(CBR) Emerald City Comicon 2014 is officially here, and DC Comics started its programming slate Friday with "The Eternal Batman," a panel dedicated to soon-to-debut weekly series "Batman Eternal."
On hand were Scott Snyder, Dustin Nguyen, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV and Ray Fawkes; all part of the "Eternal" team.
The panel opened with the creators asked for their favorite Bat-moments. Seeley picked "JLA" #41, where Batman tells Superman he'll "hound him through the afterlife" if Superman doesn't succeed. Fawkes selected the fourth issue of "Dark Knight Returns." Tynion chose the Neal Adams-illustrated swordfight between Batman and Ra's al Ghul. "That whole sequence, the scale of it, the scope of those stories have always stayed with me."
Snyder also picked "Dark Knight Returns." "I was only 10 or 9 when that book came out," he said. "To see a superhero approached with such pathos but also with such incredible respect and dignity, you knew Batman would be around forever." Nguyen picked a "Batman Beyond" moment where Bruce Wayne says he doesn't think of himself as "Bruce."
Turning to the "Zero Year" story that's been running through "Batman," Snyder addressed his apprehension in revisiting Batman's early years -- he and artist Greg Capullo were "terrified," he shared -- before realizing the creative potential. Speaking of the story's climax, Snyder said, "We want it to be a culmination where the Riddler essentially says, 'We live in this unprecedented time. We've got no fangs and no claws, and the only way we survive is to evolve our minds. So why don't I speed the circumstances up in Gotham, and make it this end of time city?'" Riddler turns the city into his own "post-apocalyptic playground," Snyder revealed. "This is the fun part, where [Batman] faces off with the Riddler in a completely transformed Gotham."

Snyder said he's used "Zero Year" to confront some real-world fears, like terrorism and climate change. After a shorter detective story following the end of "Zero Year," Snyder said he's planned "something that's going to rock Gotham in the craziest way we've done so far. You have to go big for the 75th."

"Batman" #31 contains a face-off between Batman and the Riddler -- Snyder said the issue also has one of his favorite splash pages by Capullo. Fawkes chimed in to express his fondness for the Riddler -- even though, he said, his friends as a kid tried to convince him the character was lame. Fawkes said he doesn't think anyone will think that of the Riddler after "Zero Year."

Transitioning to weekly series "Batman Eternal," Tynion said it's set to explore corners of Gotham City that haven't gotten much exposure yet in The New 52. Snyder said readers will see "Leslie Tompkins and the extended Bat-family."

"You have so much room, that you can tell the craziest, most over-the-top stories that change the whole city," Snyder said. "We're telling a story so big and so nutty that you need 52 issues to do it."

Talking of the collaboration process involved with the series, Seeley said, "It's very fluid, because it has to be. I talk to you guys way more than I talk to my mother."

"We're all working on aspects of Gotham and Batman's universe that we all personally love," Fawkes said. "For me, I love the darkness of Gotham. It doesn't take much for me to get these guys excited about something really creepy and strange happening."

Nguyen debuts on "Batman Eternal" with issue #4. "This is my first time working on a weekly," Nguyen said, speaking of the important of coordination. "I could be working on issue #15 or #16 -- someone's still working on issue #6 or #7."

"This is something we've been working on non-stop since almost September," Tynion added. Commenting on the recently released "Batman Eternal" #4 cover, Tynion described it as, "Batman and Batgirl having a minor disagreement."

Tynion said he'd like to do 52 more weekly issues after "Batman Eternal" wraps. The panelists said they've become like a "club" through the experience.

"Batman Eternal," Snyder said, is the creators exploring their favorite aspects of Batman while "always clicking that big machinery forward." "You're going to see all of your favorite villains," he continued. "Basically everybody's status changed, mythology turned on its head." The story, he said, will "shake things up in a good way, that's true to the core."

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