Brian Michael Bendis had quite the weekend at New York Comic Con. The Actions Comics and Superman writer dropped in on Dan Didio and Jim Lee’s Meet the Publishers panel to announce a new imprint at DC Comics — Wonder Comics.
Bendis teased the crowd with a number of pieces of exciting news; such as the announcement of Naomi and Dial H for Hero, but didn’t provide the full 411 on who was writing what, and when it was coming down the pipeline.
Thankfully Bendis had his very own spotlight panel on Saturday and it was there that the DC Comics writer gave fans a closer look at Wonder Comics and the heroes we’ll see there.
The ball got rolling with a showcase of some of Bendis’ Jinxworld line of books. Pearl, a story about a tattoo artist trying to become a master tattoo artist and in the process of that gets sucked into the world of the Yakuza was first up. Co-creator and artist Michael Gaydos was on hand to show off some of the artwork and discuss how labor intensive and difficult of a project it was. “It’s the hardest book I’ve ever worked on,” said Gaydos. The book was initially a six issue mini-series but it’s now gone to series and the second arc will see the main character going to Japan.
Next up was Scarlet, a story by Bendis frequent collaborator and Eisner award winner, Alex Maleev. The book follows a woman from Portland (Bendis’ hometown) whose life is ruined by police corruption and decides to fight back. The ensuing confrontation results in the first American revolution in modern times. Bendis let slip that the book is being developed into TV show by the cable network Showtime.
Patrick Gleason joined the stage to discuss his work on the much anticipated returning and revamped Young Justice series. (Superboy) Connor Kent, Impulse (Bart Allen), Robin (Tim Drake), will be returning, much to the delight of fans. The three iconic young heroes will make up the core of a brand new team.
It was revealed that one of Bendis’ favorite heroes, Amethyst, will be joining the Young Justice team. “We’re going to Gemworld!” said an excited Bendis. The first storyline involving Amethyst will see Gemworld invading Metropolis. “Everytime a Crisis happens in the DC Universe, something weird happens in Gemworld, and now they know whose fault it is.” added Bendis.
Jinny Hex is a brand new character who will be making her debut in the Halloween edition of the Wal-Mart Batman special, yet another book Bendis is writing, with Nick Derington drawing. Jinny inherits a trunk of DC memorabilia that inspires her to head to Metropolis and there she finds her destiny. “In the coming months she will be a major force in the DC Universe,” said Bendis.
In addition to their Young Justice team up, Gleason and Bendis are also collaborating to bring another new character to Wonder Comics. Described as a “hacker Green Lantern” the character is a Bolivian kid who smart enough to hack into a power battery and ring. Bendis was inspired to create the character after a trip to Bolivia in which he met a kid building robots in a junkyard.
Perhaps most noteworthy though was the announcement of Naomi, a brand-new character created by Bendis and David Walker (Cyborg), with art by Jamal Campbell (Justice League of America: Vixen).
“Naomi lives in Pacific northwest and she’s the only brown skinned girl in a very white town,” said Bendis. “Superman and Mongul bounce into town and it gets Naomi on a track to kind of look at her adoption, and by doing so she uncovers a secret in the DC Universe that nobody knows about. By the end of her story, we’ll be introduced to something brand new in the DC Universe that no one has ever seen.”
Co-creator David Walker was also present and shared where he found inspiration for Naomi and how the idea came to fruition between him and Bendis. “Brian and I have been friends for years; we teach together and we argue about movies. Because we teach together, we talk a lot about our theories on comic storytelling and what characters can do. Especially character development and what it can do.”
“As you all know Brian was very sick not that long ago and I visited him in the hospital. We’re together and I’m sitting at his bed and he’s doped up and Brian’s saying ‘Man we’re going to do a book together’ and I’m all ‘Sure man, whatever,’ just trying to keep my sick best friend happy. Three months later he calls me up and says ‘The book got green lit!’ and I’m all ‘What book?!'” shared Walker.
“Naomi is about character development and stories I experienced growing up as a person of color in a predominantly white town. I was very poor growing up, and the white people in my town were very wealthy. My family literally cleaned the houses of the wealthy. I didn’t think my doped-up friend was writing this all down.” said Walker.
The Wonder Twins are a new series returning two old characters to DC after a long hiatus, with Mark Russell writing and Stephen Byrne drawing. “I really came to DC so I could bully Mark Russell into doing the Wonder Twins. I went to the local comic shop in my town and the guy who owned it was shaking me saying ‘Why is the Flintstones so good?’ So I went home and read it and I was like ‘Wow this guy is so good,'” said Bendis. The Wonder Twins are twin aliens with a psychic connection to one another. They’re trying to go to school, live life and figure out what their purpose is. Fans will see them interning at the Hall of Justice, where they’re sure to be getting into all sorts of trouble.
Dial H for Hero is another new series written by Sam Humphries with art from Joe Quinones. “As perfect a cast book as there ever was. A perfect DC Comics idea.” said Bendis. The basic premise is if you dial the word “hero” on a special phone, you get super powers for one hour. You don’t get to pick the powers, costume or identity, and the power and accompanying accessories differ every time you use the phone. “Once people find out about this, they want it. It’s like the mad mad mad world of super hero stories.” added Bendis.
The main character is a reckless adventure seeker named Miguel, a young Mexican American who is inspired by Superman. “Superman is the impetus for how he handles the dial when it’s in his hands.” said Quinones. The creative team drew inspiration from Tank Girl and FLCL (fooly cooly) and based the different powers Miguel gains on comics they enjoyed. Such as Astro Boy, early 90s Image books and some indie comics.