The first-ever Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles wasn't without representation from major publishers, with a "DC Comics – The New 52" panel taking place late Saturday afternoon.
On the panel: Captain Atom writer J.T. Krul, The Savage Hawkman artist Philip Tan, Mister Terrific writer Eric Wallace, Red Hood and the Outalws and DC Universe Presents colorist Blond, The Flash co-writer Brian Buccellato, I, Vampire writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, Blackhawks writer Mike Costa, Nightwing and Deathstroke writer Kyle Higgins, Supergirl co-writer Mike Johnson and, arriving in progress, Red Hood, Superboy and Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell.
In lieu of a moderator, Krul asked his fellow panelists at the Los Angeles Convention Center about their process of "cutting characters down to the core" for the purposes of the "New 52" relaunch. Johnson stressed the importance of Supergirl "learning how to be a hero," and having a similar point-of-view of the DC Universe as a new reader might.
Higgins said that Deathstroke is a story "about a guy who is the best at what he does" and that "reputation is the most important thing to him." Nightwing, the writer continued, will see the title character taking a "very active role" in Gotham City, including taking on a new job that might surprise people."Gotham City is possibly more Dick Grayson's than it is Bruce Wayne's," Higgins said.
Wallace appealed to the local crowd, saying that an upcoming scene takes place at the Grove, an outdoor shopping center located in LA's Fairfax District. Referring to the title character's position as the "third smartest man" in the DC Universe, Wallace said entire top 10 will eventually be revealed.
An employee from Burbank comic book store Emerald Knights then joined the panel to serve as moderator, asking the panel's reaction to The New 52's positive sales numbers. Fialkov said that the current comic book climate was a "big opportunity" for current fans to get accessible material in front of friends and family not familiar with the medium.
Responding to a question on whether or not the panelists feel a sense of "ownership" of the characters they're working on, Wallace said that his goal is to replicate the same feeling that he had as a young fan post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, where DC's titles felt fresh and accessible.
Turning to fan Q&A, an audience member asked the panel what characters they'd like to write at some point. Johnson: Blue Devil; Higgins: The Flash; Costa: Deathstroke; Fialkov: Superman; Buccellato: Superman; Wallace: Ra's al Ghul; Krul: The Question. Lobdell's answer was Raven, but he said that was kind of a moot point, since he's bringing Raven back in Teen Titans in about five issues.
Adding a second response, Higgins said he'd like to write Tim Drake in the pages of Nightwing, which led Lobdell to inform the crowd of an upcoming three-part Superboy story guest-starring Red Robin. Higgins disclosed that Damian Wayne would team-up with Nightwing at "some point after issue #9."
The retailer from Emerald Knights stated that he's seen a "huge increase in female readers" with DC's The New 52, leading Lobdell to joke, "And that's mostly because of Red Hood #1, right?"
Segueing into a discussion of the amount of female creators in DC's current publishing line, Lobdell said that he doesn't "register this argument that women writers write differently than men writers. We're all writers," adding that he supports any new writer coming into the business, regardless of gender.
Responding to a Wally West fan, Buccellato said that due to the cyclical nature of comics, he's confident that the character will eventually show up again — he just isn't sure when.
Other topics of discussion during the hour-long panel included Higgins stating that he would have been in favor of a "hard reboot" for the Batman titles (saying that it would have been "cleaner"), Krul comparing his take on Green Arrow to the difference between the Sean Connery and Daniel Craig James Bond films, and Lobell saying that the mysterious Red Hooded Woman would have a "huge presence" at some point after the first year of the relaunch.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!