NYCC 2012: DC's Batman Panel Deals With The "Death of the Family"

Filling one of New York Comic Con’s biggest rooms was DC Comic’s Batman panel, featuring writers Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, Pete Tomasi, Gregg Hurwitz, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, artists David Finch, Chris Burnham, and Greg Capullo, Colorist FCO, inker John Buckingham, and Editor Mike Marts, moderated by DC’s John Cunningham.

During the intros Snyder welcomed out--for the first time, the whole team on Batman. Then, to shouts of “Don’t kill Nightwing,” Higgins shouted back, “Why does Dick need to be Nightwing?” Getting into it, though, Snyder shouted off the cover to Batman #16, and quipped: “Avengers versus X-Men, who wins? BATMAN!”

Talking about the issue, Snyder said the Joker could have been the court jester anywhere, even for, “That loser Superman. I’m talking as the Joker... I don’t think Superman is a loser, I’m writing Superman,” said Snyder with a laugh. “We need to make Batman stronger, be scarier. It’s our job to burn the whole kingdom down so we can regrow it.” Snyder also teased The Joker has a secret that won’t be revealed until later in the arc.

Talking about Snyder, Higgins noted that Snyder will call him and say something like, “Hold on, I’m at my son’s soccer practice. Okay, so The Joker tears off his own face, and staples it to the wall.”

At that point, Cunningham apologized for forgetting to bring up Mike Marts, and brought him up on stage, then also brought up Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.

Next up was James Tynion IV, who noted he was at NYCC as a fan last year, and now he’s on stage. Talking about the first issue of Talon, Tynion said that Calvin Rose will return to Gotham for the first time since he started running, in the wake of The Court of Owls storyline. “I couldn’t be more honored to work on it with Scott,” said Tynion.

Then it was over to Nightwing, with Higgins saying he truly loves the character. However, in Death of the Family, The Joker will be targeting Grayson in a specific and surprising way. After the storyline, Nightwing will be intrinsically changed.

The panel then showed off covers for other books, including Batgirl, Batman & Robin, and Red Hood & The Outlaws, with a joker-ized Bat-family. “I wish I could talk more about this, but I’m having a lot of fun,” said Tomasi.

For the Batman & Robin Annual, the solicited image isn’t the final one... It’s actually pencilled by Andy Kubert, and will be released with the issue; it just didn’t get done in time.

Talking about Batman Inc: “We don’t do the Death of the Family storyline, but we do have family, and there will be death,” joked Morrison, adding that it will “definitively” wrap up everything he’s wanted to say about Batman for the past six years. “There’s things I’ve never gotten to do in Batman before, so I think everyone will be quite surprised,” added Morrison.

Chat then turned to The Dark Knight, with Hurwitz saying the next storyline will, “Blow Gotham wide open.” Finch added that, “It started as a character piece on Scarecrow, and will end in something much bigger than people are expecting.”

After Finch leaves the book, Ethan Van Sciver will join the book as the new artist. Hurwitz said that he called up Sciver because he wanted to try to talk him into doing the title... But that Sciver had actually been meaning to call him the same day about possibly coming on board. Then hearts exploded everywhere, they kissed, and world hunger was ended.

Then it was time for Q&A! Here’s the highlights:

- Will Huntress join the Bat-family? No, only showing up in World’s Finest.

- Harley’s continuing “Death of the Family” story will be in Suicide Squad, not in Batman proper.

- The Red Hood Gang from the Zero issue will show up after the Joker arc. There will be a “palette cleansing” story, then the Red Hood Gang/Riddler storyline.

- A fan asked what Morrison thought of Snyder, and vice versa. “Grant is probably the biggest influence on me as a writer,” said Snyder. “The thing I admire the most is his fearlessness, issue to issue. The way he’s able to take these ideas, and tease them out, and layer them in a way for readers that’s so rich. Even though our writing is different, it challenges me to be as fearless in the stories I want to tell.”

“Scott Snyder who?” quipped Morrison to laughter. “It’s a mutual appreciation society... The stuff Scott has been doing has revitalized Batman because it’s something I want to read. It inspires me. This is the best time to be a Batman fan.”

- A fan thanked Morrison for recommending magic to him. “Are demons chasing you now?” joked Morrison. “Sometimes,” said the fan.

- On whether the crossover will “matter,” Snyder said it was the writer’s idea, not an editorial mandate. He also added that he said to the other writers that they can do what they want in their books, and it will affect Batman - not Snyder mandating what happens and controlling the lives of other writer’s characters.

- Nightwing wasn’t a part of the Teen Titans in the New 52, though he had adventures with them.

- Tim Drake solo book? “Keep reading, something’s going to happen. You’ll see,” said Cunningham.

- Plans for Batcow? “Wait until you see what the Joker does to him,” joked Morrison. “We’re taking Batcow on the darkest journey he’s ever been on.” Also: he revealed Batcow, “Is a lady.”

- Any chance of filling in the gaps in Bat-history in the New 52? “All those stories really happened,” said Snyder, including ‘No Man’s Land,’ and more. Hints of those stories will show up throughout Death of the Family.

- Asked what attribute of Batman inspires the panelists the most, Morrison said adaptability; Snyder said the “balancing act between pathology and heroism.”

- A fan then asked about putting the Bat-family through the ringer. “Are you proud of yourselves?” the fan asked jokingly. “I specifically ask Eddy Barrows to tear up the Nightwing costumes every issue, so the answer is yes,” said Higgins.

- We missed the set-up, but Morrison asked the crowd, “Who wants to watch me shave Kyle Higgins?” Really wish we had heard the set-up there.

And that was it! We’ll see you back here for our final panel of NYCC!