ECCC 2015: DC COMICS: Champions of Justice

Batgirl #36
Credit: DC Comics

Day two of Emerald City Comic Con brought attendees the DC: Champions of Justice panel. Moderated by Hank Kanalz, the panel guests included Cullen Bunn, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, and Jeff Parker.

Kanalz began the panel by asking the Batgirl team how they got together on the book.

"I actually got a call from the old Batgirl editor asking if I would be interested in taking over Batgirl," said Stewart. "My first and only choice of co-writer was Brenden - we've been friends for fifteen years and we're very similar minded. We wanted to find the right artist for it, and again, the only person I wanted to work on it was a woman. I'd seen Babs on Tumblr and taken note of it, and when I thought about who I wanted for Batgirl, she hit all the notes for it. She had this amazing animation-influenced style, great at fashion, just the right amount of sass… So I contacted her… and then finally got the gig."

Batgirl #41 cover
Batgirl #41 cover
Credit: DC Comics

When asked about where the series is headed with the latest issue having just been released, Fletcher said, "#40 is the distinctive issue that we've always wanted to do from the beginning. We wanted to take Barbara Gordon on a 180 and kind of make her talk about everything she's been though, all this darkness she's had in her life, and get beyond it. The journey she's been on these last five issues culminates in this moment where she literally has to face a darker version of herself."

"#41 in June is like our first real issue," added Stewart. "It's where we can just go full-blown with fun stories unburdened by the baggage of the past."

Fletcher is also writing the upcoming Black Canary solo title, and explained that it's basically, "Kung-Fu Rock n' Roll Roadtrip."

Credit: DC Comics

Bunn was the next to speak, saying a few things about his titles Sinestro and Lobo."A lot of butts are going to be kicked," he added. "I don't want to give actual numbers because it sets expectations. People are going to get hurt. Music will be made. It all ties back to Dinah's origins."

"They've got me writing all the jerks!" Bunn observed. "The fun thing about writing Sinestro is that he's a villain, but he believes he's the only one who's really capable of saving the universe."

Parker said of his title Batman 66, "We're doing a lot of cool stuff now that we're allowed to start bringing in villains who weren't on the show. So look forward to seeing things like Solomon Grundy and Clayface and Poision Ivy."

The floor was then opened for audience questions.

A fan asked the Batgirl team if they were going to incorporate any elements of The Killing Joke into the series in the wake of the variant cover pull decision.

Credit: DC Comics

"We've got a sneaky somebody sending their kid up to ask that question," said Parker.

"The whole purpose of our first storyline, which has just concluded, was to have that not be a defining element of the character anymore," said Stewart. "Killing Joke still exists, it's still canon, but we don't want to dwell on it."

The next question was concerning costumes, and whether or not the creators think there are more reasons to wear them than just concealing their identities.

"If I could pull off one of those superhero suits, I'd wear it all the time," said Bunn.

An audience member came forward to inquire about how the Batgirl team deals with crossover events, saying, "With a book that is so young, and so unique, how do you maintain the mood and the voice of the book when the world changes so abruptly around the main character?

"I feel like it's part of what we're already doing," said Fletcher. "Our first step was to alter the circumstances around her - to illuminate the character. And now that we've wrapped that first arc, the world outside her has taken a drastic shift, and that's too fun to not explore.

"Can you tell us more about how you collaborate together?" a fan asked the Batgirl team.

"Once Babs came on, we started going through all of her online art to see what she liked to draw," began Fletcher.

"Anime girls on motorcycles, apparently," said Stewart. "Kissing also comes up a lot."

Credit: DC Comics

"One thing is, though, we've had to stop Babs from drawing dirty things in the backgrounds," Fletcher said.Stewart gave the run-down on their process, saying, "So how it works, at least for the first arc… Brenden and I live in different cities, so we get on Skype when possible and just kind of talk for hours and hours bouncing ideas back and forth, arguing a lot. Once we have the whole storyline kind of broken down, I'll sort of storyboard it out and then give it to Babs. And while she's drawing it, Brenden and I will actually go in and write the dialogue."

"They made me take out a doodle wiener on a bathroom wall!" said Tarr. "That would have been there! We put the Dick Grayson symbol there instead."

Credit: DC Comics

The last question of the panel was for Parker, with a fan asking, "With the unlimited budget that you have for Batman '66, would you ever consider using any other DC characters to make an appearance in the comic?"


"I mean, there are constraints," noted Parker. "I have to '60's-fy everyone. But I'm gonna do Bane.  Everyone's been bringing it up for years, so I'm gonna answer that." 

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