ECCC 2013 Day 1: DC: All Access Panel

The first big-two panel at Emerald City Comicon on Friday covered all things DC, including web comics and news out of the Vertigo imprint, highlighted by a few announcements and some advanced looks into upcoming issues of some of the DCU's most popular books. Larry Gannon led the panel, accompanied by Vertigo editor Mark Doyle, Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire), Joshua Fialkov (I, Vampire), Bill Willingham (Fables), Ray Fawkes (Justice League Dark), Jae Lee (Ozymandias Batman/Superman), Dustin Nyguen (Lil Gotham), Derek Fridolfs (Lil Gotham, Batman Beyond Unlimited) and Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) arrived late due to a flight delay.

 

"The guy you love to hate is back." Doyle stated emphatically. An eight-issue sequel to 100 Bullets, Brother Lono kicked off the announcements and will reunite the Award-winning creators involved including writer and co-creator Brian Azzarello, artist and co-creator Eduardo Risso, colorist Patricia Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson who also worked on Spaceman last year. "This is our big announcement," Doyle told Newsarama. "It's violent, funny, and it's Azzarello and Risso doing their thing. While they could have told a flashback, Doyle said that it will definitely happen after the events of 100 Bullets #100.

Scott Snyder presented his new Vertigo series with Sean Murphy titled, The Wake, which they've been developing for over a year and it will be released in May. "There's a discovery at the bottom of the ocean that unlocks the mysteries of the sea. "There's a post-apocalyptic element, horror, and more science-fiction," Snyder said. "It's definitely different from anything you've ever seen from us."

The Emerald City crowd gave Snyder a huge ovation for his work on Batman and were teased with the cover to issue #20 with what appears to be Batman punching Superman in the face. Snyder graciously shared future plots, with issue #18 dealing with Damian Wayne's passing through the eyes of Harper Row. Issues #19 and #20 are a tribute to Batman: The Animated series and #21 begins an 11-part story that Snyder felt was his favorite thing he's done on the book. "It's ambitious, crazy, and I'm extremely proud of it."

Batman #18

Kubert Variant

Snyder was also asked whether or not Damian Wayne's death affected "Death of the Family" and he said, "No. We knew what was coming up in Batman Inc. but DC pretty much gave me the ability to kill anybody I wanted."

"At the end of the day, the story was about Joker saying 'I am your family; the Royal Court of Arkham is your family.'" That relationship with Joker is what really died at the end of the arc as Batman played the same joke on the villain he was trying to play on the Dark Knight." Damian's life and death was Grant's (Morrison) story to tell and Snyder didn't want to tread on that. 

Concerning his final episode of Swamp Thing, issue #18, Snyder said, "This issue brings it back to Louisiana where it began and changes the status quo. I'm really sorry to say goodbye but it means a lot to get so much support."

Jeff Lemire admitted or joked that "'Rotworld' maybe went a few issues too long," and moving forward, stated that there will be no more writing with Snyder. Future issues will look at "Buddy Baker's celebrity status and our culture's obsession with celebrities."There's a big tragedy that will happen to him in issue 18, and then he gets nominated for an Academy Award during a dark moment in his life. Lemire will use a storytelling device where readers can see fictional Twitter followers tweeting about Buddy and at some point those tweets start influencing the story.

 

Focus then shifted to Ray Fawkes, who is writing both Justice League Dark and Constantine. "Justice League Dark gets really strange," Fawkes said. He explained that this upcoming story will show what the rest of the superhero world thinks of the Dark. What kind of opinions have been formed of Madame Xanadu and Constantine? A return of a familiar villain is on the horizon, but with "a horrific new guise." The cover to issue #3 segued into Fawkes sharing a future story where Constatine, who no longer lives in England, must return but is welcomed with the entire city of London out to kill him.

Jae Lee was given a round of applause for return to DC Comics with his work on Before: Watchmen: Ozymandias, but instead of elaborating on his experience, he pursued a bad Before Watchmen joke when he said his next project was Before New Frontier. Looking a little tired, Lee explained his bad body language was due to working on Batman/Superman with writer Greg Pak, which he's begun drawing. His wife, who is also the colorist on the series, could not make the trip to ECCC because she had to finish coloring the cover he had spent three straight late nights drawing.

Sticking with the spotlight on artists, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs spoke about their Lil Gotham web series, which Gannon called "the cutest thing ever." Nguyen preferred the description, "bad ass." DC will forego printing single issues, and go straight from the digital format to collected edition on April 10th with all of the holiday strips of last year. Nguyen explained, "We just wanted to do something fun, we were trying to keep everything fun and less gritty.

Fridolfs shared future storylines with Justice League Beyond, "The team is in recruitment mode, picking up new heroes and adding them to the roster." For example, a female Flash. The stories will continue to venture outside of Gotham and Metropolis, while making ties to the TV show.

 

Bill Willingham introduced Fables #129, which is the last of the big Snow White storyline, and the cover was shown depicting Snow in battle gear with a big sword attached to her back. "It was time that she had an arc of her own," Willingham said, "to punish her for being in this series." Willingham added that they've been known to lie with their covers, "so the sword could be just rammed deep into her shoulder." More will be revealed in the Official West Coast Fables Panel .

DC's All Access presentation ended with I, Vampire #19 and Joshua Fialkov had fun with the book being cancelled with this issue. We're going out with a bang," Fialkov said. "We've killed everybody and I have so little cast left, that they're just going to turn to the reader and beg them." As Gannon was trying to interrupt him, Fialkov fired back, "What are you gonna do Larry, Cancel the book?"

Fialkov did manage to plug his two Green Lantern books, Red Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps as the new creative teams transition in after Geoff Johns walks away from the characters. He is keeping in close touch with Justin Jordan and Robert Venditti to coordinate the Green Lantern books as one large story as well as individual stories."They might be more separate than what they have been," disclosed Fialkov, but at the end of the day, "Geoff is all of our bosses and we're terribly afraid of upsetting him.

Other tidbits gathered from the panel and fan questions:

A cover to Phantom Stranger drawn by Gene Ha was shown of the series written by Dan Didio and art by J.M. DeMatteis.

Rob Leifeld and Scott Snyder have made up since Leifeld went on an internet tirade.

The new fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us has been shown to many of the DC creators and met their approval.

"Don't count on" Wally West appearing in the DC New 52.

A future Secret Six is currently not in the works.

Doyle replied to a question concerning Vertigo characters transferring over to the DCU by saying there are "no more plans" to take Vertigo characters and bringing them over to the DC New 52. The older characters fit in well with the DCU characters. The current stable of Vertigo titles and future ones will focus on becoming your favorite new books. Doyle did joke that "Sweet Tooth could be the new Robin."

Doyle also may have had the line of the panel. When asked why Deathstroke has a ponytail in the Young Justice cartoon, he replied, "He's all business up front and a party in the back."

And in Batman Beyond Unlimited, Joker will re-appear, and a Kai-ro origin story is in the works.

The presentation closed with questions from the crowd after a plug for DC Entertainment's We Can Be Heroes charity campaign, which is raising relief funds for drought famine in Africa.

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