Posts Tagged ‘batman retroactive’
Superstar Batman Artist Norm Breyfogle drawing Batman and Cornelius Stirk, courtesy of Club Batman.
Breyfogle returned to DC Comics with Retro-Active, repaired with his old partner Alan Grant to recreate and extend their classic Batman of the 1990s prior to the reboot and relaunch The New 52. He has since returned on a more permanent basis on Batman Beyond Unlimited.
Norm Breyfogle back at DC Comics
Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle Retro-active: a vintage interview with the star Batman creative team DC Comics has brought back for Batman Retroactive
DC RETROACTIVE: BATMAN – THE ‘90S #1
Retroactive: Can DC Comics Win Back Lost Readers?
Everything depends on DC Comics winning back lost fans with their reboot/relaunch “The New 52” in time for an upsurge in popularity created by The Dark Knight Rises. The failure to erase offenses like Damien Wayne (cited by failed comic shop owners as one of the 3 episodes that cost them the most customers), plus former Batman editor Paul Dini’s “fingerprints” all over the disappointments with Arkham City do not bode well for the success of the operation thus far. But DC soldiers on, with announcements like this:
Over the course of the next year, DC Comics will release at least 52 collected editions of their New 52 titles. In addition to their previously-announced oversized hardcover collecting all 52 first issues (available in December), DC announced today via its blog The Source that there will be 51 more collected editions between May and November of 2012, accounting for all but one of their launch titles. Mini- and maxi-series such as Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, The Shade and Huntress were not accounted for which is unsurprising since they’re technically not part of the 52, but the absence of the much-touted and well-liked Wonder Woman series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang is more surprising….Go to ComicBook.com for the rest of the article.
It is the old problem: something new for committed collectors to buy, but nothing to entice the lost readers if they are not already pleased.
The long-term mishandling of Batman and his related characters, Catwoman in particular, has been instrumental in the mass-defection of long-term comics fans and subsequent failure of comic shops during the economic downturn. There is little question that the comics giant understands it must be poised to take advantage of interest The Dark Knight Rises will bring to these characters if it is to survive. It’s failure to take advantage of the unprecedented popularity generated by The Dark Knight and its viral in 2008 is widely speculated to have brought about the restructuring which placed the comics division under Warner Bros. control rather than the Time Warner publishing arm. A second failure could well mean a permanent shutdown of print comics, rather than allow the rogue division to go on damaging valuable corporate properties. More »
It is a misconception that they wiped out 75 years of comic book history, the rich heritage of Superman and Batman, etc. They wiped all that out in 1985. What they wiped out 2 weeks ago is all the garbage that’s happened since. And it has been garbage. Stunts, poor storytelling, disrespect for the characters, the fans and the medium have driven away loyal readers. It came to a head in 2008. The tiny comic book division had gone largely unnoticed by parent company Time Warner because its earnings were insignificant. The damage it could do creating bad will around billion dollar properties like Batman were not. It was in 2008 when Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and its viral by 42 Entertainment brought the Caped Crusader’s mainstream popularity to heights not seen since Batmania of the 1960s, Time Warner became aware of just how badly DC Comics Batman editor Paul Dini and head writer Grant Morrison had been insulting, angering and offending fans of The Batman and related characters like Catwoman.
More promising is the rumor that Norm Breyfogle is being courted to return to a Batman book. Recognized as one of the only great old school Batman artists still living, Breyfogle’s inclusion in the pre-relaunch Retro-Active series was an irresistible lure to those lost Batman fans.
But can they hope for a repeat if he is drawing a Batman tainted by the last years of fan-abuse and disappointment?
Dynamic Duo reunited: Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle | Exclusive interview @ Cary’s Comics Craze (Part 2)
In my last post, one of the comic book industry’s most overlooked Dynamic Duos — writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle — talked about their ideas DC RETROACTIVE: BATMAN — THE ‘90s. (The one-shot issue, which comes with a new story about The Ventriloquist and Scarface plus a reprint of the “Trash” story from DETECTIVE COMICS No. 613, comes out Aug. 17.)
But there’s more of my exclusive interview! Here, they give me their best pitches for the RETROACTIVE project, how they were approached for the issue, what it was like going back to Gotham City and working together again. Enjoy, CCC readers!
CCC: Give me your best pitch for your latest project in three sentences or less.
GRANT: “What is life, and what does it mean? Batman inadvertently finds out in this fast-moving story.”
BREYFOGLE: “Neither Alan Grant nor I pitched the idea to DC. Instead, Jim Chadwick (DC editor) approached us with the offer. Then, Alan wrote a script, and I don’t know whether or not he wrote a short synopsis first. However, I suspect you’re asking me for a plot or concept summary, right? Well … first of all, this is how DC comics has referred to the story:
“Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle revisit a pair of villains closely associated with their original run on The Caped Crusader: The Ventriloquist and Scarface! Released on a technicality one year after being arrested, this bizarre duo is determined to reclaim their status in the upper echelon of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. This ‘lost tale’ of the era spins directly out of DETECTIVE COMICS #613, reprinted in this issue!”
“I’d only add that the story includes a new ‘garbage zombie’ villain character whom Batman must defeat, as well as a young Gothamite couple who are soon to be parents. All collide together in Alan’s synchronistic, climactic ending to his masterfully fluid plot.”
CCC: How and when did DC approach you about doing this RETROACTIVE story?
GRANT: “A couple of months back, via an e-mail from Senior Editor Jim Chadwick.”
BREYFOGLE: “I think it was at the end of April that I received an email from Jim Chadwick asking me if I was available. After not having been asked to do any work with DC Comics for the last 8 to 10 years, the offer came as quite a pleasant surprise to me. Luckily, my work with Archie Comics was winding down at precisely that time, so I was able to accept DC’s offer.”
CCC: What was it like getting re-immersed in the Batman universe? Were there any creative adjustments you had to make?
GRANT: “I felt almost as if I was coming home, especially with Norm Breyfogle as the artist. I worked with many talented illustrators over the years — and a couple of dogs as well! — but Norm stands head and shoulders above all others as my take on the definitive Batman artist.
“No creative adjustments were necessary.”
BREYFOGLE: “The only adjustment that had to be made concerned which version of Batman’s costume I’d be drawing, for it was in the ‘90s that Batman first adopted the all-black costume reminiscent of all of the modern Batman films. At first I argued for our using the all black design and I was planning on drawing and a having it colored that way, but then we decided that for the vast majority of the time I was drawing Batman, he’d worn the blue/grey or black/grey uniform, and that’s what Batman wore in the ‘Trash’ story, too, so that’s what we went with, instead.
“Other than that, it was very interesting to me how perfectly natural it felt to be drawing one of Alan’s Batman scripts again. It was as if the last couple of decades had never passed at all, as if we’d only taken a couple of weeks off! Of course, I know it felt that way for me because Alan’s script was as good any he’d ever written and because I’ve been drawing comics steadily all along and so I haven’t had time to get rusty at all (in fact, I’ve only gotten better). Still, it was an eerie kind of feeling to have entire decades of time seem like almost nothing at all.”
CCC: What was it like working again with Norm Breyfogle?
GRANT: “Brilliant! His work has matured over the years, but he’s still the most dynamic artist around. His storytelling, expressionistic art and vision of Batman dovetails exactly with my own love for the character. It’s almost as if we can read each other’s minds.”
CCC: How was the creative process this time around compared to your previous collaborations?
GRANT: “Exactly the same as it used to be. Norm sent me a couple of suggestions — for instance, a lengthy fight scene that I could leave to him to choreograph — and I took it from there. That said, Norm and I often collaborated more closely in the past — I remember once coming home from holiday to find a 52-page fax from him, absolutely bristling with ideas, philosophies and suggestions.”
BREYFOGLE: “Identical, except that now DC accepts only scans; they no longer send or receive original art through the mail as they were still doing the last time I’d worked with them in 2001 or 2002 (when I was penciling The Spectre).”
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.
DC Comics makes no pretense that the Flashpoint reboot and relaunch of their universe is a bid to win new readers. Also, while we can’t expect them to say it openly, it is a bid to reclaim the old ones lost in a decade plus of fan-abuse and character mismanagement. Let’s look in on how one of the first volleys of Retroactive Batman of the 70s is being received.
DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70′s
DC Comics (September, 2011)
WRITER: Len Wein
ARTIST: Tom Mandrake
COLORIST: Wes Hartman
LETTERER: Dezi Sienty
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Chynna Clugston Fores
EDITOR: Jim Chadwick
“DC Retroactive” pairs writers from a certain point in DC history, who then write a brand new story set in that time period, with their artists when available. I guess a 70′s Batman artist wasn’t available.
A new Terrible Trio is loose on Gotham and although amateurs they manage to escape Batman thanks to escape vehicle. Sadly, this coincides with Lucius and his son having a major falling out, with Lucius later believing that Timothy is part of the situation. But how does Talia fit in?
What they got right: Len Wein was my introduction into the Batman comics (my having only known him from the TV shows) so it’s great to see him back on the character in a story depicted as the comic was in the 70′s. His friendship with Commissioner Gordon here is how I know their interaction. While artist Tom Mandrake and colorist Wes Hartman don’t replicate the art style of the time, it is some great artwork.
What they got wrong: Not trying to match the art style of the period, especially with the reprint story afterwords to compare it to. Also the story takes place after the reprint, which comes at the back of the comic, thus the reference to Gregorian Falstaff would be confusing if you hadn’t read the reprint story first.Was Falstaff supposed to be part of a bigger story? (Actually, I thought I heard it was a throwaway mention just to make the conversation work, but I could be wrong.) Also there’s the reveal of the bad guys at the end. [SPOILER] Timothy turns out to be one of the Trio.[/spoiler] Why do this? Was this something Len had wanted to do before leaving? Because it kind of bugs me.
Normally (at least how I’ll approach the Retroactives) I’ll be reviewing the next comic as if it was a new comic (it should be a new read for me) and give the recommendation based on the two together. However, this comic holds a special place:
Top posts of the week: TDKR Trailer, Batmobile in Pittsburgh, Bane mask for sale, and the ever-present Catwoman Costume
The week saw the much anticipated release of The Real, Official, Accept No Substitutes ACTUAL teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, a (possibly staged) peek at the Batmobile as TDKR Production wheeled into Pittsburgh to begin location shooting, the sale of iconic Batman movie memorabilia including a Bane mask and Jim Carrey’s riddler hat and cane, AND the first look at the Batman ’89 Hot Toys line for Comic Con. Yet Catwoman astonishingly held 4 places on the top ten list: Catwoman in DC Comics reboot, Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and Catwoman in Arkham City. Way to go, Miss Kitty.
- Batmobile for the Dark Knight Rises to be revealed. Is it the Audi R-18?
- DC Reboot Catwoman #1 – Wrong costume is a warning sign to fans but characterization sounds like an improvement
- The Epic Conclusion to the Dark Knight Legend
- First look at Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises Batsuit #TDKR #Batman
- Bane Mask, Other Batman Items coming up for sale in Movie Memorabilia Auction
- Anne Hathaway Wardrobe Malfunction – too much Catwoman for the costume?
- The Dark Knight Rises Batmobile spotted in Pittsburgh
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- DC Retroactive: Batman – The ’70s
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