Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Working on Li'l Gotham is this sort of fun way to have a range of stories that Dustin and I want to tell. We'll have some serious or sentimental stories like our Christmas tale. But also have the lighter ones like this.

Our "New Year's Revolution" was something that Dustin had in mind for awhile. If I recall correctly, it was the first script ever finished as he had a first draft of it done before we pitched the Li'l Gotham title to DC. And with each story, what happens is we split duties. We have a "lead writer" on each script, with the other writer providing notes or additional suggestions. This is definitely a Dustin story, and we're all the better for it. I always count on him to provide the cute and fun, and I'll add in some silliness when it calls for it.

Pencils to Watercolor...before-and-after
Li'l Gotham is also a chance to provide something missing, I think, in the New52 titles… a little bit of fun. Having the Sirens together to get into their mischief tends to write itself. Harley & Ivy always go great together, as well as adding Selina into the mix. I think it's a chance for Dustin to shine since he enjoys drawing them and he really gets some great acting and exaggerated performances out of them onto the page.
"Fervor" in Li'l Gotham and in Arkham Unhinged

Showing the cosmetics company associated with "Fervor" was a little shout out nod to the character I created for an Arkham Unhinged story. One of those last minute instances where the story called for the Sirens to go after someone that was polluting the earth, and I had a ready made villain that could fit into that role nicely. Her fox scarf being the symbol in the factory sign.

I don't know if Dustin was intentionally influenced by it, but the "Holiday Knights" animated episode of Batman:TAS always sprung to mind when working on this issue. Some likely parallels with the girls going on shopping sprees, playing dress up, and getting into all sorts of trouble in both instances.

The New Year's story came quickly after the Christmas one due to their close proximity of holidays on the calendar. So it's a little bit longer of a wait to get the next story for Valentine's Day. But thanks for hanging in there in the meantime.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


The thing I'll always remember most about this issue was Rocksteady's reaction. And it was something I didn't find out about until I met up with them in person.

I had mentioned before about visiting the Burbank offices of DC in the process of writing the comic both before and during the release of the game. Rocksteady would have someone in town on other business, and it would be a chance to meet up, and chew their ear off on game details and notes as I was planning future stories. And one of the things brought up was their surprise over the Deadshot story, whose script had already been turned in.

There's a reveal towards the end of it, of someone who isn't who they appear to be, and we find out their true identity. Rocksteady felt the person in question was out-of-character, and things didn't mesh up with what they were doing in the game. They had gone through the process of writing down notes of things to change as they read through the script. Then when they got to the end, they got the rug pulled out from under them and it all made sense. Everything they thought was wrong would be explained by the reveal of the true character. And actually, I was at fault for their surprise.

Most writers I believe will explain at the beginning of their script if there's some twist or catch that happens by the end of the story. In that way, it prepares the artist and editor when reading the script, to know this information up front as its being worked on, in order to avoid any confusion or errors. So of course, I unintentionally ended up doing the exact opposite. I wrote it without tipping anyone off until they got to the end of the script, just like the reader would. I wanted to know if it worked for someone reading it through for the first time without any previous knowledge. I wanted a natural reaction. And Rocksteady themselves gave me that! And it was fun hearing that from them in person.

As for the story itself, so many of the ideas came from sitting down and playing the game hours upon hours. You'll spot things while you play and wonder if there's a story to tell. One such thing was in the museum. That's Penguin territory in the game, and he has a map on the floor and a blueprint on the wall, simply labeled "Operation: Kill Joker". The game and the comic both go into the backstory of the feud between Penguin and Joker. But seeing the blueprint, I thought he must've been trying to assassinate Joker throughout the timeline of the game, to have labeled it as such. And who better a perfect assassin than hiring Deadshot to do it. We'd only seen Deadshot in side missions as he goes about picking off political prisoners. But here was a chance to give him more story than he had in the game.

Also, Arkham Unhinged gave us a chance to dive into backstories of the characters previous to being incarcerated in Arkham City. I always relished those, because it would provide the opportunity to visually show the classic versions of the characters. Most got redesigned for the game, but this allowed us to also show their original (and more familiar attire), whether that was Deadshot's classic metal face mask appearance, or even tying in Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad. I miss the huskier look to "The Wall" not seen in the current version of the character at DC comics. But as a flashback unassociated with the New52, we'd be able to to get away with it here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013



With Batman Beyond Unlimited #10, we finally arrive at the end of our opening JLB story arc "Konstriction". What a long and crazy road it's been to get to this point. Various formats, release dates, chapters added or amended, grouped together, and stretched out. But yet the main story was told how it was originally pitched. It just took a little longer for it all to play out.

I should start by talking about the cover. Dustin's been drawing so many of these now, for both Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond, that it's natural to take them all for granted. But with this last cover to end out the arc, he wanted to do a huge jam piece with as many characters as possible. Of course, I think after he proposed it, he regretted it for all the drawing it would entail. Be careful what you wish for. Since the end battle would involve the entire JLB along with the Thanagarians and Green Lantern Corps, he wouldn't be lacking for characters to draw onto the cover. Dustin also showed a bit of the creative process over on his tumblr, where he explained how his son was involved in helping him design some of the Green Lanterns he used on the cover. Such a cool dad, right? Link provided to go check that out:  Batman Beyond Unlimited #10 cover process

As for the story itself, I had been looking forward to these last chapters ever since we brainstormed up the original pitch over a year ago. A way to bring in one final Kirby creation, Etrigan The Demon, and his famous rhyming dialogue, which seems to come and go depending on who has written the character over the years. It was nice to sort of get Dustin out of his comfort zone. He's drawn so many traditional Batman characters during his run on Detective and Streets Of Gotham, that this was a chance to toss all sorts of other heroes and villains at him. The fan in me gets to see him draw all these different versions while having purpose for being in the story.

The return of Mister Miracle was an accidental surprise that really didn't come until the 11th hour. Back when Darkseid was revealing what happened to the New Gods in their battle with the snake, Miracle would be the first one to fall victim and "die". And as our story progressed and we'd have a somber ending with Jimmy Olsen's death, it felt like we'd also need to have some happiness to balance things out. And who could provide a better escape from death than Miracle walking out of the mouth of the dead snake. A happy accident that sort of wrote itself. Anything to bring a smile to the normally aggravated and dour face of Barda, works for me.

A few other easter eggs of note…

I figured it would be fun to have a descendant of Lana Lang that ends up reporting the news in Metropolis. And since most characters in comics seem to have alliteration in their names, it was just a matter of finding the right one here (Lindsey seemed the popular choice). Also the false front business building that Kobra was using called J & J Burr Financial, was a nice shout out to the very first Jack Kirby Kobra one-shot comic (for Jeffrey and Jason Burr).


Bruce is able to release Etrigan from Terry using a familiar tool from the Batman animated series episode "The Demon Within". As we saw in that episode, whoever holds the iron brand of Morgan Le Fey is able to command and control Etrigan. Definitely one of my favorite episodes and it was nice to be able to use it here as a nod to that show.

Jason Blood's fate is left a little more ambiguous. The character's history in the comics and his animated appearance have always shown his curse of being bonded to Etrigan. How he was able to break away from that fate is a story left to be told.

Another backstory is a reason for Superman's cape being here. To actually get into why Superman is dressed how he is in the Beyond timeline, and it's not because the fashion of the day calls for black and white. I always felt there was a more somber reason why he might've decided to abandon the red and blue cape and tights. Whether the cape was given to him or something left over in the cave as part of his collection, Bruce would bring the cape along to use to cover Terry after the ordeal he went through. Also on a side note, I never saw those white arm and leg panels on Superman's costume to just be some fashion accessory or sewn into the costume, but rather purposeful…solar paneling. Fandom or even past history of the comics have stated or assumed that Superman will grow stronger over time, the longer he ages and absorbs sunlight. But I always felt that over time, his body would weaken. Maybe not absorb the sun's rays quite the same. So the solar panels are a means to help collect, save, and transfer that to Kal-El.

And one last chance to toss in a familiar face. Bruce had mentioned Selina Kyle in passing in an episode of Batman Beyond. But we never did find out what happened to her. This was a way to have her show up and see that she's still alive and looking good for her age. What their relationship entails in their later years is left open. But from time to time, she might be called on by Bruce to help out as a confidant. It's sort of sweet seeing her here as his driver. A service once faithfully provided by Alfred, and also Terry.

So that's that. The end of our first JLB arc. Thanks to all the patient fans that have stuck around, reading it digitally or waiting for print, and for sharing their thoughts, questions, and enthusiasm. And I'm always interested in hearing more of what the readers think as we move along. Much gratitude!