Darwyn Cooke spent his Wondercon panel talking about The New Frontier, both his original comic series and the animated adaptation that premieres here at the con tomorrow night. While the comic's subplot about black superhero John Henry fighting against the KKK in 1950s America didn't make it to the finished movie - although fans of the Superman/Wonder Woman confrontation in Indochina will be happy to know that that scene is intact and, in Cooke's words, "one of the most powerful scenes in the movie" - the character still has an important presence in the animated version, causing protagonist J'Onn J'Onnz to try to leave the planet.
Cooke talked about Henry's reduced role as plot catalyst:
When he sees what happens to John Henry, [J'Onn] thinks "What kind of world is this?" ...[John Henry] is still an important person in the story.
Cooke also talked about how his politics ("I'm an independent and, even further, I'm a Canadian," he explained) influenced the story:
Something happened in the third book... It occured to me that none of these characters were bad, it's just where they draw the line... The minute I stopped thinking of them as 'This guy's the Republican' and 'This guy's the Democrat,' then they became much more interesting characters. Partisan thinking is nonsense. It's ridiculous. There are good people on every side of every argument.
Finishing his panel by inviting people to the world premiere of the movie tomorrow night, he told people that he expects the cartoon version of his retro comic to blow fans away. Expect a review tomorrow night to tell you whether or not any blowing happens.