Jim Lee Spotlight Panel
I’m sure y’all have a ton of questions out of the huge news that came last week with Co-Publisher Dan Didio’s firing, and at this panel, Jim Lee answers some of them. Right from the beginning, he opened with a pretty impassioned speech. Some of it is transcribed below:
“To address some of the stuff that is out there, there’s rumors and speculation. I wouldn’t put any credence into it. DC has been around for 85 years, and we’ll be around for another 85 years. I hope to be doing this panel in 85 years. We’ve been with Warner Bros. for decades. The actual strategy for DC is to put publishing at center of what we do. It’s the engine of all the movies, TV, cartoons, we do. And so it’s my intent going forward as the Publisher, to lean into collective years of my team. There’s a ton of people and we all work together. The collective years of experience is around 120 to 150 years, and we know the business inside and out. Rest assured, the company is in great hands.”
Lee then went on to reiterate that they’ll be continuing to uphold some of DC”s most important values such as, “Character-driven stories, pairing the right creators on the right characters, and developing characters that are inclusive and diverse.” He also wanted to make sure that anyone and everyone knows that DC is lighthearted, fun, inspiring, and welcoming.
— DC (@DCComics) February 29, 2020
Jim Lee spent most of the panel telling his own origin story. He’s a phenomenal storyteller, and no article can really do it justice, but most of it was the story many of us know and are inspired by from his childhood, to his work at Marvel, to co-founding Image, to getting burnt out, going to DC, and beyond. It seems that Lee was burnt out for a long time, from around 1998 through Batman: Hush. Who could blame him though? The grind is long and grueling. Later, Lee thought about leaving DC, but working on DC Universe Online kept him engaged. One thing’s for sure, as sole Publisher, Lee is, “in the trenches” now more than ever, and he might also be more excited than ever. Then came the usual fan Q&A. One of the more notable questions was about Gambit’s origin. Here’s Jim Lee’s answer:
“So that was probably 1991, right? There was a popularity of Cajun things: blackened fish, Cajun fries. We thought we should get on top of this and create a Cajun superhero, and literally that was why. Chris Claremont and I were in NYC for some reason, and he had the name – Gambit. He didn’t have a power, and I’m kind of a nerd… what if his power is to excite valence electrons? What you don’t know what valence electrons are? I like gambling too, I played a lot of poker. Not anymore, DC is a good place. So he should have a trademark thing – maybe playing cards, and he excites valence electrons. I did a bunch of designs, and colors. Looked at other X-Men, and found purple missing and that’s how it all came together.”
That was it for Jim Lee’s Spotlight panel.