SDCC 14: DC Comics New Places for Familiar Faces

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By David Nieves
“DC Comics: New Places For Familiar Faces” was a spotlight of sorts on their big 3 characters through the lens of some of their most popular creators.
Panelist included; new DC artist John Romita Jr, David Finch, Pat Gleason. This hour was moderated by Larry Ganem of DC Entertainment.

The discussion opened with Batman. Gleason talked about BATMAN & ROBIN 33 which came out on Batman day. He couldn’t wait to put Robin back in the book and what he loves about drawing Batman is all the black. Finch’s has the same idea for the character, it helps him draw using the idea” when in doubt black it out”. Romita Jr has an interest in drawing Batman down the line at some point but has only drawn the character in the Batman/Punished crossover years ago.

Romita Jr’s Superman was shown and he talked about the pressure of doing the most iconic character. It took him a little bit to “get comfortable” drawing Superman because he was looking for “his way” of drawing the character. Lots of his SUPERMAN 32 was shown as Romita Jr did directors commentary through the presentation. The news room pages were shown and his inspiration was the premium cable show of the same name. At one point the large word balloons on the page made him think he’d done something wrong, but Johns explained to him he just got carried away. Romita Jr also chimed in on the redesign of Ulysses and how much it influenced his choice on taking the project.

Gleason talked about the no dialogue issue of B&R after Damian’s death. “Drawing the book to be able to be read without dialogue is always my goal,” said Gleason.

Finch talked about the Forever Evil 1 cover, “straight up dude,” in his words. The new Wonder Woman cover was shown. David found himself refreshed by drawing a female led book. His one tip for the character, ” a cool Wonder Woman drawing always has blood on the sword.” The hardest part of drawing the character for him was getting her face just right. Interiors were shown from his upcoming run, the rest of the Justice League and Swamp Thing will make an appearance during the run. There was even a gorgeous double page spread of Wonder Woman jump kicking Swamp Thing.

The trio all praised their inkers and colorist along with every job in the industry that makes monthly comics possible. Romita Jr even credited Klaus as being what makes him such a fast artist.

The panel shifted into a quick history of each artist on the panel. Gleason commented on the embarrassment of seeing his first ever cover on the giant screen. His Aquaman was definitely very different from what we saw the last time.

The panel opened up to fan questions. Lots of stuff about drawing techniques but things got lively when a plucky young man asked the trio if “they’ve ever received anything from a writer that’s made them say, “no way am I drawing that”?” Gleason was the first to pop in a simple “yes.” Then when our moderator asked home to elaborate and he went into things like animating a character in one panel. Finch agreed that it’s something artist who write wouldn’t do to each other, it seems writers who don’t draw are more susceptible to that. Romita Jr the went off on the best tangent of the show. He talked about working with Mark Millar. The artist was asked to draw the S.H.I.E.L.D Hellicarrier crashing into a New York building at 5pm. John fought with Millar tooth-and-nail to get the final non building crashing version we saw in the comic.

What started out as a master drawing class turned into a comics version of “behind the music”. Fans definitely got very introspective look at the mindset of three top tier artist in the industry.

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