By Joe Glass
After the craziest line I have ever had to wait in for a comics panel at any comic con, I finally managed to get in for the panel where so many were wanting to get in to learn more about this new line for DC and see the mastermind behind it all, Gerard Way.
Moderated by Jim Lee, giving a little history, knew Gerard since 2007, who once interned at DC. Lee says he and his wife were fans of his music, and followed his career, to which Way joked while touring with My Chemical Romance, backstage was always filled with comic book people. Lee says Young Animal is a pop up imprint, and it was created for Way and the work he wants to do, and will exist for as long as Way wants to work on it.
Way talks about for years talking with Shelley Bond and trying to do something with Vertigo, but nothing ever came of it as the timing wasn’t right. He says however, after the release of his solo album, he felt he wanted to take some time away from his music and focus on comics.
Lee says what has kept DC alive and interesting, and comics going, is people want to come in and want to do different things.
Way came to DC wanting to do Doom Patrol, but he picked up an encyclopedia in the offices filled with the obscurest characters of DC’s history, and kept on wanting to do more.
It kept morphing and changing, Way says organically they came to the creation of a new Gotham hero. Way talks about coming from a punks background, but saw no problem signing on to big labels as it gives you more tools to play with and expand and express your art, the same in comics.
Lee talks about how they kept thinking outside of the box, and that led to the cover of Doom Patrol, Way says it’s an homage to Andy Warhol, and pop art. Says there’s a lot of Warhol in Young Animal.
Lee talks about how they are doing an ashcan, and it’s just like the old classic kind, a throwback to vintage ashcan. Exclusive here (except it’s not, it’ll be at the booth). Way talks about working with the artist on the ashcan, and says it’s interesting because it’s ‘not that it’s illegal (pause)’, and he talks about how the work inspired him too.
Way says a core four books, but also tend to experiment with things, mentioned a black light comic, but showed a Flex Mentallo towel…there is sadly only currently 50 of them. And a black light test page, using mainstream DC characters and Young Animal characters. They dimmed the lights to show it off, and it looked impressive.
The production and manufacturing team have been working extra hard according to Lee, to make these incredible experimental things, and they love it because it shows how passionate they are about it.
The tag line ‘Comics for dangerous humans’ is less about being edgy but more about thinking differently.
Onto Doom Patrol, Way says he’s super-psyched about it, contains awesome versions of the classic characters but also new characters Way created. They dive in right away to the weird stuff. Way says he read as much DP as he could, and apparently continuity is included, not ignored, it will honor the past, but they take it somewhere fun and new.
They then start bringing up the YA team, and Way says the team effort is the most important thing. Starting with the Shade, the Changing Girl team of writer Cecil Castellucci and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick. Castellucci discusses how they have been pulling together images from the internet that they think represent madness and create a kind of mood board for it to inform the comic.
Shade is an alien from planet Meta, who steals a madness coat and goes to Earth to possess a comatose girl, and now lives the human life of the girl who was formerly the biggest bully in her school, as madness increases. Beautiful internal pages were shown then.
Fitzpatrick talked about experimenting with color and texture on the book. Castellucci says they will be pulling in things from the past, but this is very much its own version.
Way talks about how the line fits in together, and says they are connected in some ways but are in their own little universes, but the pockets will cross at times. It will almost feel like their own continuity, whilst still being part of the fringe of mainstream DCU.
Team from Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye up next, Jon Rivera comes up. Way talks about friendship with Rivera, and when he came up with the concept, he realized the only person who’d understand what he’d doing is Rivera. Lee says the first issue is kinda poignant. It’s an homage to classic adventure movies, but also things like Spielberg and comic adventure movies of the 80s and mixing Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi madness in there.
Way says we find out how he got the cybernetic eye, but doesn’t know why. And that’s the mystery. Rivera talks about how Cave Carson’s morality is cloudy.
Quickly onto Mother Panic as running out of time, Way says they’re hoping art team keeps getting to rotate. Way reads a message from Jody Houser, raving about the team and being part of YA and also a Gotham book. Lee points out all books are mature audiences, and Mother Panic is someone from high society who decides to go up against the seedy underside of high society, and has an obsession with cybernetic augmentation.
Jaime Hernandez variant for DP#1 is shown. Then Brian Bolland variant. Sanford Greene variant. And Tom Scioli, Way says he managed to convince Lee and Dan Didio to allow Scioli to run riot with the DCU, and makes Super Powers which will be the back up story of Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye.
A 5 minute Q&A begins, what got group really inspired to join comics industry? Castellucci says watching Adam West in Batman, Fitzpatrick says Batman: The Animated Series, first comics were Manga. Rivera says Flex Mentallo, Tank Girl, Way goes onto saying they are looking into special projects outside the core four projects. Gotham Radio written by Jim Kruger can be expected as a back up in Mother Panic. The questioner got the Flex Mentallo towel by the way.
Is it ongoing? Way: “All four books are ongoing.”
Anything they couldn’t do? Way says nothing they can’t work around so far, DC and they have a great relationship.
Ultimate hero, asked by someone cosplayed as Leia? Way says always been Luke Skywalker for him.
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