WonderCon '15 – Live From DC's Convergence Panel With Jeff King, Dan Jurgens, Len Wein, Scott Lobdell, Peter Steigerwald UPDATE

WonderCon's Convergence Panel for DC Comics is kicking off this Saturday afternoon. We'll be bringing you that panel live:

IMG_9753The panelists included Mark Andreyko, Len Wein, Scott Lobdell, Peter Steigerwald, and Dan Jergens hosted by Jeff King.  The panel started with animations for DC All Access and an intro to Braniac's behavior and the trapped dome situation for DC heroes. Ripples from this story will be reaching out in June and in future stories. Coming up are crazy battles, Wonder Woman battling Joker vampire, the birth of Clark and Lois' child and more, the animation teased, in an event "not to be missed".

Scott Lobdell amused the audience by taking lots of cellphone pics and selfie and King joked there'd be a selfie cover coming up. King commented that there was a "commonality of death" at the panel among the stories these folks have written and edited.

Showing images from Convergence 0, which is available now, Jurgens commented that pages in the first few issues align to make one epic scene by Ethan Van Sciver.

Jurgens explained that each Braniac we've seen has been an "acolyte" for the upcoming over-arching Braniac we will encounter in convergence, and a spread in Convergence 0 depicts that. April 8th will bring Issue #1 for Convergence, and Lobdell commented that an Earth 2 character he's most enjoyed working on is Flash, who we'll see in Issue #1. Jeff King's favorite to write is Dick Grayson, he said, especially when you're getting into "universe spanning events". King says there are multiple Flashes, as in DC tradition, and asked when Lobdell might get to the point where there might be more than one Flash, how would that feel? Lobdell said that it happens around Issue #6 of convergence, since all the characters are coming together. This was the stuff of "fan fiction" previously, but now all the times readers have been asking many questions like this are coming to fruition, Lobdell said.

Convergence will bring us things like Thomas Wayne and Bruce Wayne meeting for the first time, Lobdell and King said.

Convergence Booster Gold is being written by Jurgens, but his work on Futures End Booster Gold #1 pertains to it. It's going to tie into the event, King said. There are going to be 2 Booster Golds in the Convergence #1 issue. They'll be getting together for an "adventure" and all the sudden Rip Hunter shows up, Lobdell said. There's also a new Skeets finally showing up in Booster Gold Convergence #1. The cover for #2 shown in the panel, depicted the Legion of Superheroes showing up to meet Booster and, of course, getting into a skirmish.

Convergence Superman #1 is a key storyline playing out. The cover of #1, out next week, depicts Lois and Superman kissing, with Lois pregnant. We find out "what they've been up to", Jurgens said. This is the version  of Superman and Lois married several years ago in the DCU. On the cover of #2, Thomas Wayne is depicted standing above Superman and pregnant Lois. He's a doctor, and the question it is what means to him to see the birth of Clark's child while remembering the loss of Bruce (which turned him into Batman instead of Bruce).

Convergence is giving fans a chance to go back into favorite storylines and characters to see how they may have evolved. Everything that emerges as "canon" from the event will be available for creators afterwards as well, King said.

Len Wein was asked about the powerful message of Swamp Thing's connection to "the green" which was ahead of its time environmentally and he agreed that he hoped he was ahead of his time. Convergence Swamp Thing #1 will be available April 22nd. He still feels "this is a character I know". Asked if he's discovered anything new working on Swamp Thing now, he said that about 30 years ago, he and Bernie Wrightson started to do a Swamp Thing graphic novel and tried to hire Kelly Jones but it didn't work out. Now they are finally working together.

King said that all of these monthly Convergence books will tell "self-contained" stories, and it gives the writers a chance to tell stories they've always wanted to tell. Wein said he spent a lot of the first issue trying to "keep him alive" since he's cut off from the Green in the domes. He wouldn't "make it on his own" and needs help. It has been a story that Wein really feels is a classic Swamp Thing tale.

Lobdell said it was an honor to sit beside Wein, who invented Swamp Thing, and Wolverine, to applause, and was asked about Convergence Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle's "sneaky story" from Lobdell was that he really wanted to do the Charlton Heroes and let DiDio know. He had a Charlton Heroes t-shirt printed, and "messed it up" to look like he wore it every day, then went to see Dan, convincing him of his devotion. Lobdell said people don't understand even after Superman and Red Hood, he still has to "get himself out there" and ask for his favorite projects in a persistent way. Like Spider-Man, Blue Beetle is "fun, wiry, and always has something to see". He's going to "keep his sense of humor" even though a lot of terrible things that will happen in the first 2 issues.

Once the domes come down, that have been keeping worlds apart in the story, the narrative thread of the "main story" will break out as these worlds encounter each other. The monthly books will be able to be read without reading all Convergence titles to follow favorite characters once the main storyline is set up, King said.

Mark Andreyko said that Convergence will be "character centric" unlike a lot of "big events" and that's in keeping with the books he's loved with these characters. Andreyko revealed that the characters have been "de-powered" within the domes, and some characters, like Metamorpho, don't want their powers to come back once the domes come down. It's an ultimate "fan fiction" moment for Andreyko, and he loves the weird team-ups that are forming. It makes him wonder "what were they smoking in the office that day", he said, to audience laughter. It's a privilege, he said, and feels like the least of the team of people doing Convergence. He said that readers, himself included, have been burned on big crossovers, but this one doesn't have a single "false note".

Peter Steigerwald said it's been a bit of a "blur" producing a 28 page weekly book, and now they have to keep checking the different eras, costumes, colors, and the like to keep things correct.

During Q&A, Jeff King said that it's true that not every character will make it out of Convergence alive.

There are going to be Convergence checklists and primers to help readers keep up with characters and stories, King also said.

Jurgens teased that in the future Batmite steals the Batmobile "seriously".

Though many character have appeared in Multiversity, a fan asked if any Amalgam characters will come up in Convergence. King said it's possible that the Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating universe will come up. The consensus seemed to be that it wasn't possible, though, because the Amalgam characters are shared with Marvel.

A fan asked how the Convergence event "frees up" creators and allows DC to take more risks in the future? Jurgens said that Elseworld stories took risks in the past, enabling Convergence. Lobdell "loved fun comic book" that had less continuity and grounding of characters in the past, which can "kill stories". He'd love to see DC and Marvel getting back to the "fun" and sees that coming in Convergence. In June there'll be Batmite as a limited series, as well as Bizarro, which represent that "fun".

There was a shout-out to Marie Javins' excellent work editing 80 titles as the "unsung hero" on this project. She was brought in just for this Convergence project but is now staying and moving to Burbank.

A fan asked if Shazam will get any love in Convergence, and King confirmed there'll be at least one big focus on him and it's worth the wait.

About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.

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