Batman Beyond is a series that many DC animation fans have turned to to see more of the story of Terry McGinnis unfold on a monthly basis. Adam Beechen continues to dive into more of the lore that fans expect since the series took print form over two years ago. Comic Book Resources talked with Beechen about the current story featuring Dana's brother who just happens to be the Joker King.
CBR: I've got to say, as much as I enjoyed the original "Batman Beyond" series, I always felt like the Jokerz were an underutilized part of the world. They never became a major threat or more than some background thugs that got kicked around. Was there something in that use of them that made you want to do "10,000 Clowns"?
Adam Beechen: Absolutely. The Jokerz on the show were almost comic relief they were so ineffective. All they did was threatening graffiti and harassing people on trains. There were supposedly a ton of them all over Gotham City, and that made sense. And their rationale for being made sense. But the fact that they were simply chaotic, running around wackos to me meant that there was a story in there. Namely, if anyone in Gotham ever got the Jokerz unified by a single plan, they could be really dangerous, and they could really pick up where the Joker left off all those years ago as opposed to just the superficial stuff twisted minds would find cool about the Joker. So the idea was to legitimize them as a threat to Gotham.
CBR: One thing we can say with certainty is that this arc doesn't just have a big scope or a big cast, but it definitely seems to be part of a grand plan since so many of the plot threads you've been creating since the start of the ongoing series – Bruce's being sick, Max's involvement with the hacker collective Undercloud, the return of Tim Drake – are coming to a head here. At what point in the making of the series did you know that everything you were introducing would merge and start to pay off?
Adam Beechen: I think our original "Hush Beyond" mini was successful enough that it was suggested we go on and do a monthly, for print series. That's when I had the idea for "10,000 Clowns." And actually, the idea for the story really started when Chris Conroy, who was our editor at the time, said "You know, it would be nice if we gave Dana a little something more to do as a character…like give her a brother or something we never knew about before." I thought about that idea of a brother, and that led me to the story of "10,000 Clowns." Once you have something to work towards, you look at all the other elements you've put into play and wonder how you can bring them together for one big storyline. It suggests that this is all one, big, interconnected world.
The more elements you can tie into a single storyline, I feel like the more fascinating it is to readers who have been with you for a long time. I also think that readers who hadn't been there the whole time will get interested in picking up the back issues and going, "Oh, that's where Catwoman came from!" or "That's what Undercloud is!" I hope we're accomplishing that by really bringing a lot together at once, and I don't know that I'd call it payoff because there's even more to come after "10,000 Clowns" with all these elements and even more we'll be introducing. It's all part of one big ongoing story.
CBR: There are a lot of balls in the air right now in the story – Jake Chill as the new Vigilante, the return of Dick Grayson, the mystery behind how Doug is controlling the Jokerz. What were your big goals in terms of changing everyone by the end of this story? Can we expect that by the end, a lot of people will be in different shape?
Adam Beechen: I'm not sure it was all about wanting people to look at them in new ways. In a sense, it was very much a practical consideration to bring all the heroes in. You've got a threat to all of Gotham. You've got all these characters who live in Gotham and have a stake in making sure it still exists. Batman is not the only crime fighter now in Gotham, and the notion that he would be the only one doesn't make sense. It seems logical that in a situation like this where he can't be in more than one place at one time that he would call in some help. He'd call in people who have dealt with these situations before. Catwoman is dealing with it as the regular course of her own actions, but it made sense to me that Terry would call on Tim Drake if the situation was desperate enough or that a guy like Jake Chill would try and redeem himself by protecting innocent people around Gotham as a way to establish himself. It made sense that Dick Grayson, who never really got fighting crime out of his system even as he left the shadow of Batman behind, would get himself involved. In that way, it made practical sense that all of these characters would be involved somehow.
In a broader sense, the goal is to expand what is traditionally thought of as "Batman Beyond's" supporting cast so that it's not just Bruce and Dana and Max. It's all three of them plus Dick and Catwoman and Jake and Tim who are all ongoing members of the supporting cast for the book. They're all a constant presence in Gotham, and they're going to stick around. It just broadens the premise of the world in "Batman Beyond."
For the entire interview, including talk about Norm Breyfogle's art, head over to Comic Book Resources. Batman Beyond is a digital first series that releases as part of the Batman Beyond Unlimited collection on Saturdays.
Posted by Donovan Grant