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Last Week in the Batcave


Such as a Bat getting delayed echo responses to his screeches, we still have a couple news from NYCC to cover. One of them is an interview with James Tynion IV that our TBU envoy, Joshua Lapin-Bertone, got to make during the convention. It is covered in the Detective Comics session. The other bit was the special Google panel “Over 75 Years of Batman”with Tony Patrick, Sean Murphy, Tom King, Frank Miller and James Tynion IV.

 

The video is about forty-eight minutes long, so, for those who are not really in the mood, our opening of this Batcave will be a short breakdown of it. I do highly recommend watching it, if only for Miller’s Bat-grandpa humor. The initial questions are only to acclimatize the audience to the new faces – that is, all of them except for Miller. Further on, they get asked what is their fingerprint on Batman. Murphy jokes about it and says he’s given Batman high collars, a Batmobile with front exhausts and an Arkham Asylum that looks like a Transylvania castle. King says his Batman is “a little more emo, staring out of windows”. He says that you cannot really make the character darker than he already is in The Dark Knight Returns, so he went with making Batman seek happiness, and how he balances that with his natural darkness. Tony Patrick, who is writing The Signal with Scott Snyder, says that he can’t say that for sure because his book has not come out yet, but that he is dealing more with Bruce during the daytime, whereas the character is typically nocturnal. Miller simply says he turned Robin into a girl to go against Fredric Wertham’s claims on Seduction of the Innocent. Tynion says his fingerprint has been left much more on the supporting cast than on Batman himself, but that he is trying to make his a Batman who says yes to people rather than shut them out all of the time.

 

After a very brief commentary by King on his time with the CIA – it is all classified, but he says that the old Batman gimmick of threatening to drop people from a building to get intel does not work in real life -, Miller talks about political commentary on comics. He says that when Dark Knight first came out he found it awkward that a media that had evolved from strips and cartoons, which are inherently political, had become so detached from real life.

 

By the end of the panel, a fan asks about the psychological balance between Batman and Bruce Wayne. Among all of the answers, Tynion had the most intriguing one, saying that in fact there are three personas, the third one being the man who dwells in the cave, who only Alfred and the Robins get to know, who himself is the balance between the Bat and the Bruce persona.

 

Welcome to this week’s Batcave, my cave dwellers.

 

BATMAN

Tom King, Mikel Janin, Clay Mann, Joelle Jones, Lee Weeks

JASON FABOK and TOM KING are moving from the rainy streets of Gotham to the icy landscapes of a tundra forest. The creative team behind The Button will be teaming up again to do a Swamp Thing one-shot to come out by the end of January in the Swamp Thing Winter Special, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. The story will develop around Swamp Thing trying to save a boy who Solomon Grundy kidnapped, and might have a special guest who wears a cowl with pointy ears. Fabok says that “This is a psychological horror story.”

 

King and Fabok had been working in secret on this story. The issue will also feature Len Wein’s final Swamp Thing story, illustrated by Kelley Jones.

And coming out this week will be the follow up to the BatCat engagement, the first issue of “Rules of Engagement”. KING shared a few panels that show a whip-wielding Catwoman, teasing us on how amazing Joelle Jones’ art for the issue turned out.

 

DETECTIVE COMICS

James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Alvaro Martinez, Joe Bennett

Another belated NYCC news, Josh got to talk with James Tynion IV about his work on Detective Comics. The writer talked about Tim’s position in the current DC timeline, restoring his original origin story, Cassandra Cain and her friendship with Clayface, and also how Tynion is rebuilding her relationship with Bruce. He also touched on the subject of the engagement and gave hints to what is to come in the next story arc. Be sure to check the interview.

While we patiently wait for Tim to finally be brought back to the fold, we can appreciate some of EDDY BARROWS’ originals that he has been unveiling on his Facebook account. The pages he shared last week are all from issue #966, including page 1, page 2, and page 3, the Anarky sequence; pages 7-8pages 9-10 and pages 11-12showing Red Robin and Batman being attacked by Doomsday; and pages 13-14, showing the Batmen from the timeline of the older Tim. Being a Nightwing fangirl, I couldn’t help but notice that Barrows drew Dick in the same pose he would often draw him as Nightwing back when he was the artist on the title.

 

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT

Sean Gordon Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, Todd Klein

First I’d like to say that White Knight #1 officially sold out last week.

 

On to his usual Q&As, one of the first things we got from last week was Murphy saying that Duke Thomas is his Robin. His answer does leave some space for interpretation on whether that means that Duke will be in fact donning the mantle or not. He also got asked what was his reaction when he realized that LEGO Batman went for a similar take on the Joker as the one he was building, and he says that he “freaked out, honestly. Even though is finished those issues before seeing the movie, I worried ppl would accuse of stealing.” The similarity here, for those who are not familiar with the movie (to what I say, watch it, it is worth it), is that the Joker is portrayed as a fanboy in love with Batman in the animation, and Murphy’s version also veers towards the fanboy-Joker waters.

 

Murphy also got questioned about Bruce’s extreme actions with the Joker on issue #1. He says that “He’s upset about Alfred. And Joker really hit a nerve. A weak Bat moment that was caught on camera” and reinforces that “Bruce is human, and he snapped.”

As for art teases, last week we got two peeks into Harley and Joker’s intimate life, one panel – BEWARE FOR THE BUTT – of them on bed, and a beautiful page showing them on a date. We also got to see the second variant for issue #2.

 

BATMAN: THE DARK PRINCE CHARMING

Enrico Marini

MARINI continues doing his Bat-Inktober with some amazing cartoons. The themed pieces of the week were Joker and Pennywise measuring up their balloons for the “gigantic” theme day, Harley doing a Batman-themed hangman for “naughty”, a creepy Joker for “run”, and my two favorites, Joker crying over his broken Batsy figure for “shattered”, and classy Catwoman for the “mysterious” theme. We also got an update on his inking process for the second volume of Dark Prince Charming, with teeny-tiny Catwoman leaping across the Gotham skyline.

 

DOOMSDAY CLOCK

Geoff Johns, Gary Frank

Following the previous live chat with Sean Murphy, last week it was Gary Frank’s turn to have a chat with Jim Lee. The conversation started with some audio issues, but they got it solved after a while, just as a forewarning for those who decide to watch it. For those who cannot afford to dedicate seventy-eight minutes to watching two stellar artists talk about art in the making, we have a quick breakdown for you.

 

Their chat started with Jim talking about the evolution of Gary’s style. When asked about his favorite artists and how they influence him, Gary answered with what is possibly one of the best advice someone in the creative industries can get: you can be a fan of something without it being a direct influence on your style.

 

After that, they went into Doomsday Clock. Gary says that it was a challenge to draw it, that it took him away from his comfort zone. He and Johns are following what got established with Watchmen to the letter, so, for example, they are not using sound effects. This is one of the details Gary used to exemplify his disposing of his crutches for this book. “How do I draw a guy knocking on a door without the knock knock?”

 

He has confirmed that the hand holding Lex Luthor’s shoulder on the cover of issue #2 is indeed Ozymandias’. Gary also says that they are having a restrained approach to the story, and that “it is daunting stuff, it is scary stuff.” Lee brought up the fact that Johns did some one and a half years of Watchmen research before writing Doomsday Clock. Johns himself shared a picture of his Doomsday Clock notebook containing all of the secrets past week, the same that Batman is shown reading in the promo.

Jim and Gary refer to Doomsday Clock not as a continuation to Watchmen, but rather as a tribute. To wrap up the panel, they showed two covers for upcoming issues, a Joker variant for issue #5 – the smiling mushroom cloud did it for me – and a Rorschach pancake for issue #4I know this might be me reading too much into it, but the damn pancake is laid on a Renaissance style grid and I can’t help but giggle (a fine example of such grid in use is Perugino’s La Consegna delle Chiavi). The pancakes will also be part of the plot of the issue, says Gary.

 

DARK NIGHTS: METAL

Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Francisco Plascencia, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Doug Mahnke, Ivan Reis

As reported this week, Metal will be getting yet another tie-in with Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt, a one-shot coming out in February. I seriously have no idea where to fit any more of those metalheads here in the Batcave, so I’ll just put them together with Mr. Snyder, Capullo and Plascencia for the time being.

As for updates, CAPULLO only shared a very angry, down to business Diana of Themyscira.

 

DARK MULTIVERSE BATMEN

Jason Fabok, Joshua Williamson, Carmine di Giandomenico, Frank Tieri, Riccardo Federici, Sam Humphries, Ethan van Sciver, Dan Abnett, Philip Tan, Peter Tomasi, Francis Manapul, Tony S Daniel, James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo, Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette

SNYDER has given some more details about Batman: Lost, the next to last Dark Knights one-shot. Written by Snyder himself, the art will be in the hands of Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke and Yanick Paquette, despite it having being solicited with Bengal and Olivier Coipel. The issue “Shows Bruce lost in the Dark Multiverse & tells the story of Barbatos,” spanning his history, from his first case to what might be his last. We also got a first look at pages from Jimenez, Mahnke and Paquette (seen below).

BATS OUT OF HELL

Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Bryan Hitch, Liam Sharp, Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver, Tyler Kirkham, Jeff Lemire

Spanning 4 weeks like its predecessor, the second Metal crossover will start coming out next week with Flash #33 (Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter). SCOTT SNYDER shared a first look at a final page from it – a very low res and impossible to read page, that is – together with the list of titles that will be part of the event: beyond Flash, they will be Justice League #32, Green Lantern #33 and Justice League #33.

Tyler Kirkham, the artist responsible for Justice League #33, continues to share some panels as he works his way through the issue. The panels include one with almost all of the Dark Knightsa maniacal Batman who Laughs, and the League itself gathered, minus Cyborg and Batman.

 

HARLEY QUINN

Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Timms, Frank Tieri, Inaki Miranda

As announced last week, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner will be leaving Harley after long years behind the book, and they are taking John Timms with them. They are passing the torch to Frank Tieri, who recently wrote Batman: Murder Machine, and Inaki Miranda, who is currently working on the mini series Ragman and says he can’t wait for the work to start on Harley.

 

HONORARY MEMBERS

A new Batman will be added to the Black & White collection of statues. PAUL HARDING, one of the frequent digital sculptors to work on DC’s figures, shared an image of the model he is currently working on, based on the design by John Romita Jr for the first arc of All Star Batman.

And KEVIN WADA returns with the biggest bang possible, a bang coming from a red pistol. He’s got introduced to you bunch of bats back in the twelfth edition of the Batcave with Trinity portraits, and now he’s gifted us with his take on Jason Todd. Just… may the blessings of all the gods fall upon you, Kevin. How can a guy nail every single character and make them all look amazing, this is just beyond my understanding of how this world works.

 

GOTHAMITE

Our Gothamite of the week has one foot set in the Batgirl session, but we’ve bent the rules and brought him here. This week we have Dan Mora, who has been doing the variants for the title.

 

Dan is a rapidly rising artist in the industry, having received the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award during last year’s SDCC. He is not only making fantastic covers, but he is currently working with the one and only Grant Morrison on Klaus, a Boom Studios title that reimagines Santa Claus as a superhero. But we’ve brought him here all the way from Costa Rica because of another project of his. Well, in fact, it was quite difficult to choose from all of his art, my shortlist had a total of 10 pieces, so I cheated and went with a series of redesigns he did for Nightwing, Batman and the Joker.

The level of thought and detail he’s put into those is just amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Batman with many grappling guns as incredibly designed as Dan’s, and the little detail of the cape and cowl being held by straps is incredibly well thought of. Plus, purple gloves Batman will always make any Batman score high for me. And then you go from Batman to Nightwing and his paraphernalia looks a little more simple and low tech, which is a very good choice for the character. But the icing on the cake is the use of a thigh holster for his escrima sticks. Because why an acrobat would have something hindering his back movement is something that goes beyond my understanding. As for the clown, what struk me  the most was the choice to dull down Joker’s usually bright purple suit. The addition of the orange vest though brings the quirkiness back to his unique Joker.

 

Dan’s outstanding body of work can be found on his Behance, where the process of the pieces can be seen, DeviantArt, and you can follow him on Twitter. Before we close down the cave, though, I’d like to bring to light another one of Dan’s works, one he did with the Argentinian news channel La Nación: an interactive Batcave covering most of the 75 years of history of the Bat.  It is in Spanish, but well worth exploring even for those who do not understand the language. Steph is listed as one of the Robins, so it is fairly safe to assume that those guys knew what they were talking about.

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