LBCC 2018: Plans For Deathstroke, Teen Titans & Black Lighting At DC Comics

by Gary Catig

Several current DC writers were guests at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con so the company took advantage of the assemblage of talent and held a DC Nation panel on Saturday morning. Publisher, Dan DiDio, moderated over Bryan Edward Hill (Detective Comics), Adam Glass (Teen Titans) and Christopher Priest (Deathstroke).

Hill first spoke about his upcoming series, Batman and the Outsiders. He wanted to make the most intense superhero comic and described it as a team book with the safety off. He expressed his gratitude towards DC as they have been supportive of his efforts and have worked hard to get the title on track. The writer also voiced his uncertainty about in staying in comics and thinks Outsiders could be his last statement in the medium.
Afterwards, Priest discussed his challenges working. He is aware that there are large amounts of money involved with these characters as they are used more than just the comics. Corporate can cast a shadow over creators to ensure they keep the big picture in mind. He especially faced pushback with Deathstroke as he has the character do heinous things at times and the higher ups forget that he’s a villain. Another time that people intervened with one of his ideas was on his Justice League run. Wonder Woman needed to go undercover and she was going to be turned black for four pages, but the storyline was pulled for fear of a social media storm. Also, this was during the time of the movie and the company was cautious on how the character would be perceived.
As a TV writer, Glass keeps a busy schedule but did not hesitate when offered Teen Titans. He sees these young heroes as a way he can tell stories to his children, and even down the line, his grandchildren. Since the team has a rich history, he wanted to take a familiar but fresh approach. There is a good mixture of old and new characters and early on, he wants the focus mainly on the new in order to build up the family dynamic. In addition, he wants to emphasize that they are still kids that are learning and may make mistakes now and then.

Black Lightning has experienced a resurgence in popularity due to the TV show and Hill has played a big part in incorporating him with his run on Detective Comics and now Outsiders. Batman has enlisted Jefferson Pierce to help train and lead a new team and Bryan describes their relationship as similar to the one of Redford and Pitt in the film Spy Games. Pierce follows Batman’s direction, but is unsure of the intentions. Though the two heroes share different ideologies, Hill is trying to build their friendship to be an important part of the DCU.
Priest has had a fun run on Deathstroke, but sees himself continuing until issue #50. Although he sees the end coming, he still has exciting things planned like a Deathstroke/Teen Titans crossover. Damion is disillusioned with his father’s methods and sees places like Arkham as revolving doors for criminals. The Titans leader is intent on fixing Batman’s mistakes but this raises a conflict with the team.
Finally, DiDio spoke of DC’s efforts to expand their reading audience. They have different lines that cover young adult to mature because one size doesn’t fit all. Moreover, their new deal with Walmart is placing books into stores they wouldn’t normally be in. These comics are 100 pages with reprinted stories and a new one. They incorporate origin stories to introduce characters and are written in a variety of styles in order to hopefully reach out and connect to readers. Though the price tag may be a bit high for some, DiDio stands behind the quality and stresses the value of the books.

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