NYCC Live Blog: ‘DC Spotlight on Batman’ Panel

DC Comics held its annual ‘DC Spotlight on Batman’ panel Saturday afternoon at New York Comic Con. Follow our live blog below.

About the panel:
The family of Batman comics couldn’t be any hotter! Join the best talent behind your favorite Dark Knight tales for an exclusive look at what’s in store for the World’s Greatest Detective! With Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman), Cully Hamner (Batman: The Signal), Tom King (Batman), Sean Gordon Murphy (Batman: White Knight), Tony Patrick (Batman: The Signal), Scott Snyder (All-Star Batman), James Tynion IV (Detective Comics) and others, this is the best time to explore Gotham City!

Live Blog

Batman panel underway


The panel features Sean Murphy, Marguerite Bennett, Tony Patrick, James Tynion IV, Tom King, Scott Snyder, and Cully Hamner.

Hamner talks about the new design for Duke as “The Signal” in Batman and the Signal #1 by Snyder and Patrick. He wanted to “slick up” Duke’s look and make it look young and play with the idea of daytime Gotham. “I’ve done a lot of these costume designs, and this one excited me.”

They have a cosplayer in a Duke costume run up and do some poses onstage.

They ask Patrick if writing the book with Snyder is intimidating. He says he came out of the talent workshop and compared months of training with Snyder to months of training with Batman. “Lots and lots of notes. That’s still happening today.” (People laugh)

Snyder is asked how much the book will tie back into the Dark Days one-shots.

Snyder starts out thanking the fans.

Says that with Duke, they didn’t want to give him a mantle of Nightwing or Robin because it’s been done.

They wanted to do something organic and give him a personality.

So they gave him Gotham by day, which felt like what he did with We Are Robin.

Basically, Batman wants him to be “his guy” in Gotham by day because there are parts of Gotham that Duke knows better than he does.

Snyder says it was “so much fun” to create a whole new neighborhood in Gotham with Bruce’s project to extend buildings up and give people places to live, and to also have a cop character who works with Duke who quit the night shift to work by day.

Snyder again thanks, everyone and says the support for these new characters says to DC and says to retailers that people want that fertile creative ground and new ideas.

Hamner talks about how much he loves working on the book with Snyder and Patrick.

By a show of hands, all members on panel respond to whether they’ve been called by Scott Snyder about a Batman story.

Murphy says he stopped telling Snyder his plans because every time he suggested something, Snyder had done it already. He also said that his wife told him not to answer calls from Snyder after 11 anymore.

Next, they ask Tom King about War of Jokes and Riddles and the Catwoman proposal.

They ask if King knew from Day 1 what Catwoman’s answer would be. He says “Hell Yes.”

He wants to do 100 issues, and that relationship will be central to his story.

Jokes that it’s all pleasant from here on out. “77 issues of flowers and roses.” We’ll see Batman wearing a Superman apron. “It’s really degrading.”

Talks about how many pitches he had made over the years that annoyed editors for Batman that were rejected. War of Jokes and Riddles started as one of those.

Talks about upcoming “Rules of Engagement” arc.

Art and cover by Joëlle Jones

King apologizes for fake preview story titled “The Way We Were”

He says it’s an exploration of a new status quo with Batman engaged.

Says he envisioned Catwoman and Talia al Ghul in a sword fight in the desert. We’re getting that.

He says Jones “draws violence like a dance.”

Batman goes into the desert in this arc to solve a mystery about 237 murders, finds Talia, and “it gets awkward.”

King is asked about Damian’s reaction.

Jokes that Damian is cool and collected and everything’s fine, obviously.

“I’m finally in a functional family. My stepmom’s a known criminal, and my mom cloned me to kill me.”

Next up, Murphy’s Batman: White Knight is discussed.

Where did the idea of making Joker a good guy come from?

Murphy says he was a big Batman Animated Series fan and his basis in Batman came from that cartoon and Tim Burton’s movies.

Says he always thought Joker would be less of a villain if cured of his insanity. He’d be a smooth, Don Draper type and would go after Batman in legal ways.

Wanted to dissect what it would mean for society, and teases there will be a lot of Batmobiles in the story. But no Jokermobile!

An “amazing design” of Nightwing and Batgirl is teased.

Murphy says his Nightwing is angry and young and Batman is trying to ground him.

Does White Knight have a definite conclusion?

Murphy says he does have an idea for a sequel and is already talking to DC about it.

And the sales and support have been good.

Tynion is asked about Batman/TMNT II series.

He says he still can’t believe this is a real thing.

“I grew up with the Turtles and with Batman…but being able in the first volume to bring the Turtles into Gotham City and unleashing them and the Shredder and the Foot Clan was a lot of fun.”

The second volume will bring Gotham City to the Turtles.

Batman, Robin, and Bane arrive in the Turtles’ NYC amid a civil war in the Foot Clan.

Bane is aiming to take them over and inject them all with venom chemicals and take over the city.

He also said Bebop and Rocksteady will be in this, and they’ll also get venom.

“It’s a story about family and the real meaning of strength” because all stories in both sets of characters are ultimately really about family.

Says they’re both silly, but they have incredible, emotionally driven stories.

“Gotham City is ludicrous and it’s amazing, but so is the Turtles’ New York City.”

Murphy asks if there’s a face-off between Raphael and Batman.

There is.

He’s also asked if the Turtle Blimp is in the series. “Now they’re much higher!”

Next, Tynion is asked about Detective Comics.

Tim Drake escapes from Mr. Oz’s death prison. What is it like working knee-deep in DC Rebirth’s mystery?

Tynion says it’s been an honor.

Geoff came to him and said Tim Drake was going to be taken off the table and tied to the Rebirth mystery.

Says Detective usually sits off in its own corner and tells smaller stories, but it needed to be something different. They did a team book that was “basically X-Men starring the Bat Family.” He says this has been his dream book, and he said to Geoff that he was so happy to do it, but he wanted to be the one who wrote the story where Drake comes back — “A Lonely Place of Living.”

It ties into why Drake is Tynion’s favorite character and that he wanted to start by reaffirming his classic origin from “A Lonely Place of Dying.”

He says people have been asking him where Connor Kent is, and that question will be raised in coming issues. Check out 966.

Bennett is asked about Batwoman next.

She’s asked what makes Batwoman distinct. She jokes “Because she’s a screw-up.”

She says with the animated series; she liked Catwoman and Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy because they felt like they got to be flawed and human. That’s what attracted her to Batwoman, too.

She says she chose Scarecrow in the recent arc because he’s a villain who, by virtue of the fear toxin, there’s nothing you can hold back or secret you can keep that won’t be dredged to the top. It cuts to the core of that idea of Batwoman being flawed and human.

“The places she’s built her armor were not places that were built for people like him.”

She says the core concept is you have to own your damage and what you’ve done to others, and if you don’t, it’ll rot and eat you alive.

She says she can’t say who else she is trying to bring in as villains.

Next up, Snyder talks about All-Star Batman.

He says it was a series he wanted to do to take a break from the mainstream Batman.

Says the health of the line is often judged by the performance of the main book and it’s a lot of pressure to keep topping yourself.

King jokes that he’s incredibly stressed now after hearing that.

But Snyder says he wanted to do so many villains across the whole mythos from different directions with different artists who would challenge him in new ways.

“I never expected it to be anything that sold the way it did.”

Thanks fans again for buying it and keeping it up there.

Says he loved the last arc and that it’s gonna keep going, with him working on a new book with Murphy called “Last Knight.”

Says it’ll be his last Batman story for a long time.

He was teasing King last night that it’s like your ex-girlfriend is dating your friend (with the ex-gf being Batman) but he’s treating her well, and so on.

Snyder’s story with Murphy imagines a future 25 years from now where Batman suddenly wakes up and he’s young, and he sees a destroyed Gotham with

Joker’s still-living head chained to his belt and Deathstroke birds and old warrior Wonder Woman and baby Superman and so on.

It’s his “Lone Wolf and Cub” of Batman.

Snyder says he’s doing some stuff with Morrison that he can’t announce.

He says he was really scared when he started Batman. It was terrifying. But Grant told him he had to make him a birth and a death, and once he did that, he’d own his run with the character.

So he did his version of the origin in New 52, and his story with Murphy is his death — his closing story for now.

There’s a joke about him making Superman a baby. He says making Darkseid a baby was his favorite. (Though I think technically Geoff Johns made

Darkseid the baby in Darkseid War? Maybe he’s referring to using Baby Darkseid in Metal.)

Metal is about showing there’s so much about the DC Universe beyond what fans know, just like the real universe is to people. You don’t really know what’s ultimately out there. But that’s the approach to storytelling for them overall, beyond just Metal.

Fan question time.

Before that, Tynion talks about how he was initially taught in college by Snyder and still gets advice on stories from him.

The first Batman?TMNT had some of Snyder’s influence as far as where things were escalated and the Arkham inmates getting mutagen, etc.

The panel is also asked if they can share some tiny spoilers.

King talks about Batman/Elmer Fudd one-shot. He’s getting back together with the artist for Batman Annual #1 with the story of Batman and Catwoman’s first kiss and last kiss.

Fan question: Bennett is asked about how every Detective Comics character is damaged and troubled. Would she like to do a book for any of them in the future? Or a Sirens book?

She says absolutely.

Fan question: Will we see Cassandra Kane become part of Bat Family again?

Tynion says she’s one of his favorite characters and that’s why he fought to bring her back in Batman & Robin Eternal.

He wants to rebuild those classic bonds with new twists and turns, and he wants her to feel as important to the universe as she does to many fans.

Fan question: Are there plans for more characters beyond Azrael, etc who Tynion wants to bring into Detective.

He says “Yes.” From the beginning, he wanted to focus on characters not appearing in multiple comics at the time so he could really own what was going on with them.

The core Robins and Batgirl are cores to the Batman mythos, and they’ll be in a more significant role in the next few Detective arcs.

Patrick is asked what trait will set Duke apart from the Robins, and King is asked about a nerd fight he started in the summer.

Patrick says there’s a real opportunity to explore Duke’s angst with finding his own place in the Bat Family. But he’s also a potential metahuman, so there’s an opportunity to explore what it’s like for Batman to get in on the ground floor and train a potential metahuman.

Says Duke isn’t a Robin and doesn’t think he ever will be. He’s on his own trajectory and has more of a mentorship relationship with Bruce than the father-son relationship the Robins have.

King says the origin of his “Who would win” Batman nerd fight was during a Batman retreat.

Ultimately, Snyder said everyone who would win at the top of the pyramid would be Batman peeling off his mask and revealing himself.

Fan asks if there’s been any discussion about a benefit book or a commentary on gun control in the wake of Vegas massacre.

Snyder says that kind of stuff is ultimately really up to DC. “It gets politicized in ways that become uncomfortable” because Batman hates guns and doesn’t use guns.

He says the creators’ personal passions are things they express in social media, and that can be done in stories sometimes, but it’s an awkward spot. Says the Colorado theater shooting happened while he was writing the Joker and you have to be sure not to give characters elasticity where they can be co-opted by (in the case of the Joker) negative things.

Tynion answers a question about whether there are aspects of villains’ personalities that can still be explored.

He says yes, and notes how Clayface became Detective’s, emotional heart.

The annual coming up will take the best pieces of Clayface’s many origins from many eras and make a new origin.

Panel’s over

Did any Batman news surprise you? Comment below.

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.