‘DC: The New 52′ – Teen Titans Live, Lady Luck, Female Creators and ‘Batman: Odyssey’
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego saw the third in a series of panels discussing the New 52, DC Comics’ forthcoming relaunch of 52 series with new #1 issues. Panelists included Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, Batwing writer Judd Winick, DC Universe Presents artist Bernard Chang, Detective Comics writer/artist r Tony S. Daniel, Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell, Hawk and Dove creative team Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld, Action Comics writer Grant Morrison, Co-Publisher and Justice League artist Jim Lee, Justice League writer (and Chief Creative Officer) Geoff Johns and Swamp Thing and Batman writer Scott Snyder.
After a number of questions and revelations, including the fact that Lady Luck is the mysterious white-haired woman from the Justice League promotional material and the confirmation that the Marv Wolfman and George Perez Teen Titans is still in the history of the DC Universe. Tensions ran high during audience Q&A, which included confrontations over female creators and Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey.On Aquaman: Johns decided that his take on Aquaman is that the public of the DC Universe sees Aquaman much like the real public, and police officers and random people on the street keep thinking of him as a “right place, right time” guy in the Justice League. Johns stated that he’s trying to inject a lot more humor into his books as well as superheroes interacting with regular people instead of superheroes interacting with other superheroes.
On Batwing: Winick largely reiterated his statements about the book from the Batman panel two days ago, stressing that he’s trying to intertwine superhero action and real-world issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also called Africa “a very politicized and ravaged country.”
On Action Comics: Morrison stated that the book was not an origin story but rather one that takes place six months into Superman’s career, showing how he gets his costume and his early interactions with the supporting cast in Metropolis. The writer repeated the story about Superman’s cape as a Linus blanket from the Superman panel yesterday. Morrison said he’s just finished the third issue and that he’s really enjoying writing the book.
On Hawk and Dove: Gates called Rob Liefeld one of his favorite artists and said he was writing the book to Liefeld’s strengths, focusing on the magical side of the DC Universe. Liefeld described Hawk as “Wolverine and the Hulk in the same guy.”
On Teen Titans: Lobdell stated he’s taking a “page one” approach to the book and joked about having to follow up Marv Wolfman and Geoff Johns on the title the same way he had to follow up Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men in the early ’90s. He stated that the characters will eventually have relationships similar to the ones in the pre-reboot version of the title, and are essentially the same characters inside. Johns stated he was skeptical of the rebooted Teen Titans initially, but reading the first script really impressed him and he’s excited to read the book as a fan.
On Savage Hawkman: Tony S. Daniel stated that they were going to streamline the character’s convoluted continuity while still trying to maintain the aspects of the character that make him popular with fans. Daniel stated he was going to flesh out Hawkman’s supporting cast and give him a new arch-nemesis because Hath-Set isn’t going to be used anymore. “I’m not going in that direction,” Daniel said, which may indicate DC is dropping the eternally-reborn aspect of Hawkman.
On Swamp Thing: Scott Snyder gave a lot of credit to his artists Yanick Paquette and Francesco Francavilla. This is the first time Alec Holland and Swamp Thing are actually the same person since Holland was resurrected at the end of Brightest Day, reversing Alan Moore’s retcon from “The Anatomy Lesson.” As such, Snyder stated Holland’s last memory would be dying in the swamp, but he has dreamlike memories of his time as Swamp Thing. Snyder pointed out that Holland has really only been on seven or eight pages of comics since Alan Moore revealed Swamp Thing wasn’t actually Alec Holland, making Holland almost a new character. Snyder intends to reveal more secrets around the history of the Swamp Thing and the “accident” that caused him to become the creature. He also teased a new enemy that Swamp Thing was “created to fight.”
On Batman: Snyder suggested there’s an ancient evil behind Gotham City, a totem older and stronger than the bat, which he’s been hinting at in his current titles (Detective Comics and Batman: Gates of Gotham). He described it as a game-changer for the status quo, as Bruce Wayne essentially faces off against Gotham City itself, which is casting its “huge stone eye” at Bruce and flicking him away.
The panel then opened up for Q&A.
On Female Characters: When asked about DC’s use of female characters, DiDio made a list of DC heroines in starring roles or in team books. He said DC has the best percentage of starring female characters of any company in comics.
On the Mystery Woman in the Justice League: Geoff Johns revealed that she is Lady Luck, a reinvention of an old character.
On Repercussions With Hawk in Brightest Day: When asked if there would be repercussions for Hawk not completing his mission from the White Lantern in Brightest Day, Sterling Gates simply said “wait and see.”
On the Potential of Digital Comics: When asked about having 3D comics in digital format, DiDio noted that the comics industry is right at the beginning of digital technology and depending on its success they will have to consider further experimentation. Morrison added that early movies were simply filmed plays until they started figuring out camera tricks and cinematography, and that developments along those lines will have to occur in comics over the next few years.
On Ambush Bug: When asked if Ambush Bug would ever return, DiDio said that he works with Keith Giffen, and Giffen has no desire to ever write Ambush Bug again.
On the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans: Lobdell confirmed that previous iterations of the Teen Titans indeed existed in the new DC Universe.
On the New Gods: Morrison confirmed that they were on Earth-51, and will be a part of Multiversity next summer.
On Return of Bruce Wayne: A fan asked if Return of Bruce Wayne still occurred in the new DC Universe; Morrison explained that it absolutely did, and while they’ll be dancing between the raindrops of continuity the first season of Incorporated ends soon with the revelation of the identity of Leviathan, leading to next year’s Batman: Leviathan which is the “biggest Batman story [he] could think of.”
On Cassandra Cain: Morrison confirmed she exists in the new DCU.
On Female Creators: The same Batgirl-clad fan who made appearances at many DC panels over the weekend asked why there aren’t more female creators on DC titles. DiDio said that DC Comics hires the best writers and artists they can, to much applause from the audience. Morrison quipped that he looks great in a dress, to which the questioner responded, “I appreciate you trying to brush me off.” Morrison then encouraged women in the audience to submit their work to DC.
On Batman: Odyssey: A fan asked why “crap” like Batman: Odyssey is let out the door, calling it “completely incomprehensible.” Jim Lee stated that just because a fan doesn’t like something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be published, which promoted much applause. Grant Morrison stated that Neal Adams has done so much for the comic industry that he has the right to publish whatever he wants, and that what doesn’t make sense to the reader makes perfect sense to Adams, because he’s approaching a story in a different way.