Last weekend at WonderCon, Forbes contributor Mark Hughes got the chance to sit down and interview DC's Co-Publisher Jim Lee. We are midway through a unique run of 75th anniversaries for DC characters, as 2013-2015 represent seventy-five years of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman respectively. To the production team at DC, this makes for a critical and once-in-a-generation chance to do special and new turns with these icons.
Forbes: Last year was the 75th anniversary of Superman, this year is the 75th anniversary of Batman, and next year is the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman. Last year was the 30th anniversary of Superman: The Movie, and this year is even the 40th anniversary of Wonder Woman’s first live-action appearance. What’s it feel like right now at DC? What’s the energy level? Batman is probably worldwide the most popular and well-known superhero now.
Jim Lee: I think if the crowds at Comic-Con for everything we do Batman or Superman related is enough [evidence], I think getting to these milestones really shows how powerful these characters are. Seventy-five years is a huge amount of time for a pop culture character. You look at characters like Dick Tracy or the Phantom have kind of fallen by the wayside over the years. So many of the DC characters have remained powerful ever since the time they were first published in the ‘30s.
Lee went on to comment on a world in the 1930's without Batman.
Jim Lee: […] if Batman were not created, I think a character like Batman would have risen. I think if you look at people moving to cities and urbanization in the ‘20s, and the crime rates accelerating because of that, the idea of a mythical figure that was hiding in the shadows protecting us — it’s like the ultimate boogeyman — it’s something that resonates very powerfully with people. So on a mythical level, there’s kind of this need for a character like Batman.
Much of the interview continues to ruminate on Batman as an icon, and some of the iconic art in his canon, but there was some interesting event drops that I found very compelling. The Batman Eternal weekly as already launched, but upcoming special events were mentioned by Lee.
Jim Lee: […] There’s a huge list I could go through. Batman Day is July 23rd, it’s the Wednesday of [San Diego] Comic-Con. Essentially, we’re trying to convert all of the stores across the country into mini-ComicCons featuring Batman. […] we’re going to give away a special edition Batman comic book. We also have the Batman-Green Hornet crossover, that’s a digital-first comic that launches in the summer, written by Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith. […] I think the DVD/Blu-ray collection of the Batman 1966 TV show is coming out fourth-quarter this year, which I think is very exciting– […] And then there’s the Gotham TV show… I’m really anxious to see what they do with that mythology, because it’s before the days of Batman…
I have to say, out of all of that, the most interesting/surprising/intruiging(?) piece is the Batman-Green Hornet Crossover by Ralph Garmen and Kevin Smith. ((Yeah, that Kevin Smith, who directed 'Clerks'… and 'Cop Out')). Kevin Smith has worked on Batman and Green Hornet in the past. He is responsible for Batman: Cacophony and Batman: The Widening Gyre, as well as the upcoming Batman: Bellicosity. He also wrote an un-used draft script for a Green Hornet feature film. The word is that this will be comic staring the 'Batman '66 ' iteration meeting the Green Hornet.
The final exchange of the interview was as succinct as it was exciting.
Forbes: I saw Son of Batman–
Jim Lee: May 6th, yeah, I think it’s the 20th direct-to-video adaptation that we’ve done. Yeah, it looks phenomenal. The director premiered it here at the show. They’ve been kicking it to a whole different level, and the production levels on these are tremendous. If you are a comic book reader, I mean, these are must-sees.
Son of Batman was released for digital download on April 22, 2014 and will be available for Blu-Ray on May 6, 2014.
Posted by Bob Holt