The Caped Crusaders, Dynamic Duos, and Darkest Knights panel of C2E2 weekend boasted a full house and a lot of talent. Moderated by Scott Snyder, guests James Tynion IV, Brian Buccellato, and Ray Fawkes sat down to talk about their respective Bat books and where they're headed in the coming months.
"I just wanted to start by saying thanks so much for your support, it really means a lot to us," began Snyder. "Inside the offices there's just a palpable feeling of gratitude for you. We always say that you guys Gotham, but you really are to us."
He went on to introduce the panelists and talk with them a little bit about their role in the Batverse.
"I like to think of James as the secret weapon of the Bat family," Snyder said as he presented Tynion. "He was really the brains behind Batman Eternal, which is one of those things that we are so proud of in terms of how supportive you guys were week after week on that book. None of us knew how to do a 52 issue series, and the fact that you guys let us pull it off the way we wanted was great."
"The experience of being able to work on a weekly, year long Batman story and see the response has been absolutely incredible," said Tynion. "When we started talking about Batman Eternal I talked a lot about the toy box, and the idea that Gotham has the best toy box in all of comics, it has the best cast of characters, the best mythology, history, etc. And we wanted to go in, take out all our favorites toys, break them, and put them back together in weird ways so it would be impossible to tell the same kind of stories again. We wanted to create a vibrant new Gotham."
"We had a really big shift in the Bat family when our group editor left," mentioned Snyder, referring to Mike Marts. "They brought in a new editor, Mark Doyle. DC took a real risk taking an editor that hadn't worked in the DCU, and I just wanted to say what an influence he's been in terms of taking risks and doing books that are progressive and classic at the same time, which allowed books like Gotham by Midnight to exist."
"We wanted to make sure there was a Bat book for every kind of fan," said Fawkes. "I told them I thought that Gotham is really ready for a straight up horror book, and things that maybe Batman is afraid to handle. It was a risk. Me and Mark decided to push this, and I'm proud and humbled to say that it's really paid off. The next story is about the sins of Gotham, and we're going to explore exactly how bad the city gets."
"We have to thank Mark for allowing Francis to stretch his wings creatively," Buccetallo said of his book, Batman: Detective Comics. "We really wanted to focus on the detective side, so we have a lot of Harvey and Montoya in the future."
Snyder took a minute to talk about his own title.
"With Batman #41, we're trying something very new. It was always going to be about how Batman could only have a tragic ending, and the Joker doesn't understand that Batman knows that. We wanted it to be like the end of all Batman, and feel very apocalyptic. There's this scene where the Joker is dancing with Martha Wayne's skeleton, and he says, 'You're so light on your feet! Will you marry me? I know it's a shot in the dark!' It's just brutal.
"'Endgame' ends on Wednesday, and then that Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. If you pick up Divergence, you'll see what's coming up. As far as it seems that we're straying from core, a lot of these elements are talking about why core is so important and getting back to core."
"Right now the Bat line is all about taking risks," continued Snyder. "We're all trying to do things that change the Bat mythology, but none of us would change anything if we didn't think we were bringing you something better and truer to character. Anything we change is always in service to our own love of the core of the character that speaks to why these characters are great."
With all the panelists introduced, Snyder moved the panel into the audience Q&A portion of the discussion.
A fan asked if Batman Eternal would be coming back in the future.
"We went into Eternal not knowing how to write a 52 issue series, so we are definitely talking about doing a second year," replied Snyder. "It's also the 75th anniversary of Robin next year, so some of the things we're talking about doing is looking at all the Robin's and their collective history. We're really thrilled about that."
Someone asked about Cassandra Cain showing back up in the DC, and one of the panelists said that Stephanie Brown became more prominent after fans showed their support and a similiar thing could occur with Cassandra Cain.
When asked about the ever-changing characterization of Killer Croc in the Bat line lately, Fawkes said, "I think Croc's just really trying to find himself these days."
"My favorite line of his in "Endgame" is when he calls Red Robin 'Vegas,' because of all the feathers," noted Snyder. "He's had many different iterations."
The next question was directed at Snyder, with a fan asking if he ever plans to address the socioeconomic aspects of Batman as a member of the wealthy elite, and also a savior for Gotham and their poor.
"It's a big part of the next arc, actually," he replied. "Part of it is talking about what Batman means. Duke and a bunch the characters that are in the Robin group figure largely into the next arc of Batman. To me, his wealth is vestigial. We've tried to show that it doesn't matter if Batman has money or doesn't. The idea is that he's able to take fear and turn it into motivation to protect the city. He needs to be faceless so you can identify with him, so that he could be you."
An audience member inquired if there are plans for a wider range of Elseworlds stories.
"That's really out of our wheelhouse," answered Snyder. "DC is pretty open to those pitches, but we're focused on making the Bat line cohesive now. We're trying to give you stories in the present that show off this great mythology."
Fawkes added, "We're trying to make books as a team that make the Elseworlds stories unnecessary. We want the line to be so diverse that you don't need them. That's the point of all these new books."
"The thing I would like to impart to you," finished Snyder, "is that you change the industry to make it what it is all the time. Supporting creator-owned the way you do, and all of that. It allows us to do what we want to do. You've made the community so much more diverse, and robust, and rich. It's because of you that we can take risks and create our own books. We want the industry and the big two to be there. We want there to be a book for everybody. You're changing the industry fast, everyday."
"We respect the readers and want to entertain you," Fawkes added. "So to see that you respond to that, we couldn't be happier. If you throw all your support with all your might behind the books you love, we will go forth and courageously create them - we will have no fear."