn't learn anything about their lives. Now we get to hear about those things. He commented that like any comic book world, including Multiversity, some things need to be the same, but there are some interesting moments that "play with reality", including Wonder Woman showing up 200-300 years to defend Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne aged 400 or 500.
Sound problems in the room made it difficult to overhear the Q and A from the audience, who had to approach the dais.
A fan asked Greg Capullo if Court of Owls would be brought back. Of course they will at some point and "not leave it cold", he replied.
A fan proposed that DC writers and artists answer what they like most about Batman on his anniversary. Capullo said that aside from "looking awesome", he's also an "overcomer" who has struggles and doesn't allow himself to be a victim. It's a conscious decision, Capullo said, and Wayne refused to put himself in the category of victim and stay there. "We face injustice in the world and sometimes we go the proper channels to seek justice and sometimes justice isn't served". And Batman goes around that, and follows a code of "kicking ass" as a victor getting justice where sometimes "justice is denied".
A young fan asked what happened to the Teen Titans that are mentioned in Futures End and where those events take place. Jurgens said that issue #21 will start to answer those questions.
And thus ended the DC panel at Baltimore Comic Con.