WonderCon: DC Rebirth Panel Recap

DC Comics had a big presence during the course of WonderCon. From their comics, movies and TV Shows, DC Comics was all over WonderCon. This included their big “DC Rebirth” that included Sam Humphries, James Tynion, Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, John Semper, Chad Hardin, Phil Jimenez and Danny Miki, with Geoff Johns surprising the fans to be part of the panel for a short period.

Geoff Johns walked in to surprise the panel and crowd with an unannounced appearance. After the panel introductions Johns  thanked all the creators and fans for how they’ve supported the direction of the DCU since DC Rebirth started. Johns went over his history with everyone on the panel and how each of them has shown trememdous dedication to DC’s current direction. He then teased his follow up to DC Rebirth.

We then move to talking about the individual comics the panel are involved with. First up was Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Shawna Benson went over how they brought Roulette in to tie into the rest of the DCU by having Roulette host a meta-human fight club. Black Canary participates Roulette’s fight club to prove herself.

Julie Benson talks about new Oracle and how he is now a person that can guide the characters through the world. Mentioned that it was a scary decision but his story is more about the everyman being part of the world.

Julie talks Black Bird being the first villain that is a loner as the Birds of Prey have mostly dealt with teams or one-and-done villains. Black Bird is said to be a recurring threat following her introduction.

When asked about the Birds of Prey’s legacy Johns mentions that the team is cornerstone of the DCU. In talking about the cornerstones of the DCU, Johns questions why there isn’t a JSA or Legion of Super-Heroes book yet.

Talk then moves to James Tynion’s work on Detective Comics. Tynion says that Cassandra Cain is one of his favorite characters since No Man’s Land and how he wanted to write her for a long time. Bringing her into the forefront of the Batman Family also was about grounding her with the rest of the family.

When speaking about the League of Shadows, Tynion talks about how we learn their connection to the League of Assassins and Ra’s Al Ghul, mentioning that Shiva is not Ra’s ally. Tynion came up with the idea integrating the League of Shadows since the organization has been used in other mediums. They are seen as an extremist version of the Ra’s League of Assassins within the DCU

Tom King’s recent tweet about most skilled Batman Family fighter. Tynion says he agrees with Cassandra being the best fighter due to her ability to read people’s bodies and her inherent danger as she sees herself as a weapon even though she wants to be more than that. Johns talked about Cassandra moving into the role of Orphan and how it relates to the process of choosing characters for different series and writers needed to answer why they wanted to use characters

Johns then talks about how Batwing is portrayed as a new version of Bruce Wayne who sees the fun of being a hero and goes on to learn the pressures that come to the world and how that challenges his approach.

When moving on to Green Lantern: Sam Humphries talks about how he initially wondered about where Hal and others where and how he came to see Simon and Jessica as the next generation of Green Lanterns. It was important for Simon and Jessica to be Earth based to give them a foundation they recognize like family and location.

Johns mentions how he likes Jessica has to deal with her anxiety and she overcomes it as she interacts with others, which in turn acts as a compliment to how Simon overcompensates for not being scared about anything.

Humphries talks about how it was questionable that Simon used a gun. Humphries mentions that the gun was used because he used it as a crutch if he failed the ring rather than the other way around. Johns agrees. Humphries says that meeting with Batman helped change Simon.

While speaking about how the panel approaches cliffhangers for comic books Johns mentions not having a book end with something like Green Arrow walking in a building that explodes. Humphries emphasizes having a strong emotional cliffhanger to leave characters on rather than action base. Johns approaches his cliffhangers as something he would fanboy out on if he was reading it. He then drops a shout out to Batman finding the button in DC Rebirth, which he kept wondering how he would top that reveal.

Next up is Superwoman with Phil Jimenez first talking about his approach to writing characters in Lois and Lana who we never saw truly get along or on screen a lot. Jimenez mentions learning how to write villains through the series and talks on Rebirth with Johns.

The moment that stood out as his favorite in Superwoman scene Jimenez said it was when Lana calls out Lex on being a horrible human being. Johns agreed with Lex as awful person, which is why he likes to write him.

Jimenez then mentions how he liked the idea of Lois and Lana being Superwoman at the same time, like Superman Red and Blue. They approached it as something they can do it together, especially Lois. When asked about Steel and Natasha Irons, Jimenez says he loves the characters, especially Natasha. Jimenez sees Superwoman as the place where Superman’s “cast-offs” characters, those not being used are part of the series.

When moving onto Harley Quinn, Chad Hardin talks about how he loves drawing all the crazy things that Harley does that aren’t normally seen. Hardin says that he and the team have a fun with the book and only dial it back when DC legal says, jokingly, they went too far. Bryan Bolland’s Killing Joke version of Joker is a big inspiration for Hardin’s version of the character

Batman is then talked about with Danny Miki going over his experience inking for David Finch. He mentions how he enjoys the heavy metal feel to the art and how it’s like a puzzle to ink.

When asked about what Finch does not like to draw Miki says there is no but he is incredibly anal about everything while inking. Bat-Stealth was Miki’s favorite thing to design recently. He also enjoyed designing Inman’s Pub after Jason Inman, DC Youtube channel and moderator of panel.

The final series that is touched upon is Cyborg. John Hardin talks about how much he enjoys writing the series and recent 8-bit story was a callback to being a fan of video games and how Cyborg would fare in a low-tech world. The aim for current arc is for it to wrap up in issue #18.

Hardin then talks about his approach of getting in a character’s head and thinks of where the character can go rather than where he has been. He the says that he is leading the current arc  to have a big cataclysmic event and that there will be a big rap concert featured in an upcoming issue.

Q&A Highlights

  • Returning characters fans can look forward to?
    • Tynion: Bringing back Zatanna to explore her history with Batman and seeing her back in her classic costume
    • Benson: Former female associates of Birds of Prey and villains but they don’t reveal who they are as it hasn’t been announced yet
    • Humphries: Mogo, who is being brought in for upcoming arc and using other Earth Green Lanterns
    • Semper: Bringing in Beast Boy to Cyborg series
  • Favorite cliffhanger for Humphries?
    • Humphries mentions Lost for some laughs from the crowd
  • Process of characters like Black Bird?
    • Benson says BoP are a family even though they’ve been brought together through circumstances. Black Bird is the opposite as she is a loner and does not have emotional ties to anyone
  • In talking about how he built Clayface, Tynion talks about writing characters off who they are at their core, mentioning how Stephanie Brown is an outsider in the Batman Family and costume superheroes. Unlike Batman having one terrible day Clayface became a monster every day and his evolution is thinking of who he is.

With that the panel comes to a close.