C2E2 2018: DC Universe Panel Asks “Is There Anyone Here That Isn’t Afraid?”
by Noah Sharma
Brian Michael Bendis welcomed the massive room to the DC Universe Panel. Though he hasn’t yet released any work in the DC Universe, Bendis was excited to introduce the panelists including, Curse of Brimstone artist Phillip Tan, Hellblazer and Green Lanterns writer Tim Seeley, Curse of Brimstone and Sideways writer Justin Jordan, Batman and the Signal artist Cully Hamner, the surprisingly deep voiced writer of Green Arrow and Nightwing Benjamin Percy, and Batman artist Joelle Jones.
Jones is working on the DC Cover Girls line of statues. She described the fun and the challenge of statue work and capturing a character in a single pose. Jones also worked on Supergirl: Being Super, which will be collected this June. She’s obviously involved in the very exciting Batman/Catwoman wedding, but she’ll be discussing that at the Batman panel.
Discussing the origins of Curse of Brimstone, Justin Jordan talked about watching the town he grew up in fall apart and hollow out. In our world that’s the reality of the United States and people caught in that desperation can look to the coasts for inspiration or envy, but in the DCU how must it be to see Superman in Metropolis as that happens in your town. That’s Curse of Brimstone. It’s the story about how desperation can make people agree to horrible things, things they should have known were dangerous or evil.
Asked about how work for DC compares to creator owned comics, Jordan spoke about trying to be honest to the character and the role that they play as iconic figures. That’s not so with creator owned work, where it’s more direct. Tim Seeley specified that your job as a writer is putting something personal into the work and that changes based on whether you’ve created the work whole cloth.
Benjamin Percy had just finished his novel, The Dark Net, when Dan DiDio asked him to take the research he had done and create a DCU story imbued with that. They spoke for a while about which series would make most sense to connect to this concept, but eventually they settled on Nightwing. Percy spoke about how this threat made for a particular sense for Nightwing, who is, if not a luddite, something of a gadget-less hero who is best at fighting a threat physically. Not only that, but Dick Grayson is his own kind of web, a web of heroes and teams. Nightwing is friends with nearly everyone and that makes him, effectively, a kind of “vault of vulnerable data.”
Percy said he loves writing about cultural fears, comparing it to the original Godzilla or Frankenstein. In the modern day “there’s a lot to be afraid of” and technological manipulation and identity theft are high on the list.
“Is there anyone here that isn’t afraid,” Bendis asked the room.
We all have to consider identity theft, but Percy says that now Dick Grayson is going to have to deal with secret identity theft. The story introduces a new villain that Percy promises will be expanding out into the greater DCU.
Green Lanterns #44 is the start of Tim Seeley’s Green Lantern horror story that ties into Jessica Cruz’s origin story.
Bendis asked the panelists what their dream character is, starting with the newly arrived Tom King, who eventually settled on the Thing. Phillip Tan picked Spider-Man. The artist in Tim Seeley gravitated to Firestorm. Justin Jordan wants Lobo while Cully Hamner is looking for Shazam. Benjamin Percy holds loyalty to his first comic, Warlord. Joelle Jones is aching to draw Swamp Thing.
A fan asked about any wild team-ups, in the spirit of Tom King’s Batman and Swamp Thing issue. Bendis wanted to tell us his dream team, but says its already written. Expect to see it, and the strange and forgotten characters Bendis has chosen, from his imprint at DC before too long.