NYCC: Batman Family Panel – David Finch Hints At A Brutal Death

DC Comics brought the Batman Family creative teams to New York Comic Con and took the Main Stage Friday to discuss all aspects of the Batman Universe.

From DC Comics:
Take a trip to Gotham City at the “DC Batman” panel to find out what’s in store for the World’s Greatest Detective and his cohorts. Alongside the BATMAN team Tom King and David Finch and ALL STAR BATMAN writer Scott Snyder this must-attend panel will also feature Julie Benson and Shawna Benson (BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY), Steve Orlando (BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN), Tim Seeley (NIGHTWING), James Tynion IV (DETECTIVE COMICS), and more! Friday, 12:45pm, Main Stage

Live Blog:
Tom King and David Finch speak first.

King says writing for David Finch, he closes his eyes and thinks of the best Finch comic he can, and then he writes that script and Finch makes it.

Finch says when he has a writer as good as Tom, he wants to be able to bring that across in the visuals.

King jokes about taking over from Snyder. “He’d broken him. He just did such a terrible job, and we had to fix it.”

But then he says Snyder and Capullo had the best run in Batman’s 75-year history and that taking over scared him “crapless.”

Says it was like following Babe Ruth to bat.

Now talking about Gotham and Gotham Girl. Says this run is all going to go back to DC Rebirth Batman #1, knowing that his death was in front of him when he was going down on that plane.

King says Batman’s mortality both scares and inspires Bruce.

Said that with Gotham and Gotham Girl, he saw a potential out, and thought maybe there was a better hero for Gotham — but he’ll have to realize there is no other hero for Gotham.

Says there’s nothing more awkward than the scene where Alfred donned the cape and cowl during the “I Am Gotham” arc to provide a distraction to Gotham.

Says Alfred pops the balloon of absurdity, telling the audience “all the crazy of it serves the purpose of the story.”

Finch says he always thinks of the serious Batman on a gargoyle when he’s drawing but talks about enjoying the crazy, absurd moments.

Next arc is called “I Am Suicide.”

Bane has the Psycho Pirate in Santa Prisca, and Batman forms his own Suicide Squad out of his villains in Arkham to invade and take down Bane.

“Obviously I love it. I wrote it.”

“I get to do a heist movie inside Batman.”

Says if it isn’t one of the fans’ favorite stories of all time, he’ll quit the book.

Batman’s Suicide Squad is Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger, Catwoman…

David Finch is asked if he had to draw any crazy or brutal deaths that will shock us.

He says the last page of the issue he’s drawing right now will shock and upset some people.

Now Snyder is talking All-Star Batman.

Says letting go of the main Batman book was hard. Says any time you leave a book, you hope the worst writer in the world comes after you and makes you look amazing.

But he says when he started hearing what Tom King was going to do with it and what he and Finch were doing together, he was dying to read it.

“It makes me really proud just to be a fan of the character and have it in good hands.”

“At the end of the day, you guys deserve the best people on these books, and I want them, too, because I want to pick them up and read them.”
Benson Sisters joked that they’re upset Snyder doesn’t invite them to the Bat-writer sleepovers.

Now Snyder is fully talking about All-Star Batman

Says everything you do as a writer is trying to make things exciting to yourself.

Snyder says All-Star Batman is exploring villains in a way focused on why they’re scary to himself, and why they’re scary at this moment in time.

“There’s the pressure of the main book all the time, and it drives you…” but says this book is about taking the Batmobile offered and having a blast.

Says it’s about pushing characters to the core of who they are.

On Two-Face, he jokes his inspiration was the Joel Schumacher movie.

“I had a tough year last year with some personal stuff” and he says his approach to Two-Face is that people fear that they are the worst parts of themselves, and he also says the current political climate creates fear of the worst regardless of your political leanings.

The story is focused on removing Batman from Gotham, exposing him in a new way. He loses his gadgets as he goes along.

The next issue is his favorite, and they’re bringing back some fun, deep-cut characters.

Mr. Freeze, Penguin, KG Beast are among those on the way.

Greg Capullo and Jock are among artists joining him for future issues in the series.

Now Benson Sisters are talking about Batgirl & the Birds of Prey.

It’s their first time at NYCC

They said they were most looking forward to pizza and cosplay.

Says the editors encouraged them to stick more of the funny stuff from their scripts in the issues.

They learned that they could go bigger in writing comic scripts than when writing TV scripts.

“We’re used to minimizing and doing as much as little” because they can’t do massive car chases and blow up helicopters in every episode of a TV show.

Says they’ll be loosening up Huntress a bit when she gets off of her revenge agenda

They’re doing a “Who is Oracle?” arc where readers will find out who Oracle is.

And they’ll maybe be adding another teammate to the Birds of Prey

Says they’re humbled by the amazing older runs of the series, but they think they get them.

Tim Seeley talking about Nightwing now

He says he’s waiting for an email about an “official” Birds of Prey and Nightwing crossover

They all think Black Canary would beat up Nightwing

Seeley says he wishes Dick Grayson would just pick an identity and stick with it.

He says Dick’s beliefs are so stable that you can switch him around, but shifting from a spy book to a superhero book is “different.”

At this point, he says Dick’s words flow out of his fingers pretty easily

He says the Rebirth issues are a transition on purpose, to define what genre Nightwing’s book is and what characters he interacts with.

Getting back in the space of Rightwing’s internal voice in a superhero book as opposed to the Grayson spy book was different, he says.

Talks about Dick’s whole deal with the Parliament of Owls

Raptor came in to be a more convincing temptation to Dick “than a bunch of rich jerks in owl costumes.”

“One of the things I want to do with this arc is go back and reconsider what someone’s life would have actually been if they lived in the circus.”

Says Dick was probably actually pretty poor and not fitting into society, because we live in a world that’s less interested in going out to see that kind of thing because we have Netflix now.

No one goes to circuses anymore

He says he reinvented Bludhaven

Steve Orlando says Night of Monstermen is a bad family reunion for Batman Family because of all these monsters

It boils tensions to the front between Bruce and Dick and others.

“It’s an emotional crisis and a monster crisis, as well.”

It’s the Batman line’s first big event in Rebirth Era

James Tynion IV says what Steve is doing is challenging him as a writer, as well

Tiny says upping his game on Detective Comics means knowing that King, Snyder, etc. are all doing amazing work on their books, but that he wanted to make sure Detective wasn’t just another Batman book.

He says he wanted to create the Batman team book he’s wanted his entire life.

The second arc, “The Victim Syndicate,” brings Batman and his team against a group of villains composed of people who were impacted by being caught in the crossfire of Batman and his villains.

Batwing, Harper Rowe, Jean-Paul Valley, etc. will appear again in that arc.

Talks about the response to Tim Drake’s apparent death

He says the build-up to that moment was hard because Tim is his favorite character in all of comics

“I knew there were these big plans for the character” related to the Rebirth one-shot and says he sat in a room with Geoff Johns and said he wanted the pieces that show why Tim Drake is such a great character and his favorite character.

Putting Clayface on the Detective Comics Batman team was best filling the role of having people say, “Wait, he’s on the team?”
And it was also about finding a way of putting him on the team that Batman and other characters would be OK with.

He wants Clayface to be one of the fans’ favorite members of the Bat family going forward, and he says there’s no hero in all of comics that understands better, that when a really awful thing happens to you, it’s very easy to just let yourself become the monster everyone expects you to be.

“Clayface, I think, is the best example of a horrible accident happening and everyone saw him as a monster, so he became a monster.” But Batman is telling him he doesn’t have to be.

Tynion will be doing a two-part arc called “Batwoman Begins” in Detective Comics #948 with Marguerite Bennett leading into Bennett’s new Batwoman solo book. Art by Steve Epting.

Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by the idea of faceless crime, so his enemies are the idea of crime taking all these strange forms. But Batwoman’s mother was killed by faceless terror, and she built herself into a soldier against terror. So they have different approaches as a result of that.

The arc will show that during Kate’s lost years after getting kicked out of West Point, she was all over the globe.

And it will show the different realms of secret warfare happening all over the DC Universe

She’ll remain the co-lead of Detective Comics with Batman, though.

Fan Q&A

Fan wants to know how important Bat books will be to eventual Watchmen confrontation.

King says that in Batman #9 in two weeks, the first hint of what that story is starts there.

Tynion also says a flashback of that story is at the end of Detective Comics #940.

Another fan asks if Carrie Kelly will ever be in main DC Universe again.

Tynion says no one would currently want to do a secondary version of that character while Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello are doing cool things with her in Dark Knight III.

Fan wants to know about Poison Ivy’s journey toward heroism.

Snyder says the story he’s doing puts Ivy at a crossroads.

“She’s a character we love, and we’re interested in both sides of her that way, too.”

Bensons say they’re trying to figure everything out as far as who they can add to Birds of Prey.

Maybe a tease that Ivy will show up there soon?

Fan asks if there’s any chance characters created for TV will appear in comics.

Tynion says he has a story in the back of his head for the weird computer villain from the Batman Animated Series.

Fan asks if Alfred’s daughter will make anymore comic appearances.

Tynion says Julie Pennyworth will be back in the pages of Batwoman.

Snyder closes by giving a shout-out to Bat family editors.

Says the Bat books have the best editors in all of comics. “I think they’ve made the line better than it’s ever been, and they deserve a round of applause.”

Panel is over.

Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.