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DC Comics Rebirth has brought many fans back into the fold and reinvigorated the company’s sales. Unsurprisingly, the DC Rebirth panel at WonderCon 2017 was one of the most popular comic book events at the show. It filled a large hall with a line of people waiting to get in. DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns attended part of the panel. It also featured James Tynion IV (writer, Detective Comics), Sam Humphries (writer, Green Lanterns), Julie and Shawna Benson (writers, Birds of Prey), Phil Jimenez (writer and artist, Superwoman), John Semper Jr. (writer, Cyborg), Chad Hardin (artist, Harley Quinn), and Danny Miki (inker, Batman).
Tynion discussed how he took The League of Assassins, one of the most iconic evil organizations of the Bat-universe, and transformed it. In Detective Comics, he created a splinter group called the League of Shadows, headed by Lady Shiva. This pits Ra’s al Ghul against Shiva, with Batman against both. Tynion called The League of Shadows the “new extremist branch” of the League of Assassins, which makes it especially scary. Additionally, he said, “We do not know what the motivations of this organization are, and that’s what we going to start discovering in the next few issues.”
The central characters of Green Lanterns are Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, new Green Lanterns who are based on Earth. Humphries said that he became very invested in Cruz and Baz. Green Lanterns also serves as a counterpart to the other GL series based in space. Humphries said, “You’ve got the Earth-based adventures of these two Green Lanterns who are new to the ring, and then you have the space-based adventures of guys like Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart… and they are two very different ongoing stories about the same central theme, which is courage over fear.”
Geoff Johns discussed writing cliffhangers, especially in regards to the initial DC Rebirth comic. At the end of this issue, Batman finds the bloody smiley-face button from Watchmen, indicating that the characters from the Alan Moore series/graphic novel are now in the DC Universe. Johns said, “I always try to make my cliffhangers be something that I would be freaking out over.” He said that he knew that he had to do something bold for the Rebirth comic. He added, “I’m always trying to do something that’s exciting, emotional, intriguing, sometimes WTF, in the case of the Batman Watchmen button.”
Popular creators Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are currently writing Harley Quinn. Artist Chad Hardin discussed what it was like to draw the series. He joked that the book was highbrow before adding that the series was “full of zaniness, full of Jimmy and Amanda’s humor.” It was also fun to draw and always entertaining. Hardin said that the partnership worked because all three have a similar sense of humor.
Phil Jimenez has brought together a number of secondary Superman characters in his Superwoman series. Both Lois Lane and Lana Lang were both Superwoman for a time (now it’s just Lois). Additionally, Jimenez brought in Steel, who Jimenez claims is the emotional hear of the book, and his daughter Natasha Irons. The first trade of Superwoman is available and the series is up to Superwoman #7.
Amber and Julie Benson are introducing a new version of Oracle in Birds of Prey. They know Barbara Gordon was a beloved character as Oracle. That makes reintroducing the character tricky. However, they thought it was important to still have a version of Oracle out there since Barbara is Batgirl again. John Semper Jr. discussed his approach to writing Cyborg. Recently Vic Stone became stuck in an 8-bit land. Semper said that this was inspired by his love of old-school video games. He also thought it would be cool to throw a high-tech hero into a land of old technology. Semper said that the setting of Detroit was important to the comic. He also hinted that he was going to introduce the DC Rebirth version of Beast Boy in Cyborg.