From BC Correspondents Pete Sailer, Romeo Gebuza and Dan Celko via the BC Liveblog:
The New 52 Batman panel touched on everything from Zero Year to the Detective Comics #27 75th anniversary issue, but the big news was the return of Stephanie Brown. The three of us (Romeo Gebuza, Dan Celko and myself) knew this was going to be a big event, but we had no idea DC was going to do this. DC has shied away from convention announcements and surprise spoilers in recent years, favoring press releases with USA Today and Buzzfeed instead. To avoid waiting in line, we decided to sit through the Avengers panel. When that wrapped up, I grabbed my 3G enabled tablet (because the Javtiz Center wi-fi is terrible) and prepared to liveblog. That’s when I saw the Stephanie Brown Girl.
For the past 2 years, the absence of Stephanie Brown has been one of the biggest controversies of the New 52 and the Stephanie Brown Girl has been Stephanie’s biggest activist. Thorn to DC’s side, SBG has been consistently attending conventions and asking the same question “When will Stephanie Brown return?” Reaction has varied each time. DC famously gave her a Kindle Fire HD, but was surprisingly cold to her at the DC All-Access Panel today. I liveblogged at the All-Access panel “Obligatory Stephanie Brown question. Generic DC response.”
[Rich Johnston adds; there are more that one person dressed at Batgirl, but the main fan in question, going by the name Kyrax online, specifically asked more about gender roles in comic books, and with some success as well. The questions have been varied and have actually managed to break through the PR barrier and got DC to address issues, albeit not to everyone’s satisfaction.]
When I saw her sit down by the microphone stand, I was shocked. I could understand asking different people or asking different conventions, but asking the same people (John Cunningham, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins) a few hours later seemed strange. I sarcastically liveblogged before the panel started “Stephanie Brown girl spotted by the microphone stand. High chance we’ll see ‘obligatory Stephanie Brown question.” My apologies, SBG.
John Cunningham kicked off the panel urging us to download the DC Convention App and updated us on the status of their We Can Be Heroes charity which helps people in the Horn of Africa. Cunningham introduced the Bat-Panelists Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion, Marc Andreyko, Kyle Higgins, Ann Nocenti , John Layman and Pete Tomasi.The cover of the critically-acclaimed Batman #24 was shown on screen. Scott Snyder thanked the audience for supporting his work over the past 2 years and told us that this issue was “favorite thing I’ve ever done in writing ever.” and a “celebration of all things Batman.” Capullo added “Huge pain in the ass to draw.”Capullo impressed the audience with his work ethic telling us “I don’t want to give you one panel you’ll be disappointed in” and cited that he over works 12 to 16 hour work days to the dismay of his wife. It was then spoiler time!
When Zero Year was first announced as an 11 issue series many fans were going to be spread too thing. “Is it going to be two issues of the pearls falling” Snyder says. However, we now know that Zero Year will be a three arc story titled Secret City (Batman #21 – Batman #24), Dark City (covering Riddler’s blackout starting in Batman #25) and Wild City (featuring the overgrown Gotham seen in the beginning of Batman #21 which may or may not be caused by Poison Ivy.)
Dark City will focus on Bruce and Gordon’s relationship and how it started out as very antagonistic. Bruce believes Gordon is partially responsible for the death of his parents because he failed his job as a police officer and swears to never work with Gordon. Snyder teased many mysteries about what Gordon was doing that night and how “dark twisted things” would be revealed about what Gordon knows. “Nothing too crazy!” Snyder assured the audience “He’s not going to shoot Bruce’s parents!” Batman will be solving his first cold case by trying to find a notorious Gotham serial killer, a reinvention of a very old villain.
Expect many homages to the entire history of Batman including Year One and the title sequence to the Animated Series. For example, in Batman #25, Wayne will supply the city with rigged blimps to “search” for Batman.
Then. Shit. Went. Down.
Cunningham alerted the audience to Stephanie Brown Girl and her trusty sidekick Cassandra Cain Girl standing by the microphone. “I called it!” I thought to myself. I didn’t expect they would interrupt the panel.
“You have a question for us?” asked Cunningham
“You know what I’m going to ask. Is Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain going to be coming soon?” The crowd burst into applause.
[UPDATE: Rich adds, you know what, it wasn’t even Kyrax who asked the question. She didn’t get the chance. It was the woman in front of her… Classic sign of a planned intervention?]
Snyder responded “I know these are characters you have been really vocal about in a great way and dedicated to. You want them to come back and in this series [Batman Eternal] we thought it was time to bring back Stephanie Brown. Your guys’ love for Stephanie Brown has been so inspiring to us in this series and Batman in general and were really proud she can come back in this series. Thank you.”Snyder emphasized that New 52 Stephanie would be a “modern fresh take that honors the character.”
The audience was floored. I knew I had to get this information out as fast as possible. I quickly live-blogged the news, but stopped when Cunningham cut in “For the Bleeding Cool Stringers, That’s Scott Snyder not Geoff Johns.”
Snyder said “expect her soon in the weekly.” I thought I heard him slip “Batman Eternal #3″ but I’m not confident in my hearing abilities to determine the fate of the lucrative speculator market. Anyways, stay tuned for future press releases from DC.
The rest of the panel went by in a flash. Everyone was too shocked by DC’s announcement. However, some very interesting news came out.
Pete Tomasi’s new Batman and Two Face arc “The Big Burn” will introduce a new character hailing from Ireland Aaron McCillin. Tomasi has tweaked Two Face’s origin so he was originally a defense attorney before “switching sides” to DA.
Marc Andreyko, fresh off the quitting of J.H. Williams III, is currently writing the first non-Zero Year tie-in. Marc plans on introducing an all new villain. When a fan asked if the Batwoman vs. Batman storyline would ever be picked up, Andreyko responded “Stay tuned.”
Higgins will be finishing up the Tony Zucco/Prankster/Chicago arc in Nightwing #24 before telling an “urban fantasy” featuring a young Dick Grayson in his Zero Year tie-in and a future issue exploring Dick and Barbara’s relationship.
Nocenti was happy for the public response to Joker’s Daughter in Catwomanand was excited that she was able to create a new world, The Gotham Underground.
Tynion emphasized the importance of Batman Eternal “I couldn’t be more honored to work on Batman Eternal. The team is incredible. So much room to tell so many stories with so many great characters such as Stephanie Brown.”Snyder added that after Zero Year, his Batman run will be building off the events that happen in Batman Eternal which will feature “game changing shit.” Tynion continued with updates on Red Hood and Talon which will have Jason join the League of Assassins and Calvin team up with Batman.
It was then Q&A time. One fan won a Nexus 7 from Cunningham for telling the panel it’s stories that make him a DC fan, not 3D covers or gimmicks. “That’s the best non-question I’ve ever heard,” responded Cunningham.Cassandra Cain Girl, whose valiant mission to revive Cassandra in the New 52 will have to continue a bit longer, told Capullo that his recent appearance on Ink Master made her mom think that Capullo was a rock star. “He’s bigger than a rock star, mom. He’s the artist of Batman.” Cunningham presented her with an exclusive NYCC Capullo print.
The panel wrapped up and everyone went on with their day. The news story was the reintroduction of Stephanie Brown, but the real hero is The Mysterious Stephanie Brown Girl, who tirelessly campaigned year after year, convention after convention, panel after panel. If there’s anyone that deserves this, it’s her. Thank you, SBG, if Stephanie Brown existed I’m sure she would be proud.