We're hear at the first DC panel of San Diego Comic-Con 2012, focusing on the "Dark and Edge" family of books, incluing Justice League Dark, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, I Vampire, Suicide Squad, Sword and Sorcery, Team 7, Deathstroke, Hawkman, Grifter and more.
On the panel are Jimmy Palmiotti, Jeff Lemire, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rob Liefeld, Adam Glass, Brent Anderson, Rachel Gluckman.
Animal Man with Jeff Lemire is the first item on the docket. Lemire talks about building towards "Rotworld" with Scott Snyder of Swamp Thing, starting in #12. Part 1 in Animal Man, Part 2 is Swamp Thing. Then the #0 issues come. Rotworld really kicks off in the #13s. The scope will encompass a lot of the DCU, including characters you wouldn't expect to see in the Dark books. Hawkman looks really messed up and emaciated on the cover for #13. Lemire says he didn't know if Animal Man would last in the first launch of the New 52, and the response has been overwhelming.
Frankenstein is next, and that ties into Rotworld. Matt Kindt, Lemire's best friend, took over for Lemire on Frankenstein, and some secrets of Rotworld will be revealed in Frankenstein's teen issues. He's going to join the Justice League Dark when the annual comes out. YES. Lemire is writing that book, and he loves Constantine/Frankenstein dialog.
JL Dark #0 will go back 5 or 6 years when Constantine first comes to America and falls in love with Zatanna, but somebody else is already in love with her. It will tie into the bigger plots that he's crafting.
Swamp Thing #0 is shown, and the #132 cover seems to have Poison Ivy in it. Animal Man Annual characters, including older Swamp Thing, appear in Snyder's Seamp Thing annual.
Deathstroke is shown. Oh, Liefeld. Deathstroke #0 involves what made Slade Wilson into Deathstroke. His military career, falling in love, what drives him. The love of his life was his motivating force, and when she was taken, he just amped up his ruthlessness. DC's Team 7 will tie in as well. Deathstroke, Grifter, Black Canary and others once worked together as covert ops. More stuff to torment slade in his personal life will keep him on the edge.
Grifter #0 is wild. Liefeld explains what has created Grifter since #1. Scott Clark is tearing it up on the art. Grifter gets his Yoda/sensei character. A guy named Warrick is revealed. Voodoo will join Grifter's book now that her title is cancelled. WildCats characters coming together! Hints that that might be more prominent coming together.
All-Star Western is next, and Jonah Hex rules. The GOtham City setting has helped with the Court of Owls stuff. Palmiotti says he got a call from Dan DiDio about getting into the Court of Owls crossover, and they embraced it. It's worked out really well, and it's been really cool. The origin of Jonah Hex will be told in the #0 issue. No meteor hit him. He's just had a bad life, and he makes the best of it. Palmiotti says he's glad he's in this room, because now he knows who the COMIC people are at Comic-Con. He tells a story about talking to a guy going to Comic-Con who doesn't even seem to know why he's going, just that it's "The place to go." A new image shown of Jonah Hex shooting clowns. Palmiotti doesn't like clowns, and the circus in Gotham is evil, and Hex has to deal with all of them with Amadeus Arkham.
A four-part Tomahawk story will back-up on All-Star Western, with the same artist from the Barbary Ghost story. They're staying in Gotham for the forseeable future. Phil Winslade is the artist. Palmiotti says there's no better historical research artist than Phil. Phil will faithfully represent the Civil War in #0.
Phantom Stranger #0 is shown. Brent Anderson talks about dealing with Dan DiDio as a writer. Dan approached him and asked him if there was anything in the DCU he'd like to draw, and Brent said 'hats.' Later, he proposed Phantom Stranger, but Brent didn't know Dan would be writing it, too. He talks to you about 800 things at the same time. Palmiotti says there's a "wonderful chaos to it," because you have no idea what he talked to you about sometimes since there's so much. Brent says he enjoys taking pictures of himself in capes and hats and dark suits for reference photos. Phantom Stranger is going to be very dark.
Amethyst in "Sword of Sorcery." Rachel, the editor of that title, says a lead story and a backup story, fantasy anthology like All-Star Western. Amethyst coming back for the first time since the early 90s, and Rachel is a lifelong fan of hers, and is happy to be the editor that brings her back. Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti are doing a great job. Backup story – Beowulf with TOny Bedard and Jesus Saiz, in a post-apocalyptic setting. The cover of Amethyst #1 is shown.
Team 7 #0 cover is shown, set earlier in the continuity. Deathstroke, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor – Justin Jordan and Jesus Merino are the team on it. Grifter as well. Fialkov says Justin Jordan is an amazingly talented genius, and we're in for a treat.
Suicide Squad #0 is shown. Adam Glass is here. The reaction to Suicide Squad has been "strong." Neutral. #0 will get into Amanda Waller, and says she's one of the "baddest mamas" in the DCU right now. She's smart, vicious and doesn't play around. We'll get into what makes her tick. SS #13. Glass says he's not a clown fan either, unless they're SEXY like Harley Quinn. R'as Al Ghul appears to be the leader of Basilisk. It gets bloody.
I Vampire #0. The Van Helsing plan to exterminate vampires involves turning into zombies. Vampires vs. zombies for a few issues. Much fun! #0 goes back to 1591 to see the days of Andrew Bennett getting turned, the origin of Cain. The status quo will be completely different coming out of vampires vs. zombies. Fialkov is constantly amazed that DC lets him do the crazy things he does. It's something he'd planned since #1.
Q AND A TIME
Q: Liefeld Fan (they exist!) comes up and asks what he's doing with the three new titles that are different from what's been done before. Liefeld says he's an early riser, 5am and such. DiDio called him at 5am and offered him an action block of Grifter, Deathstroke and Hawkman, and he wanted a sense of urgency in these books. Liefeld called back the next day and offered his plans, and DiDio said "let's do it." Liefeld asked Jim Lee to think of him when he thought of Deathstroke when he went to DC. Liefeld says people think Deathstorke was instrumental in Deadpool, but Liefeld says he's much more influential of Cable. Liefeld was excited by Grifter since WildCATS day. He's loved Hawkman since Superfriends. He's putting him on the run, and a little bit of Jason Bourne in it. He thanks his artists very much, and they dig the crazy stuff he throws at them. Hawkman is wanted by the entire galaxy. Deathstroke and Grifter are right in his wheelhouse.
Palmiotti brings up the video of Liefeld inking Hawk and Dove while driving. Liefeld explains how early it was, and how everyone told him he was insane for doing that.
Q: For Jeff Lemire – I hear Lemire doesn't like horror. How is that possible? Lemire says he just never watched horror growing up. The early Vertigo stuff really piqued his interest in that kind of fiction. He never said he hated it – he doesn't like gore, he likes psychological horror.
Q: A guy dressed as Starro (well done) asks about Constantine being the "dirty penny" of the DCU. What was the challenge to maintain that air while de-aging him? Lemire says it was a big challenger, he loves Hellblazer. He was trying to boil that down into a 5-year history and it was very hard, and he didn't want to lose crucial things in his continuity. He's been trying to keep as much of the Vertigo stuff intact as possible, but there have to be sacrifices. He's trying to do his best to write the same character he's always enjoyed reading.
Q: In Stormwatch recently, Jack Hawksmoor spoke to Gotham City, which was a horrible bat-demon. If Jack was to go into each of your comics, what would he see there in each of your comics? Fialkov says you find out in I Vampire #12.
Q: Justice League Dark has a rotating cast, and the Books of Magic are introduced – is Timothy from Sandman coming? Yes, Lemire says he got permission from Neil. Amethyst will show up as well.
Q: Any full-length cartoons for any of these characters? They can't reveal even if they did know.
Q: The Question is questioned – where is Renee Montoya? They have nothing they can say yet. The Question will be back, but Montoya, nothing yet.
Q: Will any of Buddy's family get powers in Animal Man? We will find out very soon, the fate of all the Bakers.
Q: Last year, Lemire said the story of 'who made up the parts of Frankenstein' will be done by Kindt, and it's different than what Lemire would've done, but it's awesome. He also likes the Animal Man shorts on DC Nation.
Q: Hex fan offers love. How can Palmiotti keep on it so long? Jimmy says he grew up reading Hex and loved, and it's a dream come true to work on Hex for the last six years. He's so interesting with so much great history. He relates to Hex's temper and how he sees everything very simple in the world. The character writes himself in crazy situations. "What Would Jonah Do?" If you put Hex on the Comic-Con floor, he'd start shooting his way out. He's easy to write, and they hear his voice strongly, and they like being able to tie him into the main DCU more with the New 52, but he's still Jonah wherever he is. Hearing the guy's voice is the good point of writing. It's a dream job.
Q: Thanks for incorporating Vertigo characters into the main DCU. Any Vertigo characters that didn't make the cut? No answer. He also says "Before Sandman" would be a very bad idea.
Q: With Amethyst coming back, any chance to bring in Arianne the Enchanter back? No revelations have been made yet, but agrees that that would fit into the Sword and Sorcery anthology well.
A video for We Can Be Heroes is shown to end the panel.