James Peaty: Well, right off the bat (see, the puns have started already!) Im British and I live and work in London. Ive been writing comics professionally since 2003 when I started working for the UK based Warhammer Monthly comic. Over the next couple of years I did a number of strips for that title until it ceased publication. Since 2005 Ive been writing in the US on books such as Green Arrow, JSA: Classified, Justice League Unlimited, Supergirl, X-Men Unlimited, The Escapist and of course! The Batman Strikes!. Ive also done a fair bit of comics work for the DC licensing department for projects such as the recent The Dark Knight movie. Sofairly varied!
WF: Now, care to fill us in on The Batman Strikes! #50, the final issue of the The Batman Strikes! comic series?
JP: The issue is called “Night of the Demon,” is set at Halloween and features Etrigan, the Demon (with a nice cameo by The Riddler) coming to Gotham to enlist the help of Batman and Robin in his search for a dangerous magical item stolen from Jason Bloods occult collection. But as the uneasy allies move closer to finding the missing artefact the truth is revealedand all of Gotham may have to pay the price!
And if you want to find out the restbuy the issue!
WF: This isn’t your first time working on The Batman Strikes!. How did you come to write for the comic series, and what did you enjoy about the characters from the series?
JP: I came to write for the series through knowing the (then) editor Nachie Castro through the other editors Ive worked with at DC over the past couple of years. Having done some Justice League Unlimited scripts I asked if itd be possible to pitch for The Batman Strikes! and Nachie was kind enough to say “yes.” I think I pitched two ideas, one of which Nachie liked and became “Grounded,” the story in issue 43 of The Batman Strikes!.
As for what I enjoyed most about writing the characters in the series well, Id have to say the lack of continuity and the sense of fun. I mean, I really love Batman as a character full stop – I have since I was 3 years old – but writing the book gave me a chance to write Robin — and Dick Grayson to boot — for the first time and that was a huge thrill.
Its really unusual in modern comics to be able to write a pure, unadulterated and unfiltered Batman and Robin story and thats really what these two issues are an attempt to do. Its my love letter to those early 1940s Batman & Robin comics that I read as re-prints as a tiny kid and which made such a big impression on me. Those stories are why I wanted to write comics when I grew up. Its all Ive ever wanted to do. So its been a nice way of saying “thanks guys!”
WF: If the series continued on, which characters would you have liked a chance to tackle? Harley was featured in your previous The Batman Strikes! work and Etrigan is featured in issue #50. Any others?
JP: Hmmmthats tricky. I think a Green Arrow team up was something I seriously thought about and lets be honest — who wouldnt want to write a Superman/Batman team up at some point?
Mulling it over now, I think a “Mr Freeze at Christmas” story would have been a nice one to do next. The idea of the visuals that a story like that could conjure upas well as the notion of Freeze being a cold, logical character. Yeah, I think that would have been fun!
Actually, Id love to have written Animal Man. Hes my favourite superhero other than Batman and Superman and I wrote a really good (if I say do say so myself) issue of Justice League Unlimited featuring him that never came out cos the book got cancelled! But hes the hero Id have loved to have used simply cos he has absolutely nothing in common with Batman and the challenge would be to make that work.
WF: Any final thoughts on your tenure on the title as you wrap things up?
JP: Does two issues constitute a tenure? If so, it was a great run. Never a bad issue! But seriously, it was great fun, a blast to write and Im really sorry to see the book disappear.
WF: So, one last time, what should fans expect in The Batman Strikes! #50 and, well, why should they pick the issue up?
JP: Fans should expect a fun, exciting, slightly spooky, fast paced and ballsy read with more rhyming dialogue from Etrigan than you can shake your fist at! If you dont usually like “kids” books then Id say youre missing a (trick or) treat (I told you the puns would get worse)!
WF: Care to fill us in one what we can expect from you in the future? Anything you care to share?
JP: Well, plans always change but at the moment Im writing some short strips for a new UK based Marvel anthology called Marvel Heroes. So far Ive written both X-Men and Iron Man strips for that and am about to start on a Hulk story this week. Beyond that, today Ive just finished scripting something for Vertigo and am talking about maybe doing some other stuff with a couple of the DCU editors. Exciting times
WF: Thanks for your time, James!
The Batman Strikes! #50, the final issue of the series, hits shelves October 1st, 2008.
Stay tuned for further updates.