Comic-Con@Home: DC Comics Day 1 Panel News

by Gary Catig

DC Comics held its first panel at Comic-Con@Home Friday morning and it was jam packed with your favorite creators. It ran nearly an hour and was divided in three parts to ensure all their guests had time to speak.
They began with writers, Tom Taylor, Ram V, Tom King, and Kelly Sue DeConnick and artists, Mitch Gerads and Clayton Henry. DeConnick talked about her Aquaman arc. She’s ended act two with the hero at his lowest point and we’re now approaching the big finale. In the past, she’s always felt she’s done her strongest work on one shots and is comfortable with a five-issue arc. She’s had difficulties doing longer runs but feels really proud with this work.
Henry spoke about fulfilling his dream of drawing Superman and how he’s begun his next project, which is yet to be announced. On Suicide Squad, Taylor is getting prepared to kill Deadshot in continuity. Meanwhile, Ram is tying up James Tynion IV’s story in Justice League Dark with the Upside-Down Man. He’s finished up those scripts and is at a point where he can start a new adventure and a new team.

The next wave of guests included Mariko Tamaki, Mikkel Janin, Vita Ayala, Ryan Sook and Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis discussed Legion of Superheroes and juggling such a giant ensemble. There are over three dozen lead characters and he wanted to make sure every one of them gets their due. In issues eight and nine, the series assembles its own super team of 44 artists that focuses on each character so everyone can know who they are. Some of the talent include Kevin Nolan, Art Adams, Michael Oeming, and Yanick Paquette.
Ayala is contributing a Swamp Thing story in the annual Halloween special. They are bringing the Champion of the Green to Puerto Rico to explore how the local flora would alter the hero’s appearance and how the island’s inhabitants and culture would react and interpret his visit. The story is a little bit more special because of Ayala’s Puerto Rican roots.

The DC universe is receiving new characters in the near future. In Superman #25, which is a special double sized anniversary issue, Bendis has a villain from a different planet arrive on Earth for the first time. He wanted to explore someone with a different mindset than Clark and how the Man of Steel would find new ways to deal with this threat.
Liar Liar is a new villain in Tamiko and Janin’s new Wonder Woman arc. Tamiko and the title’s editors wanted to create a younger female adversary. A main theme for this run is the definition of villains and heroes and how the line is blurred between who is good and evil. Liar Liar is someone who does villainous things but has a complex history that explains why she acts the way she does. Janin had fun creating her aesthetic. He worked off of early designs from Riley Rossmo and carried the vibe. He wanted her to have a very innocent point but mix it in with villainous and creepy.
The new additions aren’t all villains. Coming to Legion of Superheroes is the Gold Lantern. He is the epitome of all the Lanterns and is a refinement of the different spectrums all into one character. He brings a legitimacy of all the emotions being encapsulated in one thing. For the design, Sook took elements of the different Lanterns and their history and pushed it 1000 years into the future.

The final group of panelists discussed their work in the graphic novel lines geared for children and teenagers. The creative team of Britney Williams and Grace Ellis spoke about Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge. It’s about a young Lois Lane learning about the meaning of true friendship. Ellis wanted to dig into the character without the Superman baggage. The story partially draws from her experiences at summer camp and she wanted to portray the lead as a very funny, passionate, wild child.
To end the day one DC extravaganza, Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Beem dished on Swamp Thing: Twin Branches. Stiefvater is really into the natural world and wanted to tell a tale about someone coming of age alongside biology and vegetation. Alec Holland relates better with plants than humans and she wanted to show this kinship. While doing research she found that there is a lot in common between the two species. Beem incorporated flora in every scene and the different types she drew were to further push the emotions the reader is feeling.

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