The Batman 75th Anniversary panel kicked off this Sunday with DC panel moderator John Cunningham introducing the speakers: Gail Simone writer of Batgirl, Greg Pak writer of Batman/Superman, and James Tynion IV writer on Batman Eternal. The large crowd cheered loudly during the introduction that could be heard outside the panel room.
Cunningham started by mentioning that on July 23rd it is Batman Day. A celebration of the Dark Knight that will take place in many book/comic book stores across the country. On Saturday July 26th, It will be Batman Day for public libraries which will have their own celebratory activities.They’ll be giving out a whole bunch of Batman goodies, one which includes the Batman Detective Comics #27 Special Edition. The book will contain a reprint (first in a very long time) of the original Detective Comic #27 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger as well as the re-imaged version by Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis) and Bryan Hitch (Age of Ultron) that was done in the Detective Comics #27 mega issue from earlier this year and a preview of a post-modern version done by Chip Kidd (Bat-Manga!) that will be in the Batman 75 years hard cover. Stores and libraries will also have Batman masks to give out. Each mask is a Batman from a different artist’s rendition such as Frank Miller’s Dark Knight or Greg Capullo’s Batman and more. Cunningham proceed to demonstrating the mask by wearing it and the crowd cheered with laughter.
Fans attending SDCC this year will receive the Batman goodies bag. They will have a Batman 75th Anniversary display booth something similar to the Superman 75th Anniversary booth from NYCC 13 at SDCC 14 and NYCC 14. They will have DC $1 essentials of Batman books this year and he also highlighted some of Batman’s best selling trades like Hush and the Killing Joke. Cunningham proceeds with asking the panelists some Batman focused questions:
Cunningham: What Batman story is your favorite and/or turned you on to character?
Pak: “Batman: Year One, Not just my favorite Batman story but one of my favorite comic book story of all time. I was out of comics for a while but this was what pulled me back permanently”
Tynion: “For me it has to be Batman: The Animated Series (loud claps & cheers). It is the perfect distillation that makes the character great. Every little piece of that show is perfectly interactive of every villains and reinvented everything. It’s perfect.”
Simone: “For me it started with seeing the syndicated Batman 60’s show. I grew up on a really isolated farm outside of a very tiny city without television and lots of rain. We didn’t get a lot of television but when we happened to get the Batman TV show. When I saw that it was such a contrast of my life with all theses bright colors and humor with great female characters. I use to choreography with my brother being the damsel of distress, sorry brother (chuckle from the crowd), my friends got to be robin and the villains while I was Batman. I intricately choreograph all the fight scenes and plots except every once in a while some of my plots because I lived on a farm, the Riddler will come and steal the cow (crowd chuckles) As time gone on I like the Burton films, the animated series and etc.” She was only five at the time. “Batman has changed my life quite a bit, Who knew I’d be doing the exact same thing years later…..Thank you Batman”
Cunningham: Which iteration of the live action films captured (shows Batman, Batman and Robin, & Batman Begins as examples) your Batman the closest? But I am not trolling for anyone to stand up for the Schumacher’s film (Crowd laughing) but if you want to that would be really great.
Simone: “Well I do like nipples though.” (Crowd laugh hard)
Pak: “Visually I think it is the Nolan’s films for sure. The look and feel of those are tremendous and those soundtrack are incredible. I listen to the soundtrack when I am writing Batman/Superman. Fred Van Lente was over at my house and said I see you are writing Batman/Superman, looking at my Itunes playlist and I say “YES! I AM” I haven’t seen it for a while but I do have a lot of affection for the 89 Batman Michael Keaton. He was pretty cool”
Tynion: “For me it was the Nolan’s films. I think they are the closest think to the Batman in my heart. But the one that is entrenched in my psyche is Batman Returns because the creepiness of Gotham, the strangest different corner of the city. How dark and weird it can get, that story is what got my brain going. The Dark Knight, I think, is the best movie.”
Simone: “I like the Burton stuff as well because of the place in my life I was as well as my early experience with Batman television. I have seen the Nolan’s films change people lives, flipping them around in term of whether they wanted to do film or writing or whatever. What I loved about the Nolan’s films is the straight-up horror elements of them. I think Batman as being a horror vision and the movie captured that perfectly.”
Pak: “I am a little surprise you don’t have the Adam West Batman full length movie up there. There was Bat-Shark repellent in that movie.”(An uproar cheer from the crowd)
Cunningham says it was interesting how Pak mentioned that (Adam West Film) since the Batman 66 Complete TV series will be out later this year on DVD and Blu-ray. (Crowd applauded) He also chimed in on how the Nolan films stick the landing on the ending of a trilogy perfectly. He cues up the next slide and shows the Fox series “Gotham” (Crowd whistle and and cheered) He mentioned that they have seen the pilot and “it’s fantastic!, a different iteration that you haven’t seen before. Even more gritty and street wise” said Cunningham. He goes on and praises the actors as well noting that Fox drew lots of element from different Batman book. He compared Gotham’s Alfred with Geoff Johns’s Batman Earth One and Renee Montoya with Gotham Central. Gotham airs this September on Fox.
Francis Manapul co-writer and artist of Detective Comics joins the panel.
Cunningham shifts the focus on comics and brings up the cover to Batman/Superman #11 (On Sale now). He asked Pak to talk about the Doomed story line currently running.
Pak: “Through Batman and Superman we have been exploring the relationship between, surprise and spoiler: Batman and Superman (said jokingly). These are two characters who at heart are really committed to the same mission to come about it at totally different angles. When you’re that close to somebody those differences you have become huge when you’re actually fighting for the same things. I think they are incredible revivals and I think that during this course of this story line we have been almost doing this for a year now. We will see how the rivalry will become a friendship.”
Pak continues “Specifically in the Doomed story line, Superman is doomed (chuckles). He fought and defeated Doomsday but now Doomsday is inside of him. Superman will never give up and stop fighting for us. But being at risk of being taken over by one of the most powerful entity ever, those virtues of never giving up will make him more dangerous.” He teased. Batman goes into the phantom zone with Wonder Woman and Krypto in issue #11 in order to find what is going on. It will be a very Batman-centric story. “Batman will play a continuing role in the rest of the story line” says Pak. Superman Doomed will run through August.
Issue #12: “Finest Hours” story
Pak: In issue #12 we will be returning to Earth-2 for one issue. Batman and Superman have unfinished business on Earth-2″ It is a continuation of the first arc in the series. After the invasion of Earth-2 by Darkseid, Pak says “Our heroes finally find out what happened and are going back in time and space to try to save their doubles” This issue will be drawn by Tom Raney. Pak mentions how today is Father’s day and continues to say “As I was writing this issue, Alfred has crept up on me and has become my favorite character ever” (Crowd Cheers for Alfred)
Issue #13 features the team up of Superman and Catwoman, and Batman and Lois Lane. Pak says “Hijinks ensued”
Cunningham introduces Francis Manapul. Pak has to slip away to another panel. Cunningham asked the crowd who is reading Batman Eternal? as the next slide shows the cover to issue #10 (On Sale Now). Tynion chimes in.
Tynion: “The idea that we have the best toy box in the entire comic industry and we have the opportunity to set up a whole new Gotham city. Really radically change pieces that will really open stories that we never have seen before” They are giving different opportunities to characters such as Carmine, Catwoman and Harper Row as Blue Bird. Tynion mentions how he enjoyed calling the Batman issue the “Spoiler issue” and no one really understanding that it will be the first issue which Stephanie Brown appears (Crowd chuckles). Tynion revisit Alfred as a father figure: “There is a new character that has shown up and will be playing a huge major role in the series and that is Julia Pennyworth.” She is a reinvented pre-52 character. She is Alfred’s daughter from when he was part of British Special Services. She is Afghani that was raised in Britain. She is now part of the British Special Services as well. Tynion says “she has resented her father for years for abandoning/leaving the city to take care of a rich boy, which is something she doesn’t understand.” Tynion wanted to let everyone know that there are a lot of exciting things coming from Batman Eternal.
Cunningham cues for Detective Comics and shows the cover of issue #32 on the screen. He talks about Francis and mentions his tenure on The Flash (Crowd gives an ovation) has given him experience which he is now taking into Detective Comics.
Cunningham: Do you find it daunting taking on Detective Comics?
Manapul: “To be honest, I found it to be a lot easier. I think with the new 52 there is a lot of bigger tasks to introducing these characters in a new way. As in Detective I actually got to just write. With the new 52, you are striking a balance to tell a story.” Cunningham talks about the book being more detective with the new creative team. Manapul is not only focusing on Batman being a detective but Harvey as well. “The funny thing is Harvey had a small role but as Brian [Buccellato] and I began to write him, he naturally become an overpowering character that the title became more than Batman Detective Comics but Batman and Harvey” says Manapul. Manapul talks about how him and Brian’s writing process begins with them talking about it and doing layouts before anything is written.
Cunningham talks about the brutal stuff he saw in the pages of Batgirl and how it is building to something “big and nasty” Gail steps in with some details.
Simone: “Since the New 52 started, there are things I have been working towards since the beginning. It ‘s been 3 years now and started with this issue with Ragdoll, I think it is extremely cool and weird to see him in there. Fernando and Jonathan at the art end of it created a new look for him that is so weird and scary and beautiful at the same time that it makes it even weirder for the stuff that is going on.” She continues to speak about some of the events that occur in Batgirl #32 (On Sale Now). Simone tells us that things will get worse but she won’t be alone “Batgirl will soon learn she has some allies that she didn’t know she had. You’ll really want to get #32,33, and 34 as everything comes to a head and that arc is called Deadline”
Q&A: Best questions got rare Batman comics.
First question: If there were any story lines the creators have read that they would’ve loved to be a part of but hadn’t been?
Manapul and Simone both answered that they would not want to be part of a comic they really loved because they want to enjoy things as is, when they can. Manapul talks about a scene between Bruce and Damian and says “When I see amazing storytellers, I don’t want to be a part of that, I want to be in the audience!”
Fan: How does it feel like to see fans cosplaying their characters at the show?
Simone mentioned four girls who cosplaying as the Birds of Prey and Power Girl at the con and said it just not the looks, they actually play the characters. She also talks about a Misfit and a Black Alice, two characters Simone created for DC that were at the con as well. She said “it’s just absolutely amazing. It’s the best.” Tynion agreed, “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Fan: Will we be seeing the Joker again? and Carrie Kelley as Robin?
Cunningham: No Response
Fan: What Batman artist in the last 75 years is the definitive artist – or your top three?
Simone: Capullo and Neal Adams
Tynion: Mazuchelli and Bruce Timm
Manapul: Mazuchelli, Frank Miller, and Jim Lee.
Last question: Favorite supporting character outside of Alfred, that touch Bruce as a character?
Manapul: “I think Damian is the answer, because it was the personification of love and everything he is scared of all in the same package. That’s scary.”
Tynion: “I would say probably Jim Gordon. The interplay between the characters and whether or not Jim knows – or cares to ever find out. That dynamic is so much of what Gotham City is.”
Simone: “I think historically, I would probably say Dick Grayson.”
END OF PANEL