John Layman has only been on the Bat-Books for one issue so far, and he is already receiving some high praise. Layman took over for series regular, Tony Daniel, with with issue #13. Later in the year, he will add Joker to the chaos in Detective Comics as part of the Death of the Family crossover. Newsarama talked with Layman about what readers can expect from his run on Detective Comics.
Newsarama: We got to see a concentration on Bruce as detective [in issue #13]. Do you hope to make that an ongoing focus of the series?
John Layman: Yeah, it's called Detective Comics, after all. I was very aware of that going into the book, from Sentence One of my initial pitch document. Every issue should feature some sort of case, or mystery, or something that needs to be resolved, using brains every bit as much as brawn, if not more so.
Newsarama: You appear to have several villains showing up in the first storyline. Are you more drawn to the villains of Gotham City? Or is this just the approach for the first arc?
John Layman: Well, yeah. Villains are simply more interesting. To me, anyway, and I'm enjoying doing these short, largely self-contained cases that channel flip to a new classic Batman villain each issue, while a larger story slowly reveals itself.
Newsarama: This series also has back-up features. As you took over the series, what did you decide to do with those?
John Layman: I'm not a huge fan of $3.99 comics, so if somebody is going to shell out that sort of money, I want to make good and sure it is worth their money. So despite my schedule, which is a bit crushing at the moment with Chew, Mars Attacks and Detective and Detective back-ups, it was important that I tackle the backups — and that they specifically compliment the main story and are not in any way forgettable or superfluous. I'm working on my fifth script and fifth back-up, and am quite please with how each of the issues and their back-ups have come together, individually and working in unison as a more cohesive whole.
Newsarama: Issue #15 and #16 are billed as a "Death of the Family" tie-in. Is this about making sure Bruce's various appearances in DC Comics line-up, since he's fighting The Joker elsewhere?
John Layman: I approached the tie-in much in the same way I do the back-ups. It's my hope that my "Death of the Family" stories compliment what's going on in Batman, while standing up as something satisfactory and (largely) self-contained on its own.
That is, if you want to read every bit of the tie-ins — and you should! — my Detective issues will help paint a fuller picture. But if you're pinching pennies and can only buy Detective, it's still going to give you the appropriate bang for your buck. Even if you have no idea what's going in "Death of the Family," Detective should still hold up on its own. That's the intention, anyway. This is what Gotham is like when Joker is in town. This is the effect Joker has on people. These are the sort of people who follow Joker. That's the story, along with some twists and surprises and even, I suppose, a bit of dark humor.
For the entire interview, including talk about Jason Fabok's work, head over to Newsarama. Detective Comics #14 is in stores November 7.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel