DC ALL ACCESS PANEL
By Todd H. Latoski
A lot can happen in a year! This panel provided fans with unfiltered access to DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and Executive Editor Eddie Berganza, as they talked about all things DC.
DiDio was excited about MegaCon, which is his first convention since last October. He asked fans if they'd heard about the new 52, which garnered a lot of laughs. DiDio asked if the new 52 was announced at least year's MegaCon, and when fans replied "No!," DiDio admitted the decision to bring out the new 52 occurred just prior to MegaCon, so at the time they were there last year, DC was looking for talent for the new books.
Didio then introduced Eddie Berganza, the executive editor at DC Comics, who had just arrived at the convention from the airport. Berganza joked that the next six months of plans at DC were still in his suitcases.
Needless to say, the conversation immediately turned to the new 52 and what fans liked and didn't like about it. A lot of fans were concerned when the concept was first announced last year, some fearful of another confusing semi-reboot. According to DiDio, DC had the same concerns. Since many of the creators at DC are also big comic fans, they wanted to make sure they were meeting the goals that were set forth to the fans. This included the goal to deliver the product when DC says it will be delivered, which has resulted in changing creative teams for some books.
When asked what they liked about the new 52, fans were quite vocal. "Animal Man is fantastic!" one fan cried out, while another added it was nice to see the character return to the quality of the character that they saw back when the book was still a Vertigo title. DiDio indicated that some new Vertigo announcements would be coming in the next few months. Another fan congratulated DC on bringing some of the lesser-known characters, such as Hawkman and Secret Six, up to the same level as Batman and Green Lantern.
DiDio said when they first decided to go forward with this project, they had a big chalkboard with 52 titles set up, but the 52 titles that came out are not necessarily the first choices they came up with. Things were switched around until they found the right combination.
A young female fan who admitted to being a new reader to comics said she loved the Justice League and Justice League International titles, as they were easily accessible to her and got her excited about coming into the comics on the ground floor. DiDio loved hearing that, saying that DC wanted the books to have the right jump-on feel for new readers.
Another fan said how much they liked DC taking Superman back to the "fighter of justice." DiDio said the hardest part of the new 52 was that fans at the conventions had constantly complained, "You don't listen." DiDio said "It's hard to act upon what we hear to try and balance it out with the best series possible. One thing we always hear is ';throw out everything whole scale and start all over,' and the goal for 52 was to keep the concept of the character, but give them a fresh start."
Then DiDio brought up onto the stage creators Tony Bedard and Kenneth Rocafort. Rocafort was there as a fan, not scheduled to appear at the convention. They were excited that DC was giving readers a chance to get to know the characters all over again. When asked about Shazam, DiDio said the character would be coming into the Justice League as a back-up story. "Will we see the Rock of Eternity back?" Berganza simply smiled and said, "Maybe." A fan then asked if DC would be spelling out better what has changed in the books and what still remains the same from the prior series. Berganza assured fans that things will be revealed as the stories progressed, and he encouraged fans to keep reading.
DiDio then asked everyone present how many of the new 52 books they bought. He was surprised to see that most people had bought anywhere from 30 to 35 of the new books, with nearly fifteen people saying they bought all 52! DiDio thanked everyone for their support, telling the fans that such faithfulness to DC exceeded their wildest expectations. "At no point did we actually expect anyone to go out and buy all 52 books," DiDio admitted. Those that did start off buying all 52 books said they were beginning to trim back, although one fan said he still bought all the books published each month.
When asked about when fans could expect to see the appearance of Lobo in the new 52, DiDio simply replied, "Next!"
A fan then asked if the Shade mini-series takes place on the current new 52 earth or elsewhere. Berganza replied, "There's a common writer, so you'll have to wait and see."
Some comments were made regarding the change to Power Girl's costume and what went into the revision. Fans were divided over whether the change was good or bad. Berganza explained that what necessarily looked like a great costume back in the 70s when it was designed might not work today. He said, when they went ahead with the new 52, DC had to look at what people want to see now. When asked about the "P" in her costume, DiDio merely replied that it's all a part of the story.
One fan then raised the issue of the re-numbering, complaining that DC had just brought back the original numbering for several of their titles, including Adventure Comics and Wonder Woman, and other titles had been continuous since the 30s and 40s when they began, such as Action, Detective, and Batman. "It felt like a slap in the face," the fan said, referring to his devotion to the titles over the years, only to have them suddenly revert back to "#1." DiDio replied that when DC looked at the overall continuity for their books, they decided to go with "#1" for all the books to show fans that they were serious about this fresh start. Previous re-starts had not included all books, particularly when it came to Action, Detective, and Batman. DC considered the issue carefully, and it was ultimately decided that the change of all titles to #1 would evidence DC's intent to look forward and not look back.
A fan asked about any upcoming crossovers, and Bedard said to keep an eye out for Blue Beetle #9 and the Green Lantern: New Guardians that same month, as one issue leads into another.
Another fan wanted to know if DC regretted the "5-year" history for the Justice League, and whether that would limit them from having any history for their characters. Berganza said the 5-year gap allows for a lot of story to be told, and Bedard added that, as a writer, such a short history keeps it fresh. DiDio further said that the 5-years gives the characters a sense of history, but also allows them to continue growing in their roles. "Half the fun of storytelling," he said, "is allowing the characters to see and experience stuff for the first time."
The question of why Wally West was removed from the role of Flash was raised. DiDio said that DC made the choice to bring Barry Allen back, as he was the most iconic interpretation of the character. Wally was a derivative of Barry, and with the new 52, DC wanted to bring down the age of the characters. If Wally was still around with Barry, they would be very close in age. Wally would have needed to be de-aged to a teenager, but they already had Bart in that role. When considering the age issue, Wally got pushed to the side because of Barry and Bart. This also applied to Donna Troy (to which DiDio had to calm down a few fans), because she was so similar to what would be happening in Wonder Woman. DC wanted Barry to shine as Flash and Diana to shine as Wonder Woman. That's why Wally and Donna have not yet been addressed.
Next came a question about Pandora, the woman in the purple hood. DiDio said the story about this enigmatic character will unfold in the DCU, and fans will see more of her in the Free Comic Book Day book. Berganza said that the idea of Pandora evolved with the creation of the new 52, and if fans consider the mythology of her name, that might give some hint as to what's to come.
A few questions to round out the panel:
Free Comic Book Day? Expect to see some work by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
Kevin Smith's Batman story? Smith is focusing on his new show, Comic Book Men.
DC Universe Legends comic? Not a part of the new 52, so don't try and connect it.
Any new Outlaws for Jason Todd's group? Well.....
Is Grant Morrison's Multiversity ever going to come out? YES!
Todd H. Latoski/Writer
Todd was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Florida back in the late 1980s. Todd grew up reading comics and have always been a fanboy. Working in the legal field by day and writing his heart out at night (with three published comic stories to date, and one more in the works),Todd has been doing MegaCon coverage for several years and looks forward to doing so for many years go come.
blog comments powered by Disqus