Interviews

Peaty Discusses Writing The Final Issue Of “The Batman Strikes,” And More

The World’s Finest: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work – past and present!

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.

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Artist Christopher Jones Discusses Wrapping Up “The Batman Strikes”

Click on the image below to check out the interview! Please note the interview contains exclusive images that are not to be removed without permission.

The Batman Strikes #50, the final issue of the series, will hit shelves October 1st, 2008. To discuss the interview, and see further images and responses to fan questions from Jones, click on the link below. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Torres Discusses His Run On “Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century”

J. Torres, popular among the fan community for his work on the late comic series Teen Titans Go!, became the regular writer on Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century during the title’s first year. Much like his work on Teen Titans Go!, Torres has made the comic an integral part of the series’ continuity. Torres will be wrapping his run on the book with issue #19, the end of the current three-part “Flight Ring” storyline, and the series itself will be ending with issue #20.

The World’s Finest: Your current arc on Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century is a three-issue storyline called “Flight Ring.” What themes will you be exploring as your wrap up your run with these three issues?

J. Torres: Trust, leadership, team work. The types of things that hold the Legion together.

WF: Looking back at the series, do you have any particular favorite issue or moment that stands out for you?

JT: I’d say it’s a toss up between #6 (“Attack of the Green Lantern Corps”) and #12 (“Back in Metropolis”). #6 because it not only had a lot of Legionnaires in it, but the Green Lantern Corps, and Starro to boot. Plus, we introduced Jordana Gardner and Gen’Ma the Panda, both of which got terrific fan response. And #12 because I got to play with Lois and Clark and introduce Lex Luthor to the series.

WF: Fans appreciated your faithful run on Teen Titans Go! because it paid tribute to the characters and stayed faithful to the animated series. On Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century, your run has the series has been doing the same. With the series coming to an end, is there anything you wish you could’ve done on the series?

JT: Well, I would’ve liked to write another two dozen issues or so! *Smiles*

WF: Did you have any specific plans to follow-up on the many plot threads left dangling from the end of the second season of Legion of Super Heroes?

JT: We had lots of plans! We wanted to bring Alexis Luthor, the LSV, and some more Phantom Zone escapees in from the animated series. We wanted to do more with Garth and his siblings. Also, Phantom Girl and her mother. Oh, and Cosmic Boy and RJ Brande. Most importantly, we wanted to show where Brainy went after the end of season two and how he made his way back to the Legion, but that was contingent on what happened with the show. Unfortunately, we never got the chance. While we were waiting to hear the fate of the show, we basically just “skipped ahead” and started writing stories as if we were in a third season, and that’s why #17-19 have Brainy back on the team and back to his old self more or less.

WF: Fans sometime turn to the comic book spin-offs to see some of their favorite characters pair up in a romantic context. Legion of Super Heroes had a unique relationship that many fans were hoping to see expanded upon – Brainiac 5 and Superman. Any thoughts on why fans took to that pairing, could have it been explored in any further context, or could it have been done realistically at all? Do you have any thoughts on that relationship, or one you were looking to explore?

JT: I definitely wanted to explore Brainy’s “man crush” on Superman more. I also wanted to add Supergirl into the mix at one point and do some fun stuff with that “love triangle.” I don’t know if Brainy’s love for Superman was of the romantic type, but then again, he has a 12th level intellect and his concept of platonic love versus romantic love is probably more complex than we could understand. I don’t think we could accurately define it with our 21st century labels, nor would I necessarily want to in the context of this comic book.

WF: Any last thoughts on your run on the series as you wrap up your run on Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century? Any final comments?

JT: It was a blast while it lasted! I want to thank all the readers out there who supported this series, especially the bloggers and fansite/forum adminstrators/moderators like yourself for trying to give us some exposure and get the word out. I hope you continue to follow the careers and other work of the creators who contributed to the book.

WF: Now, since I’m a fan of the The Family Dynamic DC Comic series, this question is more of a shameless shout-out to the series. Do you and Tim Levins have plans for the characters beyond the current mini-series? What was your reaction when DC Comics announced the series would be a three-issue mini-series instead of a six-issue series? What can we expect from the series in the coming months?

JT: Naturally, we were disappointed to hear about the low sales. But we’re trying not to cry over spilled milk or play the blame game and just move forward as best we can with this. The reaction to The Family Dynamic thus far has been very encouraging, so we’re looking into trying to continue the series somehow. I can’t really say anything on that just yet, but of course our first attempt is to keep it at DC somehow. Hopefully, I’ll have some kind of good news to report before long. In the meantime, please keep an eye on my blog for more information, previews, and other goodies!

WF: Care to fill us in on what projects you’re currently working on and your plans for the future? Where can we expect to see you next?

JT: I recently turned in the script for a graphic novel called Lola: A Ghost Story, which will be published by Oni Press early next year. I’m currently writing another graphic novel for them called Dead Goombas, which is a comedy about gangsters and zombies. Other than that, I’m waiting for the phone to ring. I’m hoping DC will call soon with more work for me. I was also asked by another company to pitch for a couple of movie/cartoon-related properties that I’m pretty excited about, so I really hope that at least one of those pans out. In the meantime, as of this writing, I’ve still got one issue of the Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century book to come, and two issues of The Family Dynamic on their way out – so please check them out!

WF: Thanks for stopping by, J.!

Legion of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #18 is currently on stands now, and click here to check out J. Torres’ blog!

Stay tuned for further updates, including an interview with Christopher Jones from The Batman Strikes!

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Michael Reaves Discusses His Work On “Batman: The Animated Series”

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

The World’s Finest: Concerning your work on the DC Animated Universe, let’s work our way backwards a little bit. Your last listed work for the DCAU was the DTV film Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. How did that project come about? Did you pitch the concept initially? And were you pleased with the outcome?

Michael Reaves: How it came about was simple WBA decided to do one last DTV about Batman. They gave it to Alan Burnett, who was my producer on TAS, and he hired me to write it. He had to fight for me a little, since WBAs (perfectly sensible) attitude was, Why hire an outside writer when we have writers on staff? But Alan went to bat (so to speak) for me, and you know the rest.

WF: Reaction from Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman was a bit mixed. Some fans really loved it, particularly the introduction of Batwoman, while others were hoping for a little bit more substance for the last Batman: TAS DTV. How do you respond to that? Do you think the fans are being ungrateful or . . . well . . . just fans?

MR: Everyones entitled to an opinion. It was a conscious decision to lighten this one up a bit; we felt that, over the years, wed put Bats through a fair bit of angst and suffering, and since this would be our farewell to the TAS universe, why not let him get the girl for once?

To continue reading the interview, click here.

The Michael Reaves-penned Batman: The Animated Series episode, “I Am The Night,” will be included on the Batman: Gotham Knight – Two-Disc Special Edition and Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-Ray releases, hitting shelves July 8th, 2008.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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Tucker Discusses “Legion of Super Heroes” History & Finale

The World’s Finest: Hey James, first off, tell us a bit how Legion of Super Heroes came to be? There’s been much gossip around the site concerning how this project originally got off the ground. Some say the Justice League Unlimited episode “Far From Home” acted as a back door pilot, while other sources say this was a project long in fruition. Care to finally clear the air on the origins of this series?

James Tucker: Lets get the myths out of the way. The Legion series was never tied to the Justice League Unlimited episode. Supergirl was never, ever going to be in the Legion. The true origin of the series came out of Cartoon Networks desire to have a Superman-centric series to premiere when the movie Superman Returns premiered. Superman as part of the Legion worked for them. So the series was originally developed for Cartoon Network, then they passed and Kids WB! stepped in. They, too, wanted a Superman-centric series with Superman fresh out of Smallville, learning to be Superman. Thats the reality.

WF: When starting off the series, what problems did you come up with when not only dealing with a beloved property, but one with such an immense cast? How did you end up with your main cast of characters.

JT: We went with the broadest we could find that would kind of replicate that Breakfast Club camaraderie that you find in teen movies. So we needed the neophyte, Superman, fresh from the farm to the new big school. We needed the smart girl — Saturn Girl; the talky jock, Lightning Lad; the really smart nerdy kid, Brainiac 5; the amiable pal, Bouncing Boy; and we needed the James Dean outsider, Timber Wolf. Plus, we have Phantom Girl as the wise-cracking girl, non-popular girl that we all really like.

We threw in Triplicate Girl because we all fell in love with her when I did the first design. Shes the funky, hip chick. Chameleon Boy gave us the chance to freshen the lineup for the second season with a younger smart-aleck guy.

WF: The first season of the show was definitely lighter in tone, but as we moved to the second, things became a bit more darker. Did you find this to be a natural progression for the series?

JT: For me, as a comic book fan, I look at the series like the book. The Legion book had different eras. Earlier eras were lighter and more innocent in tone, and later eras were darker. So you can look at season one as Silver Age, and second season as the Bronze age. For me, it wasnt jarring to go from the lighter to the darker because I lean more toward darker stories. Season one was harder to make things more upbeat and light. Thats not my natural forte.

WF: In the second season, we were also introduced to the war-like Superman X. Why did you decide to not only bring in a new Superman clone, but also an older version of the Superman from the first season?

JT: Thats what the network asked for. Initially when we were pitching second season, we had planned to introduce a character that was like Supermans older or twin brother. The network, rightly so, didnt think it would pop. They wanted a super-up Superman. They didnt care how we did it, but they wanted him to be more of a bad ass. For me, I didnt want to alter our existing Superman that much. So along with Michael Jelenic, we came up with the clone from the future.

WF: As previously mentioned, the second season was definitely different than the one that proceeded it. Designs were altered, new characters were introduced, and some drastic events happened (Lightning Lad’s arm, the death of one of the Triplicates, Brainiac 1.0 appearing). The show got darker. Did you run into any problems from the broadcast standards and censor boards about some of the very risky events from the second season.

JT: We didnt encounter any problems because we gave them the show they wanted. And the numbers improved.

WF: Now we’re heading into the finale of the series. First off, was the season finale written as a series finale? I imagine the end of LOSH came earlier than you expected. What surprises do you have in store for the fans for these final two episodes.

JT: It was written before Kids WB! was sold, so we didnt know if it would be the season or series finale It wasnt written as a series finale, but I think it works well as a series finale.

WF: Did you have a third season in the planning stages? What might the fans have seen if a third season was to come to pass?

JT: In the very early going, with just me and Michael planning, we went back-and-forth on potential ideas. We considered revealing and introducing Wildfire, Shadow Lass and a couple of others. And possibly the return of Ferro Lads twin brother.

WF: Looking past on the 26 episodes, what are your favorite moments, what are the highlights, and what would you have liked to have seen happen if the show would have continued on. Perhaps any in-jokes you’d like to point out that fans may not have noticed yet?

JT: Ferro Lad was a favorite from season one. I liked the Sun-Eater episodes, and also the Legion of Substitute Heroes episode, which was tough to pull together but ended up being a pretty fun show. In season two, there are just too many to name. Heres one little Easter Egg: The one thing that nobody seemed to notice in the origin story of the Legion was that the number on the shuttle ship is the same number as the edition of the Adventure Comics that featured the first appearance of the Legion.

WF: Finally, what projects do you have in the pipeline for the future now with Legion of Super Heroes finished?

JT: These days, Im focused on Batman: The Brave and The Bold for Cartoon Network. But well talk about that later . . .

Thanks, James! Stay tuned for more from James Tucker very soon here at The World’s Finest!

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