BATMAN VS. ROBIN – THE COVERS
This week, BATMAN AND ROBIN v2: BATMAN VS. ROBIN DELUXE EDITION hits comic shops – and it’s not a stretch to say you’re in for a treat. The second volume of writer Grant Morrison’s epic Batman tale -- starring Dick Grayson in the cape and cowl and Damian as Robin – puts the spotlight squarely on the Dynamic Duo and their, well, dynamic. How long can the new Batman and his sidekick really make it work? What does Talia have to say about it? And what of the other, myriad villains that populate the series?
That’s for you to find out when you get this lovely collection in your hands, which features the artistic talents of Cameron Stewart, Andy Clarke and covers by Frank Quitely. But, very much like what we did for the first collection of BATMAN AND ROBIN, we’ll be taking a look behind the curtain at all the elements that made this second collection memorable, essential and compelling – from the covers to the characters.
First up? The covers, with words from the man himself, Grant Morrison.
Issues 7 to 8 of BATMAN AND ROBIN were a loose tie-in to DC’s “Blackest Night” event, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis, in which a host of dead DC superheroes returned to wreak vengeance on the living as cruel zombies.
Rather than tie directly into the main event, we chose to reflect it in a more thematic way with this story of walking dead men.
As before, the cover ideas began in my notebook. For this one, I wanted a kind of Egyptian Pharaoh/Tutankhamen take on the remains of Batman. By the time I’d decided he’d look really good standing up in a sarcophagus-shaped alcove, it was too late to explain exactly how a dead body was supposed to stand upright. Obviously anti-gravity or sturdy hooks were involved.
With Damian out of action as Robin, I wanted to make this look like the classic “Batman has a new partner” covers of the past so here he’s back to back with Batwoman, facing the threat of a rising mysterious figure.
At that time, no one knew when Bruce Wayne might be returning as Batman so we wanted to make it look as if this might be the moment.
This one was for the diminishing demographic of Damian-as-Robin haters. It seemed only fair to give them a moment’s hope that Batman was about to hurl the little snot’s unconscious body to a splattery demise on the Gotham sidewalk three hundred feet below. As if.
For this one, I had in mind a classic “mystery” cover like some of the Neal Adams compositions from the 1970s showing Batman investigating while some threat crept up behind him. In this case the threat was Robin himself, setting up our Batman vs. Robin storyline with what I hoped would be an intriguing image.
In this issue Robin comes to suspect that the enigmatic Oberon Sexton might actually be Bruce Wayne, so we decided to echo the cover of BATMAN AND ROBIN #1 in a way that would emphasise the close connection to Batman of Robin’s new partner.
When I first saw this simple Batman vs. Robin X-shaped composition I was sure that Batman’s extended leg was too long, but I should have known Frank Quitely doesn’t make anatomical mistakes like that. When you turn the cover on its side as if Batman’s standing in a martial arts or yoga pose, his leg is in perfect proportion.