SDCC '13: DC Entertainment: ALL ACCESS With Johns, Simone, Many More

August's TRINITY WAR Triptych Cover
Credit: DC Comics

DC Comics kicks off the convention for us with an all-star panel lineup to talk about everything from their superhero books to digital-first titles and even some Vertigo. Join us as we cover the panel live from Comic-Con International: San Diego 2013!

Official SDCC description: At DC Entertainment, there's never been a better time to be a comics fan! Find out what DC's top talent is has been up to! With Brain Buccellato (Flash), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Derek Fridolfs (Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Li'l Gotham), Adam Hughes (Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan), Geoff Johns (Aquaman, Justice League, Justice League of America), Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Justice League Dark), Gail Simone (Batgirl, The Movement), Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us), and more!

Follow along right here, and don't forget to refresh for all the latest from the convention.

As fans settle in, the panel room for DC Comics' first of the convention is packed to very near capacity. There is less cosplay in the room than one might expect from a mass media interpretation of Comic-Con, but for a court of owls mask here, a Stephanie Brown Batgirl there. DC's John Cunningham is on stage prepping, double checking that name plackards are where they're supposed to be, and the panel is introduced.

John Rood thanked fans for coming to support DC Comics, and let them know about the five panels here at the show this first day of the convention. After promoting DC, he introduced our moderator, Bob Wayne.

Forever Evil 1 art
Forever Evil 1 art
Credit: DC Comics

"We have got a lot of folks to come up here and show you a lot of stuff," Wayne teased before announcing the panelists. Chief Creative Officer and writer Geoff Johns was first, sporting a Green Lantern hat despite his run recently ending. The video introducing "Trinity War" was shown to bring fans up-to-speed. After the video, which received heavy applause, Wayne asked if there would be any more hints about Trinity War, and Johns said "As soon as Jeff Lemire gets up here," prompting the writer joining the panel.

Johns said, "that video really sets up what Jeff and I are doing on Trinity War. I hope you guys are enjoying it, part one is out, part two is out." Lemire added specifically that "Constantine is really the wild card, he's my favorite part."

They teased that this all leads to Forever Evil, an even mini-series that will "be made clear what the story really is by the end of Trinity War," teased Johns. He did reveal that the main character is Lex Luthor, but can't tease much more for now.

Staying with Johns, Aquaman's "Death of a King" storyline is revealing the heritage of Arthur as he meets the first king of Atlantis and "a dark secret."

"I've had everyone ask me, is Aquaman going to fight Sharknado? He's not going to, but he would win."

The Flash co-writer and colorist Brian Buccelato joined the panel in a Flash mask, and showed off his new Flash tattoo.

Teasing Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion, he said "The Rogues... they're going to rebel against something." to laughs. "Everyone who  knows the Rogues knows they're not your typical villain team. They're about the score, and they want to drink beer at the end of the day knowing they robbed something very expensive."

"Brian and I have gotten together quite a bit to talk about this," Johns added. "Something happens in Forever Evil and some villains say "the world is ours now," and the Rogues aren't very happy about that."

In The Flash ongoing series, he's still dealing with Reverse Flash who has been killing people affected by the Speed Force. Iris West was trapped in the speed force, but "has not manifest powers... yet," teased Buccelato. A page from #22 with Dr. Elias looking into a reflection and seeing Reverse Flash "may be a spoiler, or may be a misdirection," he said.

Back to Lemire, he said of Green Arrow, which he recently took over , will crossover with "Zero Year." He also said that the Villains Month Count Vertigo special was "the creepiest thing I've ever written, it actually creeped me out." Green Arrow vs. The Outsiders comes later this year, as well.

Credit: DC Comics

As for his other series Animal Man, "I've really been trying to focus on Buddy's celebrity and using him to explore our culture's obsession with celebrity." The writer also expressed excitement over Rafael Albaquerque coming onto the book this fall.

His Vertigo series Trillium takes two characters' stories, one starting at the beginning, one at the end, and has them meet in the middle. It's printed as a flip-book in the single issues, and Lemire encourages readers to read it that way, rather than trade-waiting.

Mark Buckingham, artist of Fables, then joined the stage to keep it Vertigo. The artist couldn't talk much about the series here, waiting for the Fables panel later tonight. There is a cover of Bigby Wolf and Boy Blue for October's #134, and Buckingham said, "It's not a dream, not an imaginary story," at the behest of his writer Bill Willingham.

The current arc of the series features Rose Red deciding she is a bastion of Hope, and that she wants to re-make Camelot.

The Unwritten story featuring the Fables characters was "sorted out" by Mike Carey and Buckingham "going for Beer and Curry" in London, England. After they figured it out on their end, they talked with Bill and (Unwritten artist) Peter, who both live in Minnesota, who then got together similarly. The two writers wrote pages for the opposite artists to truly merge the books for the special arc.

Credit: DC Comics

Batgirl writer Gail Simone joined the dais, and asked "are you guys keeping up with the Batgirl Wanted story?" to descent applause. "I have a couple things to say about Batgirl real quick," she took over the panel. She said that the new art team of Pasarin and Glapion is "the best one I've worked with ever. Fernando is so good at characterization that we can build so much more on page without a lot of dialogue or captions."

In the current story, Barbara is deciding whether or not to remain as Batgirl - while her father hunts for her alter ego.

The Movement, one of the newer New 52 titles, is also by Simone. She's proud of the cover to October's #5, which features a black, gay, female on the cover. She sees The Movement as a look at what the Teen Titans would be like if they were formed today in a more realistic world. Gen 13's Rainmaker has shown up in the book as "The Weather Witch," which Simone said she's especially excited to have brought into the New 52.

Adam Hughes, interior artist of Before Watchmen: Doctor Manhattan said he loved drawing the character and the book, now a NY Times best seller. His next art is the wrap-around cover for The Fables Encyclopedia, coming October 23, 2013 in a hardcover from Vertigo.

Derek Fridolfs, writer on Batman: Lil' Gotham, an all-ages digital-first title, said that he and Dustin Nguyen write the series often during convention trips. The pair then, after breaking the stories, split the joke-writing and bit-writing duties, while Dustin then paints the series. A Comic-Con themed story comes out on Sunday on comiXology, "The Gotham Comic-Con rivals the San Diego con in size and craziness. Even Batman has a tough time getting tickets, just like everyone else," he teased.

Tom Taylor, writer of Injustice: Gods Among Us, another digital-first comic (that ties into the game of the same name) joined the stage next. He thanked Buckingham for "coming to our country and colonizing us," making a joke about his home of Australia, to good laughs before talking about writing the series. He said that he got the script to the game early, and continues to chat with the team that made it to "keep them happy."

Injustice Annual #1
Injustice Annual #1
Credit: DC Comics

"Injustice is basically the break-up of the World's Greatest Friendship." He's glad that "people seem to like it," while Wayne noted the first five issues of the print edition have sold-out in a row, a "very rare thing."

Taylor announced an Injustice annual for November, which features Harley Quinn and Lobo, with a cover showing her standing over the main man.

Then, the panel turned to fan questions for the remaining fifteen minutes.

The first fan asked if Superman and Shazam will have an old-school brawl, and Johns teased that their short fight in the first issue of Trinity War was just the beginning. Lemire teased "we'll see Shazam versus everyone, really."

As for the other members of the "Marvel family," Mary will get powers, and a name, soon, Johns promised.

A Shazam series? Johns said, "We'll see what happens next year. I'll do something myself, probably."

Johns's epilogue to Green Lantern #20 was simply his own indulgence in what he hoped the ending for all these characters he loves so much would be.

A fan who is loving Vibe asked if there were any plans for Doom Patrol, and Bob Wayne deflected the question saying "I'm not going to let anyone answer your question," while giving the fan a Superman hat.

Lemire can't answer a question about whether or not he'll pencil an issue of Animal Man, which Johns said "sounds like a yes to me."

Will Lemire bring Oliver Queen and Black Canary together? "As soon as I get them together, that's it, they're together. So the longer we can wait, the more stories we can have."

A fan dressed as Booster Gold asked when he gets his own title back, and the panel joked "aren't you from the future, don't you already know?" Johns then said to go bug Dan DiDio about it.

Simone told a fan that Barbara's recovery will continue to be revealed bit-by-bit as Batgirl continues.

A fan then followed-up who loves Barbara's transgender roommate, and the inclusion of her into the series, asked about if issues people face in real life will come up. Simone said that there will be some issues brought up in both Batgirl and The Movement, with more focus on it in the latter title.

Taylor will be following up closely on Robinson's Earth 2 stories, he promises, with a stronger focus on the new Batman.

And that's all we have for this one!

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