DC Entertainment brought out their talent on Saturday, April 27, 2013, to Chicago to discuss what’s up next for their main publishing line. Joining Bob Wayne on the panel are Sterling Gates (writer, Justice League of America’s Vibe), Kyle Higgins (writer, Nightwing), Aaron Kuder (artist, Green Lantern: New Guardians), Charles Soule (writer, Swamp Thing), Peter Tomasi (writer, Batman and Robin), Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase.
Peter Tomasi is taking Batman and… to a new character each issue, including Catwoman in #22 (Depression – and what better way to feel better than a meet-up with Selina?). With Bruce still reeling from Damian’s death, the goal was to illustrate the ripple effect and not simply resolve the situation in a single issue. Lots of big surprises with Carrie Kelley coming your way with her becoming more and more involved in Bruce and Alfred’s lives. As the five stages of grief wrap up, we’ll begin to see the Dark Knight without his Robin.
Tomasi is also wrapping up his run on Green Lantern Corps, an end of the era. He really wanted #20 to be character-driven with Guy Gardner (his favorite GL) and reward the fans for hanging in with the books for such a long run.
Bob Harras shares that Scott Snyder and Jim Lee are bringing their A-game to Superman Unchained with #1 in June, with a four-way, grand scale Superman scene that folds out of the issue that fans will be blown away by.
Nightwing has officially moved to Chicago, to much applause for Kyle Higgins (imagine that!). Brett Booth’s first issue came out two weeks ago (#19), with the revelation that the killer of his parents has resurfaced alive in the Windy City. Rather than just having Dick running away from the events of “Death of the Family,” this is a mission that gives Dick a greater sense of control over his life after dealing with his destiny as a Talon and the loss of his circus. Getting the character back to being brighter and more outgoing has been refreshing for Higgins, not to mention the addition of a huge mythology to Chicago’s masked community.
What is Batman doing with Vibe, Sterling Gates? It’s very much a “fish out of water” story for a character who’s learning on the job with such overwhelming power. More on the Circus is coming up, which is a prison created by ARGUS to house some very familiar faces from the DC Universe. and this Batman? He’s not the Batman you’re expecting to meet!
Batwing has a new occupant to the suit, a man closer to Bruce’s life, in Lucius Fox’s son Luke. this new Batwing will have a ripple effect across all the Bat titles, as Batman comes to recruit Luke to Batman Incorporated.
Jonah Hex is arriving in Gotham City in the 21st Century in All-Star Western, and will be meeting people who relate to those he knows in the past. So much of his mission will be figuring out how to get back home, or not!
One of the first thing that appealed to Charles Soule about taking on Swamp Thing was to pair him up with John Constantine, starting with a two-issue story in #22. Soule’s goal is to keep stories tight to one or two issues, so fans can sample what they like about the book and keep it moving. This story, “The Whiskey Tree”, will definitely feature the bastard nature of Constantine and in his home territory of Britain. Definitely not going for the all-ages crowd!
Soule is also taking on Red Lanterns with #21, with Guy Gardner taking a more central role going forward in the title. Everything you loved about the title before will remain, but with more Guy Gardner.
Green Lantern #20 is going to be 88 pages (!), the culmination of Geoff Johns’ almost ten year run of reinventing the character and his mythology. It’s a big big issue, both physically and emotionally. The art by Doug Mahnke is phenomenal.
Coming to comic shops at the end of May absolutely FREE is the DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2013 booklet, giving fans something to argue about at next year’s panels. Bob Wayne invites fans to let them know all the choices they don’t agree with.
Time for questions!
Q: Will you plan to create a Crime Syndicate of America book based on Volthoom in GL and Thomas Wayne in Batman, or will they come out of the Multiverse?
A: Maybe something coming, maybe a Villain’s Month?
Q: Where is Renee Montoya in the New 52, and can we expect Batwoman to interact with any other characters in the New 52?
A: Yes and yes!
Q: Any plans to bring the Outsiders into the New 52?
Q: Any plans for Swamp Thing to crossover with Constantine officially?
A: No specific plans, but it’s very likely!
Q: Will Nightwing continue to interact with the Bat-family even though he’s moved to Chicago?
A: We wanted to push Dick in a direction where he could have his own world, to evolve and grow on his own. If you overdo the definition of Nightwing as being too tied to Batman, you do the character a disservice. But yes, he will continue to interact often.
Q: Will we be seeing more Superman Family characters like Steel or the Eradicator?
A: Stay Tuned!
Q: Will Rancor remain in the Red Lanterns)?
A: Yes, he has a unique perspective and will remain in the book.
Q: Are you influenced by social issues in writing/drawing comics?
A: It’s all about finding the right way to build them into a greater story, like with Tomasi’s Five Sages of Grief story. But of course, they have a great influence.
Q: Will we ever know the Orange Lantern oath?
A: You’ll be seeing lots of Larfleeze in his own book, but also: read Green Lantern #20.
Q: Jackson Hyde in the New 52?
A: No specific plans, but definitely a possibility.
Q: Any chance to mend a broken heart for a fan wanting Booster Gold’s return?
A: Your heart will be mended soon!
Q: Will we be seeing more light-hearted books like Vibe, The Green Team and others?
A: We will definitely see more of a blend going forward, and give a bit of spectrum to our stories.
Q: Will there be any team-ups in Batman and… from outside the Bat-family?
A: We have a lot of cool things planned, including a long road to developing the new Robin. That process will not be instantaneous.
Q: Could we see Razer in the Red Lanterns title?
A: There’s a lot of love for him. Who knows? Maybe down the road.
Q: Nightwing in the Justice League?
A: JL membership will be the least of Nightwing’s problems coming up.
Q: Will Cyborg be getting his own title?
A: (tepid applause)
Q: Will Nightwing be a Cubs fan or Sox fan?
A: As long as Kyle Higgins is writing the book, Dick will not be attending a Cubs game.
Q: DC does ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity in comics like no other company, and was so thrilled to see the Wizard Shazam be re-portrayed as African. Can we hope the Wizard Shazam to continue making appearances?
A: Yep! That’s the plan!
Q: What do we have that’s coming up that’s different than the core Batman and Green Lantern books?
A: We have plans for many different types of books coming up!
Q: Is there any plan to bring the Ditko Question back in the New 52, and will we see any Batman Beyond projects?
A: Kyle Higgins’ first issue of Batman Beyond starts in August, which starts a year ahead after Adam Beechum’s last issue. And the Question will be appearing prominently in Trinity War.
Q: Any plans to expand the Teen Titans roster, especially with Static?
A: Static probably won’t be joining the team, although something might be happening with him soon. Stay tuned!
Q: Any plans for a Superman type character coming to Earth 2, joining Fury and the new Batman?
A: We have lots of plans for Earth 2 that will start to have ripple effects on other worlds.
Q: Is the goal behind special covers in the WTF month or the Joker covers meant to help out shops exclusively?
A: Some things just work out better in print, and we’re always trying new things to see what works!
Q: Was the end of Death of the Family affected by Damian’s death? I was disappointed by the fact that Alfred’s head wasn’t in a box.
A: The book’s intention was always to fracture the family, not kill off characters. The key word was “of”, not “in.”