The future of DC Comics is shining, and the publisher’s brightest stars are descending on San Diego Comic Con 2023 to tell you all about it. Hear from the minds behind DC's newest and most exciting titles as they take you through the DCU Post-Dark Crisis.
Featured at the Dawn of DC panel are Ram V (Detective Comics), Joshua Williamson (Batman & Robin), Nicola Scott (Titans), Tom King (Wonder Woman), Joanne Starer (Fire and Ice), Josh Trujilo (Blue Beetle), and Tom Taylor (Titans), who will be sharing all their NDA’s allow about what’s in store for your favorite heroes and the larger DCU as a whole.
Can't make it to SDCC? Don't worry, Popverse will be live in the room for this panel to break the biggest news and the most interesting insights about the whole thing. You can follow along live with our play-by-play, or come back later for a beat-by-beat recap of the entire thing.
Follow along to the Dawn of DC panel from SDCC 2023, as it begins Friday July 21 at 12:30 PM PST / 3:30 PM EST.
We've got a few minutes before starting, but welcome to the VERY busy Room 6DE for the Dawn of DC panel. Seriously: it's very busy here. Hi!
The pre-show music has gone silent. The Dawn of DC trailer has begun. Welcome to the Dawn of DC panel, internet.
Executive editor Ben Abernathy is here to moderate!
And here come the panelists: Joshua Williamson, Nicola Scott, Tom Taylor, Joanne Starer, Josh Trujillo, Ram V, and "a surprise guest" even though Tom King's name is on the table. Joshua is described as an "architect" of Dawn of DC. "I wear a lot of hats, yeah," he says modestly.
Tom Taylor took video of the applauding crowd as he came on stage. "They said no video, so I started with video. Anarchy!" he joked.
Joshua is talking about the origins of Dawn of DC. "I was having all these different conversations with different creators, and we really wanted to have this more optimistic feel coming out of Dark Crisis."
"We all really love the DCU, and I wanted to look at that," Joshua says, saying that it's not just about showcasing what's already there, but adding new elements.
Superman #1 was the launch title for Dawn of DC "because he's Superman. What's more DC Comics than Superman? It goes beyond that: he's not just DC Comics, he's comics."
"If we're talking about hope or being optimistic, it has to start with Superman," Joshua says.
"Is everyone reading Green Arrow?" Joshua asks, to cheers from the crowd. He's tried pitching the book multiple times over the last decade. "I had this story I wanted to tell with Oliver Queen, and the story kept changing because the Green Arrow family kept getting smaller, pieces started get taken away." He wants to build out the Green Arrow family again.
Abernathy told Joshua that DC would only do Green Arrow if he wrote it, even though he was overcommitted. "I knew that if I said no, I'd had to slap myself." Says that the first issue was one of the easiest comics he's ever written.
Green Arrow #5, out in October, will feature Phil Hester art. "If you know me, you know I love his work a lot." Hester's art was specifically requested by Joshua. "Ollie has to confront some stuff about some things," he teased.
Coming September 12, Batman and Robin #1 is coming, written by Joshua with art by Simone di Meo. "Simone kills it. Every page is amazing."
"I wanted to tell some fun father and son adventures," Joshua says, saying that he wants the two to get to know each other again without Alfred acting as a buffer. Damian will go back to high school and join a soccer team; the goalie on the team will be the son of a villain, but he won't say who.
White Rabbit has accidentally become a supporting character in the book; they were only meant to be in the first issue, but was too fun to write.
"I made a joke. I said, if I ever made a woman version of Hush, I'd call her Shush, and Ben said, 'holy shit, we're going to do that.'" Shush will become a real villain in Batman and Robin, although her true identity will remain a mystery for awhile.
Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott are talking about Titans now; the team has stepped up to take over the premiere team of the DCU. "When Josh and I were talking about Dawn of DC, Nightwing was a huge part of that," Tom says, joking that Nightwing the series is the lead book in the "Ted Lasso-ifying of the DC Universe."
"There's always been this promise that, one day, Nightwing will become the leader, and finally he has," Tom says, saying that Nicola Scott is "one of the best at drawing this." Huge applause from the audience.
"I've drawn them as teenagers, I've drawn them as tweens, but to bring them into their adult phases... there has been this promise of this moment where they would take charge," says Nicola. She says that Nightwing is the center of the DCU. "He's the one character who has good connections with everybody."
"I've often joked that my position in the DC talent pool is as Phil Jiminez' understudy as the inheritor of the George Perez legacy," says Nicola. "It's a good position to have," says Joshua. "Yeah, I love it," Nicola says.
"Writing Titans is a joy," says Tom, teasing "something that we can't talk about" that the team is at the epicenter of "something very, very big to come." We're seeing the cover to Titans #4, featuring a happy Beast Boy and a frowning Amanda Waller. Is this a tease of things to come?
Beast Boy wants to "fix what is damaged" following big superhero battles in Titans #4, according to Nicola. Tom says that Beast Boy is "the heart of the team" and has become a favorite character of both creators on the title.
Titans #3 is a bottle episode focusing on the rebrand of Brother Blood's church, Nicola says.
Joanne Starer is talking Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville. "So, JLI was always my book," she says. "I grew up with the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League. It was kind of surprising to me that Fire and Ice had never had their own series... they were characters I was just driven to, because they're such a perfect odd couple, and they're also women. You have one that's spicy and hot, and one that's cold. It's the perfect pairing."
Joanne says that, in real life, how would Fire and Ice deal with the fact that, after all their superhero careers, they've never become big names. "Now what? We're never going to become Batman and Superman. Do we keep going? Do we find something else?" she says they're asking themselves. The new series sees them "reset" in Smallville, "and to each of them, that means something different."
"Looking at the experiences of super-women, what's that like, and to be in that place, is very interesting to me," Joanne says.
"It's honestly so inspiring to me, it's what keeps me going," Joanne says about her creative team. "When I started reading comics, you were lucky if you got a book with [one] female creator... to be able to work on a book where it's all women, from editor to letterer, is mind-boggling."
"At its core, this book is all about female friendship, and to know that on every level that's going to be handled with sensitivity, that it's not going to be turned into a big-boob, sexy-level... it's been a wonderful experience," Joanne says. "There are a lot of feelings in this book, I'm sorry. Just a warning, if that's not for you."
Josh Trujillo is talking Blue Beetle, and how it connects to the Graduation Day mini. "We set up a lot, new cast of characters, new city, new status quo," he says. The next big storyline is Scarab War. "A new threat comes for Jaime, and he has ties to an original Blue Beetle villain, so pull out your Charlton Comics."
Josh says that the new book has "big heart," and will push Jaime. "Jaime's always a little in over his head," although both Starfire and Ted Kord will be there to act as mentors, even as he acts as a mentor to the new Beetles introduced in Graduation Day.
Jaime's "a great representative for Dawn of DC," Josh says. Expect references to Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, the 1980s Blue Beetle series and more, he teases. (Seven Soldiers?!? I am excited.)
The new Blue Beetle villain is "Blood Scarab," and he's going to come for Ted Kord, looking at the new preview art on the screen.
And now it's Ram V talking about The Vigil. "It's part of the We Are Legends initiative at DC, to introduce new Asian heroes to DC. When we started talking about it, I was asked if I wanted to introduce a new Asian character to the DCU, and I said, no -- I want to introduce SIX new Asian characters to the DCU."
Ram says that he's trying to do something tonally different from his other work, so this is a spy book. "Not everything is at it seems," he says about the group's mission to monitor (and destroy) new tech in the DCU.
About the Vigil members: Arclight is an ex-army major who loses his family in an accident but discovers it might not have been an accident, leading him down a path towards conspiracy theories that eventually leads him to the team. Saya, the shapeshifter, is everyone's favorite so far, he says. Dodge who has superspeed is "kind of their ninja, if you will," while the 12-year-old sociopath Castle is there purely to keep him from joining anyone else's team.
"A big motivation for me to write anything is to entertain myself, and I'd never written anything like this kind of spy thriller before," Ram says, likening it to "juggling chainsaws."
How does the Vigil tie into the DC Universe. "There's a thing we've been teasing for the first three issues," Ram says -- there's a villain who's been making moves related to Supercorp, the former LexCorp from Josh Williamson's Superman series. "He's a person who's an accelerationist... he thinks we should push through technology that we cannot control, because only the strongest will survive." Vigil #s 5 and 6 will focus on this character and his ambitions.
"I grew up reading comics in India, but they were mostly European comics -- there were no Indian characters in those comics. Then I found Marvel and DC in my teenage years, and there were no Indian characters in those comics, either," Ram says, explaining that it becomes difficult to perceive yourself in those stories without having examples of people who look like you. "It feels great" to be part of changing that, he says, to applause from the audience.
Tom Taylor is filling in for a missing Tom King. "Grumble grumble grumble nine panels and rain," he jokes.
Taylor pretending to be Tom King says that people that Wonder Woman #1 is amazing. Joshua Williamson is joking that artist Daniel Sampere is so grateful to be drawing Wonder Woman because he's coming off Dark Crisis on Infinite Crisis, which had 52 character per page, and Wonder Woman just has... Wonder Woman.
Jeremy Adams has appeared as a special guest!
Asked to talk about his Dawn of DC Green Lantern series, Jeremy says, "It's great!" but then says more seriously that Xermanico on art is such a draw that even if you hate the words, you should be reading.
"There are some deep mysteries in the book," Jeremy says, not least of which is how Hal Jordan's ring is fully charged despite Earth being quarantined by the Guardians of the Universe. He says that he and Philip Kennedy Johnson are making plans to tell a story that's "more cosmic" in scope concerning the Green Lanterns as a whole.
Joshua Williamson says that he's grateful that Jeremy took over Flash after he stepped off the book. "He really gets the DCU," he says. He also says that he and Tom Taylor spent a year or so talking the Titans and the DCU as a whole. "We'd talk about what we wanted to do with DC, if we had the chance, and it really was this optimistic tone."
Joshua and Tom are joking about the fact that they want to talk about things that they can't announce yet. "Isn't it fun to hear us talk about nothing?" Tom says, while Joshua goes a little bit further: We're going to see more Amanda Waller across the DC books in the coming months... Interesting...
Tom says that he's going to be using Swamp Thing for something upcoming, and has been talking to Ram about it. (It's Ram's new Swamp Thing, not Alec Holland.)
"Tom's Wonder Woman is super-amazing. It's not going to be depressing at all," Joshua Williamson says. "It's maybe my favorite of Tom's #1s."
"I read everything that Tom King writes, which I'm only saying because he's not here," Joanne says, adding that she hasn't read Human Target because she doesn't want it to impact what she's doing with Fire & Ice. "But we do have a Greg Smallwood cover on Fire & Ice #2...!"
Josh Trujilo is loving Cyborg and Hawkgirl. Ram says that he's reading and enjoying Superman, with he and Joshua talking about a Megacon conversation that he describes as "existential" playing into what Joshua is doing in the book. "It really plays into what I'm doing, it ended up being extremely helpful on the book," Joshua says.
"I love the chemistry between Dan Mora and Mark Waid on everything they're doing," Jeremy says. Ben Abernathy is plugging the final issue of Dark Knights of Steel. "It's drawn, lettered, it's going to the printer soon," Ben promises. "We should do more," Tom teases. "We SHOULD!" says Ben. Is this a sneaky teaser of something that's coming...?
After that round of what everyone is reading and enjoying, the panel is wrapping up! Ben Abernathy is thanking everyone for showing up -- the audience, not the creators -- and suggesting that people check out DC's social media channels for updates on everything coming up. Thanks for reading along, and come back in... 20 minutes... for the Knight Terrors liveblog!