The Beat is live at Tom King’s spotlight panel, one of the last bigger ticket Big Two panels at SDCC. From the looks of things, this panel is going to be packed, as fans want to hear about Heroes in Crisis, Batman, and Mister Miracle from this year’s Best Writer Eisner (co)-winner.

As you already know by now, hit refresh for all the updates live as they happen. Starting at 5:30 pm Pacific.

– After a slight delay, the panel begins! With Tom King out, finally sans bodyguard David.

– he promises lots of swear words today

– Clay Mann is the next panelist out, he brings King a soda that sprays out all over him.

– and they’re joined by Mitch Gerads, who also won an Eisner last night.

– “I’m sorry about the nine-panel grids!”, King says to Mann, in response to the soda incident.

– King is now doing a Clay Mann impression.

– King says his SDCC has been amazing, especially since he was so worried about people’s reactions to Batman #50, but he says it’s been nothing but love and appreciation.

– Constance, the moderator asks King what goes into Mister Miracle…”all my books are sad!” says King.

– King then ducks into a conversation about the reported Cult/Retreat boat press event for Heroes in Crisis, where DC Publicity left notes for him to “reveal his inner pain” to the press, and how he’s going to write about it.

– King gets back to Mister Miracle and shares his story about his near-death experience that inspired the series.

– Gerads subsequently reveals his cover for issue 11

– King shares that issue 11 is about the final decision regarding Scott and Barda’s son, and if Scott strikes the same deal his own father did with Darkseid in order to garner peace.

– King polls the audience regarding possible theories surrounding the events of Mister Miracle…is it a dream? Is Scott dead? Is Darkseid manipulating him? Results varied.

– The panel now moves over to Batman issue 50, which King again compares to Empire Strikes Back.

– King asks the audience if they wanted Catwoman and Batman to get married, and shockingly very few respond positively. He says to get twitter accounts and talk to him.

– King, like at yesterday’s panel, highlights that Bane’s plan was to break Batman’s heart. “That pain is a lot greater than breaking your back.”…”a pain that’s so hard to escape from”

– King shares that there were 21 artists in the book in total.

– He refers to Mann and Gerads as being like brothers to him. “When you guys draw, I feel like I could walk into those pages”.

– Conversation shifts over to Batman #51 and the arc drawn by Lee Weeks that’s currently coming out.

– King shares his first working interaction with Lee Weeks, when he began work on the Elmer Fudd issue. King was blown away by Weeks’ pages that he said were “Mazzucchelli-level good”.

– he called Weeks and said, “hey Lee, it’s Fudd, you can take a break”

– he didn’t, clearly.

– King then begins to discuss Dick Grayson’s involvement in the story, which he says is like when your best friend stays on the couch after a break-up.

– Batman #54, drawn Matt Wagner (!), is a spotlight issue on Bruce’s relationship with Dick. The issue will be a parallel story where Dick will be trying to get Bruce to come out of his shell post-breakup and talk about his feelings about it, while the other half will flashback to 20 years earlier right after Dick’s parents died and Bruce tries to help him deal with that trauma.

– King reveals Batman #55 has Batman taking on Phantom Pharaoh, as artist Tony Daniel wanted Batman to fight King Tut, but the character was not able to be used. So King made up an analog character.

– King reveals that Tony Daniel will be the ongoing Batman artist along with Mikel Janin.

– Heroes in Crisis is the next topic, and King discusses the construction of the cover with Mann. Which thanks to some miscommunication between the two, led to Mann drawing 80 superheroes on that first cover!!

– King is now talking about how Harley Quinn and Booster Gold became the lead characters of the series. It turns out these were assigned by Dan DiDio, which King took as a challenge and found the throughline that these are two characters who have made some big mistakes.

– he says Booster is a character who can’t get out from under his own feet, and he got a ton of inspiration for this direction from Dan Jurgens, creator of the character.

– King says regarding Harley, he spoke with a number of cosplayers and asked what they loved about Harley and they all said “she was a survivor”.

– King compares Heroes in Crisis’ structure to that of the War of Jones and Riddles with Mann drawing the main issues, and Gerads drawing the issues that dig deeper into d-level characters.

– King explains the purpose of Sanctuary, the centerpiece of the series that allows them to “confess their truth” and unpack the trauma they deal with regularly.

– He wants to use this series to highlight how these seemingly perfect heroes have really “been through something”.

– King says the heroes of the series, wear a mask and a robe to hide their identities. And after completing the sessions, they get a pin that allows them some level of camaraderie for their shared experience.

– and like that, all the audience members get one!

– In response to a question from the audience about becoming an experimental storyteller, he talks a bit about his Alan Moore influence, which allows him to do his impression of Moore from an interview he once heard about writers being influenced by him. The gist is: “don’t steal from one person, steal from multiple people”

– David the bodyguard has been summoned by an audience member.

– Q: what character would they like to work on next?

King tells a super cute story about his son’s idea for a superhero, which was a guy who has buttons on his wrist, and one of the buttons allows him to to turn into into a hero as strong as 30 Supermen, another button makes him fart.

That’s a thing I just wrote.

King then teases the audience with a Phantasm appearance for Clay to draw in Batman.

– last question, who has been Kong’s favorite character to write? The answer being Hal Jordan, who he compared to Captain Kirk, his favorite character in fiction. He also says he thinks Doc Shaner is the best artist in comics.

– That’s a tremendous issue of comics, by the way.

– Last item for the panel is the cover of Heroes in Crisis #2:

And with that, the panel closes! This ends my panel coverage for SDCC this year. I can’t tell you all how much we appreciate you hanging with the Beat for all of my end of our coverage! Let’s do it again soon. Be good to each other!

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