Special Edition 2015: The Batman Panel

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Saturday’s “Batman—Are You Ready for Dynamic Action?” event was off to a rocky start when moderator Brenden Fletcher (writer of Batgirl, the upcoming Black Canary and co-writer of Gotham Academy) couldn’t get the introductory DC All-Access video to play. However, once it got going the panel provided a lot of information what’s next for not just the flagship character, but the extended Bat Family too.

Though Batman writer Scott Snyder was conspicuously absent, panelists Karl Kerschl (cover artist for Gotham Academy), James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal), Ray Fawkes (Gotham by Midnight and the upcoming Constantine: The Hellblazer), Genevieve Valentine (Catwoman), Becky Cloonan (co-writer on Gotham Academy) said that the reveal during the Convergence event that Jim Gordon would don the cowl would affect each of their books. Though Fletcher explained, “[we] could have just completely ignored this,” and added that Snyder assured them the plan wouldn’t have gone forward without their full agreement. Tynion (whose Batman Eternal will end after the next volume) said he got the call from Snyder on Thanksgiving and called the choice, “So surprising, but still so core Batman.”

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According to Valentine, Bruce’s sometime-paramour Selina Kyle will take the news of Bruce’s apparent death, “pretty hard.” She added that after a brief mourning period, Gotham’s newest mob boss becomes determined to find out exactly what happened to Bruce. Artist David Messina will take over art starting with #41 and Kevin Wada will do the covers. Catwoman herself will also be getting a makeover thanks to the mob money funding her wardrobe. “She’s always been such a fashionable character,” Valentine explained and promised we’d soon see the character in ballgowns and $13,000 Chanel bags.

As for Gotham Academy, Kerschl said that his cover for #8–of Olive Silverlock standing under a black umbrella in the rain–reflects the state of Gotham without its hero. Cloonan teased that the appearance of Bruce’s son Damian Wayne in issue #7 would be a big part of the book going forward. “He’s a punk,” she said of the character and explained that the story is, “about him trying to fit in, or does he fit in?” She also assured that Maps is a big part of exploring Damian’s character.

Both Fletcher and Cloonan also teased that a character from Gotham Academy would move to the upcoming Black Canary book. Fletcher said that when he originally conceived of Dinah Lance being part of Batgirl, he didn’t want to make her a superhero, “because then it becomes Birds of Prey.” Fletcher, who plays in a band called Receivers, said, “putting her in a band worked so well for us that when Mark Doyle [group editor of the Batman books] approached us about doing more.”

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Speaking of Barbara, Fletcher promised that Batgirl will deal with the effect of the former cop’s decision has on his daughter. “Barbara Gordon needs to feel the ramifications of what’s happening in the Batman world,” he insisted. He explained that he originally had a different arc planned for the character post-Convergence, but when he discovered Batman’s new identity at what he called the “Bat Summit” in January, the plan had to change. The first arc back will focus on reintegrating Barbara into Gotham and Fletcher pointed out that, “there was some bad blood between Jim and Batgirl.” He also teased that the October issue would be “one to remember.”

Finally, Fawkes said that Gotham by Midnight’s team–initially assembled by Batman and Jim Gordon to handle supernatural threats–will be slightly adrift now that Gordon is no longer a cop. He said that the firs arc was about questioning, “whether or not the city of gotham deserves to exist at all,” and the next would involve the team desperately trying to get Gotham to reform to avoid a “Sodom and Gamorrah-style judgement”. Industry legend Bill Sienkiewicz will do the covers for the book going forward and Fawkes explained that he lured the artist by pitching it as, “Gotham City. Horror. The Spectre. Do whatever you want.”

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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.
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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.