Dynamic Duo: Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle talk Batman Retroactive (Exclusive interview @ Cary’s Comics Craze)
CCC: What kind of ideas did you have for the RETROACTIVE project? Was there anything left over from your DETECTIVE and SHADOW OF THE BAT runs that seemed natural to include or you felt needed to be wrapped up?
GRANT: “DC wanted a stand-alone Batman story, but preferably one that grew out the body of my previous Dark Knight work.
“I wanted to try to recapture the kind of stories Norm Breyfogle and I were doing in the early ‘90s. Although I’d have liked to do an Anarky story, I didn’t know what DC had been doing with the character in my absence. So eventually it came down to the toss of a coin between ‘The Nobody’ (SHADOW OF THE BAT No. 13) and ‘Trash’ (DETECTIVE COMICS No. 613). I decided on ‘Trash,’ because it allowed me to use one of my favorite villains, the Ventriloquist and Scarface — and also because it tied in with the Scarface toy and Arkham Asylum computer game.
“There was nothing that needed to be wrapped up in this tale, but the fact that DC is reprinting the original ‘Trash’ story in back of the Retroactive comic was what swayed me — “Trash” was one of my all-time favorites from my 13-year stint on the Dark Knight.”
BREYFOGLE: “Alan knew only that he was to write a new story set in the ‘90s, and that it would be published in the RETROACTIVE 1990s book alongside a re-printed Batman story he and I had produced back then (in the ‘90s). Alan (and I, I suppose) were given the choice of what old story of ours DC would reprint and Alan and I agreed that, ideally, the reprint story would be a complete-in-one-issue story and the new story we’d produce would be connected in some manner to that old story. So, I phoned Alan late one night and gave him a few suggestions, but it was entirely up to him to make the story decisions, of course, since he’s the writer of our team.
“One of my suggestions was that we revisit the ‘An American Batman in London’ story, because terrorism is still a very pertinent subject today (however, that story was actually published not in the ‘90s, but in 1989). Alan finally decided, instead, to revisiting the one-issue ‘Trash’ storyline we’d produced in 1990 largely because, instead of wanting to write about terrorism, he instead preferred writing a story featuring perhaps the most famous Batman Rogues’ Gallery villain he and I had introduced to the Batman mythos: The Ventriloquist.”
Want to read more? Come back to CCC where Grant and Breyfogle exclusively give their own pitches for the RETROACTIVE issue, talk about being re-immersed in the Batman universe, their creative process this time around — and the possibility of them working together again.