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Mark Millar and Steve McNiven Talk About Nemesis

December 31st, 2009 Comments off

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven–the team behind last year’s hit Old Man Logan and the writer of Marvel’s Civil War, Wanted and Kick-Ass, bring you their newest story. Nemesis is going to be one of the hottest comic book events of the new year and a bunch of people have been talking about it on the interwebs since they announced the series.

What follows is an interview with Millar and McNiven about the series. Warning: The following interview contains adult language.
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The two of you have developed quite a history working together, first with “Civil War” and then with your follow up, “Old Man Logan,” both massive hits for Marvel. I guess teaming up for “Nemesis” was a no-brainer?

Millar: I just love Steve. He’s amazing. After working with somebody this brilliant, it would be heart-breaking to work with somebody shit. I’m just spoiled now. I can’t stand seeing the brilliant artists I’ve worked with work with other guys. I’m like a psycho ex-girlfriend. The minute I come to the end of one project with Steve or Hitchy [Bryan Hitch] or John Romita Jr. or somebody, I’m just thinking of the next thing for them.

So Steve and I really had to do a third project together. We get along well, even though he’s a prick and Canadian, and we work really well together too. We’ve only done two comics together before – “Civil War” and “Old Man Logan” – and both, like you said, were massive books. So the logical next step was a creator-owned project that shatters all records. We made Marvel a lot of money with these first two projects, and we feel we paid our dues and we had fun writing and drawing almost all of the characters that we’d ever want to do. But now we want to create something, and we want it to be bigger than “Kick-Ass.” “Kick-Ass” went through five printings each [issue] and has sold something like 115,000 [copies] an issue. But we want to beat that. “Nemesis,” we hope, is the next big thing. We’re very excited and think we have something quite unique here.

So when Mark called, Steve, you were ready to go?

McNiven: Yes, definitely. Mark is fun to work with. He writes stuff that’s fun to draw, and that’s great when you’re not pulling out your hair. And he makes me lots of money, too [laughs].

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Millar: What? I’m in it for the craft, baby. Jesus, you make me feel like Jodie Foster in “Taxi Driver.” I didn’t realize I’m just your wee cash cow [laughs]. Steve’s Harvey Keitel and I’m Jodie Foster. [Laughs] I thought he loved me, but now I see it’s just about the cash.

OK. Before, we jump into this, let’s put the rumors to rest. “Nemesis” is not an Avengers project, or an X-Men project, or a Marvelman project. It’s not even set in the Marvel Universe. It’s another world that you’ve created.

Millar: Absolutely. It’s a Marvel book, technically, in the sense that it’s published by Marvel, but like “Kick-Ass,” it comes out via Icon, and that means me and Steve own all the rights just like Johnny and I own the rights to “Kick-Ass.” It’s a sweet deal.

McNiven: It’s great for Marvel to have an imprint there for us. It’s really a great place to do this kind of thing. Just looking at how well “Kick-Ass” has done. It really gets your hope up.

When we first emailed back and forth about this project, Mark, you teased me with the tagline your friend suggested: “What if Batman was The Joker?’ I guess the answer to that is you’d have “Nemesis.” What was the genesis of this project?

Millar: Yeah, a lot of people who’ve read it have been coming up with hilarious tag-lines. “What if Batman was The Joker?” is the tame one. “What if Batman was a total cunt?” is maybe my favourite, although it’s hardly going to be an ad. Marvel President Dan Buckley sort of paid me a compliment, saying, “This is such a stupidly simple and obvious idea. I can’t believe nobody’s ever come up with it before. You are the master of the stupidly simple idea.” Which I suppose is kind of flattering because everyone said that about “Kick-Ass” too. It’s almost too simple.

But, yeah. “Nemesis” is a reversal of the Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark archetype. What if this genius billionaire was just this total shit, and the only thing that stood between him and a city was the cops? It’s Batman versus Commissioner Gordon, in a weird way. Or maybe a super-villain version of “Se7en.” A billionaire anarchist up against ordinary people. The Joker’s the best thing in the Batman movies, so this guy is a bit of an amalgamation of all the stuff we like.

McNiven: And we didn’t want to do a little creator-owned book. We wanted to do something that shoots for the Top 10 and competes with “X-Men” or “The Avengers.” We want this to be as big as it possibly can be. We’re aiming directly at the mainstream, too, and have already set up some corporate backing you’ve never seen in comics before, and international press. Mark has been working overtime on this one.

Millar: I’m a great believer in creator-owned books not being small. I think probably growing up in nineties’ comics did that, seeing things like “Spawn” and “WildCats” that did really well. I just love the idea of creator-owned books outselling Marvel and DC even.

So the idea that you do your Marvel and DC stuff with big sales and then you do your little creator-owned work on your own, I’ve never been a fan of that. I’ve been really lucky that “Wanted” and “Kick-Ass” have all sold hugely. So with this, I just wanted to do the biggest one of the lot. “Kick-Ass” beat “Wanted” as the biggest creator-owned of the decade, and we’re hoping this beats “Kick-Ass.”

McNiven: Aim high, buddy.

Millar: I don’t see why it shouldn’t. Steve is the biggest-selling artist in comics. If you add up all his sales and divide it by the number of books he’s done, he’s the biggest selling artist by a mile. At the moment, he’s the biggest and best of this generation.

Steve, you need to hire Mark as your agent.

McNiven: I know. That’s why I work with him.

Millar: It’s totally true. There are guys who sell well, and then there’s Steve. It’s just a different league. So the idea of getting Steve to go from “Civil War” to “Old Man Logan” to this big, new creator-owned thing to me feels just like Todd MacFarlane going from “Spider-Man” to “Spawn.” So I wasn’t going to give him a little slice of life thing about what it’s like to be a gay Muslim living in Arkansas or something like that [laughs]. It wasn’t going to be that kind of creator-owned. It had to be huge.

Nemesis is the world’s smartest man, and the bad news for us is that he’s the world’s only super-villain. That means he’s got freeze guns and jump-jets and all these James Bond gadgets and he’s using them against us. To entertain himself, he picks a different cop every year and makes his life a misery. The book opens with him fucking over Japan’s top cop, and then our story, the mini-series, takes place as he shifts his attention to Washington and his first American attacks. The visuals we’ve released here are just single panels from the Japanese segment. It’s the best stuff I’ve ever seen Steve do.

Do we get to see Nemesis in the Bruce Wayne role – the billionaire playboy, out and about town?

Millar: I wanted it to be a kind of mystery. I liked the idea of having “who is this guy?’ as a plot thread running through it. Why does he keep going after these cops and flying and training all around the world to end up in America to take on this one guy? So we find out a little more about him every issue.

McNiven: It’s a clever idea to switch it around so you don’t have the origin at the beginning, as opposed to Batman where you get it right at the beginning. I think this makes it a little more of a compelling story.

Millar: It’s the reverse superhero concept. A superhero story normally has a linear fashion. You see how he becomes that guy, and then you see him in action. But here, we’ve done the reverse. The origin comes at the end of the story. But he’s the Hannibal Lecter of supervillains in that sense. All the cops are needed to go up against a guy as formidable as this. He’s almost supernatural, he’s so good. But he happens to just be in a costume. Hopefully nobody’s ever seen anything like it before. We’re so used to supervillains fighting superheroes, I just thought, “Imagine if there was only one person on the planet like this, and he was actually a bad guy.” How would cops deal with him, even though he has no super-powers?

Let’s talk about the main cop, the Commissioner Gordon to Nemesis’ Batman/Joker. What can you tell us about him?

Millar: Very simply, I wanted to do a book about the world’s greatest villain up against America’s greatest cop. I just liked the high concept of that – the idea of a villain going around from country to country and having a battle of wits with the best guy that he can get his hands on. And he sends them a little funeral wreath with the date and time of when they’re going to die on it, every one dying at precisely that time. All these cops in the Pacific Rim are dead, and then we come in at the American side of the story and see the struggle of this guy in just trying to stop him.

McNiven: Tell him about the charity auction.

Millar: Ah, good point. Another thing that I should mention is the two lead characters – the secret identity of Nemesis and also the cop – haven’t been named yet. At the moment, I’ve written the scripts just with kind of placeholder names, but I wanted to do is what I did with “Kick Ass,” which was have a charity auction for the kids at a handicapped school where my brother Bobby works. Doctor Bob works at this amazing place and he’s trying to raise money to send the kids on another special trip. “Kick-Ass” raised a few grand for them, and now Dave Lizewski is a movie star name. There are two names up for grabs on “Nemesis,” and we’ll get details of this auction on CBR in the New Year.

Steve, can you speak about the look of Nemesis and the cop?

McNiven: Mark and I have been talking about it quite a bit. We want to make the guys good looking. They’re not ugly mugs. And they’re relatively young, as well. Even though Mark said this cop is Clint Eastwood-level good, it’s like young Clint Eastwood, not “Gran Torino” Clint Eastwood. Not that there is anything wrong with that. We get great mileage out of the old guys. The visual is to try and keep them very clean and very elegant and not go with giant belts and big shoulder pads and pouches everywhere and that sort of stuff. We’ve tried to streamline them and give them more of an iconic look. 

We’re just talking about the different outfits right now. But Nemesis, being the central figure, we really worked hard on his design.

I started with more of a Midnighter type of look, but we wanted to work with a white costume, something that really stands out in the shadows. Very much the antithesis of a Batman costume with the cape, as well. But in working out that initial design, we realized it was a little too bulky, too much armor. We wanted something smoother and simpler, and so we really distilled it down to something that’s almost the bare essence of a costume.

A lot of the impact of the costume is going to be more in the acting of the character, as opposed to some costumes where you have giant shoulder pads and huge guns and all that stuff, and it takes the place of any particular acting on the character. This one is stripped down, and we’re trying to let the character of Nemesis come through.

Millar: Almost the way Batman was a good guy dressed in black, we’ve reversed that to the bad guy dressed in white. It just seemed obvious to me. And there are so few characters out there wearing white, it’s actually an unusual look in comics. There are loads of red and loads of blue and loads of black. We wanted a guy that’s very, very visually distinctive. When Steve sent through the first drawings, I had never really seen anything like that before. He looked quite beautiful for a bad guy. It almost looked like a costume made of moonlight, just because it was this shining light material. It’s visually quite stark, but it also looks like something people could wear in the real world. Again, this is set in our world. It’s not a superhero universe.

Mark, you’re no stranger to having your projects being picked up as movie properties. Have you already had those talks about “Nemesis”?

Millar: We actually got a call a few weeks ago when the teaser poster went up on CBR. We were pretty crafty about this in terms of how we marketed this. We had a poster out that said, “‘Civil War,’ ‘Old Man Logan,’ ‘Nemesis,’” and teased it as a potential big event for Marvel. The number of people talking about it and guessing was just insane, which we loved.

And Marvel was very good about it, not contradicting us. But what was funny was that I got a call from my agent that night – and it was funny because all we did was release a date and a title and no information. And my agent called and said two producers had been in touch saying, “We’re really big fans of this book that Mark and Steve are doing. We really like it.” Are the rights available?” [laughs].

McNiven: That, my friend, is the definition of Hollywood insincere.

Millar: I know [laughs]. I couldn’t believe it. But it made me realize how lucky I was my first picture making $350 million and getting Angelina [Jolie] in it. It made me realize how lucky I was getting [Matthew] Vaughn on “Kick-Ass” and the buzz around town being through the roof and “American Jesus” and “War Heroes” and all that getting picked up so quickly. I remember what it was like, literally being unable to pay my bills nine years ago, so to have this level of interest when I couldn’t sell a book not very long ago is just amazing.

McNiven: Sniff. I’m so touched I think I’m going to cry.

Millar: So, yeah, if a movie happens, great. If a bed-spread and lunch-box happens, great. But we’re really just focusing on the comic. Anything else is gravy and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

McNiven: Making comics is a real job.

Millar: Exactly. Movie guys are pussies.

Millar, McNiven, “Nemesis,” March 2010. Gentlemen, thanks so much for for your time.

McNiven: Can’t talk. I’m still finishing a page.
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It’s pretty clear that this is going to be one of the hottest new titles of the new year. To celebrate the debut of this exciting new book, we’re giving away 10 Free Subscriptions to Nemesis. Everyone who preorders Nemesis #1 before March 1st will be entered into our Nemesis Contest for each one they order.

*Be sure to come on back to TFAW.com in February to order Nemesis #2 for an additional entry!

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Indy Comic Book Week Preview!

December 29th, 2009 Comments off

Get a Look at Comics for Indy Comic Book Week! Follow TFAW on Twitter

Hey everyone! Tomorrow is our big kick-off for Indy Comic Book Week, and we’ve got an excellent–and permanent–edition to our site, our Indy Comics page. There you can find all of our indy titles, including our special 2009 submissions! To get an up-close look at these fantastic new comics, watch our video below:

The Nearly Infamous Zango

CHECK OUT OUR INDY COMICS PAGE

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Questions? Comments? Post them below!

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Indy Comic Book Week Events Wednesday, December 30!

December 28th, 2009 Comments off

Zombie Tramp #1Indy Comic Book Week is here, and to celebrate, Things From Another World is offering some awesome indy comics on our website and in our store! Check out our new Indy Comics page, which is a permanent addition to our site, to browse through the hottest underground comics from the quirkiest independent creators.

Even better, if you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can come in and meet some indy creators in our Portland store Wednesday, December 30 from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 4133 NE Sandy Blvd. We’ll have local talents such as Paul Guinan (Boilerplate), Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man), Neal Skorpen (Island of the Moths), and Jason Martin (SDCC favorite Zombie Tramp) on hand to meet customers and sell their books. The best part is, the creators who participate in this event will keep 100% of their profits on Wednesday, so it’s a great way for you to support the local independent comic book community.

In addition, everything non-indy in the store will be 10% off! We hope to see you there!

Are you an independent creator? As we said before, our Indy Comics page will be a permanent addition to our site, which means we’re going to need a steady stream of indy books! Email tfaw@tfaw.com for details on how to submit your work to us.

Questions? Comments? Post them below!

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Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2009 Comments off

A Very Zombie ChristmasAs we open presents, spend time with our families, and read comics under the Christmas tree, we wanted to take a minute and wish our customers and readers a very Merry Christmas. It’s a special time to share with loved ones, and remember, if zombies crash your holidays, you can easily stab them in the head with a fireplace poker!

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Wednesday New Releases: Detective Comics, Chew, Criminal

December 23rd, 2009 Comments off

New Reviews of This Week’s Releases! Follow TFAW on Twitter

Merry Christmas! It’s Christmas Eve-Eve, but even more importantly, it’s Wednesday! This week, Josh and I cover Detective Comics #860, Chew #7, Criminal: Sinners #3, Angel: Only Human #5, Angel Annual #1, Farscape: Gone and Back HC, and the Marvel Rogue Bishoujo statue. Jingle bells, jingle bells . . .

Angel Annual #1

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Angel: Only Human #5

December 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Angel Only Human #5 available for pre-order Great news for Angel fans! We’ve got Angel: Only Human #5 up at TFAW.com! As Gunn faces down the last of The Scourge and makes a desperate last stand, Illyria faces off one last time with her old “pet,” Baticus. How do you defeat a demon who keeps growing back all his parts?

But it’s the gruesome discovery that Gunn makes that could change the entire game. Don’t miss the epic conclusion to this exciting story from team Lobdell/Messina.

Angel: Only Human #5 arrives tomorrow, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what happens. Due to a communication error with our supplier, Angel: Only Human #5 wasn’t offered as a pre-order at TFAW.com (or any other comic book shop) until today.

Normally, when comics arrive in our warehouse, the every day low pricing kicks in and the pre-order savings disappear. Not the case with tomorrow’s release of Angel: Only Human #5.

Order by 11:59PM (PST) December 27, 2009 and you’ll save 20% regardless of whether you place a pre-order or in-stock order.

We do, however, urge you to place a pre-order now so the issue will ship according to your pre-order shipping schedule. You’ll save on shipping that way.

Note to Subscribers: Even if you have a subscription to Angel: Only Human, you’ll want to manually order your copy of Angel: Only Human #5 because it was not picked up in the subscription process at the end of October. We apologize for the inconvenience.

ORDER ANGEL: ONLY HUMAN #5 TODAY–JUST $3.19 THROUGH 12/27!

PRE-ORDER THE ANGEL: ONLY HUMAN TPB

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Iron Man 2 Preview!

December 16th, 2009 Comments off

HOLY CRAP! I can’t (expletive deleted) wait! I gotta admit, I had some reservations early on, but they’ve all been wiped away. May 7, 2010, here we come!

Check out the trailer at Apple

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Wednesday New Releases: Cable, Angel, DS 9

December 16th, 2009 Comments off

New Reviews of This Week’s Releases! Follow TFAW on Twitter

Holy crap! Don’t mind me, my mind’s still blown from the excellent Iron Man 2 trailer. So awesome! Almost as awesome as this week’s Wednesday New Releases blog. On deck: Angel Aftermath #28 (with Bill Willingham of Fables!), Angel: A Hole in the World #1, Cable #21, Chimichanga #1, Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows #2, Star Trek Deep Space 9: Fool’s Gold #1, Ms. Marvel #48, the new Green Lantern Uni Formz figure, and one of our awesome Marvel Keyscaper keyboards. Start it up!

Ms. Marvel #48

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Questions? Comments? Post them below!

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Geek in the City Is Going DOWN December 29!

December 16th, 2009 Comments off

Things From Another World had our second Geek Trivia Night last night at Vendetta, and it was awesome. The place was filled to the rafters with triviagoers having a blast, and several notable local geeks got to strut their stuff, including Ted Douglass from 105.1 The Buzz, Cort and Fatboy, and Aaron Duran from Geek in the City.

However! Aaron got a little too big for his britches when his team won last night, so we decided it’s time to take him down a peg (or three!). Let it be known: TFAW has challenged him to a trivia faceoff Tuesday, December 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Vendetta! Bridge City Comics has graciously offered to MC the event for us, to keep everything on the up and up.

Now it is my job to put together an A-Team of the geekiest, most knowledgeable trivia masters in Portland. Geek in the City is going down! The stakes? If Geek in the City wins (which he won’t), TFAW.com has to pimp his site for two weeks. If we win (which we will), Geek in the City will bow down to our trivia superiority and devote his website to the awesomeness of TFAW.com for two weeks.

But wait! Now it gets personal. If Geek in the City wins, Aaron gets $200. However, if TFAW wins, I get a paid day off. I want that paid day off, folks! Plus, if we win, in addition to the usual fabulous prizes, each of my teammates will win an additional gift certificate to Things From Another World!

So, think you’re good enough to join my team? Email me at elisabethf@tfaw.com and make your case! You must be at least 21 years old, you must be available for trivia night December 29, and you must rock the geek trivia knowledge extra hard.

Whaddya think? Anyone out there attend trivia night last night? Do you agree it’s time to humble Geek in the City? Post your comments below!

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Bruce Wayne returns to the DCU!

December 11th, 2009 Comments off

Where in the world is Bruce Wayne? Or, to be more accurate, when in the world is Bruce Wayne?

It has been nearly a year since comic book readers last saw Wayne, better known to most as the original Batman. While battling a god-like villain named Darkseid during DC Comics’ Final Crisis series, Batman was hit by an energy beam that sent him hurling out of control to an unknown place in time. Bruce Wayne hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Until now.

In 2010, DC Comics will launch a new series created and written by legendary comic book scribe Grant Morrison. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne finds the original Batman trying to reclaim his memory, his identity and his proper place in time and space. The series marks the return of one of comic book’s most iconic characters and, Morrison says, begins an important new chapter in a complex series of Batman stories that the author has been developing and intertwining over the past five years.

Morrison recently took time with USA TODAY’s John Geddes to answer questions about the upcoming series and provide some insight and hints about where the story will lead.

Q: In Final Crisis, the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, is hit by the Omega Beam during a battle with the villain Darkseid. This beam sends Wayne spinning into the unknown, cast off into the time stream. He is thought to be dead by both friends and enemies. In the aftermath, the role of Batman is assumed by the original Robin, Dick Grayson, and the role of Robin is assumed by Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian. What else should readers know as a lead-in to The Return of Bruce Wayne?

A: Could there possibly be anything else to know after that masterful summing-up?

To be honest, I don’t think readers need to know even that much in order to enjoy Return. Although it’s also the latest chapter in the long-running, “definitive” Batman epic I’ve been trying to pull off since 2005, Return has been structured and written to read as a complete story on its own — everything a new reader needs to know will be in the pages of the book itself. Read all the graphic novel collections together, however, and a much bigger, more complex and involving story will emerge.

Return is a fairly intricate time-travel story in which the world’s greatest hero, the optimum man, is up against the supreme challenge to his ingenuity and skill. How does Batman get out of the ultimate trap? It has a mystery and an apocalyptic countdown going on, there are some major twists and reveals, and it sets up big changes to the Batman universe status quo.

Q: It’s my understanding that Return will follow Bruce Wayne through different eras as he makes his way — presumably — back to the modern day. Any hints on which eras we might see Bruce exploring in his quest to find his proper place in time?

A: The first episode is set in the Late-Paleolithic Era, the second is in Pilgrim-era Gotham Village, and we also get to see Gotham in Western or noir style.

Each of the stories is a twist on a different “pulp hero” genre — so there’s the caveman story, the witchhunter/Puritan adventurer thing, the pirate Batman, the cowboy, the P.I. — as a nod toward those mad old 1950s comics with Caveman Batman and Viking Batman adventures. It’s Bruce Wayne’s ultimate challenge — Batman vs. history itself!

I’ve tried to thoroughly research each time period so that the stories work not only as at least fairly plausible reconstructions of life in the real 17th or 19th centuries but also as romanticized “pulp” versions too, while at the same time referencing the more extravagant history of the fictional DC Comics Universe in the background.

Q: How many issues are planned for The Return of Bruce Wayne series?

A: There are six issues of Return. The first one’s 38 pages long, the rest are 30.

Q: Without giving away any spoilers, how will/would the return of Bruce Wayne to the present day affect the dynamic of the current Batman & Robin duo? Might we see Damian Wayne develop into a new character?

A: As I mentioned above, the status quo of the Batman universe will be changed completely after this book. This is the beginning of a new and different take on the idea of Batman as we approach the 010s — the latest of these ever more fleeting and flimsy modern decades!

Q: There are certain readers out there who will undoubtedly complain about yet another rebirth or reincarnation of a famous comic book character. What about Return is going to be different from these past stories in which iconic characters have been brought back to life?

A: As we saw at the end of the Final Crisis book, Bruce Wayne was never dead, only AWOL, so this was never a literal “back to life” story. And I like to think the series will have a wider general appeal than some of the continuity driven “death and rebirth”-type stories we’ve seen before.

This is more for me about putting Batman/Bruce Wayne through my own, and my collaborators’ version, of the ultimate test of who and what he is. So far I’ve had him overcome the Devil, Madness and Death; now we see him, truly lost, amnesiac, and stripped down to basic human survival mode in some extremely hostile environments and unfamiliar situations. He’s the best fighter in his world, he’s one of the smartest and most driven men who ever lived, but we’ve seen him outwit the Joker 10,000 times. This was a way of taking the character off the grid, as they say, and reminding readers what kind of man he is and what he’s capable of. If you wonder why Batman is so cool — here’s why Batman is so cool.

This is an attempt to look at a very familiar character from some unusual angles. And it’s about Bruce and who he is — I want to remind people how the man and the mask are inseparable parts of a terrifying whole.

Q: You’re a writer who has never been afraid to experiment with storylines involving major characters. What are some of the challenges you face when developing stories specific to such a high-profile character as Batman/Bruce Wayne?

A: The challenge is to keep everything familiar while making what appear to be far-reaching changes and having characters react as if those changes are permanent!

Batman needs to be eternally young, renewed like some pagan Fertility King to suit the changing tastes of his audience in each fresh generation. Batman can never grow old or die — and stories, no matter how good, which depict these events cannot be considered “canon.” Batman was born in 1939 and would now be a sprightly 70-year-old if he aged like the rest of us. The “real” Batman, however, enjoys godlike immortality and must always be 30-ish moneyed orphan, Bruce Wayne, who dresses as a bat to fight crime. The trick is to tell stories which expand the limits of how far you can go and still maintain the integrity of the basic idea. And everything has to be done with the knowledge and understanding that I — as the current writer — am only a tiny link in a long chain of all the people who already have or will one day tell stories about Batman.

Q: Your writing for Batman over the years has seen you interpret the character through a variety of lenses (a Zen-warrior, a darkly philosophical detective, the traditional hero, etc.) With Return, what type of Bruce Wayne are we going to see?

A: All the elements that make up this great pop icon will be upfront — his intellect, his detective skills, his martial arts abilities, his heroism and compassion and grit. His chiseled cheekbones! In this series, in particular, he represents us, humanity, at our very best and most resourceful. And, in the first issue, we get to see the many advantages ninja training has over the traditional caveman grunt-and-lunge technique.

Batman’s story begins with Bruce Wayne, kneeling by the bodies of his murdered mom and dad. To me, at the most basic root of Batman is the story of the ultimate survivor. The Return of Bruce Wayne— a title that becomes increasingly ominous as the story progresses — puts that aspect of Batman under the microscope.

Q: Themes play such a huge role in most, if not all, of your writing. Is there an overarching theme running throughout the story of Return?

A: Survival. Not only the physical survival of our hero but the survival through time of memories, grudges, artifacts, ideas. What persists? What endures?

Q: Over the years, you’ve been involved with some of the most well-known and beloved characters out there — Batman, Superman, JLA, X-Men and Fantastic Four, just to name a few. Are there other iconic comic characters you’d like to reinterpret or for whom you’d like to develop storylines?

A. I’m very happy with the take on the Captain Marvel/Shazam universe that appears as part of the upcoming Multiversity series of books, but that’s it for the moment. Along with Geoff Johns and Marv Wolfman, I’m part of the consulting team at DC Entertainment involved in rethinking some of DC’s big characters for the screen. So between that and the comics, I think I’ve had my say on just about every comic book character I’ve ever had any interest in.

Q: Who else comprises the creative team attached to Return? Can you speak about how it’s been to work with this team?

A: I haven’t seen any of the art yet. The book launches in the summer and each issue is drawn by a different artist, so that side of it has barely got underway. I know Chris Sprouse is penciling the first one, so I’m fairly confident it’ll be the best comic set in the Late Paleolithic Era that you’ll have seen for a very long time. I’m a huge fan of Chris’ work, so I’m keen to see what he’s done. I think Frazer Irving might do the second one, cementing his reputation as the comic world’s most prominent Puritan Goth Adventure artist.

Q: Aside from Return, what new work can readers look forward to from Grant Morrison in 2010?

A: Mostly Batman work — I’m doing at least another year of stories with Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in the Batman and Robin book before that book starts to dovetail with Return and we rush headlong and screaming into the next big, earth-shattering, game-changing twist in the life of Batman.

I’m slowly working my way through the Multiversity sequence of books and loving it. I’ve set myself the task of making each issue the best superhero story I’ve ever written, so I’m growing them patiently and all together before I hand the scripts out to artists.

There’s also the Joe the Barbarian book with Sean Murphy, which starts in January at Vertigo and is my first new, creator-owned comic for a while.

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What do you think of the plans for bringing Bruce Wayne back into the fold? Let us know below. If your interest is piqued, be sure to check back soon! We’ll let you know as soon as you can pre-order the first issue of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.

In the meantime, check out all our Batman stuff.

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