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Paul Jenkins on The Dark Knight

Paul Jenkins has almost five issues of Batman: The Dark Knight in the bag and ever since he began the series with the David Finch, the White Rabbit is the character that steals the show every issue. If not the beautiful art, then the mysterious element of the character that has yet to be revealed. Comic Book Resources talked with Jenkins about his run on the series and what else is in store.


Batman: The Dark Knight #5CBR: One of those interesting relationships you guys bring in is Lieutenant Forbes, who has thrown a wrench in the works by going after Batman and Gordon. With Gordon the GCPD on Batman's side, why was it important to you and David to bring in a guy with obvious animosity towards Batman?


Paul Jenkins: Because the next arc is actually very much centered on Forbes and Gordon and Batman. It's actually something that we intentionally wanted to keep in there because we had a plan for what the next story would be. The cool thing, and this is something, again, where I've had conversations with David, is we talked about where the path this kind of series will take. Dave was busy working on the original "Dark Knight" series before there was the New 52 and ran into some scheduling difficulty because, and I've spoken about this in other interviews, as the guy who was drawing and writing, he really wanted to get the writing down correctly. So he'd spend two weeks away from his art schedule, trying to make sure these stories work. Well, when you have four and a half weeks of art and two weeks of writing, that doesn't add up to a monthly book. When I came onboard it, freed Dave up time-wise to concentrate on [the art]. I think we feel very vindicated, because we told people very early on, "Just so you know, we're going to be on time with this book. You can complain or not believe or whatever, but we are going to be on time because we love the book and we think the mixture of David and myself will bring the book schedule back on track." We're actually planned out through at least another year now. We had long term goals, and one of them was to bring Forbes, in who could really turn the screws in the next arc. Forbes is going to be a major player. The idea of a guy going off to both Batman and Gordon and saying, "Look, your relationship is not sanctioned by the Gotham Police Department" is kind of cool.


CBR: You also have a new character in White Rabbit. What was the inspiration for her, specifically, and for creating a whole new villain in general for this first arc?


Paul Jenkins: Again, without giving too much away obviously, I think it's fair to say that one of the things that will happen is an expansion of who the White Rabbit is. First of all, let's talk about how she was created. One of the things that can happen is, if you have a sexually provocative relationship between, say, Catwoman and Batman, that's been carried on for a long time, there's a sort of familiarity with those characters. We know they've been up and down and up and down — it's been going on for a long time. What we felt was interesting was to bring in a character that had similar [but unfamiliar] kinds of qualities. She has a particular secret, which is, what can she do, what is her power? It's becoming more and more evident as time passes.


We thought that it would be really nice to create a character where — there's always this question of what's cheesecake and what's interesting sort of sexual antagonism and what's just what you might call exploitation. The truth is, and David has put this to me pretty well, if we're concerned about stereotypes — because she's obviously quite a cheesecake-y kind of girl. Parading around in pink and white lingerie pretty much is kind of pushing it a little bit! [Laughs] But you know Batman is himself a stereotype. He's a very powerful man and that's the male stereotype of a sexual creature. So we thought it was fair game to say, "Hey, let's do a new character where clearly there's an attraction between them, but it's more a mysterious attraction. Who is she, how is she able to do this thing that she's doing, why is she doing it?" We're going to expand on that through the next year. We're going to keep her around and show that there's more to her than the pink lingerie. There's something that she's doing and places that she's going. What I quite like about her is, she's disarming, or will prove to be, because what she's doing is standing up there and pretending to be kind of cheesy, "Look at me, aren't I pretty?" But at the same time she's a lot smarter. When you find out what she's doing and how she's doing it, people will go, "Well that's interesting!" She uses sexuality, in a sense, as a weapon to disarm people, to make them think that she's not that important or clever or interesting, but she's really smart.


CBR: And she can sense the Flash coming before he gets there in issue #3.


Paul Jenkins: There's a revelation where you're going to find out this thing about her, what she can do. I think it's in issue #7. And when readers find out what she can do, they'll say, "Ah, she's an interesting one." She has a power that, I think, is kind of unique. As she says at one point to Batman, "Alice never did catch the White Rabbit," and the power she seems to demonstrate right now is that he cannot catch up to her.


For the entire interview, including talk about the ties between the comics and the upcoming live action film, head over to Comic Book Resources. Batman: The Dark Knight #5.


Posted by Dustin Fritschel

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