Fan Expo 2015: DC Comics / DC You Panel: Wonder Woman With Meredith & David Finch

FAN Expo 2015 marks the 20th anniversary that the massive mega convention is held in Toronto, Ontario’s – Canada’s largest metropolis.

Yesterday afternoon, DC Comics had a panel with the wife-husband team of Meredith and David Finch the current creative team on WONDER WOMAN. The one-hour session was informative and enjoyable. The couple were entertaining and quite forthright! Levity and mirth permeated the air as they cracked wise. The moderator was excellent at selecting the ‘right’ people for questions and he himself made pertinent inquiries.

Fan Expo 2015 Wonder Woman cover

The panel was titled after Diana, Queen of Themyscira but a bunch of other names were dropped, real and fictional.

The couple have been married a full decade. How do they differ? They spoke professionally but ended up sharing details about their personal lives. An excellent balance.

David would love to draw nothing but action. He readily admits he’s a horrible writer. His run on BATMAN: the DARK KNIGHT {1st series} was a laborious process. He assured all attendees that DC takes their products quite seriously.

Meredith wants to continue with more writing. She needs criticism and praise for they go hand-in-hand. Her big break into comics was Zenescope’s Tales from Oz: Cowardly Lion. She bluntly stated that even if the book were crap, with a David Finch cover it’d sell like hotcakes. She was pitched Wonder Woman after FOREVER EVIL.

Dave was skeptical. She was brand-new at writing. Meredith say it as strike the iron while it’s hot. “I’d rather fall on my face trying than not at all.” Dave aware of criticism but encouraged and supported her.

Costume change – Meredith: DC mandated it for the Big Three. This worked much better for WW because it’s more organic and seamless. Diana juggles various roles. Dave thinks most people were receptive. He wanted something more traditional – an eagle motif and leather pleats. Meredith said no as well as DC. He was “making stuff up”. The CONVERGENCE sketches were “the worst I’ve ever done. I’m surprised DC ended up using them” [CONVERGENCE #2 variant cover]. Meredith said many of the previous designs were rejected. The established one was THE ONE. Her instincts told her as much, same with the company.

Strong females – the moderator stated “It’s a WONDERful time to be on this book!!” He didn’t realize the pun he made until I pointed it out. [Laughter from the audience] Meredith is rooting big time for Diana in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. She’s convinced that Wonder Woman will be on everyone’s lips and that she’ll be the breakout character of 2016. Dave jokes that he’ll take credit for the mega-success after the film is released.

Q1: The David Kelley pilot was rejected. Why? Meredith was unaware of it when it came out. She says it’s all about timing. Dave says that convention demographics have changed. Women were a rare sight indeed. It’d be the reverse of shopping: the woman was with her boyfriend looking miserable and holding all his comics.

Q2: Azzarello made various outfit changes. How long will the costume remain? As l

Q3: Are you on the series for the foreseeable future? [My question] The third arc is underway.

Q4: An attendee blatantly stated not being a fan of the Superman-Wonder Woman coupling. She finds it’s cringe-worthy. Meredith says it’s polarizing. Real life is like that. Turmoil is in all relationships. It’s good that Superman is on equal footing. Dave pushes for Steve Trevor. [laughter] Meredith has an interesting idea regarding that dynamic but she kept mum.

Q5: David, can you indicates highs and lows that lead you to being one of the biggest characters in comic history with the love of your life? The first seven years were with Top Cow doing creator-owned books. Marvel was his first chance doing super-heroes. He was itching for Batman. DC gave him that. He spoke with Geoff Johns to do some sort of crossover. That led to FOREVER EVIL. He loves drawing 1,000,000 characters. It’s good to focus on “smaller scale”. He’s not ready to leave DC. He never expected to do WW. “It takes away some of my strengths, artistically.” He wanted to work with his wifey from day one. That happened quicker than expected.

Q6: William Moulton Marston? How do you view his creation? Meredith doesn’t see WW as kinky. She evolves in a unique way — WWII heroine, de-powered, feminist icon. No need to revisit those trappings. Meredith is pushing the human experience. “I cannot take another hit and still get up.” Diana face things with courage, cries about them, and carries on.

Q7: WW is more violent in here original incarnation? Meredith says that’s why Brian [Azzarello] and Cliff [Chiang] made her the God of War. They wanted to play with the paradox. “Comics tend to reflect what we want them to reflect.” Dave: “I love drawing those fight scenes!!!” She’s not ultra-violent. He feels there’s a balance between his and Meredith’s wishes.

Q8: [my question] What is there going forward with Donna Troy? Meredith honors and respects the New 52 version. “I don’t ever see her as a heroine. I see her as an anti-hero. You can’t go from being a murderer to an angel. She’s always struggling with that. That’s more interesting to write. Fighting against forgiving herself. She’s a little dirtier now. There’s no fun in being perfect.”

Q9: An attendee speculated on the death of WW? Would that have worldwide impact? Dave: “We’re not doing that!! But, yes!” Meredith: “Due to the upcoming movie, people are invested in her more than ever.”

Q10: One character in the DCU to incorporate? Dave: Simon Bisley’s Lobo. Big hook and hair. [uproarious laughter] Meredith: Huntress. [major applause]

Q11: How did you meet? The comics scene? Meredith: Online. Single mom with two kids, she was going to school. She had a funny reaction to Dave’s “I do comics.” She was ignorant. “He happened to have some comics in the trunk of his car.” He gave her AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED. The first pages she opens are She-Hulk tearing apart Vision, a double-page spread. She was taken aback by that ‘goriness’. “He had a car and a house.” Those criteria put him in her good books. Dave was about to begin MOON KNIGHT.

Q12: Would Diana take on other girls and adopt them like Batman? Meredith explains that Bruce is trying to establish a family. Diana grew up well-loved. There’s no drive to collect people. There’s an exception with Donna. No ‘Wonder-Team’. [unlike from the 60’s]

Q13: How do you re-charge creatively? Meredith constantly thinks about writing even with domestic chores. Take time for yourself. Be around those who love and support you. Dave dives into video games. He has two close buddies – one goes with him to the bar and they drink beers; the other is VG. Guy stuff. He has trouble getting started. He sketches 30-60 minutes before getting down to business. Andrew Loomis is an inspiration. David has been in the field 21 years!!! It’s like handwriting. It never really stays the same. “You can never replicate what you once did.”

Q14: Meredith’s girlfriends’ reaction re: writing WW? They were excited but the daughters more so.

Q15: Who would win in a fight: Wondy or Supes? Meredith emitted the obvious answer. She would make him feel guilty. [uproarious laughter, whistling, major applause] Dave kept it neutral: I have no idea! [more laughter]

Q16: WW still a feminist icon? Meredith: “Yes, she is. That’s not her sole definition. The women in my life were that. Grandmother went back to school, played 5 instruments. The other grandmother was self-employed, selling make-up.” Mere felt secure in choosing whatever profession due to her femininity. Dave: “My mom was told to go into nursing by my grandfather.” Meredith finds the label of feminist icon less important as we [women] naturally embody it.

Q17: Creative freedom? DC is open to any well-thought ideas as long as it doesn’t negatively impact another team on another book. Unless it’s a line-wide event. She made mention of the ‘Godkiller’ storyline in DEATHSTROKE.

Q18: New experience on comics. Would you consider DCTV? Meredith: “I’m too old for that sort of thing.” She’s comfy in her domestic life. TV writing would be daunting. Heath Corson views it differently. She wants room to grow. Novels would be the way to go.

Q19: If you yourself were WW, is Dave Superman or your humble consort? Dave: “Batman!!” [laughter, applause, whistling]

Q20: Meredith is not from comic book culture. Her reaction to cons and fans? She was completely clueless about Dave’s super-star status. NYC 2006 was mind-blowing for her. “I guess you kind of are a big deal.” [laughter] She’s humble about her own status. She’s from Manotick, Ontario. She can identify being that ‘geek’ – glasses, braces, reading books no one else does. Dave: “You are not so far off.” Meredith states that it’s visual fantasy.

Q21: Advice for getting in? Meredith emphasizes to write everyday. She continues: Set a schedule and stick to it!! Find someone to motivate your success and give you realistic feedback. Geoff Johns is such a pro!! He writes multiple drafts. “It’s physically painfully for me to deal with rejection.” Consult books on writing as well as websites. Publish independently!! It’s the new norm. Dave: “It’s extraordinarily difficult to break in as a writer. Art is immediate in acceptance or rejection. Writers may get in because they were editors first. Meredith did because we were together. Be business-savvy. Some writers want exposure and will work gratis. DeviantArt. Network. It’s a thankless profession.”

Q22: An audience member asked about the left-page reveal???? [I’m puzzled by that term] Dave: start with page count. It’s up to DC to do the final layout. He constantly gives them a hard time doing double-page spreads. [laughter]

Q23: Much excitement re: Donna Troy. This the finalized version? Will she be passed on to obscurity? New costume for her? Dave: yes to new costume!! Closer to the original look. Meredith: “It’s on the cover for #43 but really inside #44. Some things are mandated. Editorial wanted her to be a villain at the beginning. She will be realized by the end of the current arc.” Dave: “It’s a mistake to give people exactly what they want. It’s a letdown!” There is no happy medium. He can’t pervert fan expectations. No rosy scenes. Dave: “I really wanted to kill the Manazons!” [evil grin, audience laughter]

Q24: Will Diana ever get into a same-sex relationship since she officiated a wedding for SENSATION COMICS? Meredith casually states that this would be applicable to WW only out of the Trinity. Would this happen in the near future? Meredith is not opposed. “It is completely logical. The annual showed that with Hippolyta.” She would tackle it because it’s right, not for the sake of it. Dave: “It can be easily done. It’s been an undercurrent forever.” Meredith wants it to develop naturally. It shouldn’t overshadow creating a bona fide loving relationship. Not now, obviously. Genevieve Valentine made Catwoman bisexual. The issue is not skirted in comics anymore. It’s always hinted at with the Amazons.

Q25: What about Ares and Azzarello making him in his own image? Meredith: “I can’t answer that. There’s your answer!!”

Q26: Teases? Issue #45 introduces the street urchin who stole Diana’s lasso. She’ll cement Donna’s role. The third arc is gods-focused. “I’m pulling from my fantasy roots a bit. We’re taking her on a quest. Very based on Greek mythology: Cyclopses, etc. The previews cover #48 is awesome!!” Dave: There will be a single issue between arcs. It co-stars one of WW’s enemies that has been requested to them numerous times – the Cheetah!!

The session ended. I was filled with glee when they signed the program guide and allowed me to snap pics with them. They are the most down-to-earth couple in the profession. I previously met them at the end of January for the third anniversary of my local comic shop Gotham Central Comics and Collectibles. They wouldn’t remember me from that time since it was an extremely busy event. The fact that they are Canadians puts them in the top tier!!!

Top 5 DC Comics October 2015 DC You 5 Wonder Woman #45

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