With “The Night of the Owls” crossover coming to Gotham City this May, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES ran a complete week of coverage examining the event. While CBR often spotlights their Batman coverage under the “Bat Signal” header, they even retitled the column in honor of the event. With the Owls wreaking havoc on Gotham and taking over the city, it only seemed right for the “Bat Signal” to be subverted into the “Owl Signal.” Kicking off their week with the creative who introduced the sinister Court of Owls into the mythology, CBR spoke with BATMAN writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo. BATMAN series editor Mike Marts joined in the candid conversation about the malevolent new villain that has sprung up to threaten the extended Bat-family. Said Snyder, “As I was working on the story, I realized there was a point in issue #9 where the attack that the Owls were going to launch against Gotham was so big and so broad that we had to at least address where the other Bat characters were. So I talked to Mike and told him that there was an opportunity to play in if they wanted to. From there, we tried to make an event where each writer or each team working on the Bat books could look at their story lines and decide if they wanted to organically tie it in.” Next came their interview with Kyle Higgins, writer of NIGHTWING. “From a thematic standpoint and an emotional standpoint, some of the things that come up during Nightwing's fight with the Owls are going to raise questions for him about what his place in the future of the city is, what his place in current Gotham could have been, and whether or not the way he and Batman operate in the city accomplish all that much of anything,” said Higgins. “So yeah, it's safe to say this crossover will frame some things for Nightwing to look at as we move forward in the series.” Though it might seem an unlikely participant in the “Night of the Owls,” ALL-STAR WESTERN takes place in Gotham of a century ago, offering insights into the Owls’ roots. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti explored the depth of the Court’s hold on the city. “The mythology that Scott [Snyder] is developing so admirably in BATMAN lends itself directly to ALL-STAR WESTERN because it encompasses the history of Gotham long before the caped crusader existed,” said Gray. “To that end, using both The Court of Owls and the Talon fit seamlessly into our existing plans for the book. In fact, we're already seeding ideas and images in ALL STAR that come into play not only with #9, but also all the way through the end of our first year.” With Batman under fire in his self-titled book, Robin’s on his own against the Owls’ assassin: The Talon. BATMAN AND ROBIN writer Peter Tomasi explains, “Robin pretty much faces this Talon alone in a wall to wall action packed story just outside of Gotham. Batman has his hands full with all the craziness that Scott's throwing at him at Wayne Manor, and members of the Bat Family need to step up and kick some serious ass to try and help set things right. With all of the Talon action taking place in Gotham proper, I thought it would be cool to move Robin into the outskirts for a little change of scenery in his battle.” Fending off the Owl attack on three separate front, writer Judd Winick discusses the crossover from the perspective of three distinct titles: BATWING, CATWOMAN and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. “I think it's a little bit of everything. These are three very, very different stories,” said Winick. “That's the fun of this entire crossover that it's a really big, terrific, ramshackle story just full of action, lots of emotion, and digs around in canon in a way that I think is really, really interesting.” And finally, writer Scott Lobdell spoke about how RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS fits into the action – no small feat, given the characters’ general inability to play well with others. “RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS ‘isn't like the other kids’ – they're not really asked to play in the reindeer games. When you see how they wind up caught between a Talon rock and a Mr. Freeze hard place, it will feel like exactly what it is: A ‘Night Of The Owls’ story through that Outlaw prism.” Don’t miss “The Night of the Owls,” coming this May.
With anticipation for May’s “The Night of the Owls” crossover building across the extended Bat-family, DETECTIVE COMICS will also now be part of the greater battle for Gotham City. Written by Tony S. Daniel and illustrated by Daniel and Sandu Florea, the issue finds the sinister secret society targeting one of Gotham’s most iconic institutions. “In DETECTIVE #9, Batman finds himself in the unlikeliest of situations—saving Arkham Asylum administrator Jeremiah Arkham from a mysterious Talon assailant,” said Mike Marts, BATMAN Series editor. “What is the secret connection between the Court of Owls and Gotham City’s oldest institution for the criminally insane?”
The long weekend is almost upon us, and minds tend to wander this close to the end of the work day. So, how about I provide you with a handful of links to click through and get through the day a bit faster?
• This morning, we unveiled a first look at SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, and the reaction was strong and positive, with pickup from WIRED, AOL COMICS ALLIANCE, THE BEAT, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES, IGN, NEWSARAMA and iFANBOY. That Shane Davis sure can draw, huh?
• THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR spotlighted the recent news of Dick Grayson sticking around as one of two Batmen.
• NEWSARAMA spoke to Batman Group Editor Mike Marts about the decision and the overall landscape of the Bat-books later this year.
• And SPIKE TV announced the nominees for the 2010 SCREAM AWARDS, which include our very own Geoff Johns and J.H. Williams III.
Hey--for those of you who don’t already know--the first issue of our new JOKER’S ASYLUM event hits stands this week. JOKER’S ASYLUM is a group of five one-shoots focusing on Batman’s rogues gallery, each written and drawn by a different creative team. This time around we’re featuring stories on HARLEY QUINN, CLAYFACE, MAD HATTER, KILLER CROC, and of course…
THE RIDDLER. First out of the gate is a tale about Edward Nigma, written by Peter Calloway (a writer from the hit TV show Brothers & Sisters) with amazing artwork by Andres Guinaldo and Raul Fernandez (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS).
With the Riddler taking center stage in this one-shot, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the story revolves around…well, a riddle. But here’s some free advice, fans…as a reader, I wouldn’t stop at being satisfied with just the surface-level puzzle that Edward Nigma attempts to resolve…
Try to dig a little deeper…maybe there’s an extra layer or two to the story. And I know spring is nearly over, but maybe there’ are a few Easter eggs to discover…
Report back here, let us know what you find…
It's not a stretch to say Guillem March is one of the most talented artists in the Batman group. Doubly talented when it comes to creating compelling and great-looking covers. So, it was a no-brainer to suggest having him chat on the blog about just what his process is. Especially when the very talented Bat-editors Mike Marts and Janelle Siegel send me some pretty art to post. So, here's his take on the creation of GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #8. Take it away, Guillem:
When I was thinking about a concept for this cover, I focused on Poison Ivy since the issue is about her. I had the idea of a frontal closeup of the face. I like face close-ups and I´ve drawn others, like the covers to Oracle #2 or Gotham City Sirens #2. In this case I went further and the face is so big that it´s only shown partially. It´s a very simple idea, but I don´t remember many covers like this, and that´s the point--making something new and eye catching! I made some layouts of this idea, some of them with additional elements to make the other Sirens appear in the final image.
Once editor Mike Marts and Artistic Director Mark Chiarello had selected one of the layouts, I decided the technique I´d use for it. Sometimes I do painted covers, and sometimes I follow the typical process of penciling, inking and coloring by computer. For this cover I did the same as for the Gotham City Sirens #3 cover, a painted illustration in gray wash, with a plain color applied on it by computer. I drew the face on the back of the DC regular paper so I don´t have any blue guides on it. It was a little bit of a challenge for me, as I´m not used to painting such an oversized view of something that is usually only a few millimeters in the interior art, and it´s easy to lose the sense of proportion. The leaves falling were drawn separately so I could then compose the whole image better by computer.
The last step of coloring had no complications, but has a vital importance for the final result. While coloring I noticed the huge iconic content that the colors of Poison Ivy have. The gray wash shows a woman´s face, but green skin and red hair means Poison Ivy with no doubt, without needing to put the leaves on it.
There's a ton of good stuff coming out of the Bat-office lately, so checking my inbox each morning is like getting a bit of Christmas early. The spread below, from BATMAN #694 by writer/artist Tony Daniel, is one such example. Thanks to Batman Group Editor Michael Marts and his able assistant Janelle Siegel for sharing the goodness.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes bit of fun for all you Sourcers out there. As one of the most fun editorial tasks yet, I’ve spent the past two days running up and down the hall getting pictures of some of our editors. They all seem to be pretty scared of…something… Can’t be Halloween-related at this point, right? So what’s going on here?
For instance, here’s Mike Carlin and Rachel Gluckstern, looking very unhappy about whatever’s going on over Mike’s desk:
Maybe it’s the same thing that’s about to hit Harvey Richards in the head:
Janelle Siegel is doing a pretty good job keeping it at bay:
While Mike Marts isn’t so lucky – it’s coming right at him!
Sean Ryan and Wil Moss are doing the smart thing and high-tailing it out of here:
Which – oh, man – gives it a clear shot at me. Look out, me!
Welp, looks like it passed me by, considering I’m still here typing. And I think I know where it went – straight for Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman:
That’s gonna be trouble. As soon as we can actually see what it is, that is….
Until next time – wish us luck!
In the spirit of my favorite time of the year…here are a few things that scare me.
THE FLAMINGO. This guy has death and danger written all over him. He rides a motorcycle and rips people’s faces off for fun. Oh yeah, and to top it all off, he’s dressed head-to-toe in pink. What’s not to be afraid of? If Batman & Robin thought they had their hands full with Red Hood & Scarlet, well, they haven’t seen anything yet. Check out the Flamingo in all of his pink and face-ripping glory in BATMAN & ROBIN #6.
TONY DANIEL. This guy scares me. True, he’s one of DC’s exclusive artists. He’s also one of my good friends. But he still scares me. Why? Because he’s a double-threat. Not only can he draw circles around anyone holding a pencil, but this guy can write, as well! In case you didn’t already know, Tony’s both writing and illustrating the current arc of BATMAN, which runs from #692-697. Will Tony reveal who’s under the Black Mask in this storyline? (Hint: I wouldn’t be teasing it, unless he was.)
BLACK MASK. His true identity scares me. Stay tuned.
WHITE GHOST. Sure, he has a name that sounds like a discounted Halloween costume, but this right-hand-man of Ra’s al Ghul is scary because he appears in not one, but two Batman titles this month--RED ROBIN #6 and AZRAEL #2
The PHILLIES don’t scare me.
MARCUS TO. Have you seen this guy’s art? Incredi--I mean, scary. Marcus debuts as RED ROBIN’s new regular artist this month, and I can’t tell you how excited we are about this. We’ve seen several complete issues of art from Marcus already, and each one gets better and better! Welcome aboard, Marcus!
Till next time, Stay Scary.
The Battle for the Cowl is over – what’s next?
That’s the big question that will be answered in a few short minutes during the San Diego Comic Con “Batman: New Dynamic” panel, as Batman Group Editor Michael Marts rounds up a band of creators, including writers Paul Dini, Greg Rucka and artist Dustin Nguyen, to discuss what the future holds for the new Caped Crusader.
And since we’re a little early for the panel ourselves, what questions do you, Source readers, have about the Bat-verse? What’s gotten your attention? What titles have you added to your pull list?
And if you’re not out here in San Diego, fret not. We’ve got some Bat-art for you to check out. The Source: We bring the con to you.
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Hello there, Bat Nation! As BATMAN REBORN kicks into high gear, I just wanted to send a quick note to you all--a friendly reminder--to run (don’t walk!) to your local comic shop this coming Wednesday for two spectacular debuts!
First up we have DETECTIVE COMICS STARRING BATWOMAN. Writer Greg Rucka and artist JH Williams III have been pouring their hearts and souls into this comic over the past several months--from the very first page you’ll see what we mean. You won’t want to miss this first adventure, which unveils a new villain for Batwoman to face.
And if one story isn’t enough for you, fret not--we have not one, but (count ‘em!) TWO stories in DETECTIVE COMICS each month. Following the lead feature is THE QUESTION, written by the very busy Greg Rucka and illustrated by Cully Hamner. Renee Montoya and her inquisitive alter ego take center stage each month in this second feature.
Next up we have the series debut of GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, featuring Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn! This new series is written by a guy named Paul Dini--perhaps you’ve read his work in DETECTIVE or BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM. And this series is beautifully illustrated by Guillem March, whose work you may have seen in GOTHAM GAZETTE, or in last year’s BATMAN/DETECTIVE “Last Days of Gotham” two-part crossover.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg…Phase Two of BATMAN REBORN kicks in later this year, with the return of two long-time favorites--the all-new BATGIRL series in August, and the all-new AZRAEL series in October!
Thanks for reading!