This past Saturday June 20th I had the distinct privilege of covering my hometown convention, HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC for GWW, put on by the owner of the most famous comics shop in the Carolina’s: Shelton Drum’s Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. For anyone who has never had the chance to attend the thirty-three year running event, it is regarded as one of the last true major comics centric conventions in the country, focusing on Creators and Publishers rather than Hollywood. While the day was spent touching base with many artists and writers across comics, from the big two and indie creators, many of which will be featured on Geeks with Wives and Capes by the end of the year, the focus of my coverage was speaking to DC Creators about the new DC You publishing initiative and it’s impact on the companies future.
Representing DC at the Convention were MING DOYLE (Constantine), ROBERT VENDITTI (Green Lantern & The Flash), BABS TARR (Batgirl), BEN CALDWELL (Prez), JEREMY HAUN (Constantine) and STEPHANE ROUX (Harley Quinn and Power Girl).
Continuity of the DC You
The main question I had for this All-Star line up, was how much if any of the DC You initiative is beholden to continuity? For example how can Bruce Wayne be Batman in a Justice League Book? And Jim Gordon in a Batman Book? What was the direction DC gave you when dealing with this issue?
The question was taken on very well by Robert Vendeiti claiming it was made clear by people like Jim Lee and Dan Didio, that continuity exists book by book. For example, Vendetti says his Green Lantern run is beholden to any work done in Geoff John’s historic run on the book, but has nothing to do with what’s going on with Green Lantern in other books. Babs Tarr and then jumped in, by stating that continuity orders also vary depending on the character’s office, in other words, Jim Lee made it extremely clear to her, that all the Bat Family of books need to sync up. Which makes sense considering we have seen Jim Gordon Batman present across those books. Overall, the group said the direction given to them from here on out was to just focus on telling good stories!
The Impact of Outside Media
The DC Team at the panel all made it abundantly clear that film or television in no way have ever impacted the stories they tell in their comics. The only exception, according to Stephane Roux, was the success of the Arkham Video games series impacting the current look of Harley Quinn’s current costume iteration, which he did not seem too happy about.
Babs Tarr and Ming Doyle also spoke extensively about the backlash they caught for their respective redesigns of Batgirl and John Constantine. Both seem very surprised by the type of backlash they received, Doyle even stated that people actually created twitter accounts urging her to bring back Constantine’s trenchcoat. It seemed Doyle’s choice to not go with the John’s famous Trenchcoat was part intended to separate this incarnation from it’s Vertigo predecessor. Doyle implied this version would be defined just as much by character and sexuality as it would be by design, and while she does not have the freedom to write Constantine the way he was written at Vertigo it will still be a very cutting edge and progressive book as evidenced by the first issue.
James Tynion’s future at DC
I also spoke with Scott Snyder’s Batman collaborator James Tynion IV about his future with the Batman books, and he said stay tuned to Sand Diego Comi-Con in July for a major announcement in that regards, but it’s not what you would expect. Leaving me to ponder that maybe it’s the Robin based weekly series that was rumored earlier this year.
DC stole the show at HeroesCon 2015. Despite being one of the big two, the company had intimate and depth interaction with both the media and it’s fans. I left the convention sold on the DC You initiative, and excited for the great stories to come, and feeling a little easier knowing that character continuity is still important, even if DC Universe continuity has taken a back seat. While this may upset long time comic readers, in my opinion it will make for better character moments and accessible stories. Thanks to DC Comics and HeroesCon showrunner: Shelton Drum for the in depth access they provided for us!