Saturday, March 23, 2013


With the success of Batman Li'l Gotham, it didn't take long for a decision to be made to double production. We were already doing one 10 page story a month, and now  essentially we'd be putting out a 20 page monthly painted comic (still broken down into 10 page stories every other week). And that's also why duplicate covers are starting to appear, with slight coloring changes.

I think the fans thought of it as a mistake or lazy. But anyone familiar with the digital releases that DC has been putting out might notice that one cover is used for multiple stories in a given month. Usually it works out good for stories broken down into 2 or 3 chapters (examples being Arkham Unhinged, Batman Beyond, and Justice League Beyond to name a few). It gets a little more awkward with Li'l Gotham which has a different story each chapter, so two separate stories have to share the same cover in any given month now. Since the increased production sprung up on us quickly, it didn't really allow a chance to alter covers other than different color schemes. But I know in the future, we'll be trying (who am I kidding….Dustin will be trying) to incorporate both story elements into the one cover used for the month.

Until then, our "Lunar New Year" just happens to have nothing in common with the reused cover of poor Joker still trying to run away from the ladies on Valentine's Day. So the joke was on all of us.
As for the story itself, I think it was Dustin's idea for us to do a Lunar New Year story. It would be a nice visual change of pace having a Gotham Chinatown story and all the cool visuals that could go with it. Having the villains be from Kobra (characters we were already familiar with during our opening arc run on Justice League Beyond) kept with the theme of the "Year Of The Snake" for the holiday this year. It was also a chance to have the story center around Damian and Katana. Ends up there's a little history between those two characters.

It comes as no surprise that Dustin and I enjoyed our runs working with Paul Dini on Detective Comics and Streets Of Gotham. A lot of the characters and stories and situations all sort of draw from our time there, as well as other influences like the animated shows and our own interests. It would be during those early Streets Of Gotham issues where Damian showed some interest in Katana. So in Li'l Gotham, it's more of a sibling rivalry, and they play off each other well.

Another flashback was introduced towards the end of Streets, when we saw Alfred in his younger days. He had a cool visual look as the driver for the Wayne family, and a bit of a kick-ass bodyguard. I always loved that appearance of him and thought it would be fun to revisit a version of that in this story by having a flashback sequence to Bruce's early days as Batman.

Without a Robin in his life, it would be Alfred that would be his partner-in-stopping-crime. And of course, a bit of a Kato homage as well. That Dustin decided to paint it in a more sepia tone for the flashback was the perfect choice. We wanted to fit in a little nod foreshadowing where Batman would get his first Robin, by having the circus come through town. Originally I wrote it to have the car stop at the tracks as the train passed in front of them. But Dustin suggested an even better visual of having them drive over a bridge, never realizing how closely their two paths would cross. One of the more beautiful panels he's drawn in our entire run so far.
Animals, animals…everywhere…

It's been a bit of a running gag that was never originally intended but has turned into a happy accident, of having animals and pets in most of our stories. It really started with Dustin's promotional piece that announced Li'l Gotham, with all the baby birds scattered around. Seeing those silly cute things ended up sparking us into having other creatures show up in each of the stories. There's been a history of Damian being a bit of an animal lover in the New52. And that's carried over into our stories. Except for snakes.

Lastly, part of the enjoyment of these stories is coming up with the silly phrases some of the characters say. I think a lot of the puns and humor is just an extension of some of the late night online conversations that Dustin and I have as we go over the scripts and the art. Things have a way of jumping out as we rattle off puns back and forth.

The one I'll end with below, is definitely all Dustin.


  1. The relationship between Damian and Katana was wonderfully done. I really loved the sibling kind of vibe they gave off, it really made the story for me especially in light of Damian's fate in Batman Inc.

    Going into this was Damian's death something you and Dustin were aware of or was that as big a surprise for you guys as it was for the rest of us?

    1. We knew something eventually would happen to him, but just didn't know when.