Comic-Con: DC’s Batman Panel

Here's our liveblog of the panel action, featuring Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, J.H. Williams III, Gregg Hurwitz & More.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Batman

The next DC panel here at San Diego Comic-Con is all about The Batman. And where? And where… is the Batman? Right here. And the Joker's coming back, too.

Panel includes Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, J.H. Williams III, David Finch, Gregg Hurwitz, Scott Lobdell, Kyle Higgins, John Layman, Rachel Gluckman, James Tynion IV.

Talon #1 is the first item up for bids. Scott Snyder says "who wins in Avengers vs. X-Men? Batman." Talon came about because James is a former student of his and he had some leftover material for Court of Owls that didn't quite make a story, but James came up with a new plan about a Talon who got away from the Court of Owls. It'll be all over the DCU, great layers to the Court. Snyder says he'd happily put his name on it and co-plot it because he'd write this story if he had time. James is amazed he's on the dais because last year he was one of us watching the fans, he's a rookie. Taking a chance on the character Calvin Rose, who will be the intro into the depth of the Court of Owls. He's having the time of his life. Guillem March is doing fantastic stuff, says Mike Marts, editor.

Everybody's getting a gift? Court of Owls masks! Neat!  Even though plenty of people made their own Owl masks. Snyder puts one of them on and is apparently supposed to do the rest of the panel that way, thanks to Kyle Higgins.

As they're passing them out, Snyder says Greg Capullo wanted to express his gratitude, too, for how much everybody liked Court of Owls. Greg would say it much louder, much manlier and more frightening way, though. Snyder feels like a Keebler Elf next to Capullo.

Batman #0. What can be revealed? Snyder says it's one of his favorites that they've done. He was wary at first, because early stuff is sacred to Batman, but there were places in Year One that were still able to be explored. He's a different point in his life emotionally and physically. They're proud to explore it. It will be risky and different, but will honor what went before without treading on them, but adding something new.

Batman #13. JOKER RETURNS. See Crave Online's interview with Snyder from this Monday! This one he's been working on for a year, intensely the last six months. It's his love letter to the Joker – his favorite villain in life. He's Batman's jester to the Bat-king of the crown. He delivers the worst news to make him a better king for it. This will be the biggest, craziest, darkest, most broken Joker story they could possibly do. His face will look different. Joker has a big secret. He's going to attack the entire Bat-family. Elaborating on what he told us already. The gloves are off for each member of the family. Snyder says the folks on the panel are all people who get along as a Bat-family. It's gonna be the biggest, the craziest and the most fucking twisted they could possibly do.

Nightwing is next, but first they get a picture of everybody wearing the Owl mask. They want us to wear them at Marvel panels.

Kyle Higgins of Nightwing jokes that his idea for Nightwing masks was shot down. #0 will focus on Dick Grayson becoming Robin. Higgins has latched onto Grayson as a character who's always looking forward and never back. That's what drives this – after his parents die, his quest is to find some way to move on in a different way than Bruce Wayne has from his parents dying. Higgins doesn't even know if Dick's parents are buried, or if we've ever seen him visiting their graves, while Bruce visits once a week. There's a new look for the Robin suit for New 52. Lady Shiva is coming in Nightwing #13. Tom DeFalco will be writing 13 and 14 while Higgins focuses on the Joker story. They are the darkest, twistedest things he's ever written, and it will change the entire book, no hyperbole.

Batgirl #0 is next. Gail Simone says it focuses on her decision to become Batgirl in the first place. What are her motivations? Helping people? Beating people up? She's a child of Gotham, so we'll see Jim Gordon's response as well. Next shot is Batgirl and Catwoman for Batgirl Annual. She is so excited about it, because Simone finally gets to write Catwoman, and the Talon she introduced in Batgirl is coming back. The dark side of the Birds of Prey mirror is how she's seeing it. Batgirl #13 has Barbara stabbed and bloody with someone looking over her with a bloody knife, with Ed Benes coming on board as the new artist – reunion from Birds of Prey. There's magic when Gail and Ed work together. If she asks him to show three emotions in one panel, done. Four or five things at once, done. Knightfall's story will be big, too. The opposite side of Bruce Wayne from the wrong side of the tracks.

Batman: The Dark Knight, with Gregg Hurwitz and David Finch. Finch is happy to have his first panel with Hurwitz. He loves it, and thinks the book is going in the direction he wanted to go from the beginning. Hurwitz wanted to work with Finch forever as his top choice. His Joker ideas were small – returning library books late and jaywalking. So he will be digging into the guts of Scarecrow, digging in the way he did with Oswald in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice. Scarecrow is obsessed with fear in the mirror way that Batman is obsessed with fear. Crane's background and childhood will be focused on. Batman TDK cover image with Batman in chains is shown. Joe Chill will be discussed in #0 and how that influences the entire life of Bruce Wayne. They're dipping into alcoves of Bat-history that haven't been explored yet. Incredibly detailed art is coming up. Really dark stuff, the tone set by Scarecrow stitching his lips up.

Batwoman #0. J.H. Williams says it's a return to her origin so soon after they've told that story in Elegy, so they came at it from two different points of view. It's different in visuals and structure. There's much room left to explore besides Elegy, though. They get into her head to see all those events from her point of view, as Elegy was very straightforward. Kate Kane's actual thought processes will be on display here to illustrate her emotional state. There will be more details about her father's past as well and his motivations for going along with his daughter's Batwoman crusade. Batwoman #13 will have Wonder Woman guest-starring – that'll be the second chapter of Arc 3. WW will be there in a really big way, throughout the whole arc and not just one issue. A culmination of what they've been building towards since issue #1, trying to bring across a really epic feel. Surprises at the end will be profound enough to feed into future stories.

Red Hood and the Outlaws. Scott Lobdell has drawn Spider-Man webs on the Court of Owls mask, and is pitching Spider-Talon. There's a lot of humor in Red Hood, but Red Hood #0 is maybe the saddest thing he's ever written in his entire life as it goes over Jason Todd's origin in how he became Robin. Then Red Hood #13 brings in Komand'r and Koriand'r in the same book and will make you feel not sad again. He cheekily addresses the "well, that's different" response to his introduction of Starfire in the New 52. Blackfire will be very different than she used to be, too.

Batman Incorporated #0 is shown. Mike Marts says it's about the origin of the team itself. Why Batman pulled them together. Co-plotted by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham with artwork from Fraser Irving. #5 is shown, and he's standing in front of Arkham Asylum – a return to Batman 666 world.

Detective Comics #0 – Hurwitz wrote this one, too. This is about the part of Bruce Wayne's life when he travels and learns everything. The Lost Years in Tibet and such, which ties into a violent thriller version of how he approaches intimacy. They wanted to detail how that happened, a very specific story while he's training. It's emotional and explains a lot of why he is the way he is.

John Layman is taking over Detective Comics soon. He's not trying to write the darkest story, but very fast paced, self-contained stories, trying to do casework that doesn't resolve expectedly. Emperor Penguin is the first arc, and it's only half a Penguin story.

Catwoman #0 is shown. Rachel Gluckman, editor, says they've been flashing back to her past, and #0 will bring them all together in a way nobody expects with Ann Nocenti's first issue, taking her to new places that even Rachel is trepidatious about. Catwoman #13 has a creepy Joker smile in black.

October debuts Legends of the Dark Knight, releasing digital-only comics in print form, including Damon Lindelof, art by Jeff Lemire, J. G. Jones, etc. Also Batman: Arkham Unhinged in the game continuity, and Batman Beyond Unlimited #9 will be about there as well.

No mention of Batwing or Birds of Prey?

Q AND A

Q: What's the time frame between Court of Owls and Joker? He will get a slight breather, with a one shot #12 focusing on Harper Rowe. #13 will be very punishing to him once again. Capullo thinks he's being mean to Bruce.

Q: Any pressure to synch up with the successful Nolan movies?  Marts says they are two separate entities, but they feed off each other. The energy on the screen tries to be incorporated into the comics. Higgins says their page of exploding bridges in Gates of Gotham is in every trailer.

Q: Oversexualization of Catwoman, or is that what she's about, using it?  Rachel says she is pretty much DC's femme fatale, so different characters are different, and Guillem March is incredible.

Q: Guy dressed as Starro with the Owl mask. He asks about a potential Earth 3 series with a Court of Bats, and what's happening with Widening Gyre? Not ready to publish Gyre, and they thought about Earth 3 half an hour ago, so no worries.

Q: Guy thanks the Batpanel for making his Wednesdays. Question for Scott about the issue about Wayne Tower in early Court of Owls was like the Arkham City game. Snyder says it was a total coincidence.

Q: Batwoman and Batgirl thanks for realistic sexuality. How does that work in their narratives when things get darker? Williams says they treat characters as if they're real people they might know. It's important to make them three dimensional and it will impact the stories, and the grounded stuff makes the crazy stuff more plausible. The realism enhances and deepens it, with high contrasts to crazy supernatural stuff.  Simone says Batwoman's appearing for two issues, and Batgirl is younger, exploring her inexperiencedness with her sexuality. Simone will very much contrast Batgirl and Batwoman. They are not alike at all.

Q: A guy says they all have sick twisted minds. How do they sleep? Simone doesn't sleep. A question for Scott – heavy symbolism in it, what's the influence of the Court of Owls. The rhyme was just coming up with something little kids could scare each other with.  He really just wanted to debunk the notion that Bruce Wayne knows Gotham City better than anybody, to humble him. There's a ghost city beneath the city he knows.

Q: Now, post New 52, what are your thoughts on the last year vs. expectations and anxieties? From the sales side, they have been very gratified by the support fans have given them. Simone says it was a great starting point to update and bring some energy back in. Simone says Scott's ideas have been plentiful and sparked everyone's creativity, and no one wants to let down Gotham. It's been a pretty great year.

Q: Where's the Riddler? Marts says they'll get to him eventually. He's still in Arkham.