At the DC Comics: Tales From The Dark And The Edge panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, DC’s Dark and Edge book writers and artists spoke about what’s next for their stories and the upcoming #0 issues. Moderated by DC SVP Bob Wayne, the panel began with Wayne talking about “Animal Man,” introducing writer Jeff Lemire.
“Rotworld is coming,” Lemire told the audience, citing his and Scott Snyder’s “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man” crossover beginning with issue #13.
“I think people will be surprised at the scope of the story...it encompasses a lot of the DC Universe and a lot of characters you wouldn’t expect,” Lemire said.
“When we launched the New 52 we didn’t know if it would last....the response has been really overwhelming,” Lemire added, thanking his fans for their support. Lemire also told the audience that “Frankenstein, Agent Of Shade” will also be crossing over into “Animal Man,” dealing with the rise of the Rotworld.
“I think I can also reveal Frank is joining Justice League Dark in the Annual...writing Constantine and Frankenstein dialogue is the most fun thing I could do!” Lemire said, then showing an image of JLD’s version of Black Orchid and explaining that her new origin will also tie into “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man.” Lemire also spoke briefly about his next big "Justice League Dark" storyline, saying that it the #0 issue will set up and hint at the inclusion of the Books Of Magic characters, specifically Tim Hunter.
Next up writer/artist Rob Liefeld spoke about “Deathstroke,” first joking that he and Wayne went back, “before you were all born!” he laughed.
Speaking about “Deathstroke” issue #0 Liefeld promised they would cover Slade Wilson’s origins from military career to the love of his life. “When she was taken from him he just amped up,” Liefeld said, adding that moving forward from the #0 issue on they will start revealing more information about Slade’s background.
“‘Grifter’ #0 is wild too,” Liefeld continued. “We give Grifter his Yoda or sensei character...Grifter has been a little bit of a lost soul, he really starts figuring it out in issue #0.” Liefeld also told the audience that Voodoo would be popping into “Grifter” in upcoming issues.
The audience then cheered as Wayne introduced Palmiotti to talk about “All-Star Western.”
“We’re going to re-tell the origin of Jonah, he doesn’t have a meteor hitting him from space or anything,” Palmiotti said about the upcoming #0 issue, adding to thunderous applause from the audience, “I’m really glad I’m in this room because now I know who the comic people are at Comic-Con.”
Palmiotti then showed a cover image with Jonah Hex fighting a clown. “Jonah has to deal with a bunch of crazy clowns running around Gotham,” Palmiotti told the laughing audience, promising that if fans hate clowns in upcoming issues, “Jonah will shoot a lot of clowns.”
Brent Anderson, who is working on “The Phantom Stranger” with DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, chimed in to explain that he became involved with the book last year after DiDio asked Anderson what he enjoyed drawing.
“I said hats,” Anderson said as the audience laughed. Shortly after, DiDio contacted the artist again about working with him on “The Phantom Stanger.”
“The hats are fun!” Anderson added about drawing the story as the audience laughed again.
“We’re bringing back Amethyst in ‘Sword Of Sorcery,’” Wayne then said, introducing the book’s editor Rachel Gluckstern.
“It’s a really big deal, and since I’m a life-long fan of Amethyst I’m thrilled I’m the one to bring her back,” Gluckstern said.
Moving onto “Team 7,” Wayne showed the audience an image of the full team with “I, Vampire” writer Joshua Fialkov praising “Team 7” writer Justin Jordan. “He’s a great, fresh voice...and very handsome,” Fialkov added as the audience cracked up.
“I’m going to throw down the gauntlet and say [Amanda Waller] is the baddest momma in the DC Universe right now,” writer Adam Glass then said about his “Suicide Squad” series, adding that from the #0 issue onwards the book will dive into Amanda’s origins and what makes her tick, as well as bringing the ongoing Basilisk storyline closer to a conclusion.
Fialkov spoke about “I, Vampire,” saying that the next issues coming up before the issue #0 will pit Andrew and the vampires against zombies and some origin revelations in the #0 issue.
“We get to see a little bit of the origin of Cain...and coming out of the vampires versus zombies, the status quo of the book is going to be completely different,” Fialkov promised. “I don’t want to say what it is! It’s what I wanted to do since issue #0...there’s clowns,” Fialkov added as the audience cheered.
Opening the floor to audience questions, the first fan to the microphone asked Liefeld what he wanted to bring new to “Savage Hawkman,” “Grifter,” and “Deathstroke.” Saying that DiDio called him up at 5AM to talk about the books, Liefeld said DiDio asked him if he could do the books with a sense of great energy.
“I want a sense of urgency in these books, can you give that to me?” Liefeld recalled. That was no problem for the writer, who said he loved all three characters. “When Jim Lee went to DC ten years ago I said, can you get me to do Deathstroke?” Liefeld added.
Liefeld said he believed that Deathstroke was a greater influence on his creation of Cable than on Deadpool, saying that he enjoyed Grifter and that he had loved Hawkman since the “Justice Friends” television show.
“What we do in Hawkman #0 will set up a huge event that will make him wanted across the universe,” Liefeld said. The panelists then all teased Liefeld about a video he had uploaded that showed him inking his pages while driving on vacation.
“Don’t ink and drive!” Palmiotti joked as the audience laughed.
The next fan wanted to know how Lemire handled de-aging Constantine in “Justice League Dark.”
“Trying to boil him down into a five year history is tough,” Lemire said, naming himself as a huge “Hellblazer” fan and adding, “Somewhere around the DC offices there’s a timeline...I’m trying my best to write the character I loved reading.”
A “Stormwatch” fan wanted to know if Jack from Stormwatch went into their books, what would he see and interact with the characters.
“You’ll get to see that in ‘I, Vampire’ #12,” Fialkov promised.
Lemire then told fans Amethyst will be showing up in “Justice League Dark,” but, “not necessarily by choice,” added Gluckstern, talking specifically about the character's in-world motivations.
A female Renee Montoya The Question fan wanted to know if there were plans to bring back Renee Montoya. Wayne could not comment on Montoya, but said that readers had already seen the Question in the New 52, “Whether you realize it or not!”
The next fan wanted to know what Lemire thought of the DC Nation Animal Man shorts. “I like them, yeah,” Lemire said as the audience laughed.
Speaking about how he felt writing “Jonah Hex” Palmiotti told the next Hex fan to the microphone that the writer sympathized with his temper.
“We put him in crazy situations and then go, what would Jonah do?” Palmiotti said. “With the New 52 we never thought we would get the chance to tie into more the DC Universe...it’s like a dream job and I’m glad you like it.”
A Vertigo fan then thanked the panelists for incorporating Vertigo characters into the DC Universe, and then asked if there were any characters from Vertigo that did not make the cut for being incorporated.
“He just wanted to thank everyone,” Wayne joked, avoiding the question as the audience laughed. Wayne then brought the panel to a close with a video promoting DC Entertainment’s We Can Be Heroes hunger initiative. Wayne then encouraged the audience to check out the Darkness And Light DC benefit gallery exhibit happening in the downtown San Diego gaslamp district.
“Thank you for making this your first DC panel of the convention...it won’t be the last!” Wayne concluded.