WonderCon LiveBlog: DC All Access Day 1

WonderCon has begun in Anaheim, and DC opened the show this afternoon with some tidbits about their books.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Smallville Season 11

Here we are in Anaheim, Disneyland-adjacent, to cover WonderCon, the San Diego Comic-Con subsidiary temporary relocated to SoCal while its usual home at the Moscone Center in San Francisco undergoes renovations. DC opened with an All Access panel to bust out some teasers for their upcoming stuff, and we were there to live blog the thing. The Batgirl of San Diego showed up to ask about Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, but was much less controversial than last year – even though Starfire writer Scott Lobdell was on hand for the panel.

So here you are! As it happened! Including a plea for a new Canterbury Cricket series!




Panel: Bob Harras, Eddie Berganza, Dustin Nguyen, Scott Snyder, Bryan Q. Miller, Scott Lobdell

Batman Earth One – Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Berganza says Johns had a tough job with reinventing Batman because Batman is totally cool. So this is a Batman that's uncool, learning the ropes, making mistakes and centering on how human Bruce Wayne is. However, this will be the coolest Alfred ever – think Liam Neeson from "Taken." This is due out in July.

Superman Earth One sequel by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis. Berganza says this is an exploration of where Superman fits into the world. Most countries ban him from their borders. Not everybody in the world is happy that he exists. They will introduce the first supervillain in Parasite, who looks kinda Doomsdayish in the image shown, but with gooey yellow abs and shoulder things.

Some New 52 action here. Scott Snyder's on hand to talk about Batman, while the cover to Batman #9 by Greg Capullo is on screen. Snyder says they've been putting Bruce through the ringer. #7 will have a lot of Court of Owls revelations, and 8 and 9 will be a flat out battle for the soul of the city, and Batman punishes the Court like he's never punished anybody before.

Swamp Thing action, showing a picture of Swamp Thing fighting a weird naked guy with crazy huge teeth. Snyder loves Yanick Paquette so much that he's making a point of buying a page from an upcoming issue from him. Arcane will be coming back in a really big way, and it'll surprise people to see his role in it and how powerful and scary he is. He's the same guy and not revamped, but he's back with a vengeance. It will lead right into Deadworld with Jeff Lemire's Animal Man. He loves Lemire's series to death, no matter how much he beats up on Lemire on Twitter. It's a big crossover that will take up most of the teen issues.

Rob Liefeld now. Deathstroke vs. Lobo. Hawkman. Grifter. His story will interlock all three of the characters he's writing. Liefeld has great enthusiasm. Deathstroke's armor has Nth Metal in it, and that'll draw the attention of Hawkman.

Teen Titans now, with Lobdell, who takes a moment to mock somebody's giant camera lens. Teen Titans 10 is shown, saying after the crossover and annual harrowing experiences, he's giving them some time off from the NOWHERE mess. Solstice and Bart have a relationship developing, and Red Robin will deal with the fact that his first experience as a leader didn't go quite as well as he'd planned. A lot of character development and dinosaurs in #10. Brett Booth loves dinosaurs.

Superboy also looks to be fighting dinosaurs. Lobdell jokes it's "The Court of the Dinosaurs." Lobdell says Wonder Girl and Superboy spend a lot of time together in dinosaur paradise, and it doesn't go well. Anybody who thought that they'd be falling into each other's arms again are going to be severely – he doesn't want to say 'disappointed,' so rather they'll be excited for a new dynamic instead.

Starfire action is shown and Lobdell says Red Hood and the Outlaws is his favorite because it's always something different. Kory is sent into space and Roy and Jason are stunned to learn that Kory is a feared and respected spaceship commander. Her rep is such that entire armadas will turn tail and run if she shows up against them. Lobdell says it can be street level, it can be mystic and it can be in space, and it's exciting.

Smallville Season 11 #2 image is shown. Bryan Q. Miller is limited in what he can say, but this takes place after the end of Season 10 on TV – six months after the end of the finale, but before the 7-year jump. Lex Luthor had fallen badly in Season 7 and rose at the end of Season 10 without his memories, but he knows insintictvely that he doesn't like Superman. Clark is riding the highest high he's ever ridden – he's out as Superman, he's rockin' the dual identity, the wedding with Lois didn't quite happen the way they planned – life keeps getting in the way. It'll be weekly, digital at first, and will be collected in print volumes just like Batman Beyond, Arkham Unhinged, etc.

Batman Beyond image is shown, and Dustin is excited at how well it's doing, going into a second printing. Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond are exciting, and they're reintroducing characters slowly, but by issues 2 and 3 they're already in space. Miller says the digital platform is very cool with a low price point for buying in – 99 cents a week, less than a coffee. A Comixology plug – you don't have to have an iPhone or iPad to go digital. Making stuff work digitally and in print is a challenge, Dustin says.

Batman image is shown with a mouth stitched shut – Batman: The Dark Knight #10, by Gregg Hurwitz as the new writer joining David Finch, and Gregg is very excited about it. He's already written his first six or seven issues. The storyline is "awesome and a little strange." He'll be building on what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are doing with Batman, too. Snyder says he's read Gregg's issues and he's talked story with him before he came on board, and he says Hurwitz's stuff is great, plugging his Penguin miniseries, which was indeed great.

Green Arrow #10, with new writer Anne Nocenti bringing a unique vision to this character with a whole new energy and dynamic. She's taking him places you wouldn't expect this character to go. Anne just said "I'd love to take a chance to see what I can do with this character." It's very different, and Green Arrow will be having a cameo in Justice League soon too.

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #10. Jeff Lemire is leaving the series, but his good friend is taking over and the vision will stay the same. Harras says this is one of his favorites, and Alberto Ponticelli's art is great, too.

The Ravagers #1 brings Ian Churchill back to DC Comics, and Howard Mackie is writing it. It's working on stories started in Superboy #1, Teen Titans #1 and even Legion Lost #1. Berganza says there's a lizard guy as a new dude named Ridge. Thunder and Lightning are in it, Beast Boy is red now, to tie in with The Red in Animal Man. Fairchild is out in full force now, too. Lobdell says you don't need to follow those three titles to follow Ravagers #1 – it's still new.

Dial H is creating the biggest buzz in the house. It's written by China, a British sci-fi writer who won the Arthur C. Clarke award and the Hugo award many times over. Harras was intimidated by him by how much great stuff he's written. Turns out he's the biggest DC fan he's ever met, and Harras listened to China's ideas with Jim Lee for about an hour. It's new and unexpected and really astounding. He's got the first three years mapped out already. A writer with a vision they're very excited about.

Here's Shazam, and the image is greated with a murmur that sounds like a groan. Berganza says there are little bits of the Flashpoint version of Shazam, but it's also new. There will be something cool on Free Comic Book Day that will involve the Shazam characters.

Collected Editions of the New 52 will be published soon, including backup material to talk about design for characters and concepts in many of these books. There is a master plan at work here with how the titles are intertwined.


Q: With the Flashpoint stuff, characters like the Canterbury Cricket are cool. Will they ever show up?  Will Pandora be able to pull from the old DCU and Flashpoint? Harras says Pandora can't pull from the old DCU. She knows about it, but can't do anything about it. And there doesn't seem to be any plans for the Cricket just yet.

Q: Amadna Waller's a lot more attractive lately. Why is that? Berganza says "working out and dieting." It's a different take – characters are younger all around. There will be a backstory to Waller that will explain the change in her appearance.

Q: Aquaman is great, but too self-conscious lately and wants the cheesier elements back. But no plans for Topo(?), but maybe the 'aquadog' will suffice.

Q: Will the 5 year gap between Justice League then and now be filled in?  There is a plan for what happened in those years, Lobdell is always touching on that gap, and their original pitches had to account for all that time.

Q: A question about how the Crises never happened is asked, and deflected with a 'keep reading, we can't tell you yet.'

Q: Any plans for Mr. Majestic? Lobdell has a request for something he wants to do with him that he hasn't told anyone about yet. He also wanted to have Starfire come across Krypto in Red Hood & The Outlaws and was shot down.

Q: What's next in Batman and Robin? Damien is batshit crazy. Snyder can't speak for Pete, but it flies under the radar and Tomasi is doing some of the best work of his career. Pete is another guy Snyder talks to a lot about story. They really cement that Damien is a 10-year-old in upcoming issues.

Q: A Gambit guy asks about the Booster Gold series in the works, or what other pitches they've made for other new series. DC Entertainment wants to grow all these franchises.

Q: Who got to choose the Wildstorm characters they could use, or was it an editor mandate thing? Any more WildCATS and Gen 13?  Lobdell says it was his choice and no one told him to do it – he called her Red through the first issue until he was asked to reveal it. He doesn't have any plans for WildCATS or Gen13, but maybe the big guys upstairs have plans. They don't view them as Wildstorm characters – just all part of the whole.

Q: Worlds' Finest series with Superman and Batman in the works? No, Worlds' Finest is about Power Girl and Huntress, but there are plans to explore the early relationship with Superman and Batman. Snyder would love to write Superman, and some of that relationship will be touched on after the Court of Owls stuff. Snyder's son watches Batman and Superman stuff all the time.

Q: A guy asks about Flash vs. Superman in a speed race again. No race planned, and a guy yelling out WALLY gets deferred to Dan DiDio. Static Shock on the Titans? Lobdell says they have no plans yet, but he's welcome. The membership is pretty high right now.

Q: Did SUperman die in the New 52? Lobdell jokes that he did and never came back, and the new guy is Mr. Majestic. Berganza's answer is 'maybe.' Lobdell says that should only be explored if it comes up in a story – otherwise, like Rose Wilson's parentage, Lobdell will leave it open.

Q: Batgirl Of San Diego is here – asking about Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, saying that Miller was her favorite writer of Steph. Apparently, they can't answer it, but Snyder says they all love Cass and Steph, but those decisions are above most of the panel. There will be a young woman coming up in Batman that will play a huge role to try and fill that void.