DC Comics All Access: Batman - NYCC Panel Recap

With a revamped DC Universe, there’s been a lot of questions, and here at New York Comic Con, we’re going to get a lot of answers--at least where Batman is concerned--as the first major DC Comics panel of the Con brought the creators of the ongoing Batman titles to the stage. First welcomed out? The team on Batman: writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo.

Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Pete Tomasi at NYCC

“It’s a big eleven issue story – it’s our Hush or Long Halloween. If I only got one chance to write Bruce Wayne, this is what I’d do,” said Snyder. “What he really has to come realize is, Bruce doesn’t really know Gotham. We really want him to be frightened.”

“Action stuff's always the fun stuff to draw. Scott always gives you the action stuff he has in mind, and then I have the chance to portray it the way that’s most exciting,” said Capullo. Talking about a page from issue two, the artist said, “Scott’ll always give me the beats, but sometimes I feel like I need to slow down the beats.”

“I just want to say publicly how thrilling it is--he adds so much to the plot, so much thematic stuff that he adds himself,” said Snyder about Capullo, to which Capullo said the feeling is mutual. “This is the first time I’ve felt hungry to get the next script,” said Capullo. “I read it, and say, 'How’s Batman going to get out of this?' I think that Scott Snyder is going to be one of the legendary writers in our business.”

He also teased that in issue two, Batman installs a scanner in the morgue, so he can holographically look at bodies in the batcave. “Nightwing jokes about it. He says, 'Why couldn’t you have installed that before you died?'” quipped Snyder.

Next up was Detective Comics writer/artist Tony Daniel, who talked about how his book is focused on a much smaller group of characters than in Snyder’s Batman. Asked about the jaw-dropping ending to issue one, Daniel said, “It was fun to draw. I drew that piece in maybe two hours. I knew that people would be appalled, shocked or intrigued to know why we did this.”

Showing off pages from issue three--and spoiler territory here--Daniel teased that the guy you THINK is Commissioner Gordon in issue two is not actually Gotham’s hardest-working detective, but someone else. Issue three opens with a big battle sequence featuring a new character called Jack in the Box.

Then it was time to talk about Batman: The Dark Knight, so out came writer/artist David Finch. Finch talked about starting with a horror angle on the title, but eventually decided to, “pull out the stops, and do everything.” Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash all show up at points in the book, as does the evil Legion of Doom. “I think the ending of issue two is going to upset people more than issue one,” said Finch with a laugh.

Moving on to Batman and Robin, Pete Tomasi came to the stage. Tomasi clarified that the villain Nobody is a new character. He has a connection to Batman’s past, but he isn’t anyone we’ve seen before. “As important as the Nobody plot is, the A-Plot for me is the human dynamic between Bruce and Damian – and Alfred, in a way,” said Tomasi.

Then Kyle Higgins – writer of Nightwing – hit the stage to talk about his book. Apropos of nothing, I’ll say the cover they showed off looks like an ‘80s metal album, but that’s neither here nor there. More to the point, Higgins said, “It was important to keep him in Gotham City. Having gone through the challenges that Gotham has put him through, for him to stay in this city he’s avoided all these years--that’s incredibly interesting to me.”

Chris Burnham was next up to talk about his art on Batman, Inc. “Things all happened super fast for me. One year ago, I was drawing my six pages in Batman and Robin. It’s been pretty wild,” said Burnham. Asked about what it’s like working with writer Grant Morrison, Burnham said, “I was expecting it to be weirder. People talk about his scripts as if they were the drug induced dream journals. They’re challenging, but they’re just better.” There’s more of the title coming, but DC couldn’t talk about what is coming up quite yet.

The last panel attendee was Lee Burmejo, writer and artist of Batman: Noel. “The first time you write something as an artist, there’s a lot of expectation,” said Burmejo. “Some I’m worried about that, but I’m thrilled to work on Batman and, hopefully, bring something new.” The artist said that after working on Joker, he wanted to do something in the other direction. He started with a children’s book, and that eventually became Noel.

At this point, the floor was opened to questions, here’s some highlights!

- Asked whether you can allow a character like Damian Wayne to change, Tomasi said, “The word journey is very much a big part of this storyline. We’re really looking at a growth chart here.”

- Higgins clarified that Dick Grayson being adopted at sixteen--rather than earlier--is a product of the compressed DC relaunch timeline of five years.

- A fan asked what the panel’s favorite B-list Batman villain was, to which Capullo quipped, “King Tut. That’s a trick question.”

- Wondering whether there will be a big Bat-crossover, Marts said that while there are no plans, a crossover is inevitable, but for right now, they want every title to stand on its own.

- Higgins would like to have Tim Drake in Nightwing at some point.

- Snyder teased that there’s one slight change to Batman’s origin in the New 52, but for the most part, they didn’t want to change it because it's good as-is. He also teased that we’d be seeing more from James, Jr., the evil son of Commissioner Gordon.

- Biggish news! Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank will be published in Summer of 2012.

And with that, we were wrapped! We’ll see you at the next panel, and stay tuned to MTV Geek for plenty more from New York Comic-Con!

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