Saturday, November 24, 2012


While working on Arkham Unhinged, my approach was two-fold…tell interesting stories (for myself and hopefully the audience) and to try to make sense of various things in the game. You were hopeful to be successful at one of those; lucky if you were able to accomplish both. But a lot of time, it really came down to deadlines and getting the work completed, since there was always the process of getting everything cleared through both Rocksteady and DC, and then do any last minute re-writes before tossing it to the artists to give them enough time to draw it up. It was amazing that it stayed on-schedule at all.

Case in point…when the idea came down to have a story that tied into the "Harley Quinn's Revenge" downloadable content, it was already under the gun. I remember visiting the offices to meet with DC & Rocksteady (who happened to be in town) in mid to late February. The hunt for the artist began immediately. I turned in the script for March. And then the artist had to draw 60 pages of story and finish in time for the comic to come out in and around the release of the game content in May. So basically…not a lot of time. Most artists struggle to produce 20 pages in a month's time. Jason had to draw three times that in under two months.

While I feel like I can work quick on my feet, I always lean more towards being prepared and thinking ahead as much as possible. Which is why it can be so frustrating working in comics which seems to constantly fight against that notion. After finishing "End Game", I tried to pitch a tie-in story that could explain the new Arkham City Armored Edition. Since that newer version of the game for the Wii would include new armored outfits for Batman and Catwoman, I thought it would make for the perfect advertisement…both for the game as well for getting people to try the digital comics. And if planned and finished quickly enough, they could even add the comic as a special download/code insert included in the games itself (introducing the Nintendo audience to the digital comics). Of course this would leave out the people that had already bought the game on the previous platforms, but I figured that the story could eventually be bundled into the print comics so no one would miss out. I know it was something even tossed around for "Arkham City End Game" at one point, maybe to be included in the Game-Of-The-Year edition or as part of the HQR download. But it never went past the idea phase as they were more concerned with finishing it on time.

The idea I pitched for the digital comic tie-in would help show what their armored suits were capable of in the game, but the fan in me thought it would be the perfect way to introduce Lucius Fox into the Arkham-verse. That he would be ideally responsible for creating the technology for the suits. And you could even have Catwoman steal that technology to adapt it to her own outfit. I saw it as being something that would happen before the Arkham City game itself, so there'd be a larger timeline available to make it work. Needless to say…it never happened.

At the time of the pitch, DC didn't have any firm idea when the Armored Edition would be coming out, so it wasn't something on their immediate radar. I think they were more concerned with Unhinged coming out week-to-week and weren't thinking that far ahead. It's a shame too that the companies never plan stuff that far in advance. They do for larger event crossover books. But I'd say a majority of regular monthly comics out there from all companies turn in each issue barely on deadline each month and seem lucky to know any handful of stories coming up. I guess it comes as no shock that anything a month or more ahead is seen as something to worry about for later.


  1. I love these, "What could have been" posts you make, it's fun to see what's behind the doors so to speak.

    At any rate, your idea for the WiiU version reminds me a little of the earlier Surgeon's General story you wrote that showcased some of the various skins for the game. Seeing as how that was one of my favorite chapters it's not hard to imagine that if this project had come to life I would have likewise enjoyed it greatly.

    1. There are all sorts of coulda beens that I'm sure I'll eventually get around to talking about if I feel the time is right. With the release of the Armored Edition version of the game, I felt it was okay to reflect on this one.

      I know they showed reservation and concern about making too many stories built around the mechanics of the gameplay. But I always felt when a story called for it, it couldn't hurt to shed light on various things associated with the game. I mean...that's the whole reason to have continuing stories in the Arkham-verse.

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