After the customary trailer for DC Universe was played, Wendy Moore, host of DC Daily took to the stage to introduce the panelists. Kelly Sue Deconnick came out to a large applause, but she wanted more because this is her first ever DC panel. The crowd obliged. Joining her were Steve Orlando, Peter J. Tomasi, Joshua Williamson, and James Tynion IV. Tomasi was wearing a pair of sunglasses and said he’ll be Greg Capullo.
The panel started up with Aquaman. Deconnick takes over the reins of the series with Aquaman #43 with art from Daniel Henriques and Robson Rocha, on sale on December 19th. The first preview pages were revealed. Deconnick said she thinks of all of her comics as music and this one is Led Zeppelin, so it’s big and etched on the side of a van.
When she was first asked to pitch for Aquaman, she was unsure, but her husband, Matt Fraction brought up two things: 1. Jason Momoa and 2. He didn’t know what Deconnick on Aquaman would look like and that would be really interesting. While she’s not using Momoa as a guide, there is a particular image of him that she may or may not have on her desktop where he’s soaking wet and looking up with a small twinkle in his eye. This shows the energy of someone that keeps fighting the fight. She wanted the Arthur we know and love with that swagger.
November sees the release of Electric Warriors #1 from writer Steve Orlando and artist Travel Foreman. It’s their take on the future of Jack Kirby’s universe. The series focuses on all new characters but it pulls a lot from past DC history so it’s accessible for new and old readers alike.
Also on Orlando’s plate is Martian Manhunter, debuting in December with artist Riley Rossmo. This is the third time Orlando and Rossmo have worked together. The writer said that he doesn’t break the script up into panels for Rossmo. He asked him if they could do some big splash pages and he got back pages with twenty plus panels. Orlando promises a deep exploration of Mars culture and the history there. We’ll see parts of Mars that we’ve never seen before. He joked that it’s a good things Martians are shape-shifters because you’ll never know what part of the body you’re seeing. “It’s a good joke after Batman: Damned, right?”
Tomasi was up next to talk about Adventures of the Super Sons, one of my favorite comics. He said this is a comic where he always laughs while he’s writing. Tomasi added that he draws inspiration from his kids and their friends. In teasing an upcoming issue where Robin and Superboy get a ride from the Space Cabbie, he said “The vomit will fly.”
The writer is also jumping on Detective Comics with issue #994 due out on December 12th with art from Doug Mahnke. Tomasi described it as a “big ass mystery box.” He wanted to explore everything that Batman is with this story from different identities to detective work and more. He’ll be writing the lead story in Detective Comics #1000 which he said would blow the mind of his 10 year old self. The issue will reveal the next big villain which will take up the next batch of comics.
The Flash was the next topic of discussion. Williamson talked about upcoming issues including one where Heat Wave is infected with the Sage Force. Much of the new issues will focus on Barry’s force quest spinning out of Flash War. Barry and Iris will be going on a journey around the world he described as “like a honey moon adventure.” He made sure to point out the key word there is “like” so don’t get him in trouble.
Artist Rafa Sandoval joins The Flash with issue #48, due out on November 14th. That’s the start of Force Quest where Barry gets to Gorilla City. Williamson said there’s a new annual coming that deals with Heroes in Crisis. It includes Godspeed and Bart Allen before he shows up in Young Justice. He said that he’s read the first two scripts of Young Justice and couldn’t believe how good it was. It’s described as an emotional and sad issue.
James Tynion IV took over the discussion next with Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark. The first issue of this crossover storyline began this week. Wonder Woman has always been grounded in mythology and this arc explores new ideas with it. Tynion has been trying to get a horror event in October at DC for some time so he’s glad to get the opportunity to do so here. He almost had the chance a few years ago but he didn’t have all of the characters he wanted at the time.
This isn’t the only event Tynion is working on. He’s also working on Justice League / Aquaman: Drowned Earth, debuting on Halloween with art by Howard Porter. It’s a big cosmic story. Tynion is loving working with Porter after the artist has been kept on The Flash for awhile with Williamson.
Before the panel was opened to Q&A, Williamson said he’s been asking to do a specific Flash story. He announced that they’re going to be able to do it now and it’s The Flash: Year One, due out next Spring in the main Flash series, just like Batman: Year One was done. This was met with audible gasps from the crowd. Williamson has been thankful that he’s had Barry Allen in his head over the past few years. He wanted to tell the story of how he got to be the hero we all know. The powers aren’t what make Barry a hero. It’s the hope and inspiration.
Moore asked the panelists what their favorite interactions are. Williamson said he liked writing Batman and the Flash and Superman and Batman. Tynion said he’s really been enjoying the interactions between Wonder Woman and Detective Chimp. Tomasi’s were Bruce and Alfred. He wants to do an Alfred maxi-series. He also likes Jon and Damian and Batman and Superman. Orlando said he liked Wonder Woman and Artemis and more recently, Batman and Flex Mentallo from Milk Wars because they are truly opposites. Deconnick is still new to the DC Universe so doesn’t have a ton of interactions just yet, but she is writing a Black Label book called Historia, which is a history of the Amazons from their perspective with artist Phil Jimenez. She’s found that Hera and everyone make for interesting interactions, but Hera and Zeus is especially entertaining. Hera is her fury incarnate.
DeConnick was asked as a newcomer to DC if there were any dream characters she’d love to write. After a brief hesitation, she said Lois Lane as she has an affection for journalists, especially today as a result of the attacks they’re under for the important work they’re doing.
The panel was officially opened to audience Q&A at this point. A Flash fan asked if there would be a chance to see the interaction between Wallace and Barry again. While Wallace will be doing his own thing for a bit, he’ll be showing up in the Flash Annual, called “Too Many Speedsters.” Williamson has a lot of ideas for the character and feels he’s closer to a Tim Drake.
A fan said he likes to listen to music while reading comics and asked the panelists what soundtrack they would recommend while reading theirs. Tomasi said he likes to listen to instrumental music while writing. Tynion said the Supspria soundtrack on loop while writing The Witching Hour. DeConnick can’t listen to music while writing but said Aquaman is Led Zeppelin, Captain Marvel was Tom Petty, and Avengers: Assemble was AC/DC.
Another fan said he’s loving Justice League Dark and wanted to know what the thought process was in bringing in Man-Bat as he’s not a magic user. Tynion said there were three reasons for this. When he was writing Detective Comics, he wanted a wild card on the roster and it was a toss-up between Clayface and Man-Bat. He developed stories for them both and they ended up going with Clayface. Man-Bat was one of the first characters on the Justice League Dark roster. Additionally, as trying to touch upon horror in the DC Universe, each character represents a different era of the history. Man-Bat represents how horror sneaks in from different areas. Finally, mad scientists are awesome and it provides an interesting perspective.
A fan of the DC Animated Universe asked the panelists if they ever think about how their work would translate to another platform. Tomasi just focuses on the comic and trying to make the best one he can for each issue.