DC’s Gotham City panel began at 10.45am: the latest update for fans about what’s going on in the world of Batman. People began their Sunday morning a little drowsy, but that energy quickly resurfaced once the panel truly began.
Ben Abernathy, an executive editor at DC, introduced the panelists: Frank Tieri, Meghan Fitzmartin, Ram V, Ed Brisson and, shockingly, Paul Dano.
Riddler: Year One
Dano was not listed as a guest for the panel. His schedule meant he was only there for enough time to discuss his comic, where he talked about his experiences both playing and writing for Riddler.
“The first page is inside of Edward’s head,” he began, “and then you step outside into the world through him.”
Dano described how the comic was conceived while filming for The Batman. “I told Matt Reeves about it on set one night, and he told me ‘that could be a comic!’ … right away, he talked to Jim Lee about it.” Chuckling, he said he had an “Oh shit, now I actually have to do this” moment.
Dano also took the time to praise his artist partner, Stevan Subic. “I love his work,” he said. “I have not met him in person, but we Zoom all the time.” Subic could not attend this year’s panel, but delivered a video message giving best wishes to con-goers and readers.
After Dano left, the panel shifted to the world of the mainline DCU: beginning with the relaunch of Batman Incorporated. Ed Brisson was asked about how Ghost-Maker was the right fit to lead the team going forward.
“I honestly don’t know if he is the right guy,” Brisson said. “And that’s what the story is about.”
This new series will be a means of challenging Ghost-Maker as his character develops. As someone who wants to out-do Batman, Ghost-Maker is testing himself to grow Batman Incorporated beyond “what it was before”.
“He is a bit of a prick,” Brisson said, describing the character. “He doesn’t really care about what other people think of him, he doesn’t have time for caring.”
Well, neither does Batman – “Ghost-Maker has even less.”
“With any team book it’s difficult to juggle many characters,” Brisson said, praising artist John Timms for his work on the book – and a team book, especially. “I think we’ve had him design 8 to 10 characters.”
Abernathy laughed and suggested a Batman of Nova Scotia could appear as the book continued. “The Bat-Signal will be housed in a lighthouse,” joked Brisson.
Tim Drake: Robin
“When anyone asks you who is your favourite Robin, it’s a trap,” said Meghan Fitzmartin, who’s currently working on Tim Drake’s Robin comic. “They’re all great! It’s like picking your favourite kid (even if you have one).”
Fitzmartin took a moment to clarify on what she finds particularly special about Tim. “I think he represents the burnout generation. So much about Tim is stuff we feel. I didn’t lose my parents in a tragic accident, but I have complicated relationships with my parents the way Tim did for a long time.”
Fitzmartin then said she believed Tim to be such a skilled detective “because of his empathy.” Detective mysteries in the book will tie into who Tim is as a character: “The ‘who am I now?’ phase after high school, after college.”
Tim’s new headquarters is based out of Gotham Marina, a new location in the city. “I love boats!” Fitzmartin explained, excitedly. “Even though Gotham is surrounded by boats… we’ve been to the docks, we’ve been to many a warehouse – we haven’t been to a marina.”
Riley Rossmo is the artist on Tim Drake, and Fitzmartin talked about the ideas he brings to the table – in particular, praising his work on the marina. Issue 1 is out now.
Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU.
This book is the latest announcement from DC, and writer Frank Tieri was quick to clarify, “It was not initially pitched as ‘screws up’.”
“Harley is back in Coney Island,” says Tieri, “And she mysteriously inherits what she finds out is a time machine. So, Harley being Harley, she’s not going to have a time machine and not use it.”
When Harley returns to the present, she finds the world to be overtaken by Starro the Conquerer. “Harley figures out that when she used the time machine, she accidentally screwed up the origins of all the major DC heroes, so now she has to go back in time and fix all the shit she screwed up.”
Amanda Conner has also been confirmed to be providing cover art for the series as it continues.
Ram V’s Detective Comics run has already begun, but today was a good opportunity to hear more of what’s to come.
“My real influence when it came to Batman was watching The Animated Series,” said V. “I lived in India, and we didn’t get single issues back there. I always felt like there was this underlying sense of dread and drama to everything that show did.”‘
“There’s always that question, how is Detective different from the main Batman comic? To me the answer was that it had to do something aesthetically different.” Seeing Zdarsky’s run would go high-octane with action and gadgets, V suggested to “move Detective into the area of drama.”
Speaking about the villains in his story, V asked, “What if someone came into Gotham City and said, ‘I can fix this city better than the way Batman’s been doing all of these years’?”
He suggested it raises the question of if you steal anything from a city when ‘fixing’ it. “Two-Face becomes a metaphor for this. When you ‘fix’ Two-Face, are you taking away something important to him?”
V’s first arc, “Nocturne”, “is intended to be epic, both in terms of external stale, but also in terms of … what Bruce has going on inside.” Meanwhile, he confirmed a western-inspired “intermission”, between the first two arcs named “Intermezzo”.
Ed is also working on Deathstroke Inc, There’s Something Wrong with Patrick Todd and Predator. Meghan is also working on Dark Crisis: Young Justice, a Zatanna backup, and both writers are working on the Wildstorm 30th Anniversary special. Frank is working on Dark Crisis: War Zone, some mature content for Marvel, and some work in Archie comics. Ram V is working on Swamp Thing, Aquaman: Andromeda, and two indie books he hasn’t announced – though he described one as a “Kaiju Romance Time Travel”, and the other as the same situation “told from two different perspectives”.
The panel began to wrap up with each attendant being handed an issue of Detective Comics and Batman vs Robin.
That’s it for today’s Gotham City panel! To conclude, here’s Frank Tieri’s favourite Batman story:
“I like when he broke his back. That shit was cool.”