In celebration of DC’s over 75 years of Batman, Google invited five (5) of the writers that currently shaped the world of Batman to talk about the main character Bruce Wayne, or most commonly known as Batman. Here’s a brief content on the talk, highlighting what mainly they were talking about.
Who are the writers present?
The writers includes [in order from left to right] Sean Murphy (writer and artist of Batman: White Knight mini-series), Tony Patrick (co-writer of the upcoming series Batman and the Signal), Frank Miller (comic book legend and currently the writer of Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race), Tom King (Eisner award-winning writer of Batman), and James Tynion IV (Prism Award winner and writer of Detective Comics).
Fans and Google employees who are in the session was gushing in about the world of Batman. In each of the writers’ perspective, of course. Henry Faulkner hosted the session.
Things they talked about (Highlights of the talk):
1. How do you relate to the character (Batman)?
“I think he’s a bundle of joy” – Frank Miller
The writers wittingly talk about Batman being depressed and just having fun in life (even if the crooks doesn’t). It seems that only Tom King is the only writer of Batman that makes the main character gloomy.
” I think he is a machine for turning pain into hope” – Tom King
Tom Kin describes that the only superpower that Batman has to stand in next to Wonder Woman and Superman is that his parents were killed. It’s odd, but the caption above stated what he is trying to say from the beginning.
2. An attempt to give Batman a happy family, what does a successful Bat Family look like?
“lots and lots of pointy ears… lots of robins, a bag of robins” – frank miller
They joke around how Robin became disposable. It’s like a job could cost 6 to 7 Robins. Frank even joke that when one is killed, then another will be until it would be like open season for Robins. Thus the Batmobile is permanently parked in the orphanage. Kids love cars the host jokingly added. For James Tynion IV, the concept of family has been grounded already in the comic since at the very start Batman lost his family thus his only way out was actually to build one.
The host moves on talking to Tony Patrick to describe his version of Batman in his comic Batman and the Signal. The topic still rolls on about the disposable Robins, for him, because of the loss of so many Robins, Batman can redeem himself by using only the Robins that he has, and hopefully intact. They are hoping that the Robins are Batman’s proteges. It gives lesser crooks and probably a new Gotham.
3. Since we celebrating 75 years of Batman then, of course, we are celebrating 75 years of the Joker
Interests move on to the comic of Sean Murphy: Batman: White Knight. Sean wants to showcase a story that has a cured Joker. Many had done it, but nobody extends it as he said. Thus, with this, he wants to show a sane, a very intellectual, and actually a very influential person. Sean Murphy gives in detail about Batman: White Knight. When the Joker was cured, he gave in fantastic justification that Batman is the one causing the problem. In reality, punching back (the bad guy) doesn’t make sense. It might look good in the comic, but in the world right now, it doesn’t.
“So i guess we should retire the entire police department altogether?” – TOm King
The host found that as a great question. Since the root of evil was found, then removing that eliminates the use of police. Frank Miller then buts in saying that they are following a trend that the millennials have realized. Batman is a myth; he pointed that out. Later they joked around that it could be a rotten comic book if Bruce Wayne donated all his money on doing good, giving to charity, cure diseases, etc.
4. Since we are talking how Batman is a detective, then the writers should be the smartest one in the room?
Batman is a vibrant and broad character; the writers admit that they can be the smartest, the dumbest, be everybody it may be in the room. Batman can be terrorist, as pointed out by Frank.
He (Batman) is also part terrorist that he’ll strike terror into the hearts of criminals… He dresses around like a giant bat… – Frank Miller
5. What is your fingerprint on the character?
I really gave him a really high collar like Dracula, I gave him a Batmobile that exhausts in the front so its always shooting flames, and made Arkham look like Transylvania Castle, so Batman is like this devil in the city, sort of a storytelling element… I mean a can draw, people can actually saw the hard work I do.
You can’t add new ideas to Batman, you can only add is yourself. You put yourself into Batman. Cause, that’s the only thing original you can bring in… add in your own consciousness, and experience or whatever. So what I add into Batman, I don’t know, he’s a little bit emo… what I’m trying to add to Batman is happiness and him trying to be happy, I mean I can’t make Batman darker like you (looks at Frank) made him. I can’t make him into more of a family man like what you made him, James. Or as high collar as you made him (points to Sean, who was super proud).
Well, I’m working on it. Uhh, book’s not out yet. But, a little bit more sunlight. I’m dealing with daytime Gotham, I’ve given him a little more Bruce Wayne. A little more R&R during the daytime… maybe about 15 minutes.
(He first talks about comics was once written as the source of juvenile crimes) He claimed that Batman and Robin had the perfect homosexual relationship… I made Robin a girl… so there are. (Everyone laughs from his statement)
James Tynion IV:
I don’t think I have put my fingerprint on Batman himself. I’ve been focused much more on his relationship with existing characters… tried to, sort of, hit iconic moments with him and each of the characters that sum up their dynamics in each of their ways. I’ve been trying to create a Bruce that says yes… there were times that they would introduce a new character, a new young vigilante in Gotham, there so many story wherein Batman just saying no. Batman would, like, shut them down out the gate… Batman has been about family the whole time.
6. Politics in comics
Tom King points to Frank Miller that he doesn’t take up much realism. For Frank, realism is such a dreaded word. He points out that the character dresses as a bat, riding a 30 feet long car, and puts a kid into danger. Yeah, Realism. But he seems to have a political sense in his comic as the host pointed out. 3 of his comics had a hit of those political topics on their timeline. He said that it will be odd if comics are divorced from everything else in the world and that cartoon is most known for as political cartoons.
7. Gotham as a Character
Tony Patrick was highlighted on this talk since his new comic stress on the daytime Gotham. He said he was challenged on creating a daytime Gotham since most of the Batman stories were showcased in Nighttime Gotham. He wants to show a distinction between the two, and he points out that for him the daytime Gotham is actually more corrupt than nighttime Gotham.
8. Characters in Diversity and women characters
The Detective Comics was the one with the most diverse and most female characters. James discussed that most of the female where stand-alone characters. They were talked about for a few pages or chapters. It was one of his ways of bringing in his favorite characters to his comics.
9. How much freedom do you have on the iconic character?
Everyone must be curious on how they decide on what will happen to Batman. Like how who’ll he met and team up? Who dies and lives and who will he be going to marry?
” The best bet is to come in when the sales are really low” – Frank Miller
Just wittingly said that sometimes low sales are good because it gives them more freedom to raise the comic back up. They talked about the company and editors not wanting the comics flopped or canceled. They also suggested that having a good editor is the best. Tom points out that there is a core to the character that they want to protect. It is their responsibility in keeping that core since it is for the fans and the writers before them.
10. Who will win?
Frank, your Daredevil vs. your Batman, who would win?
Frank: Batman… He beat up Superman.
For Tom: Your Batman vs. Your Mr. Miracle
Tom: Well, Mr. Miracle isn’t a superhero all he does is escape from things. It’s fairly useless in a fight unless he wants to escape from the fight… in the who will win, Batman is always the win.
James: The only person that Batman loses against is Batman.
They talked about Batman’s weakness. But it was stated that it depends on how the writer interprets what will be Batman’s weakness is. For Tony though, it is the extended family that Batman has.
11. For Frank and Sean, does your story influence your art? For the rest, does your artist change how you tell your story?
Frank: in my case … yes. I adapt my art style to the story I wanna do… you have to adapt on which story you are working on or it becomes boring for you and the audience.
Sean: I can kinda crank together a plot, but I can only do one a year. I have to draw it, and if there is any holes I could draw my way out of them… having other writers might give miscommunications.
1. How do you check if the things you gonna write has been done before?
Tom: I use a program… called Google… I use Google every day to check ideas and to look at the past history. I also have 2 nerd friends, they own a podcast… They are bare nerds than I am, so that’s saying something.
They all had fun saying the name Google to the audience.
Sean: I use Google alot too.
Tony: Me three.
James: I have a full bookshelf of pretty much every major Batman and story that meant something to me growing up. I spent most of my time revisiting those stories, a lot of it is to make sure that I am not retouching on before, also me finding the moments that moved me the most not to recreate them and getting into that mindset of where I was when I was reading it…
2. Comics that influence you to do comics.
Frank: I was big on Superboy and the Legion of the Super-Heroes… Batman came a lot later.
James: For me, it was the Batman and the X-men
Tony: I start with X-men first, then I read Dark Knight Returns, that was the game changer for me. Also Watchmen and since then I wanted to write comics.
Sean: I came from watching a lot of Batman the animated series. The stuff I didn’t know about comics is scary, I don’t know how I got this part. I usually get in touch with Scott or you (Tom)…
The video is put in below if you want to see. The video was release a little some time this week, yet the interview was conducted last Oct. 5, 2017.