BOSTON COMIC CON: DC's REBIRTH Panel

Batman #29
Credit: DC Comics

Saturday at  Boston Comic Con brought another swarm of fans stampeding over to the Seaport World Trade Center, many of whom hurried to the doors of the "DC Universe Rebirth" panel, featuring Tom King, Joshua Williamson, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, and John Timms, with moderator/DC Comics editor Brian Cunningham.

Credit: DC Comics

Cunningham introduced each of the panelists before jumping straight into Batman’s proposal to Catwoman in Batman #24.

“How many issues did you draw on a plane,” King asked Finch.

“Most of them, actually,” Finch replied. “Sometime it works out that way, wires cross.”

“He wasn’t supposed to be on this issue, he was supposed to have a break,” said King. “We were building up to this great moment, and I always pictured it being drawn by David Finch because he’s the best. And the editors are like, ‘Actually, David’s scheduled for a break, he’s going to Australia with his family.’ So finally I called David and I was like, ‘I can’t see this proposal without your art on it.’ So DC told me they’d give him half, and I was like, ‘I’ll take it!’”

Credit: DC Comics

Speaking about this week's  Batman #29, King said, “I hope you like it, because it’s really weird. I wrote this whole issue that’s all ‘fight fight fight fight fight,’ and then I’m like, ‘well what if they just have dinner for the whole issue? What if Joker and Riddler just sat down and talked to each other?’ Batman’s in a place where he can’t win this war, there’s no way to win it. I wrote it to focus on the victims, about the people Batman can’t save. He’s going absolutely insane because he can’t stop the war, so he makes the decision that maybe he needs to look at both of these sides and join one side or the other, so he literally takes the Joker and the Riddler to dinner in Batman #29 and has them make arguments for which side he should join.”

Cunningham then asked King about Mister Miracle #1.

Credit: Nick Derington (DC Comics)

“It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve even written,” King said. “Mitch Gerads and I had an opening in our schedule, and DC sometimes produces these epic stories that talk not just to comic fans, like Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, All-Star Superman, The New Frontier, these limited series that reflect the times, and we asked ourselves, ‘can we do one of those?’ And we were like, ‘No, we’re not that good, and we’d be stupid to think we could do it, but we’d be stupid not to try to do it.’ It’s such a weird time right now, the whole world seems so bizarre right now. Yesterday we were afraid of nuclear war, and now we’re all afraid of Venezuela, and the day before that we were all afraid of Russia, and it doesn’t make any sense. We want to talk about that feel, that paranoia, and what it does to your mind. And that’s what Mister Miracle is”

Credit: DC Comics

Timms then briefly discussed Harley Quinn #24.

“It was a really fun issue to draw,” said Timms. “Normally, with Harley Quinn, we work in little arcs, so it’s really nice to see the dynamics between her mother and her father, it’s really nice. I really like that most of the stories that happen in real life. It’s not only the big battles, but I’m very lucky and I really like that. And #25 is a very action-packed issue, it will be really action-driven.”

Tomasi then spoke about Super Sons.

“I’m having a hell of a lot of fun writing these two characters. Damian and Jon are complete polar opposites, and that’s where all the drama lies,” Tomasi said. “Tom talked about dinner, and those are the ones you remember the most. I remember we're doing this one in Superman where we just had them sit down and have pie and coffee, and you know sometimes it’s like, ‘you need more action, more action.’ and I’m like, 'no man, sometimes the fans want to see them sitting down and having to pie,’ and you know it was honestly just a few shows ago, I mean if I can't count how many times people brought up that specific issue. And with Super Sons, being able to write two kids, it’s been a lot of fun to let loose and put on my silly hat when I write this book. And I can’t even begin to explain what it’s like to get paired with an artist like Jorge Jimenez. I’m really lucky that in all my books, I get to write with such incredible artists.”

Credit: DC Comics

Discussing The Flash, Williamson brought up Barry’s new negative speed force powers.

“Barry’s a guy who’s always been about the science,” said Williamson. “Now, he’s forced to sort of re-learn everything. In the past, he’d have that lightning coming off of him and it wouldn’t do anything, but now you see it’s destroying the street. And now, a big part of this [upcoming] arc is that he can’t heal anymore. He used to use the speed force to heal, and he became very reliant on his powers to help him with this, and now he can’t do it anymore.”

The floor was then opened up to questions, and a fan asked Tomasi if he has any plans to use any of the lost children of Krypton, such as Chris Kent or Conner Kent.

“Actually, no. I can tell you that at the moment, I can tell you that for the next 10 to 12 issues, we have no plans for the lost children of Krypton. I’m sure you were looking forward to me saying, ‘yeah.’ You have seeded something, here, though. You never know, you never know.”

Credit: DC Comics

Another fan asked if it was possible that we’d see some of the Joker stuff from “The War of Jokes and Riddles” appear in any future arcs, before Doomsday Clock.

“The answer is, number one: it’s coming,” said King. “And number two is, you’ve already seen parts of it, and you just don’t know it.”

A fan then asked King if he thinks Psycho Pirate may show up again.

“Oh, yeah, I totally do,” said King. “I think the fact that he’s the one person that remembers Pre-Crisis makes him an insanely special character in the DCU. It wasn’t a coincidence that if you look back at ‘The Button,’ that whole things starts when Psycho Pirate’s mask touches the button. I love that character, because he’s so weak, it’s like, why would such a weak character has this big impact?”

Another fan asked what other obscure characters King would want to work with.

“I’m doing this thing with Kite-Man, and he must be F-level,” said King. “Issue #30, with Clay Mann, that’s ‘The Ballad of Kite-Man’ part two. When I write Kite-Man, I feel like I’m working with Bill Finger a bit. Finding an idea that worked in his head and emphasizing it.”

A fan then asked if there were plans to bring Bart Allen or Conner Kent back.

“We all love those characters,” said Williamson. “I was a big fan of Young Justice, so we do think about those characters all the time. I don’t know if that helps you or not.”

Credit: Warner Bros. Animation

A final then fan asked King how he’s able to weave his own experience with mental health into his characters and stories.

“When I first started writing on Batman, the question was how do you write a character that’s already been written?” said King. “So the only way to write well and to write different is to put your own fears in it and hope that something in it connects with something in the reader.”

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