By Joe Glass
Wow, this panel is starting with a major party vibe…DC are putting on a real show, and the hall is PACKED.
They have the crowd clapping and dancing and really pumping everyone up for the main event, which is not incredibly conducive to liveblogging, but it certainly makes for an energising experience. Though with the number of Bat-fans in here, I wonder if it is possible that they could get more enthused to be honest.
The moderator for the panel comes in, John Cunningham, to really get the show on the road. Panellists introduced next include Brian Azzarello, to rapturous applause. Next up, Andy Kubert, and the applause is even louder, as he enters to the classic Batman theme. Klaus Janson comes out, and he gets a standing ovation….if who we reckon is coming next, I dunno what to know will happen. Oh, but no first up is Jim Lee!
No more panellisits introduced at this time, as Cunningham goes into a very sholarly history of the Dark Knight Returns, and how it was so innovative for the time, but have very much defined modern comics. Followed by a slideshow of the iconic artwork by Frank Miller. NY Times however had given it an exceedingly negative review.
We continue onto Dark Knight Strikes Again, as we are again given a slideshow of iconic art.
Jim Lee discusses the history of how DK3 came to be, a third act to Miller's classic story.
Kubert's artwork is praised, and he himself praises Janson for his collaboration. They will be showing art, but I'm afraid security here is being very stringent on people taking any kind of photography of this panel…I will try and get pictures if I can.
Miller talks about how he set up the world and how it works, but it's very much Azzarello's/DC's baby, and that he himself is excited to read it.
Janson talked about how it's been like knowing about this project for a while, but not being to talk about it, but he came back to DC because he had always had a secret hope that they would do a third one. He praises Miller as the true reason DK worked at all. He's incredibly happy to be working on the project, and to be in the room with the fans today.
Cunningham says that even within the halls of DC Comics the project is shrouded in cloak and dagger, and he only saw the full first issue a week ago, but he promises us we will be blown away by this story, and we will be very surprised by what happens at the end of this volume of the story.
They show the cover and some internal art, which is looking fantastic. We see a Miller-styled Wonder Woman fighting a minotaur, her half-kryptonian daughter floating in the air, Batman tackling crime in his own inimitable way.
Janson points out that though it's a different artist, the look is identifiably Dark Knight in style, with the heavy use of blacks.
They discuss the literally mini-comic, which will come contained in the main comic, which will each focus on different characters of the Justice League, stories that are essential to the main story but can be read seperately. Each will have a different artist. Lee discusses how much thought went into production, to even the most minute detail. Second chapter will be Eduardo Risso.
Cunningham reiterates that the mini-comic really is an integral part of the main story, not a seperate story.
We see some of the interiors for the Atom story, which Janson discusses as the first time he and Miller had worked together in thirty years, and he felt a lot of pressure there, but he was happy to get to the point where it all looked like how he remembered.
Miller discussed how the end of the day DC allowed him to play with their toys, now Azzarello is playing with DCs toys they way he used to – no egos were bruised.
Lee elaborated how Azzarello has been flying out to NY to Miller's studio to work on the project together, which he stresses is incredibly collaborative. Miller says he is consulting, this is Azzarello's show…but Azzarello jokes he's being modest.
Some of the variant covers were then shown, including Miller, Janson, Dave Gibbons, Jill Thompson, Jim Lee.
Kubert felt things have really clicked when he started getting his first feedback from Miller and Azzarello, as intimidating and exciting it was to do the project, as he's so much of a fan of the original DK himself.
Miller talked about how he used to send to Janson these taped together pages as he literally took out and moved around panels on the original DK, and joked it was idiotic. Janson counters it was awesome.
There will be hardbound Deluxe format versions of the book too, each individual hardcover comes out shortly after the print issue, with a slipcase coming out with the last issue.
Q&A begins, is there anything Miller tried to do that fans maybe didn't appreciate or get…Miller just leans in and says no.
The upcoming film, which appears to be heavily influenced by Dark Knight Retruns, was not consulted so has no idea of the of how much of the film is influenced by it.
Miller believes the campy Adam West version of Batman has as much value as the Dark Knight version.
Kubert can't see his work on DK3 NOT influencing his future artwork.
Miller will direct again anytime anywhere whenever he is asked.
Miller would love to see the dual between Batman and Superman from DKR in the new movie, and he wants it to be clear that Batman wins.
Miller says he uses old 40s language a lot because he loves those movies, so that is sometimes how the dialogue is worked out for a character. But he points out you need a very good ear to write, you just need to listen.
Azzarello jokes you're going to like Superman's junk, and Miller states he knows nothing about what people are talking about when they say there appears to be something coming from Superman's trunks in his mini-comic cover.
Millers says he's got one, when asked if the headline Dark Knight Universe would imply that there'll be more post DK3.
When asked if there were any panels they didn't like and had to redo, Miller laughs. Kubert admits in the first few pages there were several panels he re-did a lot. Miller decides to tell a story of a strange morning he's sure Janson had, and how he opened up his package of art, to find the panels falling out.