For the past four months DC Comics Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase took to the CBR forums and front page for B&B, an exclusive monthly chat about all things DC.
The DC E-I-C since 2010 and Senior Vice President since December, 2012, Harras has spent decades in the comic book trenches working as an editor for the Big Two. Promoted to Editorial Director last year, Chase also has a long history of working in comics, her tenure at DC marking her return to the medium after several years of working in children's and other publishing.
Touching upon events happening in the New 52 and beyond, this month’s Fan Questions installment is also the series final installment as it marks the end of B&B as a monthly column on CBR (See our Editorial Note at bottom). Below, the editors bring B&B to an end discussing recap pages, “All-Star Batman And Robin,” diversity at the publisher and more.
Josie Campbell: Kicking off our final Fan Question segment is user Vanityman who asks, "Any plans for another book set on Earth 2?"
Bobbie Chase: Yes! [Laughs]
Bob Harras: What James and Nicola have built, it's a world, quite literally. They've got so many amazing storylines there and you're going to see some intriguing twists coming up in the Annual. We are thinking about, "What can we do next with Earth 2?"
Is that something Vanityman will see sometime in the near future?
Harras: With all these things I say, be patient, and keep watching!
Glennsim asks: "With so much of the efforts in the New 52 being to gain new readers, wouldn't it be a good time to introduce a recap page for each series? If you didn't want to use up space in the comic for the page, perhaps you could just print a Web address in the comic for an official DC recap page for that series, and/or an QR code to get to it?"
Chase: You know, that's an interesting idea -- a website recap page not the print version. I'm really not for doing that in print because I think it's a waste of precious real estate all going to just big blocks of text. But I think that's an interesting idea, to do it on the web!
User chris_buckley says, "The New 52 took a lot of risk with your characters and asked a lot of your readers. Thankfully, our patience and your storytelling have paid off. Early on, editorial hinted that there was a clear storyboard dictating which major DCU happenings were still part of New 52 continuity and how they fit together in a timeline. Nearly two years in, will you honor the investment your fans have made by pulling back the curtain on that? What major stories still 'count?'
1) We've been told there were no Crisis events -- was there ever a 'Flash: Rebirth' if Barry never died?
2) If no 'Final Crisis,' what sent Bruce Wayne back in time?
3) Grant Morrison says he wrote 'Action's' finale with 'Death of Superman' in mind. What about other later Superman stories, like Johns' 'Last Son' or 'Brainiac?'
4) Blackest Night has been referenced, but was there ever a 'Green Lantern: Rebirth?' Did Hal ever die?
5) With no 'Infinite Crisis,' was there no '52?' What about 'Seven Soldiers of Victory' (where Leviathan was introduced)?"
Harras: Let me answer the question in the big picture.
There is a document that was prepared when we launched the New 52, so we know our back-stories and we will be referring and do refer to that document as our current stories warrant. But we'll be seeing, as stories progress, what events happen in the five-year gap that people are all interested in. But there has definitely been a lot of work put into what happens. I don't want to get too much into, in this recap, each story, but readers will see and fans will see over time what has happened. We do have that history and it's going to come out as stories warrant. Primarily you're going to see it come out in-story in the most exciting way possible, with reveals and shocks!
Tekkaman Blade is back again and asks: "Is there any remote chance that 'All-Star Batman and Robin' by Frank Miller and Jim Lee will ever resume and wrap up its awesome story? Back in 2010 at WonderCon there was an announcement that it would be re-titled 'Dark Knight: Boy Wonder' and contain 6 issues scheduled for 2011."
Harras: I don't want to speak for Jim; I know right now he's focused on "Superman Unchained." I do know, though, that he does want to get to this other story. I think at some point we will see it, but right now his focus is on "Superman Unchained."
Vicvega inquired, "I know the issue of diversity of gender and race in the workplace is a controversial topic, and I wanted to know, are you actively seeking out more diverse creators to write and/or draw your comics? "
Chase: Can the woman say something? [Laughs] That's always, of course, part of this. We want diversity, we respect diversity, we're always looking for diverse voices, in our minds we want diverse characters and diverse creators, always.
Harras: The word 'always' has to be stressed -- we're always looking for new people, we're looking for new talent and we are looking to create diverse products and to have a diverse talent base as well. That's our credo.
Chase: We want that reflected in our comic books as well, and on the creative side.
Reed Beebe asks: "Picture this -- a gatefold cover of an awestruck Bob and Bobbie; the word balloon proclaims, "It's my favorite DC Comics character!" When we open up the cover, what character would we see?"
Harras: [Laughs] OK, that's a tough one because in a lot of ways they're all our children, so it's hard to pick a favorite. But I will say this: the one I'm going to miss the most was Damian. I have a special place in my heart for him, so that would be my answer to that!
Chase: Mine, you'd probably flip over the cover and get a groan because it's Wonder Woman -- I know it sounds too cliché, but I love Wonder Woman! I love her as written now by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang and she's just great. She's a warrior, she's got cool superpowers, she's got fun toys, I love her! She's human and vulnerable, I'm loving the book.
Finally, LGBT_Fan asks, "As a gay man, I was disappointed that you decided to work with Orson Scott Card on the upcoming Adventures of Superman. The man has called for the overthrow of the government if marriage equality legislation is passed in the U.S. and serves on the board of the National Organization of Marriage. How do you justify this hiring along with your attempts at reaching out to the LGBT community (e.g. writing LGBT characters in stories like Alan Scott and Batwoman)?”
[Note: A DC spokesperson referred CBR back to their previous statement on that question.]
Editorial Note: With regret, CBR News has to inform our readers today that there will no longer be a "B&B" column on the site after only four short months.
When CBR proposed the idea of a regular column with DC's executive staff, our stated intent was for the feature to be a place to connect the decision makers at the publisher with the wider comics community. Aside from product and story information, discussing the industry news and debates of the day was something we always planned to focus on both in the regular interviews with Harras and Chase and the monthly fan Q&A. However, the DC team has made it clear to CBR that discussing some of the more controversial debates surrounding the company and the comics community is not something they feel comfortable doing in this format, and ultimately they decided to no longer participate in this feature.
Specifically, Harras and Chase declined to comment on questions about DC exclusive talent Jerry Ordway in regards to his statements about his work with the publisher. (Though it should be noted that DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee did discuss the matter in a recent CBR TV interview)
After ensuing discussions on the matter, CBR regrets that DC has decided not to continue what we consider a valuable discussion for readers, retailers and creators. We will however continue to cover the company's comics, editorial moves and broader impact on comics to the best of our ability – including future interviews with DC executives and editorial staff as they are willing and available.