DC's throwing a big reboot. You know what that means? Maaaaaakeoverrrrrr!
So we've--well, I've groused about some of the new designs for the upcoming DC reboot (50-boot? No?) but I'm still always interested in the processes behind coming up with the look and feel of a new universe. "New" in a relative sense. So, I was interested in seeing Jim Lee take the stage at San Diego Comic-Con 2011 to talk about what went into giving the revamped line its throwback flavor.
The panel led off with editor Mark Chiarello explaining the choice of Jim Lee and Cully Hamner to redesign the DCU. He feels that although Lee is one of the most influential artists of the last 20 years, he was worried that Lee wouldn't have the time. Hamner was chosen based on his dramatic redesign of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle.
The panelists flashed a slide featuring a process image of the Barbara Gordon Batgirl. Speaking about the task of developing the new designs, Hamner said that he thought that although some of the redesigns were drastic, he didn't feel that someone like say, Superman was all that different, noting that the character essentially maintained the basic red/blue scheme of the past.
A less armored version of the Flash by Lee kind of works for me. The figure has a profusion of yellow lighting bolts around the chest and shoulders that makes the look a little less clean, buy also makes the costume pop.
The Supergirl redesign they showed mostly does a lot right, although the boots are ri-dang-diculous with their little knee window. I'm still not sold on the joints and panelng, but the basic scheme looks good, particularly the cape tha buttons at the neck asymmetrically. Chiarello noted that many of the designs for other characters, Lee was able to knock out quickly, but Supergirl took hm several tries.
We saw a slide with Superboy, close to the Superboy cover by Eric Canete. That one is actually cool and preferable to me compared to the awful belly tee with taped-on logo of Teen Titans.
Next up were process images for Black Canary and Katana. Showing the final Birds of Prey cover, Hammer says that the look of Poison Ivy was attempt to evoke leaves blowing in the wind, with the possibility of the leave layout changing based on her mood.
We then saw some process images by Travel Foreman for Animal Man as the artist attempted to find the right use of the "A" logo.
Green Arrow was next--Lee joked that editor Bobbi Chase demanded that whatever the new design was for Ollie, it should show off his biceps. There was conscious evocation of the Smallville costume, with questions about the position of the quiver plaguing them. For me, the one major failing of the design is that you can't look at it and not think about Ultimate Hawkeye.
Cully Hamner discussed his Mister Terrific design, with which he wasn't initially satisfied. Lee says that he didn't like the original black paint on the character's face, so they a little red to make him more expressive. Lee says he found he original sleeves with "Terrific" down the sides sort of corny. Sir, may I submit that tribal tats are also very corny.
We then saw the Firestorm redesign, where Lee says Ethan Van Sciver was given a lot of lattitude in his look. I've always loved the lines for the character, buy never really had a lot of time for his logo. The new one seems to sort that out with the multiple suns on the torso, and it's a case where the armored look works, given the character the feel of a reactor.
Some Legion of Superhero images--Ultra Boy and Mon-El--which didn't look all that different.
Moving on to Arsenal and Starfire, Hammer said that the goal was to young those characters up. With Arsenal, he noted a tradition of hats for the GA characters, giving him a baseball cap to give him some real-world flair. Hammer said that the Red Hood redesign was inspired by the look from the animated movie, retaining the jacket from the feature.
Hamner spoke of the difficulty of collaborating from his studio in Atlanta with the team in L.A., an odd experience that had him responding to comments while in transit in the air, doing more follow-up than he's been used to in the past.
The Stormwatch costumes of Midnighter and Apollo were shown. I'm willing to cop tha I don't dislike the Apollo costume, but the Midnighter look is still too busy. Hammer says he was going for an industrial look for the character--which is definitely there, but so many additional lines and accents detract from the overall look. We also saw Hawksmoor and Jenny Q (the new Jenny Sparks?), which are essentially shoeless dude without shoes and a little girl. I'm cool with the spare look of Hawksmoor since that's always been his charm.
Next up were process images of Harley Quinn and Deadshot. Lee says the Arkham Asylum look for Harley was what inspired her redesign. Weirdly, I see a little Dethlok in the initial Deadshot design. Someone noticeably groaned in the crowd at the final Harley image. I don'y know, I hate the look, but that's kind of not cool for grown-a** adults to do.
We saw some images of a version of Kid Flash with a faux hawk. I dislike the faux hawk but then, when I think about the intentionally slightly grating nature of the character, it fits. We also saw a couple of Wonder Girl images from Brett Booth, I think, both looking a lot better than the final cluttered Donna Troy/Cassie Sandsmark look. One of them was kind of toga-ish, while the other look a bit much like a Green Arrow design, but they were also going in an interesting direction.
As you probably already know, the big new DC 52 reboot happens in September.