Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SDCC 2008: Spotlight on Geoff Johns


Comic Book Resources Reports
on the Spotlight on Geoff Johns Panel. Here's some Titans-centric highlights: "Waiting for the panel's gargantuan line of attendees to completely make its way into room 5AB, Johns kicked things off with a series of questions that each garnered applause: "Did anybody read ‘Teen Titans’ when I was on? Does anybody like Bart Allen?" After handing a free Flash comic to a fan wearing a Flash T-shirt, he added, "Does anybody miss Bart Allen?" When the subsequent ovation died down, he cryptically replied, "Good.""

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Johns demurred when fans asked how it felt to run the DC Universe or if "fixing" the DCU was his "plan," saying he simply tries to put out the best quality books that he can, though he does love DC and hopes to be there a long time. "If I can work on Flash and Green Lantern and Legion and Batman and JSA and Teen Titans, I'd be a happy man." He said his primary focus when writing is to focus on the character."

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Regarding his writing process, Johns said it all comes down to character. "With 'Flash: Rebirth,' I look at Barry and Wally and focuses on what am I going to say and how can I challenge them the most.""

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"Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge" was the topic of the next question. Were the Rogues' statements that they didn't mean to kill Bart Allen a retcon on Johns's part, or a self-justification on the part of the Rogues themselves? Johns said it was a bit of both, and that more will be revealed regarding their motivations in the next two issues of the series. Arguing that the Rogues had gone in an "out of character" direction after his departure from "The Flash," Johns said he thought they'd be smart enough to know that killing a Flash would bring down a lot of heat, which it did. "They got sent to a planet - which was bizarre," he quipped, referring to “Salvation Run.” However, Johns expressed doubt that the Rogues truly feel remorse for the death of Bart as opposed to a hero with whom they had a more lasting relationship, like Barry Allen - here, they mostly feel bad about being caught. Johns teased that we would soon discover that one of the Rogues actually **was** trying to kill Bart."

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One wondered why it was the right time for Barry Allen to come back, since his death was such a tremendous moment - and a tremendous boon to his successor, Wally West, a favorite of many Flash fans. "Barry agrees," Johns said, explaining that "The Flash: Rebirth" is truly about Allen wondering why he deserves to be back."

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A pair of questions about the "The Flash: Rebirth" followed, prompting Johns to say that the series would explore the Speed Force, but that he could not reveal anything about Bart Allen's involvement in the series - including whether it would delve into the years he spent trapped in the Speed Force during his battle with Superboy-Prime - at this time."

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When a fan said how much he liked Superboy-Prime, Johns said he did too. "I like Prime because I hate him." Johns said while working on "Legion of Three Worlds," he wrote a scene in which Prime walks through a 31st century neighborhood where a dog-walking robot greets the villain while his dog barks at him. After seeing Pèrez's art for the scene, Johns decided to add a line and have Prime say "Shut up, dog!""

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Will we see Wally's kids in the series? Again, Johns said he couldn't answer, but that he's seen what Van Sciver has done with the kids and the results will make us "freak out." "Our goal is to make you like them - if that's possible," he added. Van Sciver replied that if we don't, they could be made into Black Lanterns. "It's like a waste disposal unit comics!" he said of the all-dead Lantern Corps."

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Johns ended the panel by thanking the attendees - "I love my job and I wouldn't have it if it weren't for you guys." Sattler gave everyone in attendance a parting gift of promotional Flash rings, leaving Johns with one final quip: "There's no costumes in them, though.""

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