Saturday, June 16, 2012


Most of the stories in Arkham Unhinged are stand alone one-shots at 30 pages long. To use a comic term, they were "done-in-ones". One story in one issue. And breaking conventional logic, I decided that it would be more fun to jump around and not have them all line up in order. In Arkham City, the game takes place in one long night with Batman inside the city with the criminals. But for the comics, the idea was we'd be able to use the vast timeline in the Arkham-verse set up in both games. We could tell stories during or before Arkham City, during Arkham Asylum (which takes place a year before Arkham City), or even further into the past. Whatever benefited the story and the characters involved. That said, it maybe made it harder for the casual reader to understand. They might get confused why one villain would appear in one issue one month, and then their next appearance might not relate to it at all if the story jumped ahead or behind from the last story we saw them in. I always tried to put in specific "markers" into the stories so those playing the games might be able to figure out where in the timeline of the game the story could fit. But it always made it interesting reading fan reactions if they were able to pick up where the stories took place, or if they were confused altogether.

As far as issue two goes…it was a rare exception. It picked up right after the end of the story in issue one. A captured Two-Face and Catwoman (from the end of last issue) are en route towards Arkham City. And Batman is in pursuit but fails to release them. And this is all told later that night by Batman to Jim Gordon on the top of a building. It's a chance to tie-in a lot of elements of the game, the players involved, and flashback to various elements that could be further explained (such as Hugo Strange working at Arkham Asylum of the first game, behind the scenes, when he never appeared in that game to begin with).

Ching's rough layout and finished pencils
Stories like this are also great because it's a chance to flesh out characters that didn't get much screen time in the games themselves. Jim Gordon has only a few scenes sprinkled into both games, so to have an extended issue that has him and Batman having one of their great rooftop talks is what Batman comics are all about. And it's a nice way to bring readers up to speed on some backstory while the characters are unaware that they're being advanced on by Tyger soldiers as the action builds to its conclusion.

Also part of the fun of working on a project like this, is sort of becoming a de facto art director. To keep to a weekly schedule releasing these Arkham comics, it was always going to be a matter of turning in a lot of scripts in advance and have a lot of artists involved (usually one per story). So it comes down to the editor and I to find various artists that have an open schedule. For this issue, I had stumbled across the art of Brian Ching on deviant art (check out the Links column on the far right to find a direct path to his site). His pencils looked incredibly detailed and a nice fit for this story. So it came as a surprise when I recommended him to my editor, only to find that he had already seen and hired him for this story. Pretty cool!

Inks by Livesay

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