First up, Fables is still going strong and showing no signs of stopping, even as writer Bill Willingham branches out with its spin-off Fairest. Fans of the fairy tale world he created will be pleased to know that the Fables original graphic novel Werewolves of the Heartland is done and will be available to the public this November. Be prepared, Fables fans! Willingham himself said, “It’s going to be huge!” The image of Fairest #2 that the audience saw at the panel featured a blue genie drawn by the famed Adam Hughes, and Willingham teased, “I think it’s worth noting that Adam Hughes has become a bit typecast. Between the Fairest covers and his new work on Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan, he only draws comics that feature people with blue skin.”
Dustin Nguyen encouraged everyone to check out his digital Batman Beyond Unlimited story, and as someone who recently discovered them myself, I can back him up on that! It’s great to see Terry “Batman” McGinnis working with the future Justice League again, and as he said at the panel, “it takes me three months to draw and you get it (at least digitally) for ninety-nine cents.” You can’t beat a deal like that! He’s also hard at work on an American Vampire mini series, Lord of Nightmares, with writer Scott Snyder. “Working with Scott is great,” Nguyen said, “because if you ask him what’s going to happen in an issue, instead of just telling you a sentence, he’ll go page-by-page and tell you what happens.” Lord of Nightmares follows after Survival of the Fittest and should see a June release.
Next up, Batman, Inc.! Fans of the Grant Morrison - penned series will be happy to hear that it’ll be coming back to store shelves in May. Artist Chris Burnham had this to say about the series: “This is a crazy series. There’s some serious Grant Morrison-ing going on in this comic.” He went on, describing his work on the series: “Grant gives me a plot, I draw it, and then he finishes it off with a full script. So I get to read the words in people’s mouths after I’ve drawn the whole thing. It’s the coolest feeling, like ‘Oh, he based those words on that stupid drawing I made.’” And what does he think of those words? “It’s super-Grant Morrison dialogue where he condenses what Brian Bendis would spend a full issue on. It’s amazing!” When the cover of Batman, Inc. #2 was shown, Burnham revealed that he and Morrison will be telling the life story of Talia al Ghul and that the resulting story “really pulls from the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams stuff. It’s kind of heartbreaking, epic, and awesome!” Can’t wait!
As always, the panel opened up to questions from the audience and kicked off with a question about the disconnect between the Justice League Hal Jordan and the Hal in the Green Lantern title. Editor Brian Cunningham addressed this by saying that Hal Jordan “can definitely be a handful” and that writer Geoff Johns has been writing him a certain way for so long, that it can be hard to adjust to the New 52 personality that Hal is carrying. We should be seeing “more and more” of that new Hal in the GL title, though.
Batman editor Mike Martz fielded a question about Red Hood and how he fits into the Bat-family in the New 52 by saying, “We have lots of origin-type material coming up, especially as to his relationship with Dick and his relationship to Kory.” No word on which book(s) this origin material will play out through, so keep your eyes peeled! Martz also addressed concern about Static Shock and its impending conclusion: “We have a lot of plans for the character.”
Flash Fact: Cunningham responded to some questions about The Flash and how Barry Allen seems to be limited by the speed of light. He explained that it wasn’t a “conscious choice, but if he always runs that fast, it can take the character past a level where the story is entertaining.” He went on to say, “At the moment, we’re playing with speed, his powers, and the consequence of those powers…There’s lots of stuff coming up with the Speed Force, and we’ll be exploring the consequences of being The Flash – and they are dire.” As a long-time fan of The Flash, that makes me very happy to hear, but I’d still love to have some concrete word on when we’ll see even a hint of Wally West in the book.
Not surprisingly, since she was a part of the final arc of the previous iteration of Batman, Inc., Stephanie Brown was a major point of discussion, especially when someone asked how they’re going to handle the transition of the mantle now that Steph’s mentor, Barbara Gordon, has taken back the cape and cowl. Martz answered, “Stephanie is extremely important to us as well. We love her as a character and hopefully sometime in the future we can find a way to work her into the New 52.” Unfortunately, he went on to say that “we won’t be seeing her anytime soon.” Sorry, Steph fans. It looks like we’ll be making a joint “Bring Back Wally/Donna/Steph” fan club.
Finally, a question about DC’s digital plans spurred editor Ben Abernathy to pipe up, though he couldn’t give a concrete answer about those future plans. He said only to keep watching for upcoming news about their digital-first books, like Batman Beyond Unlimited, and digital exclusives. Whatever DC Comics has in store for the future of their digital publications, it should be exciting!