SCOOP: Brand New Artwork & Details for DC Comics' Relaunch Including FLASH, BAT-GIRL & JONAH HEX
Published: June 20, 2011 - 11:09am
Last weekend's panel for September's upcoming reboot of the DC comic universe in Calgary, Alberta Canada unveiled brand new art and storyline information for The Flash, Firestorm, Bat-Girl, Jonah Hex, Frankenstein and Animal Man.
The panel took place June 18th and consisted of Francis Manapul (The Flash), Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), Gail Simone (Batgirl/Firestorm), Jeff Lemire (Frankenstein/Animal Man), Eddie Berganza (Executive Editor for DC) and Ben Abernathy (DC Digital Group Editor). The show kicked off with an intro from Berganza who revealed that brand new artwork and details would be revealed for the first time ever. Later on he poked fun at a fan comment mentioning the reboot as DC's 'new' Universe saying, "Don't call it the new universe…Somebody else did that," joked Berganza.
Artist and writer Francis Manapul spoke in great detail about the upcoming Flash reboot, confirming the first story arc will explore the mind and essence of who Barry Allen is. A fan asked if the villain Gorilla Grodd would be coming back to which Manapul was about to answer but then paused to look over at Berganza and only replied with, "Maybe… I need to talk to Eddie about that this weekend. He's a cool villain. Drawing monkeys is fun."
One of the major changes to The Flash character is how he changes into his costume. Manapul expressed that he wanted a reason for there to be inseams on the character's costume. "I thought it would be kind of neat that the lightning, rather than sporadically go everywhere, it would travel along the lines of the inseams," said Manapul, who said the old transformation was past its prime. "As scientific as it was with fabricating air and expanding it….it's a little bit dated. So the new take on it, it's very much expanding on the sci-fi history of the character. So the ring pops off and gets big kind of like when Superman threw that thing. Little chunks of pieces come out which are the red parts of his costume and then it all forms on his body. So that's why there are inseams."
"The new Firestorm book is kind of pretty close in terms of the largeness and spectacle of those early Geoff Johns Green Lantern issues," said Gail Simone.
Writer Gail Simone mentioned that the two main characters Jason and Ronnie have no answers to what is going on with them, only questions. "It's like if you handed somebody the nuclear button to push for all countries around the world, what would you do with that? This story builds and builds and builds to something extremely huge," said Simone.
She went on to say that she had been approached numerous times to write Firestorm but that she turned it down previously because at that time she hadn't a grasp on the characters, until now. "This book is about what binds us together as human beings but also what pulls us apart," she said, "It's not just a superhero book."
"There's no character closer to my heart than Barbara Gordon. Her new villains are just….ooooh," said Simone excitingly.
The writer went on to reveal a new villain called 'Mirror' and some panels of the character, who appears like a mysterious flasher shoving what appears to be a garden hose down an old man's throat. "He's really creepy and really cool," she said. Simone went on to tease the new Bat-Girl costume saying, "There's some things wired into her costume that is something that hasn't been done before, which is the reason why it looks the way it does," she said.
Writer Jimmy Palmiotti revealed story details on the first arc of Jonah Hex by unveiling Gotham City officials have hired the scarred cowboy to come in and solve a crimewave resulting in mass amounts of prostitutes winding up dead. The anti-hero ends up working with Dr. Amadeus Arkham to solve the mystery of the dead hookers. "It's kind of like a bizarro Sherlock Holmes," said Palmiotti.
"They really don't understand what they did by bringing Jonah into Gotham. It's like opening the doors of your house to a vampire. He's gonna come in and make it even messier," said Palmiotti.
Palmiotti also revealed that the rebooted Jonah Hex universe will expand it's storylines to include other Western characters aside from the title hero.
Jeff Lemire will be taking over the writing duties on the character, in which he says was one of his dream jobs. "The book has become just the most absurd monster mash-up," said Lemire. He went on to reveal that Frankenstein's team will be a new version of the creature commandoes, consisting of Lady Frankenstein (The Bride), Griffith (The werewolf), Father Time and Velcoro. He's sort of the a**hole of the group, just really fun to write." said Lemire.
Lemire will also be spearheading the new relaunch of Animal Man which he is also extremely fond of. "I just have so much respect for this character. It's so fun to write a superhero book that's really much more about family and being a parent than it is about punching people," he said.
"(Animal Man) is really a horror book and Frankenstein, I don't really know what it is. (laughs) It's like Jack Kirby weirdness with monsters, black humor and horror," said Lemire.