At a very bizarre press event during San Diego Comic-Con, DC writer Tom King shared information on his upcoming Heroes In Crisis story. We were ushered on a boat and immediately given white robes to put on. Occasionally you’d see a couple individuals in robes wearing anonymous golden masks. We were seated on pillows as calming music played, asking us to accept the sanctuary.
King started things off on an emotional note, thanking us for supporting him from the early days of his career as a writer. It turned out the two mask-clad guys sitting on either side of him were artists Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads.
King said he chose these artists because they’re his best friends and because of the nature of the story, he wanted artists that really know him. He feels he writes the best for them. He also said Heroes In Crisis is a sort of follow up to Mister Miracle with Gerads. They want to look at hundreds of superheroes the same way they looked at Scott Free. King also asked us not to tell Jim Lee, since he’s his boss, but Clay Mann is the best superhero artist out there.
Why is the book called Heroes in Crisis? The hero part is easy. The question is–What’s the Crisis? There won’t be any worlds blowing up or merging. After talking to Marv Wolfman about what he and George Perez did, he wanted an event that would change everything in the DC Universe. It’s going to show superheroes in a different way. It will change how the audience views them. King is tired of seeing the world ending. This will be a different scope. It’s going to be a personal story.
He then shared a personal story about why it’s really called a “crisis.” King had his own crisis–a nervous breakdown in 2016. Everything was going great for him. He was finishing up Vision and about to start Batman, but something happened while out with his family at a hamburger joint. He felt something was wrong with him, and they took him outside. Even his kids asked what was wrong with him. He felt tunnel vision coming on, and he figured this was it.
His wife took him to the emergency room, and his father called, who he wasn’t close with. It turned out his grandma, who raised him, died that day. He told a doctor he felt he was either dying or going insane. His doctor said, “Yeah, yeah, you’re crazy.” Heroes in Crisis is what happens next.
King mentioned how he feels he’s a tough guy, having served overseas, but now, he was broken. He couldn’t focus or catch his breath. He had to keep up with his deadlines and try to keep up appearances in front of his kids. He wasn’t sure what moment of violence in his past affected him. It was the idea that you can reach out to others is what moved him. He believes in the importance of leaning on each other for help.
Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all went through this. Batman watched his second son die in his arms. Superman had to give up his identity of Clark Kent and can’t be Clark Kent or Superman. He has to juggle both personalities. Wonder Woman was raised in an entirely different culture to be a warrior yet somehow is full of compassion. Batman and Superman are always whining, but Wonder Woman always keeps it all to herself.
They all became who they are by going through something and leaning on others. They created a sanctuary for people who have lived through violent lives. No matter how many people you save, there’s always that one that you couldn’t. That breaks you.
What is Sanctuary?
Sanctuary is a little farmhouse in rural Nebraska surrounded by nothing. You’re either taken there or volunteer to go. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by three A.I. robots. Sanctuary was built by Batman with Kryptonian technology with Wonder Woman’s compassion. You enter anonymously, wearing a mask. It’s between the person and the Trinity.
Underneath the farmhouse is the Chambers. They’re sort of like holo-decks and Danger Rooms. The rooms give you the therapy you need. If Firestorm needs to go back and see himself as a single person instead of having the Professor’s mind in his, he can. If Batman needs to just sit with not the men the Robins have become but the boys they were, he can. If you’re Scott Free, you can see Oberon one more time to talk about the old days. You can see what is hurting you and learning how to accept it. You confess what your pain.
Because King’s stories don’t always have happy endings, something bad is going to happen. Sanctuary is the background, not what the book is about. The story is about a massacre at Sanctuary. In the safe place Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have built, a dozen heroes are killed. The Trinity don’t know who killed them. Batman says, “What happened is what always happens. Our attempt at redemption has turned into another quest for vengeance.”
The most sacred thing in the DC Universe has been destroyed. There are two mysteries. The first is: Who did it and why? The second is: Can they put it back together?
The main characters besides the Trinity are Harley Quinn and Booster Gold. King had the story then asked what characters he could use. He wanted characters he could evolve, change, f*** up, and speak from the heart of the DC Universe. When Harley and Booster were mentioned, King felt they were the perfect fit.
King ended his presentation by asking Dan DiDio if he could quote him. DiDio said yes and he’ll just deny it later. Even though King was told not to say this, he wanted to regardless. Back when Infinite Crisis came out, there was a quote by Dan that haunts King to this day. DiDio said:
“You can’t have a Crisis without a dead Flash.“
Heroes In Crisis #1 is on sale September 26.