Tom Taylor and Tom King in Conversation: “DCeased: War of the Undead Gods”

by Luis A. Jaime

We are welcomed to the first panel of San Diego Comic-Con 2022 with this charming and endearing proclamation:

“Welcome to Comic-Con Mother F*****rs!”

The crowd cheers. Tom Taylor and Tom King introduce themselves using only their first names. There is a very light-hearted and comical ambiance that they set which goes on throughout the whole panel.

Each Tom introduces themselves by using only their first names: “Hi, I’m Tom,” and “Hi, I’m Tom”

Tom Taylor gets up and reveals that he is wearing an Australian shirt. He notes that the shirt is Australian because it has a kangaroo with an Australian flag on its butt.

They get started by pointing out how different they write their stories. Tom King tells Tom Taylor that Taylor’s stories are full of hope. They make you believe in the good of mankind. King continues to say that Taylor’s characters are written where the good guys are always good and the bad guys can be good sometimes. King pauses and says: “I’ve never written a comic like that.”

King then asks Taylor if he sees that fundamental optimism in himself. Taylor responds with a simple “yes.” Taylor says his first hero was SUPERMAN. Taylor believed that a man can fly. He loved SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Taylor says he wants heroes to triumph. “I want to be inspired. We can use our stories as a beacon of hope.”

King says he does the opposite. Good guys have flaws, and bad guys are just bad. “It’s all emo and sad,” he says. “It’s usually nine panels of someone standing by a window.” His remarks are met with laughter.

Taylor says one of his favorite things in the world is to find out that someone has read his comic, and cried on public transport. He says, “It’s like when some tells me ‘You bastard, you made me cry on a train,’ and I just say: ‘YES!’ The whole point of stories is to evoke emotions. When someone feels pain or joy, that means they have connected with the story.”

Taylor goes on to compliment King on his work. He tells him he’s such a big fan. He really loved the team up of SUPERMAN and BATMAN where they go the carnival and play baseball (BATMAN #37). He describes it as both beautiful and joyous.

King says that DC hated that story. He says that as soon as he turned it in, DC told him to NEVER do a story like that again.

Taylor says: “Well, DC was wrong. Wait, I can say that on a DC panel, right?”

King reassures Taylor and tells him, “It’s published. What are they going to do?”

The conversation moves to Tom Taylor’s new book: DCEASED: WAR OF THE UNDEAD GODS #1

Taylor says that DCeased was always planned as Trilogy. They knew where they were going from Day One. They knew they were going to turn Darkseid into an undead zombie. Taylor says they would have: “Darkseid ISN’T.”

Taylor describes the comic: “Darkseid is infecting all the New Gods, and now we have to fight an undead virus spreading throughout the cosmos.” They show the connected covers of issues #1-4 by Dan Mora.

“Check out the awesome cover, which is NOT an homage to anything MARVEL’s ever done.” Taylor says jokingly. We laugh once we see the cover that is, according to Taylor, definitely NOT an homage.

After seeing the covers, King says: “This is the difference between you and me. Your covers are a thousand super-heroes having fun. My covers are someone coming out from behind a curtain and smiling.”

Next they show us some pages which had never been seen before. Taylor says that up until now, SUPERGIRL has never been in this book. And there’s a reason. As she fled Krypton, she didn’t come to Earth. Her mother and father sent her to another planet, and she lands on New Genesis, just after Darkseid has attacked.

In the next photo, we see Jon, Damian and Cassie, who are now the new SUPERMAN, BATMAN and WONDER WOMAN.

Taylor says there’s a little surprise. If you look closely, you can see BLUE BEETLE with MISTER MIRACLE and BARDA.

Up next is the last photo. As soon as it comes up on the screen, Taylor says: “Wait, you’re not supposed to see that. You’ve seen too much now. Get rid of it, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THAT!”

“Oh well, you’ve seen it now,” Taylor says with an exasperated sigh. “No, it’s too late. There are cameras out there.”

Taylor doesn’t tell us what is going on, he only says that he gets to write GUY GARDNER again, which is one of his favorite things to do.

They conclude talking about NIGHTWING, which will introduce both BATWOMAN and former Metropolis resident, Maggie Sawyer, into NIGHTWING’s book.

This was a wonderfully delightful panel. After three years of being away, you can feel the energy in the room from everyone who came to see both Tom’s talk about what they love. I am truly looking forward to reading these books when they come out.