DC Universe: Rebirth Panel at SDCC 2017

From Bleeding Cool’s Joe Glass:

The DC Universe Rebirth panel brings several of the creators behind DC’s Rebirth line of titles to discuss the work done to bring back hope and optimism to comics. It’s a packed room. I know because the guy behind me keeps kicking me in my side as he leans back to talk to his friend behind him. Thanks, guy, I really need to be tickled by your janky foot.

Anyway, a crowded room is poised to see just what DC will tell us about Rebirth. Will it just be a retrospective of the year and a half since it began? Or can we expect some new information on titles like Doomsday Clock?

DC All Access’ Tiffany Smith hosts the panel, and introduced Marguerite Bennett, Julie and Shawna Benson, Bernard Chang, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV and Robert Venditti.

How things have changed since that initial Rebirth livestream announcement: Bennett talks about getting to write her favourite character. Benson’s say how it’s been completely unbelievable and they can’t believe they get to be a part of it. Seeley feels grateful and incredibly burnt out to have written 30 some issues of Nightwing. Tynion IV has enjoyed getting to introduce why he loved the characters involved in Detective Comics to a whole new slew of readers. Venditti says to put out a double shipped book for a whole year has been exceptionally difficult to do, so praises all the creative teams doing it.

The Benson’s talk about Batgirl and The Birds of Prey, how Catwoman will join the team for a while, the upcoming arc Manslaughter which will involve every female hero and villain in Gotham as all the men get sick – including some extras from Metropolis and Themyscira. They also mentioned a single issue coming up with a road trip outside of Gotham, and digging into DC history with Deacon Blackfire.

Difference between writing on a comic for a year compared to writing for a television show? It’s really helped them build their ability to write and develop a character, and to keep those characters consistent.

Detective Comics is up next, Tynion IV talks about how the core of Detective Comics has been about Batman’s humanity. Rather than Batman saying no to new heroes in Gotham, he wanted to tell the story of when Batman says yes, and the training that follows. So the focus on the other characters always involves the reflection of them against Batman, too. Tynion IV promises next few issues will get psychedelic in nature, and leads up to a moment he’s been excited to get to since he pitched this arc. He describe the Bat-Azrael costume as so 90’s, but beautiful, and it’s where we’ll be getting to at the end of this arc.

What was it about Azrael and Zatanna that brought something different out of Batman? Tynion IV says that Zatanna allowed him to explore the danger of having too much knowledge, and why Batman in a world of aliens and magic doesn’t use these as shortcuts. Which runs parallel to what is going on between Ascalon and Azrael and the ultimate pay off of that.

One more thing with Detective: this fall sees the return of Tim Drake, which got applause, and will answer why Mr. Oz kept him locked up. It’s a story about the core of Tim Drake. We will also see who is locked up in the prison with Tim.

Onto Nightwing, he thinks everyone loves Nightwing because we can all feel like we grew up with him, saw him go from Robin to Nightwing, and his struggle to find his place as an adult. He also discusses how it took him a while to get to understand Blockbuster but that he has come to appreciate the character.

Seeley has given Tiger Shark actual tiger sharks. Yes, you read that. Seeley talks about returning to the Spyral stuff with the next arc, and will bring back the relationship with Helena/Huntress. Part of what they’ll cover is a common thread in Dick Grayson’s relationships and how they are like passing ships in the night, never quite being both in the right place and the right time.

Bennett talks about Batwoman and jokes she regrets that they don’t have any tiger sharks. Talks about how the book explores the missing year in Batwoman’s origin, before she returned to Gotham and began her journey to becoming Batwoman.

What is it like working together with Tynion IV? Bennett laughs how Tynion IV is like her brother, and she loves working with him, and they get to go to Mediterranean restaurants and hash things out together.

Tynion IV talks about how Kate Kane’s larger story was getting bigger than Detective Comics, even though she was a huge part of the series, which lead him and Bennett to pitched together for her spin-off title. He discusses how everything is building towards something that will be life changing for Kate Kane.

They’ll be revisiting the dark future tease we got in Batwoman Rebirth, in Batwoman 6 which is coming soon.

Chang talks about how exciting it’s been to work with Dan Juergens on Batman Beyond, and how nice it was to be the only team sticking on the book into Rebirth. Jurgens is writing more in plot format, allowing Chang to be more involved in planning out the pages and scripting out the sequences. In issue 13, Chang is actually getting to write the issue himself.

He also discusses the variant cover work he’s been doing for New Super-Man and talks about running a food element throughout his covers, as food can be a way to see new cultures.

Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps is next as Venditti discusses what it’s like to write a majorly expansive cast, plus the challenges and, ultimately, satisfaction that come with it. He feels like he has people in his life who are a Hal, or a Guy, or a Kyle, so in a way it’s like getting to write people he knows. And having them all in one spot does give a great chance to allow character development through interplay.

Asked who his favourite is then, Venditti explains how he’s like the John of the group, and there’s pieces of all of them that he loves, and they are all his favourites.

On how much each of their comics will tie into Doomsday Clock, Tynion IV says his Drake arc will tie into that story a lot. Benson’s are not currently tied into it at all.

Asked if the excuse to not marry Kate Kane because it limits what can be done with the character is a cop out given Superman is married with a kid and his book is great right now, asked by a Joe-El cosplayer, Seeley points out it depends on the character. Tynion IV says this happened before he and Bennett began working on the book and that while their story hasn’t been focused on a relationship you can never say never with a character.

Does New Gods storyline in Hal Jordan tie into Mister Miracle? Venditti says it does not, but hints there are connections to Dark Nights: Metal.

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...