One of the highlights of WonderCon 2013 are the Spotlight Panels. These panels give one an opportunity to get up close and personal to the going ons of the featured creator. The Spotlight on Ann Nocenti was moderated by DC Comics very own superstar executive and artist Jim Lee. For those that don’t know who Ann Nocenti is, most likely you’ve come into contact with something she’s had her hand in. She’s the woman that killed the original Spiderwoman, Jessica Drew, and eventually plotted her return during Roger Sterns’ run on Avengers. See was also the co-editor along with Louise Simonson on Marvel’s late 1980’s X-Men line of books. Ann contributed to the X-Men events Mutant Massacre and Inferno, and created many X-Men mainstays, such as Longshot and the Mojoverse. However, she is best remembered for her long run on Daredevil with JrJr, where she helped Matt Murdock get over his former love, Karen Page ,with a much saner girlfriend named Typhoid Mary. After being away from comics for around a decade, she is now at DC where she just finished up a run on Green Arrow, and is currently working on Catwoman and Katana.
From the start of the panel, you could immediately tell there is a great chemistry between the two and a strong admiration from Mr. Lee in concerns to Ann’s work at both Marvel and DC. Who knows? Maybe Ann just has something for working with editors that go by the name Jim. It was hilarious to see Jim pull out a copy of Classic X-Men they had worked on together, which Ann could not remember in the slightest. However, she did ask if Jim wanted her to sign it, but instead he signed it for her and gave it as a gift. The two played like the odd couple: Ann, the free-spirited writer, and Jim, the straight-laced executive.
Throughout the panel, Ann seemed very humble in nature and quite surprised that people had such a fond memory of her work. Her responses to Jim’s questions weren’t typical for a member of the 1980s bullpen. One of her biggest influences was Jim Shooter, who she said had a beautiful sense of story, demonstrating a mature outlook of someone who had been maligned in the industry and respected that style of management. Some other influences she cited were Al Milgrom, who taught her the importance of using the panel to tell a story, and Louisse Simonson, who showed you can get what you want from your creative team with a smile.
The conversation then went on to whether or not she thought comics should be used as tools for social justice. Ann Nocenti left Marvel after its implosion in the mid-1990s, going on to work for social causes in publications like Prison Life and High Times magazines (the latter might explain from of the forgetfulness that peppered the panel). Ann also worked in film, creating documentaries and was a teacher in post-earthquake Haiti. Knowing her body of work and all the things she did during her time away from the industry her answer surprised me. “No, comics should be fun.”
Jim Lee really seemed to keep the focus on her history with Marvel, though Ann kept asking when they were going to talk about DC. She went over how she tried to bring changes to Green Arrow, basing Oliver Queen on a combination of Bill Gates and James Bond. She felt that in The New 52, Oliver Queen, being a wealthy industrialist, really hadn’t yet had the experiences he needed to become the liberal character he was in the pre-reboot DCU. The aforementioned being one of the reasons she passed the book onto Jeff Lemire. Ann was especially excited about her upcoming arc in Catwoman, titled “Gang War.” Gang Wars’ main antagonist will be the Penguin, taking place throughout issue 21, annual 1 and concluding in issue 22. Ann hinted about a group possibly called the Outsiders appearing in the Green Arrow and Katanna books, which is based around different weapon clans.
Expect a lot of connecting easter eggs between Green Arrow and Katana Books. Special attention to the weapons clans that have been hinted at, they will be playing a major part in future stories. When asked about Katana connection to the Outsiders. Ann replied that its quite very possible that the heads of these weapons clans may choose to unite and call themselves the Outsiders. She would not further expand…