In this week’s edition of Inside Batman, James Tynion takes a week off from his weekly “Thinking Bat Thoughts” column, so we’ll have a bit of a lighter column. However, we did manage to find a few tidbits of the Bat-office of the past and present in some very nice Youtube videos featuring Chuck Dixon and Ram V, and something that is publicly available, but not apparently widely known that hopefully will be a treasure to read! So without further ado, this week’s Inside Batman
Chuck Dixon’s “Ask Chuck Dixon #77” weekly video on YouTube
Thoughts: Near the end of this week’s “Ask Chuck Dixon” video, the most prolific Batman writer living talks a bit about how the Bat-office approach sex and sexual activity of the Bat-characters in the mid and late 90s. Dixon drew a comparison to old movies like Casablanca and many others, where nothing was ever shown, but many things were left to the audience’s imagination – but the audience could also imagine nothing at all happened but pent-up emotion. This ambiguous technique creates a lot of room for fanfiction and imagination and perhaps shows why the late 90s were such a fertile (pun intended) time for romantic or “shipping” (to borrow Stella’s favorite phrase) fanfiction and fandom.
Scott Peterson’s blog entry on “The Batbible” and Denny O’Neil on his personal blog
Thoughts: Scott Peterson, the assistant editor who served as Denny O’Neil’s right-hand man during the 90s, posted the document O’Neil created in the late 80s which all Bat-writers were given and expected to follow in terms of how the city and people of Gotham functioned, especially the most fascinating of its citizens, Bruce Wayne. O’Neil, in an interesting corollary to Dixon’s comments about sexual activity, declared that Batman was celibate, choosing to devote all of his emotional energy to his crusade – and Greg Rucka has commented on this rule, that once O’Neil was gone, everyone gave Bruce his own passionate affair – leading to a truly disastrous romantic pile up in the early 2000s, culminating in the reinstatement of Damian Wayne in 2007, something O’Neil had explicitly retconned out with the various 1990s Crises events. The entire Bat-Bible is worth reading and pondering, as a relic of the foundation upon which much of our current Batman is built – or reacted against (in a similar way that the Elliot S. Maggin Superman novels Miracle Monday and The Last Son of Krypton serve as a crystallization of the Bronze Age of Superman comics). Check it out!
Ram V being interviewed by Nerdette’s NewsStand on YouTube
Thoughts: In this very fun and enlightening interview, Ram V talks about the two Poison Ivies, and whether it’s a follow-up from Jody Houser’s Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy miniseries. Ram V says that actually, no, it’s something he saw essential to Poison Ivy’s character independently from Houser’s storyline, and that ties into what DC is planning with her in the Fear State/Queen Ivy storyline.
He also elaborated on the creation of Father Valley – He wanted a villain who would be a slow creeping voice of judgment. He cites the anime “Hellsing” as a visual inspiration for the character.
He says he really likes slow burns, and doesn’t like to front-load his stories – but then jokes “Until I get bored of it.” He promises more of the Strays, but keeps it very spoiler-free.
James Tynion gives commentary on the current non-Tynion Bat-books in a weekly update on his SubStack
I’ve been in awe of what Mariko Tamaki has been doing in Detective from day one. One of the big things that I wanted to do this year in Batman is take advantage of the Fort Graye setting and actually live in it a bit. But the needs of the story won out, and I wasn’t able to lean in there. I quickly realized that I didn’t need to… Mariko has been writing incredible stories about what it means for Bruce Wayne to actually live inside Gotham City, to have neighbors and the responsibilities of having neighbors. There’s something powerful about seeing this young Bruce moving through an urban life that doesn’t feel like it’s more rooted in what it was like to be a Millionaire in the 1930s.
Stephanie Phillips is one of the rising stars of the comic book industry, and with Riley Rossmo, she’s putting out one of my all-time favorite runs of Harley Quinn. The book manages to be funny and outrageous while spinning directly out of the core continuity of the line… She and Riley created the character find of 2021, the one that could give all of my and Jorge’s creations the run for their money in KEVIN, the repentant former Joker Gang member. I also have to shout out the incredible Harley Quinn annual that just dropped a few weeks back, with art by the phenomenal David Lafuente. The Harley Quinn and Catwoman crossover issues form a kind of unofficial Gotham City Sirens reunion in Gotham City, and all of it sets the stage for some killer stories next year.
Thoughts: Though just a tidbit, we do get the hint that Tynion did want to lean into Bruce’s civilian life – the hints he gave in his early newsletters about Bruce wearing all-black sweaters instead of tuxedos, etc. Though I do still wish we’d seen a bit more of that from Tynion – the hints in such scenes as Matches Malone confronting Miracle Molly were incredible – Tamaki has really given the civilians of Gotham another lease on life, after the combined punches of Morrison, Snyder, King, and Tynion himself and almost completely divorced Batman from regular contact with “normal” Gothamites.
And it’s nice to see Tynion cheerleading for the excellent work of Stephanie Phillips, with her own original character of Kevin. Tynion’s clear passion for Gotham, and his ability to help spin all of the books together, instead of apart, will be sorely missed come November. Though Josh Williamson does seem like a reasonably strong collaborator, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to step into Tynion’s shoes, since he’s promised to tie Robin, Deathstroke Inc, the Infinite Frontier meta-series, and his Batman storyline together, leaving little room to tie the Gotham books together themselves.
That’s it for this week – hopefully next week we’ll be able to provide a few more unique pieces from the minds of the Bat-writers past and present!
Editor’s Note: Inside Batman is an article series from TBU intended to bring you the behind-the-scenes scoops from the world of crafting the Batman Universe. If you have any comments, insights, or interesting elements we may have missed, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Inside Batman’ in the subject line. You can find all of our past submissions for the Inside Batman series here.