Comic Talk Magazine
Can you tell me how you ended up drawing Detective Comics?
I decided I was finished with Hawkworld and wanted to move onto other projects. I had sent some Xeroxes to Denny and kept calling him. They were in-between artists, so they had an opening on four issues.
Then, I guess on the strength of that, they asked me if I wanted to do Vengeance of Bane. When an opening finally came through on Detective Comics a few months later, I was the first one considered.
You did some design work on Vengeance of Bane didn’t you?
Yeah, I designed him. I designed Bane and the ‘terrible trio.’ I guess they don’t have a name do they? Now they’re known as ‘The terrible Trio.’ [Laughter]
Did you have any input into the creation of Bane or his personality?
No, he was pretty much fleshed out already.
Have you ever gone to one of those infamous Batman-summits?
No, we had a mini-summit at the last Great Eastern show, but it wasn’t really a Bat-summit. It was more like a Detective summit. It was Scott Peterson, Chuck Dixon, and Scott Hanna.
You came into Knightfall in about the middle. What did you think about what was going to happen to Batman?
I knew what was going on from Vengeance of Bane because Bane was created and designed before the Knightfall storyline. I knew from the beginning.
Did you think, ‘wow that’s terrible,’ or ‘wow, that’s great?’
What he goes through, which I’m not at liberty to say, has evolved from the basic idea to hat was finally decided upon. It’s gone through some changes. I really, really like the final product. It’s better than what the original ideas were.
How do you see Batman? Do you see him as a grim and gritty Dark Knight, or a caped-crusader super-hero?
A little bit of both. I think Batman is the ultimate hero in the DC Universe because he has taken adversity in his lie and channeled it into something positive. He’s dedicated his life to making this decayed city a better place for those who live there. So to me, he’s the ultimate hero. He sacrifices so much for everyone else.
Do you think that Bruce Wayne is as important to Batman as Batman is to Bruce Wayne?
Absolutely. They’re not two different people. They’re the same person.
Are they? Can’t anybody put on a Batman costume and be Batman?
No, absolutely not. Batman is a persona created from a tragic event in Bruce Wayne’s life. I don’t think anybody else could possibly be Batman.
Well, you know Robin isn’t necessarily Dick Grayson. Robin is Tim Drake or Jason Todd or whoever else puts on the costume.
Right, but he’s not the same. They are two different types of people. Robin is an extension. If there isn’t a Batman there wouldn’t be a Robin. So Batman’s influence could shape a Robin, but there’s nobody to shape a Batman other than Bruce Wayne.
Okay, so what’s it like doing Detective Comics?
It’s been great. I love it. If there wasn’t a Batman, there wouldn’t be a Graham Nolan cartoonist, that’s for sure. Because when I was a kid and the TV show was on, that influenced me a lot, as well as the comic books. Batman was a seminal influence on me, so it’s something I always wanted to do. Having the opportunity to work on it with such talented people such as Scott Hanna, Chuck Dixon, and Scott Peterson really is a thrill.
Wasn’t Detective Comics the title you always wanted to do?
Yes, it is actually. Detective Comics were the first Batman comics I ever read. Also, the first appearance of Batman was in Detective, so it’s his home. Also, DC gets its name from it. It has a long history. I’ve big shoes to fill working on it.
Do you have any input to the story so far?
No, most of the story and the direction were all hashed out at the last Bat-conference. I wasn’t involved with that. I guess for the next batch of storylines I’ll have some input. At least I can offer suggestions and input. Whether they use them or not, who knows?
Is there anything you would like to say to the people reading Batman comics now or to those who will pick them up as Knightfall rolls along?
I think people that are reading it, especially the older-time Batman fans, are in for a real treat. We’re making an concerted effort to bring Batman back to the greatness that he should have.
He’s been portrayed in recent years as a psychopath and a nutcase. It seems to me that he’s becoming a lot more heroic. I think the old-time fans will really enjoy seeing Batman as a great hero again.
I think the new fans will enjoy it too. They’re hopping on a great storyline. The whole Knightfall series should have a lot of impact.