knightfall tagged posts

Screenrant Interview with Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins

Screenrant
Tales from the Dark Universe: Knightfall Writers Finally Break Batman
October 16th, 2019

An Interview with Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins
Interview by Andrew Dyce

When DC’s Metal introduced readers to the Dark Multiverse, it was obvious the concept had far too much potential for just a single series. Now that roiling sea of alternate realities too violent, too grim, too hopeless to ever survive is being given its own line prestige one-shots. These standalone stories ask the same question: what if a pivotal or iconic DC storyline had turned out differently? And it’s officially begun, with the release of Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1.

The first ‘what if?’ nightmare brings fans back to the story that saw Batman broken by Bane, with Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) taking up the cowl in his place–before Bruce Wayne returned to put an end to his brutal reign. Bruce defeated Azrael, saving Gotham and sending Valley on his own mission of redemption… but what if he hadn’t? The answer to that question is delivered in Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 from writers Scott Snyder (Batman: Last Knight on Earth) and Kyle Higgins (Power Rangers: Shattered Grid), and artist Javi Fernandez (Justice League). A vision of Gotham thirty years in the future, when Azrael–sorry, ‘Saint Batman’ rules with gleaming cross and flaming sword, and the most unlikely hero returns to free the city from his tyranny. Screen Rant had the chance to speak with both Snyder and Higgins about how this alternate Knightfall embodies the spirit of the Tales From The Dark Multiverse stories still to come, along with some “giant” events coming in 2020.

With Batman: Last Knight on Earth and Nightwing: The New Order under your belts, neither of you are strangers to hypothetical nightmare realities of the DC Universe. But how did Knightfall, and the question ‘what would Gotham have become if Azrael had won?’ make it onto the shortlist?

Kyle Higgins: The whole initiative really started with Alex Antone, an editor at DC, who started putting together–off of Scott’s awesome work in Metal, and the creation of the Dark Multiverse–this idea of, ‘would there be any interest in exploring some of the other worlds?’ Then from there it became a question of which other worlds? Which stories made the most sense to dive into? I think for Scott and myself both, Knightfall is one of those iconic stories from an earlier generation of Batman that definitely influenced me growing up. So the opportunity to dive in there and see what that might look like through the lens of a broken world, and had Bruce never actually returned to the mantle, what that might look like. Especially based on the idea of who Jean-Paul Valley was at that time, and how mentally ill-equipped he was for the mantle, and that role. It definitely felt like all the great makings to build out a pretty killer new character, and a ‘what if’ scenario, for lack of a better descriptor.

Scott Snyder: For me, I think Knightfall is one of the stories that really haunted me as a kid. Even the first time I read it. I really felt Bruce broken, and really felt he might not get back up. So there was always a question of massive possibility, and there is a real sort of uncertainty around it for me, just as a reader. I remember I genuinely believed he might not come back this time. So the idea of the Dark Multiverse, when we created it for Metal based on all our greatest hopes and fears are material and sort of bubble up into worlds all their own. It felt like a perfect starting place for Tales of the Dark Multiverse series. To go back to one of the stories that felt like it genuinely could have ended a different way, and take it to someplace really imaginative and dark. And then just give Kyle and Javi credit, I just helped a little bit in the plotting. All the great stuff in there from the psychology and the design of Son of Bane, to the way Azrael appears as this kind of broken king. That was all really their doing. So I was just happy to be a part of it and see it become something even more than I hoped it would be.

KH: It was a really cool, exciting opportunity. Because I really started my career writing monthly comics with Scott, with Gates of Gotham together back in 2010, 2011. Then leading into the New 52 with him and Greg [Capullo] on Batman, and then Eddy Barrows and I doing Nightwing, and trading off arcs and certain Court of Owls reveals and things like that. It was cool to kind of slip back into that dynamic here. It had been a few years but I think, not to put words into Scott’s mouth or anything, but it just felt comfortable. Like talking to an old friend again, breaking stories and building it out. So for me it was also a nice return to the DCU after spending the last couple of years in Power Rangers world… where I also built out some authoritarian, broken kings. I’m trying to keep it on brand.

Readers of Flash Forward are going to be familiar with Tempus Fuginaut, but a lot of people might pick up this one-shot and feel like they’ve missed an important story already being told. How much do they need to know?

SS: What I always say is we try to construct things that don’t require you to read beyond the issue itself. So hopefully even if you don’t know who Tempus is, you can get a sense from this and not feel in any way lost. We’re hoping that’s sufficient. But I always say, one of the things that we’re proudest of right now at DC is that we’re trying really hard to build one connected universe. The stuff that we started in Metal in 2017 really comes to a head this year in Justice League, as the story is ramping up to the end now. And more in Batman/Superman with what Josh [Williamson] is building, and what James [Tynion] is going to build in Batman, and in Hell Arisen at the end of Year of the Villain. It’s all connected. The hope is that you’ll read it and won’t feel left out at all by seeing Tempus in there. But you’ll be able to go read Flash Forward, you’ll be able to go read whatever else to get a bigger picture of this expansive tapestry, this immersive, giant soap opera we’re telling that’s going to end in something really huge in 2020.

Batman fans are almost guaranteed to be at least a little familiar with Azrael and Jean-Paul Valley, but for those who haven’t read Knightfall in years, what was it about Azrael that informed the Batman he would become, and the mission he would take?

KH: Well I think there’s two components to that. The first is purely from a kind of, ‘hey, what would that look like?’ standpoint of logistics. It was a lot of fun to take this character and see the longer he was Batman, the more of his authoritarian tendencies started to come to life. Then just before Bruce came back in the original story, he straight-up killed somebody. So extrapolating from that, ‘what might he look like had he defeated Bruce when Bruce came back to try to reclaim the mantle?’ And with the increased level of influence that the St. Dumas programming was starting to take in Jean-Paul Valley. How would that manifest in his leadership? Particularly as he is left to his own devices, and unopposed. So from a world-building standpoint that created a lot of really interesting questions and possibilities.

From a character standpoint though, one of the things that interested Scott and I the most was that this is a guy who knows deep down he was the wrong choice. I think there is a massive inferiority complex there. So as you see in the series, his relationship with broken Bruce Wayne is really the crux of this story, and of this world, and of his decision-making. I think there’s probably a part of me that remembers that era and thinking, ‘why didn’t Bruce call Dick to become Batman?’ Then there was the whole prodigal son storyline that came after that, where Dick did become Batman and addressed some of those choices Bruce made. I think Jean-Paul Valley would definitely feel that, and know that he’s basically another man’s stand-in. I think if they don’t have a solid enough foundation, that can drive somebody mad. That was one of the things that really attracted us to this, and building out what this version of Batman might look like, given where his insecurities and fears in this Dark Multiverse world would really be rooted.

I expected a dark vision of the future, and a pull no punches story, based on the Dark Multiverse one shots from Dark Nights: Metal, but… boy this goes to some incredibly unexpected places very, very quickly. Was that Horror part of the initial idea, or did that line of what would be too outrageous only get drawn once you started building out the story?

SS: I think it was a fun balance. On the one hand we didn’t want it to be a straight-up ‘what if’, or show what happened right in the days after. Because it almost felt like that would be too predictable, and too familiar. We wanted to really play with the idea that it’s been a long time since Knightfall came out, so we wanted to take you to a world that would reflect that. Not just, ‘what would have Gotham become in the immediate aftermath?’ Which again is something you can imagine right off the bat. I think having Knightfall take you someplace a little bit more speculative, and more surprising. And it would give us room to create a more inventive extension of some aspect of that story. Like with the Son of Bane. Take us further, really show Bruce in a way we’ve never shown him before, take him to a darker place.

The world-building is what attracted us to taking it a little bit further down the road. I think the fun of this series–and I hope people will pick up the rest of it as well, with the other classic DC stories imagined in darker iterations–they allow you to revisit some of your favorite work, but do so in a way that opens up completely new worlds. Really explore the core aspects of those stories while staying true to what those stories were about, and what Batman is about for this one, what Superman is about for The Death of Superman. Trying to say something important about the heroes in the context of the stories they were revisiting. But do it in a way that allows us to really flex these muscles creatively, and create characters that you’ve never seen before.

I mentioned Tempus Fuginaut earlier, and not to get into spoilers, but Tempus puts this Dark Multiverse tale into the context of a coming “crisis.” That word isn’t used lightly, so how much should fans read into that?

SS: Yeah… I think they should read a lot into it! These books are not meant to be–we don’t want to mislabel them, or position them in any kind of false way as a ‘prelude’ to a giant Crisis or anything like that. But what they speak to in terms of something coming, I think it’s been a drum beat that you’ll see, again, across the DCU. Both in Year of the Villain and Hell Arisen’s ending, and Batman, and Justice League, and a lot of the things that were doing in the whole line. We are planning something really big, and a giant story. Greg and I are really excited about it. And without sort of spoiling anything about it, I can just say we wanted to be able to read everything independently and enjoy it, and then at the same time feel like it will all be rewarded. My motto for 2020 is, and this is a piece in what we’re building to, is that everything matters. The idea that we want you to feel like everything you’ve read will be rewarded. There’s nothing that you’ve read, whether it goes all the way back to Metal, whether it’s Flash Forward, whether it’s Leviathan or Doomsday Clock, that isn’t revisited in a way that fits into a larger plan or a larger tapestry. We’re trying really hard to make something connected and fun and completely enveloping in that regard, that’s cumulative.

Because one of the fun things that… I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the first time I’ve seen it done outside of comics, but at its core, one of the few things that comics has that other mediums generally don’t–save that one or two examples–is their connectivity. You can immerse yourself in a world where these superheroes coexist, and the stories come together once in awhile to make something huge and amazing. That was always a great joy for me, as a kid especially, feeling the payoff and being like, ‘oh wow, this is all part of one thing!’ Or, ‘oh that’s right, that story happened over here, and this hero is talking about it because it affected him in a way I didn’t expect!’ All of that stuff to me is part of the joy of comics. I think it’s important to remember that in a world where everything is immediate, and total consumption of singular mythology–everyone binges one show or one thing and it’s done–comics go on, they continue. And the fun of it is living in that huge, immersive world.

So this is one giant story leading to something huge, and every part of it is relevant in that regard. We want you to feel like you can buy in as much or as little as you want, and enjoy whatever aspects of this you choose.

For you Kyle, how does it feel to create the most disturbing version of Batman in easily the last decade? Is this a case of the student becoming the master?

It’s pretty cool. Well, I don’t know if it’s the most disturbing of the last 10 years because you haven’t seen what’s coming next. But I also would say that it’s rare in life that we ever get to revisit eras that are ostensibly over. And for me, like I said, to come back to work with Scott again, to work on something like this where I’m able to come back and show what I’ve been doing for the last 5 years–especially all the world-building I did in Power Rangers–it was really really cool and gratifying. I feel very honored and lucky to have the trust of not only editorial, but Scott as well. I know how hard it can be sometimes to let people come in and play in your world– like I said, I literally just spent all of last year doing that with Shattered Grid, and running all of that–so I totally recognize that.

It’s very special to me to be able to come back and work on this. So hopefully people pick it up, and dig what we’re exploring here. And stick around for not only the rest of Dark Multiverse, but as Scott eluded to, all of the big things that are coming in 2020.

CBR Interview with Kyle Higgins

CBR
Dark Multiverse: Knightfall’s Kyle Higgins Talks Batman and a New Crisis
October 15th, 2019

An Interview with Kyle Higgins
Interview by L.D. Nolan

Running from 1993 until 1994, “Knightfall” remains one of the the most iconic tales in Batman’s long history. After sustaining a backbreaking injury at the hands of Bane, Bruce Wayne gives up the mantle of Batman to Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael for a time. However, Valley proves too brutal. Wayne eventually has to return and defeat his former protege in order to protect others and once again become the Dark Knight. However, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and Javier Fernandez’s Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman — Knightfall #1 imagines a world in which Valley beat Wayne and remained Batman.

Announced earlier this year, Tales from the Dark Multiverse is a set of one-shots set in the worst-case-scenario universe first introduced during the Dark Nights: Metal event. The book picks up 30 years after Wayne fails to take his mantle back from Azrael and explores the dystopian world resulting from such a cataclysmic change, as well as the new Batman’s extreme methods.

CBR caught up with co-writer, Kyle Higgins to talk about the new “Crisis” teased in the book, why Azrael fails as Batman, writing fascism, and world-building for the newest world in the Dark Multiverse.

CBR: My first question for you is about something right towards the start of this issue in the preview that CBR ran. Tempus Fuginaut, who’s heavily involved with Flash Forward teases a new Crisis. What can you tell me about that and how it fits into these one-shots?

Kyle Higgins: I really kind of started my career at DC. I started at Marvel, but my big breaks came at DC, and those were in conjunction with Scott Snyder, working on Gates of Gotham. And then I transitioned for the New 52 to Nightwing and Scott transitioned to Batman. Anyone who remembers that era probably would remember that we often interlinked arcs. So there’s a natural fit here as to why he and I decided to do this initial one-shot to kick off all the Dark Multiverse one-shots that are forthcoming.

And that particular point that you just keyed on about the tease of a new Crisis, perhaps the biggest yet, is absolutely a component of that… I can’t say anything specific about it, but what I can say is that it’s there for a reason, and it’s not a coincidence that Scott and I did this issue together.

Azrael really struggled with being a hero when he first took over for Batman during the original “Knightfall.” Why do you feel that he fails at being Batman?

There’s kind of two components to that. The first is that he was really kind of designed and set up to fail. From a narrative standpoint, if you look at the era that that story was built during, and you look at old interviews that Denny O’Neil gave, he talks about this kind of proliferation of antiheroes. Whether it be Lobo, Punisher, Wolverine, the popularity of these antiheroes of that era is what really sparked this idea for the Bat office, which was “okay well let’s explore this and let’s show people what a Batman that kills looks like, ultimately as a cautionary tale as to why it’s so significant that the Batman as we know him, Bruce Wayne, Batman does not.” So that was kind of the initial set up for what became the “Knightfall” event in the comics.

As far as in-story reasons, I just don’t think Jean-Paul was really equipped for the task at hand. And if you look at a lot of his conditioning under the Order of St. Dumas and his background, he did the best he could with the wiring that he had. But I think that as the pressure mounted and what it means to try to be Batman in a city like Gotham, some people are kind of cut out for that and others aren’t.

I mean, you look at quarterbacks in the NFL, and the ones that come in with immense talent and are playing off of that talent purely for a period of time. They might have success early on, but eventually, there’s enough tape on them, that opposing defensive coordinators figure out how to scheme away a lot of that natural ability, and they’re forced to actually figure out how to play at a higher level within a scheme and that’s where you see careers go off the rails, or you see them rise above… I just don’t think Jean-Paul Valley had the fundamentals. He didn’t have a strong enough foundation that would have made him the type of Batman that could have risen to the challenge.

So, going off of that: your Knightfall picks up a long time after Azrael defeats Batman. Were there any stories from that time that were kind of floating around in your head that you didn’t get to tell. Maybe of successes, maybe of failures? Because as you said, he wasn’t quite equipped for that role.

To me, because of the answer I just gave, I was only interested in exploring this era that was. I think it’s in the solicit. It’s about 30 years after he became Batman. When someone’s not equipped for it, but is either enabled, or, well, I don’t want to get into how and why he was able to, in our version here within the Dark Multiverse, stay as Batman, but to me looking at what that kind of darkest timeline with a Jean-Paul Valley who does not have the right foundation and perhaps moral compass to rise to the mantle that he’s taking on… showing the extreme of that after a significant amount of time [had] passed was the best way to explore it. I wasn’t as interested in jumping in and looking at a few months after the point of divergence and what that would look like.

To me, looking at how the city would have changed, how his support structure would have changed how the very idea of Batman would have changed some 30 years later, that started getting exciting for me.

A lot of that change is that Azrael is kind of running an almost pseudo-theocracy. And in your previous work — I’m thinking specifically of Nightwing: The New Order, which dealt a lot with fascism — what draws you to these stories about authoritarians misusing their power?

Without getting political or anything, I think they’re very timely right now. I think they often make for really compelling cautionary tales. In something like Nightwing: The New Order, or even my Power Rangers work with Lord Drakkon, the idea of someone, for the greater good, doing what is necessary, but ultimately what is necessary undercuts why they got into the work in the first place, that to me is always, like I said, a fascinating kind of cautionary tale.

And in the case of Jean-Paul Valley and the setup of this story, it was pretty ripe for that exploration. Like I said, this is someone who has not equipped morally or mentally for the task at hand, and when left to his own devices, this is a story of how things can go incredibly wrong.

I guess I hadn’t really thought of that before, that I have explored some of those kind of authoritarian tendencies in past work. But, again, I do think that there’s something very — we write about what we’re afraid of. At least I do. And there are definitely things in the world that we live in right now that, again, without getting political, echo some of those fears.

How do you view Azrael’s relationship in Knightfall with the rest of the DC Universe? What’s his relationship to all the other characters who are kind of floating around. Superman? Nightwing?

I don’t want to spoil too much here, but that was something that Scott and I talked quite a bit about. What does the outside world look like? And the idea of cutting Gotham off from the rest of the world as a result of what has happened in the rest of the world… Azrael definitely believes that the ends justify the means, and that he has kept Gotham standing, and he has turned this city into a paragon of virtue that the rest of the world could only ever dream of becoming through strong moral conviction and willpower. But so much of what the rest of the world has become, you could argue, is actually a direct result of Azrael cutting Gotham off from it. So, there’s a little bit of a chicken and egg kind of question at the core of this story.

There are little hints throughout the issue as to what things look like. Whether outside of Gotham, whether it be other heroes or other threats, different types of plagues. Even just kind of the status of Lazarus Pits in the larger DC Universe. To me, that wasn’t the core of the story. And this a story with a pretty limited amount of space. I mean, larger than most one-shots, but still, to build out an entirely new status quo, you have to really kind of pick your battles as far as where you decide to focus your page real estate for world-building. So again, we kept things pretty tight on what Gotham looks like in this world. But I think eagle-eyed readers will see hints about the fate of different characters throughout.

You have worked on a lot of alternate worlds and continuities or things that give you more room for play. When you’re writing something like Tales from the Dark Multiverse, what storytelling possibilities does that open up for you?

Well, I definitely pride myself on finding the most interesting through lines within a kind of higher concept. And a lot of alternate timeline stuff really allows for that, because at their core there tends to be a point of divergence or a higher concept that, for lack of a better term, a quote unquote “elevator pitch,” right? This is a story of where it’s this but in this era, where this happened and then that naturally leads to questions. Well, how did that come about? What is this person? As you just said, what happened to Superman? What happened to these people, and then it allows for really interesting world-building opportunities.

I kind of really spend a lot of time figuring out the world- building and in the most efficient and, hopefully, emotionally resonant way. It’s kind of like a tumbler lock, where each pin is a different possibility within a concept, and you have to get them all to kind of lineup right for the lock to open. I just really enjoy that challenge. And the “what if?” of it all, to me, is always a lot of fun to play around with. You can take it to an extreme that you couldn’t in standard continuity and use that extreme and the exploration of that extreme status quo to ultimately make whatever kind of emotional or thematic point interested you in the story in the first place.

Is there anything else you’d like to add just as we finish up?

It’s always fun to come back to Gotham, and I’m really proud of the issue and really happy to be working with Scott again and hopefully people will pick it up, give it a chance. The other Tales from the Dark Multiverse stories are all very exciting. And I think this is a really cool line that’s coming up and hopefully people won’t sleep on it.

DC Interview with Sean Gordon Murphy

 

Fatman on Batman w/Andy Biersack

 

 

The New 52 – Convergence

The Convergence story line stars heroes from the ‘Zero Hour’ arc under the banner of the
‘Batman: Shadow of the Bat’ title, each with a variant cover.

 

Batman: Shadow of the Bat
Issue No. 1 – June 2015
The Dark Side of the Street
With the people of Metropolis trapped under a dome, Bruce Wayne decides to go under cover in hopes to work for the crime boss Tobias Whale. Little does he know that Jean Paul had the same idea and is currently working as Whale’s hired muscle under the assumed name, ‘Johnny Valli.’ As a sort of initiation, ‘Valli’ must give Bruce a brutal beating before joining up.
Bruce and Valli then pay Councilman Hall a visit with Bruce under the orders to murder Hall. Days later the duo are in their batsuits working to hijack Whale’s plans. After knocking Whale unconscious the two batman come to odds in their differing ways of achieving their goals. Bruce then feels a shift in time and reality.

 

Batman: Shadow of the Bat
Issue No 2 – July 2015
Home is the Sailor
The Wetworks team is on a mission as the city’s champions and are on the hunt for Batman and Azrael. If the duo beat Wetworks however, the inhabitants of the aircrat carrier will be killed.
In the end Azrael strikes up a deal for Batman and Wetworks to team-up in an effort to break down the dome and unite with the heroes on the outside.
Azrael has other plans though and decides to stay with the people of the aircraft city to be their defender.

 

Knightquest – The Crusade

detective667coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 667 – October 1993
Wild, Wild East
It’s official, Jean Paul is now the Batman and taking to the mean streets of Gotham. However, getting bored with common criminals, he starts to tweak his suit and uncovers one of Harold’s creations, the subway rocket! This new vehicle uses long abandoned Gotham City sudway roads that date back to a literal underground railroad connected throughout the city.  Meanwhile the Trigger Twins come to town and join a local mob ring.

 

 

 

 

 

detective668coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 668 – November 1993
Runaway
Still new to the subway rocket, JPV almost gets into a head-on collision with an actual train while trying to stop the Trigger Twins from robbing a money train! Due to his father’s condition, Tim is able to receive his license early and heads down to the batcave to pick up a car that was promised to him by Bruce. Showing up in his Robin uniform he has an altercation with Jean Paul who informs him that this Batman does not need a partner. Almost strangled to death, Robin escapes Jean Paul and is locked out of the cave.

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat19coverBatman: Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 19 – October 1993
The Tally Man: Part One
After handling some routing street crime, Batman sees a building with isolation chambers and decides to try one out, wondering if it may help him discover more about himself. Across town the Tally Man is collecting life debts. One of his trails leads him to the warehouse district Batman is at and decides he may as well take out the new dark Knight as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat20coverBatman: Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 20 – November 1993
The Tally Man: Part Two
With both Batman and the Tally Man dealing with the effects of the isolation chamber, they  attle their minds and each other. Thanks to a falling water tower and the system kicking in, Batman is able to take down the Tally Man, beating him inches away from death before leaving him for the police to take over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman501coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 501 – November 1993
Codename: Mekros
Batman gets a vision from St Dumas, telling him he must continue his crusade as Gotham’s dark angel. After breaking up a mob meeting, the bosses get together and hire a former government agent to down Batman. After a meeting Commissioner Gordon notices that something is very different about Batman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman502coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 502 – December 1993
Phoenix In Chaos
Batman survives his first formidable encounter and defeats both Mekros, as well as anothet hisman who was hired to take out Mekros. Batman goes on to form an unlikely alliance with Mayor Krol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective669coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 669 – December 1993
Town Tamer
The Trigger Twins are back again, this time they have hijacked the Public Transit Authority System’s train that collects all money from public transportation. Batman chases down the stolen train and brings them in to justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective670coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade (Mislabeled as part of ‘The Search’
Issue No 670 – January 1994
Cold Cases
The body of Mr. Freeze washes up on shore from his last encounter with the Joker. He is brought into the Gotham City morgue by Bullock and Montoya when it is thawed out, temporarily bringing Freeze back to life. Batman and Montoya take down Freeze, but she is left shaken after witnessing the brutality of Batman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

catwoman6coverCatwoman
Knightquest – The Crusade (Mislabeled as part of ‘The Search’
Issue No 6 – January 1994
Animal Rites
Catwoman and a group of animal rights activists set out to stop a group of corporate developers who have developed a neurotoxin to be rid of protected species. The notes for this toxin are stolen and must be acquired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman503coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 503 – January 1994
Night Becomes Woman
Believing that Catwoman is the thief of the Xylon-C neurotoxin, he tracks down and encounters her, only to find that she can very easily tell via pheromone that he is not the Batman she has faced all these years. While in the Batcave, Jean Paul researches her through the files Bruce kept in the batcomputer, trying to figure out why she has gone free all these years. He also wrestles with ‘thoughts’ of her.

 

 

 

 

 

batman504coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 504 – February 1994
Dark Dance
Jean Paul has another vision of St. Dumas while he chases Catwoman. The Gotham PD find Catwoman with the canister of the Xylon-C neurotoxin, believing her to be involved in terrorism as the docks catch fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

catwoman7coverCatwoman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 7 – February 1994
Body Chemistry
Catwoman escapes the police and displays that what she has is in fact a decor. With Batman’s help, they rescue the scientist who initially concocted the toxin and save the attendees of an international conference from being poisoned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective671coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 671 – February 1994
The Cutting Room Floor
The Joker forces Hollywood big wigs to fund his movie, ‘The Death of Batman,’ and begins to stage crimes to get footage of Batman in action. While checking on a mugging victim, Batman witnesses her falling to her demise from a window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective672coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 672 – March 1994
Smash Cut
Batman moves into  save Robin who turns out to be the mugging victim he saved the previous night dressed up as Robin as part of one of his staged acts for his film. Captured by the Joker, the Gotham PD decide to step in after receiving a poster for Joker’s film in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective673coverDetective Comics
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 673 – April 1994
Losing The Light
Chained into a situation he can’t quite get his way out of, Batman wrestles with himself and the demons of the system. Watching batman’s actions, the Joker is infuriated when he comes to the realization that this is not the Batman he has faced all of these years. Once Batman breaks free it takes the Gotham PD to stop him from permanently taking the Joker out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman505coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 505 – March 1994
Blood Kin
Jean Paul begins to embrace the detective side of Batman as he investigates a murder scene and begins to have a vision of St. Dumas and his father battling over the direction of his life. The murderer Abattoir kills five members of his family and is now going after his cousin and a bus full of children. This encounter sees Jean Paul redesigning his cape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat26coverBatman: Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 26 – April 1994
Creatures of Clay – Diary of a Lover
While checking in on the survivors of Abattoir’s school bus attack, Batman is attacked by Lady Clayface who begrudgingly wants to kill him. Meanwhile, Clayface III kidnaps Abattoirs cousin, Graham Etchison, who is being counseled by Leslie Thompkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sotb27coverBatman: Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 27 – May 1994
Creatures of Clay – Child’s Play
After being defeated by Batman, Lady Clayface reveals that she is only going to these measures because Abbatoir has kidnapped her and her lover’s child. Batman instead meets at the rendezvous point to save the baby and brings Clayface III to justice. Abbatoir however escapes and straps Graham Etchison to the death machine while Batman wonders if this baby will turn out as its parents did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman506Batman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 506 – April 1994
Malevolent Maniax
Batman joins Ballistic who comes into town under contract to kill Abbatoir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman507coverBatman
Knightquest – The Crusade
Issue No 507  – May 1994
Ballistic
Also in town on contract to take down Abbatoir, Batman and Ballistic take down the Maniaxe in a Gotham city nightclub. After taking out the lawyer who set the contract in motion, Ballistic collects his fee and leaves town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knightquest – The Search

jltask5coverJustice League: Task Force
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 5 – October 1993
Death In The Caribbean
Outfitted with a wheelchair ready for battle, Bruce and Alfred head to the island of Santa Prisca in search of Jack Drake and Dr. Shondra Kinsolving. Upon arrival, they are attacked by local assassins but are saved by Bronze Tiger. After checking into a local hotel that caters to drug dealers, Bruce meets up with Gypsy and Bronze Tiger who spy on the locals to find that Jack Drake is not doing well while the locals shoot a bazooka directly at the hotel to kill Bruce and Alfred!

 

 

 

 

 

jltask6coverJustice League: Task Force
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 6 – November 1993
Bronze Tiger and Gypsy are ambushed as they try to uncover Bruce and Alfred from the rubble of the hotel, unbeknownst to them that they are safe by way of a tent in the chair off grounds. Bronze Tiger and Gypsy meet up with Green Arrow to face Asps, kidnapper of Dr Kinsolving and Jack Drake. Though they are able to rescue Kinsolving, she willingly boards a helicopter with Asp not wanting to leave Drake in his current state. Bruce charters a yacht more determined then ever to rescue to the two.

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat21coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 21 – November 1993
Bruce Wayne: Part 1 – The Hood
Now in London, Bruce and Alfred seek out local vigilante The Hood to break into MI5 to steal the file on Dr. Kinsolving and Jack Drake’s kidnapper, Benedict Asp. They come to find out that Asp is described as a ‘freelance psychic consultant,’ and his intentions with Dr. Kinsolving are to use her long dormant healing powers to harness and reverse, causing death instead. In London, Asp is to hold a ball which Bruce intends to attend.

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat22coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 22 – December 1993
Bruce Wayne: Part 2 – A Day In The Death of an English Village
Attending Asps’ ball as Sir Hemingford Grey, Bruce gets closer to finding Dr. Kinsolvng and Jack Drake. Using her powers, Asp demonstrates the death of a small nearby village. When she steps out, Bruce recognizes her but not him in his disguise. The Hood, along with an agent from MI5 also close in on Asp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat23coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 23 – January 1994
Bruce Wayne: Part 3 – The Curse of the Bat
Not pleased that Sir Hemingford Grey seems to know Dr. Kinsolving, he orders his men to dispose of him. Bruce however holds his own and is saved by the Hood after he crashes in having discovered the death of the nearby village. Hood promises not to tell anyone that Hemingford, Bruce, is actually Batman and Bruce vows to bring down Asp for his crimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

legendsof59coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 59 – March 1994
Quarry – Part 1
Bruce continues in his pursuit of Dr. Kinsolving and her captor, Benedict Asp when their secret is revealed; they are brother and sister who can harness their power only when in each others presence!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

legendsof60coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 60 – April 1994
Quarry – Part 2
Asp threatens to kill four heads of state through his combined familial powers. Afraid that Bruce Wayne may become a target, Alfred leaves Bruce and heads back to Gotham to ask Batman if he can look after Bruce, but Jean Paul is reluctant. Bruce plans to be captured by Asp in an attempt to get closer to the duo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

legendsof61coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 61 – June 1994
Quarry – Part 3
Going according to his plan, Bruce is captured by Asp during a hurricane hitting the island. Asp figures out that Bruce Wayne is really Batman and Dr. Kinsolving uses her powers to heal Bruce, but in doing so mentally reverts herself to the state of a child. Asp disappears and is assumed dead.

 

 

 

 

Knightfall – Who Rules The Night

detective664coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 12
Issue No 664 – July 1993
Who Rules The Night
To prove supremacy, Bane takes Batman’s unconscious body into the heart of Gotham and throws him from a roof into the town square for all to see. Disguised as medics, Alfred, Tim and Jean Paul arrive at the scene in an ambulance to take Batman back to the cave to stabilize him. Robin calls in a favor from Commissioner Gordon for medication to aid in Bruce’s condition. Meanwhile upon hearing the news about Batman Joker sees no need to work with Scarecrow anymore and turns on him.

 

 

 

 

showcase937coverShowcase ’93
Knightfall Part 13
Issue No 7 – July 1993
Face 2 Face Part 1 – Double Cross
As Alfred and Robin look after Bruce, Robin recounts an event a few weeks prior where he felt just as helpless when Two-Face returned to Gotham. While investigating, Batman is set up and a bridge is blown, sending the Batmobile into the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

showcase938coverShowcase ’93
Knightfall Part 14
Issue No 8 – August 1993
Face 2 Face Part 2 – Bad Judgement
An exhausted Batman is captured by Two-Face as his body is fished out of the river. Batman is brought to the original Gotham City Municipal Courthouse where the trial that scarred him, turning him into Two-Face occurred. Robin is able to figure out where Batman is taken and crashes the party, enabling Batman to gain the upperhand and initialy saves Two-Face from falling from the building after a bad decision made by Robin. Meanwhile Batman begins to become conscious.

 

 

 

 

 

batman498coverBatman
Knightfall Part 15
Issue 498 – August 1993
Knights In Darkness
With Batman out of commission, Bane begins to attack and absorb gangs in Gotham as well as capture Catwoman and want her to pay tribute to him.  and Tim create a mock car wreck and ask Dr. Shondra Kinsolving to be Bruce’s personal Doctor in aiding in his recovery. Bruce asks Tim to go to Jean Paul and ask him to become Batman with the explicit instructions not to go after Bane. The duo meet Comissioner Gordon letting him know that the Batman may be injured but is not out of the game just yet and will make Bane pay.

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat16coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 16 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 1
Note: Though not a numbered issue of the Knightsaga, this issue is considered a part of it due to being a mission with Jean Paul as Batman prior to batsuit modifications. Scarecrow uses his fear toxin to get a group of Gotham University students and staff. Meanwhile Anarky escapes believing that Batman is the cause of the city’s problems and must be stopped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat17coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 17 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 2
Discovering that one of the students is the son of the first man that he ever killed, Scarecrow uses him as a special part of his plan. At 10 at night, the Scarecrow has the students release his fear toxin throughout the city and claims himself the ‘God of Fear.’ In discovering Scarecrow’s plans, Anarky devises a plan to ry and take down both Scarecrow and Batman at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowbat18coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 17 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 3
With both Batman and Anarky after him, Scarecrow gives the people of Gotham City 2 hours to declare him the ‘God of Fear.’ Being caught on a rooftop, Scarecrow throws the student over the building as bait; Anarky saves him while Batman goes after Scarecrow who is able to overcome his fear toxin. He ten lets Anarky know that next time they meet he will kill him for standing in his way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective665coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 16
Issue No 498 – August 1993
Lightning Changes
With the city in chaos, Robin and Jean Paul as Batman go into the city to start breaking up street crimes and make the presence of Batman known. Jean Paul begins to go a bit too far with his brand of justice and is reminded that Batman does not go the way of brutality. Robin sticks by Jean Paul to keep an eye on him deciding against telling Bruce. Batman shakes down ‘Tough Tony’ Bressi to get a lead on Bane. Meanwhile Bruce pays Dr. Kinsolving a visit next door at Jack Drake’s home where he witnesses her being kidnapped. In trying to stop it, Bruce is further injured.

 

 

 

 

batman499coverBatman
Knightfall – Part 17
Issue 499 – September 1993
The Venom Connection
Bruce and Alfred ready for a trip to Santa Prisca to rescue the kidnapped Dr. Kinsolving and Jack Drake. Bruce tells Jean Paul to keep up the good work while he is gone. While in flight, Bruce and Alfred discover that Selina Kyle has stowed away on the Wayne jet. After taking down some of Bane’s men, Jean Paul returns to the cave and designs new gauntlets as an addition to the costume to become tougher.

 

 

 

 

 

detective666coverDetective Comics
Knightfall – Part 18
Issue No 666 – September 1993
The Devil You Know
With Bane’s men in custody, Batman devises a plan to find where Bane is hiding out. Batman breaks out Bane’s main henchman – Zombie, Trogg and Bird, leading them to believe that Bane helped them escape. He follows them to the hideout to encounter Bane, not realizing Bane is ready for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman500nscoverBatman
Knightfall – Part 19
Issue No 500 – October 1993
Dark Angel
Note: This issue was released with two covers, the newstand version (Shown to the left), and a foil die-cut variant, seen in black and white below.
Showing supremacy over ‘the imposter,’ Bane dangles the new Batman over a building in the same square where he threw Bruce. Batman is able to overcome serious injury from the fall but blames the suit for his failed encounter. Allowing ‘The System’ to take over, Jean Paul designs a new batsuit that he feels will be better suited for him over the classic batsuit. Meanwhile Nightwing meets with Robin to discover Bruce gone and Jean Paul as the new Batman, wondering why he was not asked to stand in.
In the second part of the story, Jean Paul is now clad in his new batsuit and ready to take down Bane, publicly. As the police watch, Mayor Krol intervenes and asks the police to stand down and let Batman take care of Bane. The battle ensues throughout Gotham until Jean Paul discovers Bane’s weakness is his dependency on Venom. Once he shuts that off, he unleashes his new suits full arsenal on him, leaving Bane begging Batman to take his life as he declares him the real Batman. Robin also congratulates Jean Paul, letting him know he has earned the right to be Batman now before heading off into the night.
batman500fullcover

Knightfall – The Broken Bat

batman492coverBatman
Knightfall Part 1
Issue No. 492 – March 1993
Crossed Eyes and Dotty Teas
Following the massive Arkham breakout, the Mad Hatter is the first to make a move. He sends Film Freak to find out who sprung them from confinement and then invites Batman to a tea party. The thugs at the tea party are easily defeated, and Film Freak is killed by Bane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective659coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 2
Issue No. 659 – May 1993
Puppets
The Ventriloquist and Amygdala team up to find Scarface. Batman find them at a toy store break-in while Robin follows a falcon that leads him to one of Bane’s henchman, Bird. Bane does not allow Robin to take Bird as he retreats. The story ends with the duo hearing that Zsasz has taken hostages at an all girls boarding school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman493coverBatman
Knightfall Part 3
Issue 493 – May 1993
Redslash
Already feeling exhausted from capturing the escaped Arkham inmates, Batman and Robin enter the boarding school where Zsasz is holding 15 girls hostage and has killed two police officers. Bane and his crew watch the story unfold via televised coverage as Batman is assisted by officer Montoya. Bird reports to Bane that Batman is appearing to look physically exhausted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective660coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 4
Issue 660 – May 1993
Crocodile Tears
Still trailing Bird, Robin is captured by Bane and questioned when Killer Croc intervenes to  battle Bane. Batman is discovered by  Detective Bullock unconscious, unable to come to Robins aid. The boy wonder is caught between the two as they do battle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman494coverBatman
Knightfall Part 5
Issue 494 – June 1993
Night Terors
Narrowly escaping the sewer brawl between Bane and Killer Croc, Robin returns to the Batcave. Cornelius Stirk teams up with the Joker to go after the Mayor. When Stirk fails the Joker teams up with the Scarecrow to attack Mayor Krol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective661coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 6
Issue 661 – June 1993
City On Fire
Firefly returns and sets Gotham ablaze while Batman sends Robin after him as he continues his battle against the escaped Arkham inmates and captures Cavalier. Meanwhile the Joker and Scarecrow terrorize the Mayor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman495coverBatman
Knightfall Part 7
Issue No. 495 – June 1993
Strange Deadfellows
Exhausted, Batman fails to capture Firefly. Bruce Wayne attends a Wayne Foundation Charity dinner with Dr. Shondra Kinsolving which is commandeered by Poison Ivy. Bane watches from outside and immediately knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Elsewhere, the Joker and Scarecrow continue to torture Mayor Krol and lure 20 police into a fun house, detonating it and killing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

detective662coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 8
Issue No 662 – June 1993
Burning Questions
The Riddler hijacks a TV show but is quickly taken down by Robin, the police, and the bomb squad! Huntress gets the drop on the Riddler’s crew and Batman finally catches Firefly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman496coverBatman
Knightfall Part 9
Issue No 496 – July 1993
Die Laughing
With Mayor Krol in a state of shock thanks to the Scarecrows fear toxin, the Joker and Scarecrow devise a plan to lure Batman to the Gotham City River tunnels. They then call Commissioner Gordon and ask to send the National Guard, however Batman is on their trail and bests the Joker, but not before being gassed by his fear toxin. The fright sends him mad and he seeks revenge on The Joker for the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. Joker and Scarecrow narrowly escape, leaving Batman and Mayor Krol to deal with the flooding tunnels.

 

 

 

 

detective663coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 10
Issue No 663 – July 1993
No Rest For The Wicked
The longest night in Batman’s life continues as he and Mayor Krol are swept through the flooded tunnels of Gotham City as Batman gets him to safety. Only afterwards is Batman ambushed by Bane’s men, Trogg, Bird, and Zombie. Meanwhile the final showdown is being put into play as Bane take out Alfred at Wayne Manor and awaits the Batman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

batman497coverBatman
Knightfall Part 11
Issue No 497 – July 1993
The Broken Bat
Batman returns to Wayne Manor to find Bane waiting for him, revealing he knows that Bruce Wayne and the Batman are the same person. When Batman refuses to submit to Bane he is beaten harshly, first upstairs in the house, and then below in the cave where Bane takes Batman over his knee and breaks his back, leaving him broken on the floor.

 

Overstreet Fan Quesada 97 Interview

Overstreet’s Fan
February 1997
Issue #20

Burning Down The House – Ash and Azrael fan the flames
By Arnold T. Blumberg

In 1997, The year of the crossover part 2, comic book readers will witness some of their favorite characters and creators joining forces for the first time. With so much comic history being made, it will be difficult to decide where to look first for action and excitement, but if the logic behind one particular crossover pairing  is any indication, the Ash/Azrael project spearheaded by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti will be one to watch. This one-shot, 48-page prestige format book scheduled for March will bring together the two characters who not only share an artist, but the same affinity for fire. Fan braved the heat to get the scoop from Quesada himself, though our intrepid interviewer seemed to have something else on his mind as well…

I’m going to see Star Trek: First Contact tonight!
What?

Um…nothing. Let’s talk about the Ash/Azrael crossover.
Ok. What you have to look forward to is, without a doubt, the best of all the crossovers.I guarantee it.

Good selling point.
This crossover was based on complete and total logic. Jimmy Palmiotti and myself created Ash, Denny O’Neil and I created Azrael, and I had a hankering for drawing Azrael and Batman again. Since Azrael and ash are both fire based characters, it was a natural thing.

[While playing with a couple Borg figures] How did the project come about?
It started with a phone conversation with [DC Editor] Archie Goodwin. We were catching up, and I said if ever there was an opportunity for Ash and Azrael to meet, and possibly even get Batman involved, I would drop whatever I was doing to do it.

This is your first time back on Azrael since the Borg war of 2366. I mean uh, since you left the title.
Absolutely, and another bonus was coming back to DC. Working for DC remains one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve ever had in the comic book industry. The only other thing that would’ve been cooler is if we’d thrown the Ray in there too. But maybe somewhere down the line…

So what’s the story going to be?
Well, we’ve been discussing this for quite a while, making sure the team behind it was the best quality, and I told Denny I didn’t want to do a story where they meet, fight, and then become friends. So they’re friends from the onset. The book actually opens up with a big fire.

What? Aren’t the fire suppression systems working? I’d better get Geordi on that right away.
Who?

Uh, well, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. Anyway, will this crossover involve some sort of temporal rift or spatial distortion?
No, there’s no time portal or anything like that. We start in Gotham City, get a little Batman in there, and then Azrael comes to New York to meet up with Ash. He’s actually sent by Batman to clear his name in Batman’s eyes. Firefly and Oracle are in the book, and we created a new villain to antagonize our heroes.

This crossover arrives right in the midst of a wave of similar projects. Why do you think there’s so much ‘crossover mania’ these days?
I think it has to do with economics. Even the bigger companies are realizing that they should expand their relationships. But it also has to do with people saying, ‘let’s get back to having fun.’ There’s nothing to lose here, and readers finally get what they’ve been asking for all this time. The first set of Amalgam books for example were so much fun!

Yeah, why can’t they do that all year?
It’s almost like they were able to loosen up for a second, and not take it too seriously. I thought they were some of the most brilliant books of 1996.

Well, as we say goodbye to 1996, just what do we have to look forward to in 1997?
We’re committed to getting Ash out monthly. We have a plan that involves Humberto Ramos, Mark Waid, and Brian Augustyn. And this isn’t me abandoning my character. While Humberto is working ahead on Ash and getting momentum going, I’ll be working as well, with a story arc by James Robinson. So there will be Ash out on a monthly basis, and Humberto is kicking it all off for us, allowing me the time to finally get some books in the bag.

It sounds like Event is boldly going where it’s never gone before…schedule wise that is. You also have a lot of big players in the industry lined up to help you.
Whatever you want to call them, I think the most important thing is to roll the dice with these guys, you generally roll sevens 90% of the time in terms of story. In terms of respect, you roll sevens 100% of the time.

(Looks up from tricorder he’s fiddling with) Mm-hmm, sounds like a warp field equation.
I don’t…

(Closing tricorder) Nothing, forget it. When will we see these issues of Ash?
Mark, Brian, and Humberto’s first issue of Ash will probably be in May or June. Mark and Brian will also be working on another ongoing series for us, Painkiller Jane, drawn by Rich Leonardi. Before that comes out though, we have Painkiller Jane/Darkness crossover, a one-shot written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Amanda Conner. So you see again we shoot for the top.

Well sure, it’s always best to target the bridge area for maximum effect.
I’m not following…

What I mean is, you’re sticking with just two monthly books?
Yes, we’re not expanding to a thousand titles. Our aspirations are not to be Marvel or DC. We want to keep it small and manageable. It’s the same sort of goals Valiant started with, and when it was manageable it was good. When it became unmanageable it lost it’s charm.

Right, it mushroomed out of control, like a warp core explosion.
…Right. There’s only so many good creators out there, so there’sonly so many good books you can put out.

Why do you think all of these talented people are drawn to work with Event and Ash?
I think the draw has always been there. We’ve always had good relationships with all these creators, it was just a matter of working with everybody’s schedule. A year ago, we wouldn’t have been ready, but now things have started to gel. We’ve made a lot of mistakes at Event, and I’ve been the most guilty party in terms of lateness. When we first started, we solicited for our company before the books were even done. That was a big mistake, and the people who end up getting hurt are te retailers and the fans. I’m tired of blowing my commitment to all of them, so I’m stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘I’m taking the time to put some books in the bag, but I’ll be back. In the meantime, here’s someone who is really friggin’ good to draw the book.’ Plus the fact that me and Humberto have a standing bet –  but we’ll let the fans decide. Humberto swears that he draws Ash better than I do, so we have a little bit of a grudge match going. I’ve already seen how he draws Ash, and I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Sounds like you’ll be in the trenches for a while.
You’ll still here from me, mostly with covers for Ash and editorials, so I’m not disappearing by any stretch of the imagination. The result is that next year, people will see two thigs they’ve never seen before. One, they’re going to see Ash monthly. Second, by the end of the year, they’re going to see me coming out monthly. Now that probably means the end of Western Civilization as we know it, so just hold onto your hats. It’s going to be really crazy.

Any desire to try other projects along the lines of Ash/Azrael with the big boys?
In terms of working with DC or Marvel, it has to have a certain appeal. The Ash/Azrael one was a natural and not just a paycheck. I didn’t know on Marvels’s door asking for an Ash/X-Men crossover.

Oh, that’s something we need.
I have no interest in it. It would be a huge paycheck, but that’s not what we’re about. We want what’s going to read and look best, and what’s going to work best for the characters. Besides, I don’t think that DC would’ve agreed to this if it wasn’t the perfect character matchup.

Besides which, it seems like many creators are rededicating themselves, as you are, to the utmost quality in their work.
I can’t speak for anybody else, but at Event, we’ve always been true to the fans when we guarantee that no book we put out will be of substandard quality. Even our new, creator-owned title that’s coming out Dave Ross’ Thrax, is a magnificent book, and we hope people will pick it up and give it a shot. We always stay true to that commitment.

That’s an admirable notion.
In the recent past, people have been late on books, which is a constant industry problem, especially for the smaller guys, or they’ve been putting gout schlock, for lack of a better…well actually a have a better word, but you know what I mean. We’ve never really stooped to the latter as far as I’m concerned, but we have been late, and I think it’s a case of the industry going through an evolutionary pattern. During the glut, there were a lot of people who really had no right drawing comics. Ten years ago they would’ve still been showing their portfolios around, so the industry is sort of digesting and getting rid of what it doesn’t need, and there were a lot of books that should have never been printed.

Now we’re weeding off the chaff.
Exactly, and I think it’s something that would inevitably make the industry stronger. I think all the publishers are realizing this is a natural progression, and the guys who are left are hopefully the ones who always do good work. Guys like Simonson, Chaykin – they’ll never want for work, and there’s a reason why they’ve been around for all these years. They’re still great.

Let’s alter course for a moment and come about on a bearing of…um, sorry. I’ve had some experience with conventions over the years (shining up his communicator pin), but what was your impression of the convention circuit this year?
It’s always enjoyable, but this was a rough year. Because of the political conventions and the Olympics, every con got slammed together within a week or two around the 4th of July. I was concerned too because I didn’t see kids at the cons up until New York. That was the brightest spot at the convention, the fact that there were little kids again. That was a really good sign to me, and it was a major concern. I talked to a bunch of people at the beginning of the year, and we were all wondering, ‘where are all the kids?’ everybody is sixteen or over, checking out all the half-naked spokesmodels.

(Looks up from a model of the Enterprise that he’s flying toward a Klingon ship, making torpedo sounds) Where?
At the conventions…

Oh.
And I can’t blame them, but at the New York con, I was the first autograph ever for about three kids, and that’s never happened to me. At the Event booth, I was telling our employees that any kid they see on line who looks to be about seven or younger can cut the line and they each get a free book. These kids are the future of our industry, so we have to plant the seeds again and get it growing.

Is that an influence on what you choose to portray in your comics?
Absolutely, and especially with Ash, we have a certain set of guidelines that we adhere to, sort of our own Event Comics Code for Ash.

Ahh, regulations, excellent. My favorite is the Prime Derective.
What?

Ummmm..So no half-naked spokesmodels for you?
Not in Ash, but maybe at my house later. But that’s beside the point. Our Ash-universe books are a little more family-oriented.  With a fireman superhero there’s a little bit more responsibility I need and want to take. The shame about the industry today is that aside from Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, there really haven’t been any conic characters created in years. As wonderful and successful a book as Spawn is, the mothers of America will never embrace that character, and I think Todd McFarlane knows it. With Ash and our deal with Spielberg’s Dreamworks company to adapt the character to film, we have a good chance to turn it into something that will hopefully last longer than I do.

Yes, something that lives long and prospers. Do you think 1997 will see some positive changes for the comic book industry as a whole?
I’d like to think that things are turning around. There used to be a point where you could predict which books would sell and which books wouldn’t sell. But this has been such a year volatile year, I don’t even want to hypothesize. I’m just wishing everybody well, and I hope it’s a good year for all of us. We’ll just see how it goes.

I agree, we should all just relax and enjoy the infinite diversity of the industry and the ways in which we combine to form meaning, and beauty. (Shows off his IDIC medallion and grins).
Right…I think. We can’t take ourselves so seriously. It’s comic books! It was always meant to be fun. It was fun when I was a kid, and it’s still fun for me today. Even the tactile smell and feel of a brand new comic book, especially on cheesy newsprint, means something to you.

Ahh yes, just like the warm tingle of a transport cycle…
What is with you?

Thanks for your time, and good luck in the new year.
Thank you.