Peter S. Svensson writes for Bleeding Cool.
So, the DC Entertainment All Access Panel was pretty much just a series of trailers for DC products, with some commentary by DC All Access host Tiffany Smith, (you know, from DC's webshow that everyone in the room claimed to have watched but we all know most of them didn't) as she interviewed Batman writer Scott Snyder, and Heath Corson, Bizarro writer and DC Animated Film director. I'm not going to recap the trailers, as none of them were anything new and you've probably seen them all already. But what was cool at this panel was hearing Scott Snyder and Heath Corson talk about comics.
So that's what I'm going to give you.
The first trailer was for upcoming DC comics. Darkseid/Anti-Monitor War in Justice League for the Fate of the Multiverse! Commissioner Gordon is Batman! Where is Bruce Wayne? Green Lantern is no longer a Space Cop but now an outlaw renegade! Wonder Woman fights the Anti-Wonder Woman! The New DC U! ARE YOU READY?
Tiffany Smith started everything off by asking the two writers how they felt about DC's new direction, with new genres and new takes on things.
Corson was happy to just get a chance to do a book that was funny. He's currently loving Prez and Midnighter and Omega Men, as new books, along with what he was already reading.
Snyder loved the heroic music that accompanied the comics trailer. He explained that when the new 52 launched, there had been a push to be more inventive, for creators to have the freedom to do the stories they liked, but then slowly things drifted back towards playing it safe. At a creator's summit in Burbank, Synder was expecting to receive platitudes from editorial, but instead was given the mandate to tell daring stories. Snyder briefly mentioned an upcoming apprenticeship program for new writers and artists, before continuing to explain how thrilled he was at being able to bring something new to Batman, inspired by the new energy found in books like Bizarro, Black Canary and Batgirl. How he likes that Geoff Johns is doing what Snyder believes is his best work on Darkseid War, and that everyone is getting to do their own style. "Honestly, it's really, really, really thanks to you." said Snyder, explaining that the support of books with a singular creative vision like Batgirl and Gotham Academy, along with the support of creator owned books at Image, made it clear that it was okay to try risky ideas on books. "We really do owe it to you. You are seismically shifting the way people think."
Tiffany Smith had a job I did not envy of having to make segues from whatever Snyder and Corson talked about to the next trailer, and tried to make some quip about Ben Affleck as a new type of Batman before showing the Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice trailer. You've seen it already. You don't need me to describe it.
The audience did love it though.
Smith asked if Snyder freaks out when watching these sorts of teasers. Snyder makes a point of avoiding the trailers, not just because he doesn't want to know anything before it comes out, but because he doesn't want it influencing how he writes Superman and Batman. Corson has watched the Batman v Superman trailer 15 times. "I'm dying for a look at Jesse Eisenberg. I'm a huge Gene Hackman as Lex fan, and not just because I'm a bald guy. You can't go back and watch The Social Network and not think it's a prototype Lex story." he explained.
Smith pointed out that we have seen images of Eisenberg as Luthor, and he's not bald at all. She then asked the question of the day: Team Batman or Superman?
"Even when it's Avengers vs X-Men, it's Batman." said Snyder.
"I know I'm supposed to say Superman, but it's Batman." said Corson. The possibility of choosing Wonder Woman instead was brought up, and both writers approved.
"I'm really excited for Wonder Woman," said Snyder, explaining that Lynda Carter was his first crush, and that as a child he had a terrible nightmare of being lassoed by Wonder Woman, forcing him to confess and say I LOVE YOU to her, something horrible and wonderful at once. "I'm really excited to see a version [of Wonder Woman] that is strong, and independent, and honors the character. I'd love to write that character."
Corson pointed out what he loved about the Flash TV series was encapsulated in how they put "The Rita Farr Story" and "Blue Devil II" on a film marquee, the level of DC Universe injokes proving that the creators are fans as well.
Next came existing Arrow, Flash and iZombie trailers. Not for the upcoming seasons, but previous trailers.
Snyder explained how he's a big fan of iZombie, formerly a Vertigo title by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred. He noted how Geoff Johns has been pushing media adaptations of Vertigo properties, and how seeing a book become a show like that is a real joy.
As for seeing his own Vertigo series, American Vampire be adapted, Snyder noted that while many fans have written in with suggestions for casting, such as having Josh Holloway as Skinner, he joked that "I want to be Skinner!" Though on a serious note, he'd prefer to be a bumbling police officer in the background.
Meanwhile, Corson struggled with who should play Bizarro, starting off with Patrick Warburton, then realizing that a fat Chris Pratt might suffice, before settling on his dream casting of a motion capture based on Melissa McCarthy, as she is the best at throwing herself into a physical role and committing to it 100%.
Next was going to be the trailers for upcoming series, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Lucifer. But they couldn't get Lucifer's trailer (or wouldn't, I got the impression that someone wanted this panel to be a bit more all ages) and instead showed a Gotham trailer instead. None of these were new ones, but hey, they're new to someone right?
Snyder is looking forward to Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow.
Then Snyder explained the hows and whys of Commissioner Gordon as Batman. Some of this gets explained in the recently released Batman #42. He came up with the idea a year ago while he was plotting out Endgame, that he could do a Commissioner Gordon as Batman story and also make it a Bruce Wayne story, not to permanently change the mythology but to give new angles to these characters. Snyder thanked the fans for their generosity in buying into the premise, and reassured them that he and Greg Capullo would never do this sort of story unless it was the best for all the characters the fans love, including Bruce. So when he came up with the idea, it was Thanksgiving, so he texted Dan Didio "Happy Thanksgiving BTW Commissioner Gordon becomes Batman" hoping that Didio wouldn't notice the rest. But he did, and five minutes later called Snyder up and ended up hearing the whole idea. Snyder is excited for the fans to see the whole picture, as he feels the story is an examination of what Batman means today. Commissioner Gordon is in the context of this story like the real life fans, someone who if asked "you have to be Batman now" would have to struggle and adapt, learning how to be Batman. How to become someone that would restore hope to a population that has lost faith in the police, in local government, in business, someone who could reach out a hand and create a safer Gotham. The Bruce Wayne elements of this story are the opposite, as he's not becoming Batman.
Snyder admitted that he got a backlash from the fans when he announced Zero Year, a year long retelling of Batman's earliest days, and understands why fans would be upset and is glad that people are being supportive. "We can't thank you enough. It's a story. It's not a giant status quo change. What's coming after is going to be a lot of fun. This is our icing on the icing on the icing of the cake you let us have a while ago."
Corson explained the difficulties in writing comedy, in that as a comic writer you don't get much immediate feedback, and because humor is so subjective, there's the fear that what you wrote isn't funny to anyone else.
Snyder admitted that he's always had anxiety about working on Batman, and in order to get through it, since he nearly turned down the project, had to pretend that he was instead working on an original character otherwise he'd be crippled by the stress. "I love this character more than anything else in fiction. He became emblematic to me at a young age." said Snyder, whose youth in New York City resembled the crime ridden streets that Frank Miller wrote about.
Snyder got advice from Neil Gaiman, that for a writer, at first you worry that you're not good enough. Then as you mature, you instead worry that you used to be better and that you're not good enough anymore. Which is depressing and enlightening.
The trailer to the Bruce Timm Justice League: Gods and Monsters film showed. You've already seen it right?
Snyder admitted that in order of inspiration to him for Batman are the following: Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: The Animated Series.
Everyone at the panel admitted their adoration for Bruce Timm's work. Corson went to Alan Burnett, who wrote the upcoming film, for a meeting a year ago, and saw the Bruce Timm character designs pinned to the wall. Burnett gave Corson a breakdown of the plot, and "My jaw was on the floor. It's going to be cool. People are going to freak out." said Corson.
Corson then spoke about the experience at SDCC last year when they premiered his Attack on Gotham animated movie, and how intense it was having 8000 people watching.
This is where the Batman Arkham Knight trailer was supposed to be shown, but instead we get two Teen Titans Go clips, featuring Kid Flash and Ravager.
Snyder talked about how his kids love the show, and how his eight year old son wants his family to do group Halloween costumes. While last year was Adventure Time, this year he's thinking about either Teen Titans Go or Pro Wrestling. The rest of the panel was very interested in following Snyder on social media so they could see the photos when it happens.
Corson explained how writing Bizarro talk is like writing in three languages, what he's saying, what he's trying to say, and what others hear. He fears he only gets it right 65% of the time, but counts on his artist on Bizarro, Gustavo Duarte to use the visuals to nail the rest. "We've never met, but we're a match made in heaven. I'll send him jokes. He calls me an ubernerd, he's so mean to me sometimes. But then he'll suggest some obscure joke and I'll say that's a deep dive. He's the best. I'm sorry he's not here."
"We've all felt like the guy who can't be understood, the outsider, who wears his heart on his sleeves, he just wants friends." elaborated Corson. "And sometimes you're Jimmy Olsen, who has a buddy who is the most annoying person in the world. Why am I doing this?! I can relate to both sides."
Former comic shop retailer Peter S. Svensson is competing in the Pro/Fan Trivia contest at San Diego Comic Con Sunday at 4 PM. You should come watch him try and beat Mark Waid at classic trivia.