At the DC Digital panel, part of Comic-Con International in San Diego, DC Entertainment’s digital creators gathered to speak about their comics, the digital domain and what’s next for DC Entertainment.
Moderator and DC SVP of Sales Bob Wayne began the panel by introducing the digital panelists sitting to his left: “Batman Beyond” writer Kyle Higgins, “Smallville Season 11” writer Bryan Q. Miller, “Justice League Beyond” writer Christos Gage, “’Li’l Gotham’s” Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, “Injustice: Gods Among Us” Tom Taylor and Jim Chadwick.
Showing an image for “Batman: Li’l Gotham” Fridolfs joked that he couldn’t “get away from this guy,” pointing at artist Nguyen as the audience laughed.
“People always ask if there’s rules to this continuity -- there’s not...as long as we have fun,” Nguyen added, pointing at the images for issue #4 which showed Nightwing and Barbara Gordon.
Flipping to “Adventures of Superman,” which will come out in print this month after being digital first, the panelists announced that next Monday is the first of a two-part story by Nathan Edmonston and Yildiray Cinar, as well as an upcoming story with “Y: The Last Man” artist Pia Guerra.
The audience clapped as the panelists turned to Injustice: Gods Among Us” and Taylor said his comic explains why “Superman and Batman want to tear each other’s throats out,” Taylor laughed.
He then lead the audience in a round of applause for “Injustice,” adding that the road to Superman’s dictatorial state will be explored adding, “I love Superman, he’s my favorite hero in the world...but to do this to Superman is traumatic.”
Showing off images from artist Kevin Maguire and pages from issue #7, on sale July 31, Wayne demanded Taylor and Chadwick explain the image for the “Injustice Annual” which showed Harley Quinn stepping on a prone Lobo while the Justice League watches.
“I thought it’d be a great idea to do a book of Harley Quinn and Lobo. I think that was my pitch,” Taylor laughed again.
Chadwick introduced “Batman ‘66” next, written by Jeff Parker and utilizing the DC Squared enhanced version of the digital comic. Chadwick called hiring Mike Allred as the cover artist a “no-brainer,” showing off the cover for issue #2, which showed Penguin and Mister Freeze literally butting Batman and Robin on ice.
“We’ll be introducing the 1966 Joker into the comic [with issue #3],” Chadwick continued, joking, “These are a lot more fun with sound effects.”
“Can I pitch ‘Batman ’66 Beyond’ and it’s Adam West now?” Higgins asked as the panelists laughed.
“If you do that, we’re doing ‘Li'l Batman ’66,’” Nguyen jumped in.
“Would the sharks be li’l sized in it?” Higgins asked.
“Everything is li’l sized!” Nguyen joked.
Turning to “Legends Of The Dark Knight,” Aaron Lopresti will have an upcoming story he both wrote and drew, followed by a Mike W. Barr and Tom Wilde story and a Shane Davis Clayface story he wrote and drew. The panelists also showed a page from the Batman digital anthology from Drew Johnson.
The audience cheered again when “Smallville” popped up on screen as writer Miller teased Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman will be making her appearance in the comic.
“How she may have met Steve Trevor is slightly different in this than in whatever continuity you’re used to,” Miller said, adding that the story will be named “Olympus.” He then spoke about special issue “Hallow” that is a “psychological thriller with Lex...” dealing with his hologram sister Tess, Miller said.
The cover for that and the Wonder Woman stories was drawn by artist Cat Staggs, who took a bow from the audience as the panelists and crowd applauded her art.
Gage joked that they should name “Batman Beyond Universe” “Bros Beyond,” as he and Higgins explained they found out they live down the street from each other and were now “Bros.”
With artist Rafael Albuquerque coming in on covers, the first issue of the comic will be available August 21. “I remember watching the pilot with my dad and the sense of mystery of what...turned Bruce into this bitter old man was so captivating for me,” Higgins said, explaining that in the comic they’ve advanced time for a year. “Something has happened in that missing year, but you don’t know what,” Higgins continued.
Gage then spoke about “Justice League Beyond” praising Higgins work on the other “Beyond” title, showing off an image of the Beyond Flash and Superman racing, as well as a man-bat attacking Terry and a Sean Murphy cover homage to the TV show.
“Here’s a character named rewire who was designed by Sean Murphy,” Higgins said, pointing to a cover image for “Batman Beyond.”
Wayne then exclusively announced that DC will be publishing a weekly Thursday “Vampire Diaries” digital series with artist Tony Shasteen, though there will be some rotating artists as the series continues.
The audience laughed as Wayne then displayed the slide for “Scooby Doo Meets Batman And Robin” issue #1 out in November. Taylor pointed to a young boy in the audience dressed as Robin and led the room in applause for him, before the panelists explained creator Sholly Fisch will be working on the title.
“This does leave the door open for...the Harlem Globe Trotters?” Nguyen joked as the room laughed.
Moving on Wayne announced “Teen Titans Go” will be a series starting in December, and more information will be announced about that at NYCC. With a new series beginning every month, “Beware The Batman” will also join the digital comics family.
Wayne also plugged the Comic-Con exclusive DC Collectibles before opening the floor to fan questions.
The first fan to the microphone was very excited about the new Batgirl Beyond, the panelists assuring her that “she’s not going anywhere” and just because “Batman Beyond” is transition into being titled “Batman Beyond Universe” those threads will not be entirely dropped.
“Of course, something terrible might have happened to her in that missing year,” Wayne joked as the room groaned.
The same fan asked then why they re-colored Stephanie Brown’s hair in the book, Miller joking, “It was Halloween and she was out trick-or-treating and she saw something very scary!”
Nguyen told a “Li’l Gotham” fan that there’s an upcoming issue with Damian holding down the fort as Batman is on vacation. The panelists also said there were no plans to revisit any of the “Legends Of The Dark Knight” stories as it is an anthology and not a continuous series with one creative team.
The next fan to the microphone asked about the DC Joker appearing in “Batman Beyond Universe” to which Higgins suggested he read Adam Beechen’s recently wrapped Joker arc before Higgins takes over.
“In ‘Justice League Beyond’ the first two arcs there are big old villains returning,” Gage added.
Chadwick told a Scorpion fan they had no plans for the character at this time before Wayne led the panel in deciding the Batgirl question was the best question of the panel. In reward Wayne presented the female fan, who was also dressed as Batgirl, with a kindle, ending the panel by thanking all the fans who attended and bought DC digital.