As anyone following Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths already knows, big things are happening in the DC Multiverse right now — not least of all the fact that the original pre-Crisis DC Multiverse has been restored by Pariah — so, no-one could be blamed if they felt as if they needed some guidance about what to expect about the future. Thankfully, Thursday’s Exploring the DC Multiverse Panel at New York Comic Con is here to provide that very thing.
Scheduled to be in attendance on the panel are Batman vs. Robin artist Mahmud Asrar, Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Williams, World’s Finest artist Dan Mora, Monkey Prince artist Bernard Chang, Wildcats and DC vs. Vampires writer Matt Rosenberg, and editor Ben Abernathy, all of whom are primed to tease and tantalize the audience with what’s coming up for the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, no matter what Earth they’re on.
Popverse will be live-blogging the entire panel as it happens, ready to pick up every single bit of information dropped and perfectly placed to keep you up to date with the announcements, teases, and in-jokes about DC’s iconic characters. Bookmark this page to follow along as it happens, or come back in an hour to ready the whole thing when it’s completed.
Throughout all of New York Comic Con 2022, Popverse is going to be keeping up with everything that happens, from panels and breaking news to interviews and the best cosplay on the show floor. We’ll be sharing everything as it happens — including exclusive livestreams from the biggest panels at the show — so let us keep you in the loop all weekend.
Our live coverage of this event has finished.
We're a few minutes away from the panel's official start, but welcome everyone to the Javits Center and the Exploring the DC Multiverse panel!
The panel is assembling onstage, even as there are technical issues when it comes to the screen at the side. (It's very psychedelic, if somewhat blinding in its unrelenting flashing.)
The crowd is offering technical advice for the problems with the screen. "Oh, you got a Mac? That's your problem right there," says one fan. "You got a dongle? That's probably what's messing it up," says another.
Moderator Ben Abernathy asks the crowd if there are Wildstorm fans in the audience to no small amount of applause. "I was tempted to wear my Grifter mask for the entire panel," he jokes. "You should've done it!" yells Matthew Rosenberg, who's writing the new WildC.A.T.S. title.
Abernathy jokes about the technical issues that it's a plan to hypnotize everyone into buying DC comics.
"Today's panel is literally loaded with news," teases Abernathy, including new series, and a new event. Introduces the panelists on stage: Stephanie Williams, Dan Mora, Bernard Chang, Mahmud Asrar, and Matthew Rosenberg.
Abernathy says he's starting with an easy question: who's your favorite hero or villain at DC? Stephanie Williams says "I've always been a big fan of Swamp Thing" to much applause. Dan Mora says Batman. Bernard Chang says that he loves Bizarro because he loves things that are a little off. Mahmud Asrar also says Batman. Grifter, says Matthew Rosenberg, who's staying on brand. (Abernathy admits that Batman is his favorite character, calling it a privilege to be the Batman editor.)
It's the 50th anniversary of Nubia next year, and Stephanie Williams is talking about her work on the title, including November's Nubia and the Justice League #1 one-shot. "It's been an incredible journey," she says.
Williams says that she's "really trying to build Nubia up beyond being this amazing woman who showed up to the Amazons almost 50 years ago to tell Diana, 'Hey, you got something I want,' and she almost got it." She says that she's working on establishing the character and making her an advocate for the Amazons that she's a queen of. Williams jokes that Nubia's attitude when it comes to working with the Justice League is, "Don't call me, but if you really do call me, I can show up and take care of things."
Williams is singing the praises of Alitha Martinez, her collaborator on Nubia, saying that she's spent time designing multiple looks for the character. "I'm so grateful that she has been the artist on this," she says, joking that she makes Nubia look like she could "rip the runway, or rip someone's throat."
Abernathy immediately jumps to next month's WildC.A.T.S. #1. "For fans of the WildC.A.T.S. who're familiar from the Wildstorm universe, we are huge lovers of the Wildstorm continuity, but we're doing something different," says Rosenberg. It'll center around Grifter, who (re-)debuted in the DC Universe in James Tynion's Batman run. "You start to see that the WildC.A.T.S. are more entrenched in the DC Universe than people know," he says.
The WildC.A.T.S. have "left Gotham, because they pissed off Batman," but their new residence will feature characters familiar to fans. "Nobody knows quite where they're going or what they're doing, or whether they're the good guys or not."
Abernathy notes that the second issue of WildC.A.T.S. will tie in with the Court of Owls, and Rosenberg says that the group is a clandestine organization that's tied to the HALO Corporation. "When you're an organization like that, you run into other secret organizations." The Court of Owls are the main villains of at least the first arc of the title, he reveals. When they start fighting, "it's bad," he laughs.
Now Dan Mora is talking about the fan response to Batman/Superman: World's Finest. "It's really nice to see everyone so happy with the story and telling me nice things about the art," he says. "I'm really proud of each issue, it's something very special to me."
Abernathy is talking about Mora's skill with character design and how he approaches it. "I really don't know," Mora laughs. "Character design is one of my passions, it's something I do just for fun. So getting to redesign just little parts of these costumes is something I really enjoy. I really like the classic feel of the old costume, so I just tweak them and change little things to make them feel more modern."
What's it like working with Mark Waid? "He's a really nice guy, he's so kind. He's open to my ideas, I don't know why," says Mora. "To be able to create these new character [Boy Thunder] is really cool. You will see what happens to him. I love to be part of it."
Abernathy is welcoming Mahmud Asrar back to DC after working with "another company." "I hope everyone's checked out Batman vs. Robin #1," he tells the crowd to applause. "It's great to be back at DC, especially doing Batman," Asrar, saying that working on "such a high-stakes book is very exciting and very challenging."
Asrar says that he loves working with Waid because he works on the empathy for the DC characters.
"There's a lot of creepy stuff going on," Asrar says when talking about Batman vs. Robin. "I send in layouts and you guys are telling me, push it even further!"
"A lot of the magic stuff in the DC Universe, you're going to see in this book," says Asrar. "It feels like a tour of what DC's done with its magic stuff through the years." Abernathy calls out the DCU appearance of Books of Magic's Tim Hunter in the series in particular.
Bernard Chang is talking about Monkey Prince. "He's the son of the Monkey King, from the ancient story adapted as Journey to the West." He's talking about his childhood as an immigrant, and how he would read superhero comics; his father saw his love of superheroes, and started reading him pages of Journey to the West. "When my editor approached me [about the project], it was an instant yes," he says.
"He's a brand new character, but we're taking all the lore of Journey to the West," Chang says about Monkey Prince. "Issue 7 just came out this week, it's a 12 issue miniseries. The first arc took us through Gotham and he fought Batman and Robin. The second arc is in Amnesty Bay, where he's facing off against Aquaman, Black Manta, and the Trench."
Chang is talking about working with Gene Yang on the series, and how it allows them to work on their shared childhood mythologies and loves. They've just debuted the cover to Monkey Prince #10, and it features the Devil Nehza, who's also showed up in World's Finest and Batman vs. Robin. Curious...
Chang is sharing that the Monkey Prince's parents are professional villainous henchmen, which helps explain why they keep moving from city to city. "The last arc of the story finds them in Metropolis. There's a lot of fun things to interact with there," he teases. "It's very fun to see how [the character] interacts with the greatest heroes of the DC Universe."
"There seems to be a common thread, with the Devil Nehza," teases Abernathy, introducing January's brand-new event, Lazarus Planet. It spins out of Batman vs. Robin #4 in December.
Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 written by Mark Waid and Gene Luen Yang, with art by Richardo Federici, Billy Rang, and more. It's a weekly event made up of seven special issues running through January and February. Mark Waid is the "showrunner" of the event, Abernathy says, and tells people to check out DC's social feeds for more information in the weeks ahead.
What are the panelists working on, outside of what was mentioned on the panel? Stephanie Williams says, "if it's okay, it's for the other guys, but Wakanda #1 is out next week." She also tells people to keep an eye on the Jim Lee panel later this weekend...
Dan Mora says people should "keep an eye on everything I'm doing, on every book," before teasing a secret project with Mark Waid that may or may not be connected to Lazarus Planet. "It's something very secret, very cool."
Bernard Chang says that he's focused on Monkey Prince. "I'm just pouring my heart out on that book, so that's it." Mahmud Asrar says that, similarly, his hands are full on Batman vs. Robin. "I have some secret stuff going on for after Batman vs. Robin," he jokes.
Matthew Rosenberg is suggesting that fans pick up his new Joker series. "There's a big twist at the end," he says, not wanting to spoil anything. He also mentions his DC vs. Vampires series and its spin off DC vs. Vampires: All Out War, as well as upcoming collections of Task Force Z and his Detective Comics back-up, House of Gotham.
Abernathy is telling the crowd that they're all getting a free copy of Batman vs. Robin #1, prompting much applause from the crowd, before thanking everyone for attending and reminding everyone that there are more DC panels this weekend. (Read about all of them on Popverse, of course.)
And that is it! We're done early, somewhat surprisingly, but that's an intentional move so that everyone can get their copy of Batman vs. Robin #1 before they leave. Thanks for reading, everyone. Sorry I can't share my Batman vs. Robin with all of you.