The Toms – Tom King and Tom Taylor — made their SDCC ’22 debut Thursday morning with special guest Nightwing artist Bruno Redondo in an entertaining discussion about their various DC endeavors. King provided a sneak peek into his new six-issue series titled GOTHAM CITY: YEAR ONE, while Taylor revealed artwork for issue 95 of Nightwing and the eight-issue DCEASED:WAR OF THE UNDEAD GODS dropping into comic shops in early August. At the end of the Toms’ talk, King led a rousing, one-minute standing ovation to legendary British comic book writer Alan Grant (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD), who passed away Thursday morning.
The Tom-Tom Adoration Society trades thoughts on emotional connection and Superman
The Toms used the first fifteen minutes of their conversation to discuss the emotional impacts of storytelling, stressing the joys of connecting with readers who share in the creative experience and who feel the pain and happiness of reading that story.
“One of my favorite things in the world is finding out that somebody has read my book and cried in public transport,” said Taylor. “Like, you bastard! He made my cry on my train. I’m like, yes! In front of people!”
The Toms lavished praise and admiration on each other, with Taylor dubbing their mutual affection the Tom-Tom Adoration Society:
“I’m a huge fan. I’m sure I told you this before, but you’re probably like me. And you have the same level of imposter syndrome as I do. I think your comics have a wonderful way that speaks to humanity. I would never write a Tom King book, but I’m so happy to review a Tom King book.”
“I would write a Tom Taylor book,” King responded. “That’s the difference between you and me.”
Taylor gave King kudos on his Batman and Superman comics, calling the books “beautiful and joyous,” with Human Target creating joy for Taylor and Superman: Up in the Sky ushering up sadness. But the point of suffering in the hero’s journey, according to King, was “to show us that you can come back…they get dragged down to the worse so you can show them to rise-up.”
“Otherwise, it’s just suffering,” Taylor concluded.
The Toms dish on forthcoming titles GOTHAM CITY: YEAR ONE, DCEASED and BATMAN ONE BAD DAY: RIDDLER
Taylor previewed DCEASED, which he said was originally planned as a trilogy about Darkseid. According to Taylor, “We have DCEASED: WAR OF THE UNDEAD GODS, which is literally Darkseid infecting all of the new gods, and we now to fight an undead virus going across the entire cosmos.”
DCEASED marks the first appearance of Supergirl in the book, and the reason for this, Taylor cites is “as she fled Krypton, she didn’t come to Earth. Her mother and father sent her to another planet, and she learns to have her powers with the gods when she lands on Eugenesis just after Darkseid is attacked.”
King also announced the October release of a new six-issue series he completed with Phil Hester called GOTHAM CITY: YEAR ONE. According to King:
“I’ve written more Batman comics than anyone alive, and looked back at Batman and thought what didn’t I do? I feel like I touched on so much out there. How can I do anything with this character, and I realized that I didn’t do what Grant did when he created Damian. I didn’t do what Scott did when he created Court of Owls. I’m so focused on this sort of character study of both him and his life that I never did entirely change the Bat mythos forever like those writers I admire a lot.
And so, DC came back to me and said, ‘Do you want to do something that is as big and grad as Scott and Grant did?’ And when somebody offers you a match, you catch it, right? So, I got the great Phil Hester.”
GOTHAM CITY: YEAR ONE is a dark noir story that describes how Gotham City changed from a normal city that people live in into the hellhole it is today.
“It’s dark, it’s dirty, but it’s also cool,” said King. “It’s me going full Frank. It’s me going full frame and getting to change stuff, and it’s gorgeous.”
King also showed pages for BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY: THE RIDDLER, which is currently nearing completion with art by frequent collaborator Mitch Gerads. According to King, Riddler wants to stop “fucking around” with riddles, his weakness, and approaches Bruce wanting “to be the pure person I am. I’m smarter and I’m better. How are we gonna do that?”
Updates on HUMAN TARGET and NIGHTWING 95
With artist Greg Smallwood on a short break until September from Human Target, King’s next release will be the one-shot prequel called Tales of the Human Target with guest artists Kevin Maguire illustrating a JLI story, Rafael Albuquerque working on a Guy Gardner story, and Mikel Janin working on Fire.
King introduced Taylor’s Nightwing and Eisner-nominated artist, Bruno Redondo, who came on stage to talk about character development and character interaction. Redondo said he aspired to create characters that “make you understand exactly what the character was thinking without reading the dialogue and that kind of humor and this kind of drama.”
“Bruno has an ability to make you care about characters more than anyone else on the planet,” said Taylor. “His acting is the best I’ve ever seen. He and I worked together for about 11 years, and we complete each other on the page.”
Taylor teased spoilers with artwork from Nightwing #95, which drops into comic shops in August 2022.
A Tribute to a comics legend
The final minutes of the discussion were focused on the death of Alan Grant, whom King called a legend. King engaged the crowd in standing applause. It seemed a fitting tribute after a jam-packed hour of complimentary banter, cover reveals and of the Toms sharing an emotional connection to each other’s works.
Miss any of The Beat’s previous SDCC ’22 coverage? Find it all here!