This year in San Diego, at Comic-Con International, the writers and artists for some of DC’s most beloved and anticipated titles graced the fans with a huge panel giving away all sorts of info on the future of the Justice League roster.
Moderated by Jason Inman of DC All Access, the panel hosted Steve Orlando (Justice League of America), John Semper Jr. (Cyborg), Joshua Williamson (The Flash), Brad Walker (Aquaman), Tom King (Batman), Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp (Wonder Woman), and finally Dan Jurgens (Action Comics).
Inman first discussed Justice League of America with Steve Orlando. After some banter about Orlando’s The Ray run in the 90s, Orlando confirmed his plans for this current arc, specifically about using the “King Butcher” and calling back to the Lords of Order.
When asked about a potential chance for a Doctor Fate cameo, Orlando smiled and responded with, “Well it’s me, so there’s a chance of an even more obscure character with “Doctor” in his name showing up very soon.”
Orlando was then asked about his other title Supergirl, and how he sees the relationship between Kara Danvers and Barbara Gordon. Orlando surmised, “They come from this world that are almost diametrically opposed…but to bring them together again really for the first time since the mid-80s is a great experience.”, and rounded off with a look at the cover design for the next arc featuring Solomon Grundy doing his undead smashy thing and teasing, “The Fatal Five’s attack kicks off in issue 11, with Cat Grant.”
Next up was John Semper Jr. to talk about Cyborg. Semper was eager to express his gratitude towards Geoff Johns for allowing him an 18-19 issue “epic” about Victor Stone, because it gives Semper the chance to let the story grow into something bigger.
“He’s going to find out something interesting about Mother Boxes soon,” Semper teased, “If they’ve ever baffled you as they have me, you’re going to get some answers.” When asked about the chance for more Beast-Boyish cameos in the future, Semper said he’s always listening to the fans to hear what they want to read.
Moving on to Joshua Williamson with The Flash, and Inman asked about his work with “Eobard Thawne” (Reverse-Flash, Black Flash, Professor Zoom – or just Ebby to his friends). Williamson talked about “The Return of Barry Allen” story as his favourite, and which reveals Thawne’s origin story:
“Thawne’s an obsessive fan…he looked up to Barry as if Barry was a comic book character, almost like the Barry looked up to Jay’s comics in the 60s. And then Thawne met Barry and realized that he’s just a person, he’s got flaws, and he was heartbroken. It kind of drove him crazy. So that stuff was already all there. Barry is so full of hope, he’s sometimes hard to write. With Thawne, it’s the reverse! It’s almost easier. And because he’s such a fan, he knows all of [Barry’s weak points.]”
Williamson then displayed a character design for Barry’s infected “Negative Flash” state, after talking about the development of Negative Speed Force in the series as an energy harnessed by Thawne and which infects Barry Allen. “I think people are going to be very excited about the stuff that’s coming up for The Flash, we’re getting to get to a lot of things fans have been asking for.” Williamson finished.
Then it was Brad Walker to discuss creating the artwork for Aquaman, and discussed the collaboration involved in the creative process for these books, and how the editors, writers and artists come together to create these wonderful stories.
However, when asked if drawing Aquaman’s chainmail was a pain in the ass, Walker totally lied and said that he actually didn’t mind doing it at all.
Next up: Tom King to talk about Batman and his work on “The War of Jokes and Riddles”. He admitted he used riddles from the 1600s rather than cook up his own, and went on to discuss the political themes of the story; where Jokes form a symbol of anarchy, as per for the Joker, while riddles embodied the evolution of fascism. Teasing issue #29, King explained, “The whole issue is Joker and Riddler just having dinner for twenty pages…that’s not a joke.”
King also talked about his other title Mister Miracle, and the drunken dinner with Dan Didio where he had the idea and was offered the whole New Gods pantheon. King talked about the presence of Darkseid in the story, and how he views him as an epitome of negativity rather than a malevolent force for evil, “Darkseid Is. He’s not good, he’s not bad. He is.”
Then it was time for Wonder Woman artist Nicola Scott. Inman asked about her chance to draw the first meeting of DC’s holy Trinity, “These characters are all being exaggerated versions of themselves because they’re all posturing to each other. Batman’s really got the grumps and Superman is really bringing some extra cheese and in the middle of that Diana arrives and has no agenda, other than to say, “I see you,” she’s just taking charge.”
Scott and co-artist Liam Sharp discussed what makes Wonder Woman so unique, and why she is their favourite character to write/draw. Scott remarked “I find her one of the most accommodating and inviting characters, it’s something that no one else has.”, and Sharp added, “She’s fantastic, she’s wonderful…she’s sisterly and motherly at the same time, she’s innocent and she’s mature, it’s very difficult to capture in drawing her.”
Last on the panel was Dan Jurgens to talk about Action Comics. Inman pulled up a cover of Action Comics #983, sporting various different Supermen from the DCU. Inman jokingly suggested Jurgens was trying to pitch a Team Superman story, which the audience seemed to eagerly support.
Jurgens discussed the roles of Cyborg Superman and General Zod as he brings the Super characters together during Rebirth. He teased the future of the current arc, saying, “There’s a surprise reveal at the end of next week’s issue that I think is really going to shake up the way the Super family works,” before confirming the intended reveal of Mr. Oz in Action Comics #987.
Inman enquired about what this could mean for the Superman book going forward, to which Jurgens replied, “It will certainly change the future of Action Comics, and I think it will have a ripple effect outward.”
The floor was then opened to the audience for their questions.
First question came from a fan named AJ, who asked the panel which two DCU characters they would think to combine into one.
Williamson gave the response and said combining heroes is what they are hoping to accomplish with the evil Batmen in Metal.
Second question came from the Red Robin himself, asking for clarification on the current “Joker situation”.
King told the fan that “the answer is coming” but apologised for not being able to elaborate further.
A third question about the upcoming Action Comics #1000 was directed towards Jurgens, sadly however he wasn’t able to spoil all that much but did promise that it is a very special issue that he is very excited to write.
The final question came from Liam Sharp’s son, who asked how long it takes to write a script for the books.
The panel concluded that it could take anything between three days to a week to finish depending on the circumstances.
And that just about wrapped it up for the DC All Access panel with the DC creative teams at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.