WW PHILLY: Final Crisis #1 - The Director's Commentary

With the first issue of Final Crisis barely 24 hours old, Senior DC Editor Ian Sattler and WW: Philadelphia Guest of Honor J.G. Jones were on hand at the “Final Crisis Director’s Commentary” panel to dissect the events and artwork behind the first issue of DC’s summer crossover event.

Sattler kicked thing off by declaring the summer of 2008 the “Summer of J.G.” As if J.G.’s work on Final Crisis wasn’t enough, DC will be releasing a director’s cut of Final Crisis #1 in August which will feature all of J.G.’s pencils, plus Grant Morrison’s full script.

The discussion then turned to the artwork of Final Crisis, specifically the design choice of the covers. J.G. said the solo character shots are fully painted watercolors, and he “Spitballed a bunch of backgrounds for the covers to see what worked, but I eventually settled on the solid contrasting colors to make the characters pop.” Ian Sattler added that after they had the image “It was up to designer Chip Kidd to figure out how to fit the trade dress, and he came up with the vertical design that gives the book such an iconic look.” He went on to add that all the Final Crisis books (including tie-in series) will have both a “Character body shot” cover and “Sliver” design cover. He also interestingly mentioned that “The Final Crisis logo will deteriorate with each issue, leaving us with almost nothing by the end.’

J.G. Jones spoke about Grant Morrison’s input regarding the art, specifically the New Gods. “Grant had specific color ideas. He wanted the New Gods to look ‘lit’ by some unknown source, almost otherworldly. We gave Metron a look like cracked ceramic or porcelain. The exception would be Darkseid, who just sucks the light out of the room.”

From there things moved on to the specifics of the first issue of Final Crisis, and what we can expect in future issues. Ian Sattler brought up a slide of Anthro from the first page of Final Crisis #1. “There’s more to that first scene then you think. Imagery is extremely important.” Ian also wanted to make sure everyone knew that the” Caveman in the opening scene of Final Crisis with an axe and fur tied around his neck like a sweater” was indeed Vandal Savage.

A fan then asked a question about the shipping schedule of Final Crisis, specifically if we would see any of the delays that plagued Infinite Crisis. Sattler responded that everything with Final Crisis is “In good shape.” He was then asked how far ahead they are with books being completed, to which he said “We’re far enough ahead to be in good shape.” J.G. added that “Final Crisis will not ship late.”

A fan expressed some disappointment with the first issue of Final Crisis. In response both Jones and Sattler said “Don’t worry.” J.G. added that “The pace picks up immediately with issue #3. Grant structures his stories in such a specific way, and you will see why the first issue has so much set up. It all pays off!”

Sattler then chimed in with a nice hint for the DC faithful- “You know those ads we are running that say ‘The day evil won’? Well, that specifically means the events in Final Crisis issues #3 and #4. The end of issue #3 is when evil literally wins. Issue #3 ends with a cliffhanger, and there will be a noticeable gap in time for the DCU between issues #3 and #4.”

A fan then asked if Final Crisis was essentially a re-interpretation of the New Gods. Sattler hemmed and hawed for a few seconds before saying “I can’t really say. Just wait and see, Grant has had this story brewing for almost 5 years.” Jones added that “The New Gods are being treated more like actual gods, not just superheroes that call themselves the New Gods. We did a lot of research into mythology for this. There’s definitely an effort to get a clear knitting of all the Jack Kirby 4th world stuff and the regular DCU so it all makes sense.”

A fan then quickly asked “Weren’t the New Gods killed in Countdown to Final Crisis?” Sattler answered “Yes…” Another fan then asked if what we see in Final Crisis #1 is the New Gods being reborn in human form. Sattler - “Maybe…”

It was then that the 800 pound gorilla in the room was brought up- Did they really just kill Martian Manhunter at the end of Final Crisis #1? Sattler said that he didn’t want to bring it up because he “Didn’t know what kind of fans were in the room.” A fan mentioned that he didn’t really care that the Manhunter was killed, but was surprised that it was one in one panel. J.G. said “Grant made a conscious decision to handle it that way. He thought it was much more shocking to bring him in and whack him.” Ian added that you will get a bit more of Martian Manhunter in the final issue of Salvation Run that ships next week, and that the upcoming Final Crisis tie-in Final Crisis: Requiem will deal with the Martian Manhunter’s death.

Much praise was given to Grant and J.G. for the Japanese style heroes readers got a glimpse of in the Final Crisis Sketchbook. Jones said that readers will be surprised to see what a specific role they play in Final Crisis. Sattler added that “When you see what it is it will be the most obvious thing in the world. “

A fan asked if Barry Allen will come back in Final Crisis, to which Ian responded “Barry who?” When asked if it was on purpose that the flash’s chest logo is obscured on the cover of Final Crisis #2, Jones said “hmmmm…and his belt is obscured to…”

When asked if it was fulfilling as an artist to work on a piece of DC history like Final Crisis Jones said “It was definitely one of the reasons I took the job. It’s nice to be able to leave a mark.”

A question was asked about what Sattler’s favorite moment in Final Crisis is - “The end of issue 2. It’s a huge fanboy moment!”

Fans were curious what writers J.G. Jones would like to work with. He said he “Has been very fortunate, spoiled even. Although the next writer I’m working with is a guy named…J.G. Jones.”

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