While the DC cinematic universe may be having it share of struggles and complications, the comic universe is thriving by comparison. If you’re not taking our word for it, why not take the words of Marvel legend/DC newcomer Brian Michael Bendis, Green Lantern: New Guardians author Justin Jordan, Cully Hamner, Joëlle Jones, Philip Tan, Tim Seely, or Green Arrow writer Benjamin Percy?
The DC heavy-hitters spoke on a panel at Chicago’s C2E2 Friday about upcoming projects, influences, and the characters we all love. Phew. It's a lot of folks, all of which were wrangled by Bendis, who it turns out, hasn't done anything in the DC Universe yet.
However, the rest are so immersed that they cover almost all corners of the world. Jones, who also has a Supergirl trade coming out, is creating a line of figurines called the DC Cover Girls — including Harley Quinn, Catwoman (coming in November), Batgirl, and Supergirl — all of which embrace their characters' personalities in a single gesture. Jones cites Catwoman as her favorite of the bunch, with Batgirl as a close second.
Jordan and Tan's comic The Curse of Brimstone takes from Jordan's rural heritage, focusing on the areas where Superman and Batman aren't policing things, aren't saving lives, and aren't beacons of hope. Its second book comes out May 2. Jordan described the book as his attempt to settle the cognitive dissonance between the good people of his town and the beliefs he saw them voting for in the most recent presidential election.
Percy, speaking on his upcoming Nightwing story (also launching May 2), describes the character as "not a Luddite...but he likes his batons. He doesn't have a lot of gadgets around him." "You heard of identity theft," Percy said, "here's secret identity theft." This all comes from the digital villain the hero will go up against and whom Nightwing "can't punch." Citing cybercrime as one of his top fears, Percy explains that he's always been fascinated by stories of cultural anxiety — like Godzilla or Frankenstein — and he'll be jamming loads of D-listers into the book.
Seeley, whose Green Lanterns is out now, is also doing the Bat-chelor party accompanying an upcoming DC comic wedding. Hamner's also rocking the boat in the world of Gotham, telling the story of the heroes of the city's daytime with Batman and The Signal. The panelists agreed that they all had to take breaks between the darkest characters (like Green Arrow) and the fun, quippy ones (Beast Boy) — though they admit they'd write more fun things if violence didn't sell so well.
Lobo, Firestorm, Spider-Man, Shazam, Warlord, Swamp Thing, and the regular Thing were listed as heroes the creators would love to work on but hadn't yet had the chance, before the questions ran rampant.
The influence of comics in academia was discussed as being notably increased. "Eight years ago, it was still an anomaly. Now, it's everywhere," said Bendis, a sometime-teacher himself, of comic book classes in higher education. When asked about diversity in comics, Jordan explained that, yes, Black Panther might be a revolutionary movie, but it was first revolutionary as a comic — 40 years ago. Finally, Bendis teased a wacky team-up coming later this year as one of his many, many projects, but was sure to avoid saying the characters involved.
Watch the video for the full panel below: