The first panel I attended on my second day of NY Comic Con this year was the DC Comics: The Dark Knight 30th Anniversary panel at the Main Stage. After acquiring wristbands to two other Main Stage panels that day, I went around to check if there were still any for this panel since it was the very first one of the day. It turned out that they had stopped giving them out, but only because they were still seating and there was still some space. The panel started with the introduction of the panelists: Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Jim Lee. The graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again are briefly discussed as artwork from both books is shown. The very special guest is then introduced: Frank Miller himself (who is greeted by a standing ovation).
Lee discusses the origin of the new Batman book they’re all working on together: DKIII: The Master Race. The recruitment of Azzarello is then discussed, followed by Janson praising Miller, mentioning how proud he was to work on the book. Some black-and-white pages from the new book are shown. The unusual packaging for issue 1 is shown (a kind of mini-comic featuring the Atom; Superman is also on the cover as the story in the mini-comic is connected to the story of DKIII). Lee discusses how Azzarello and Miller clicked creatively (the Batman/Green Lantern fight is a good example). Some variant artwork covers for DKIII are then shown (it’s mentioned that a lot of artists contributed covers. Kubert revealed that he was worried when he started on the project but was relieved when he received feedback from Miller.
The panel was opened up to questions from the audience. Miller mentioned that he wasn’t asked to consult on the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and doesn’t know how much influence The Dark Knight Returns will have on the new film. Miller talked about the craziest thing he encountered during the making of The Dark Knight Returns: his original pitch of Batman being meaner, older, and coming out of retirement being approved. Miller was asked if he’d like to direct a live action adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, and he said yes. When asked about the 1960s Batman TV show, Miller said that it was a delightful show and that it has as much merit as his Batman. Miller mentioned that the most important sequence in The Dark Knight Returns is the Superman/Batman fight and hopes that the film version in Batman v. Superman ends with (spoiler alert!) Batman winning (like in The Dark Knight Returns). Miller talked about using 1940s language in The Dark Knight Returns because he loved how people spoke in the movies from that era. Lee mentioned that The Dark Knight Returns showed him potential in the comic format that he’d never seen before and had a huge impact on him. The panel ended with the panelists thanking everyone for coming.