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A name any DC Animated Comic reader should know, writer Matthew Manning will return to familiar ground with The Batman Strikes! #15. After the heavy praise for The Batman Strikes! #10, Manning tells The World's Finest's James Harvey why he couldn't wait to return to the title.

Despite DC Comics erroneously soliciting the issue as a Riddler story by the regular creative team, Manning and artist Wes Craig will be stepping in to tell this dark little story. The Batman Strikes! #15 will deal with the introduction of a legendary character into The Batman mythos - Dracula himself! The Dark Knight will face off against the ghoulish bloodsucker this October in the direct-to-video animated feature The Batman Versus Dracula, but Manning also gets a piece of the action.

"This issue actually takes place about fifteen to twenty minutes into The Batman Versus Dracula," says Manning. "After we first meet Dracula, there's about a week's lapse in the movie that we've decided to deal with in this issue."

Originally slated to be included as an insert with the DVD upon release, scheduling conflicts brought that plan to an end. Another as yet undetermined issue of The Batman Strikes! will be included with the DVD instead. Despite that, Manning is happy to have another shot at writing the comic, given the response to his last gig on the book.

"For a book that's usually overlooked by an older audience, I was very happy to hear all the glowing reviews of The Batman Strikes! #10," says Manning. "It was my first solo Batman story, and so I really tried to make it as inventive as I could."

Manning believes The Batman Strikes! #15 will match the dark horror aspect that so many fans enjoyed in issue #10.

"I'm pretty happy with the prequel we came up with, although we had to make a few changes here and there since we kept discovering more about the film as we went along," says Manning. "And since it was a tie-in with the movie, I got the excuse to write a few characters I'd been wanting to play with, including the newly introduced Vicki Vale."

Upon seeing a rough cut of the The Batman Versus Dracula DTV to aid in his writing the comic, Manning said he enjoyed the feature, and was surprised with the very dark tone of the feature.

"I was actually pretty surprised by the movie overall," says Manning. "It's much darker than I expected, kind of bringing a Blade-quality to the legend of Dracula"

However, Manning says that despite being very happy with The Batman Strikes! #15, the best thing to come out of this issue won't be seen on the comic pages at all.

"This allowed me to pay for the engagement ring I'd been eyeing recently," Manning says. "And since my girlfriend Dorothy was silly enough to say yes, she now has to spend the rest of the year explaining why Batman is the reason she's getting married."

"Downside is she also has a year to run away screaming as well," he jokes, "But I'm pretty fast so I'll probably catch her."

For information on all his past, present, and upcoming works, check out Matthew Manning's official website at www.matthewkmanning.com.


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