The various worlds of DC Comics, from television to comics to animation, are coming to Washington for a first-of-its-kind event titled “DC in D.C.” — but it’s not just because the two names are the same.
The gathering will feature a who’s who of DC bigwigs participating in various panels, including television producer Greg Berlanti, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, animation producer Bruce Timm and actors from the CW and Fox’s DC-inspired superhero television slate.
“DC in D.C.” will take place at multiple locations, including the Newseum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Lisa Gregorian, the president and chief marketing officer of Warner Bros. Television Group, has been working on bringing DC to Washington over the past three years and says it will be “Comic-Con for wonks.”
“What we wanted to do was create an event that was reflective of the many diverse voices across America, but not do it in New York or L.A.,” Gregorian told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs.
Gregorian says “DC in D.C.” will have an obvious Comic-Con feel to it, but instead of separating panels by medium, each one will have a mix of comics, television and animation. Superheroes will dominate the conversation, but some panels will focus on representation, including the LGBTQ and African American communities.
Animation takes center stage on “DC in D.C.’s” first day on Jan. 12 at the Newseum with the premiere screening of Warner Bros. Animation’s next home video release, “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.” (available digitally Jan. 23 and on Blu-ray Feb. 6). The film is based on DC’s alternate reality graphic novel of the same name published in 1989, written by Brian Augustyn and illustrated by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The story features a Victorian-era Batman hunting Jack the Ripper. The voice cast will have a fan Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. screening.
“Black Lighting,” the new CW show based on one of DC Comics most prominent black superheroes, will highlight “DC in D.C.’s” Saturday schedule. Actor Cress Williams (who plays the titular hero and his alter ego Jefferson Pierce) will participate in a panel called “The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African American Lens” at 11 a.m. (Disclosure: I’ll be moderating it.)
The world premiere of “Black Lightning” (which debuts Jan. 16 on the CW), an invitation-only event, will be at the Warner Bros. Theater inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Other panels Saturday at the Newseum include “The Art of the Matter: From Sketch to Screen,” featuring Berlanti and Johns discussing how DC’s comic books get adapted into live-action shows. “The Pride of DC: The Art of LGBTQ Inclusion” will focus on the recent debut of the CW Seed’s first animated gay superhero, the Ray, along with comic book creators Marguerite Bennett (“Batwoman”), Steve Orlando (“Midnighter and Apollo”) and Mark Russell (“Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles”) discussing the inclusion of LGBTQ characters in comic books. “The Aftermath: Battle and Trauma in Comics” will feature “Batman” writer and Washington resident Tom King, a former CIA officer, who will discuss his writing of a character dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder in DC’s “Mister Miracle.”
The “Wonder Women” panel will look at the box office domination and effect of the “Wonder Woman” movie as well as the many heroines who appear on DC’s superhero TV shows. Panel guests will include CW actresses Caity Lotz, Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker.
Tickets for “DC in D.C.” are free and available at eventbrite.com (and the full list of events is at dcindc2018.com). Many panels have already sold out, but there will also be plenty to do at the “DC in D.C.” pop-up shop, which will be on display outside of the Newseum from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 12 to 14.
“A lot of our heart and soul has been put into this,” Gregorian said of the pop-up shop. “It’s going to be 40 feet by 20 feet. It’s the ultimate comic book experience.”
There will also be giant screens outside the Newseum that will live-stream the panels. The pop-up shop will have signings by some of DC’s top comic book talent, including Lee, Johns and King. Seven-foot-tall comic-book covers will be on display for fans to take pictures with, and DC will have copies of its 50 greatest graphic novels, including “Watchmen” and “Justice League,” for sale.
Whether “DC in D.C.” is a one-time event or something that returns to the District frequently will depend on the response of Washington-area fans.
“I think we’ll [know more] at the end,” Gregorian said. “We believe that this is going to be an amazing experience and we’ll see what happens.”