For the past year, I've spoken to Scott Snyder for a series of in-depth interviews about Batman: Zero Year, the new origin story that he, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia have produced for DC Comics. In the final act, "Savage City," Batman was confronted with a Gotham City that had been destroyed by a super-storm, was overrun by plants that had grown out of control, and was being held in the iron grip of the Riddler, all while confronting the trauma that inspired him to become a hero.
With the full story completed, I spoke to Snyder for the first part of a two-part interview about how he felt he'd achieved his goals with the bestselling story, the inspiration for the dynamic visuals, and his meeting with Frank Miller, possibly the most definitive Batman author, who had one very specific note about the story.
The Arkham Sessions is dedicated to the psychology of Batman, so it seems almost like an ethical duty to cover a movie about Arkham Asylum, Gotham City's mental health facility for the "criminally insane." In the newly released direct-to-video animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham, a highly-skilled group of assassins and outlaws are called together by Amanda Waller to take part in a risky -- possibly life-threatening -- mission to infiltrate Arkham Asylum.
Does it help or hurt that members have a history of incarceration, criminal activity, and psychiatric treatment related to lack of moral sense? Perhaps Waller is brilliant to devise a plan that can only succeed via the knowledge and insight of persons who have been through the system.
In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we gently put aside the VHS and screen a contemporary work from DC Universe Animated. Use the player above to listen to our spoiler-free analysis of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, Black Spider, Killer Frost, KB Beast, and, of course the Joker.
This week sees the start of DC Comics' big The Multiversity event series, and if the related books on sale over at ComiXology -- ostensibly to get everyone up to speed -- are anything to go by, then that thing's going to be chock full of weirdos. Seriously, I already knew they were going to be throwing Captain Carrot in there, and for some reason people can't get enough of that one story where Batman becomes a Dracula, but there are some deep cuts in there, like that one Chuck Dixon comic where the Justice League are all cowboys, and this weird thing from the '90s called Kingdom Come, where Superman fights Cable.
And then there's Kamandi.
But should Kamandi start crossing over into the main DC Universe, it won't be the first time. For that, you have to go back to Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's Brave and the Bold #157, for a story where Kamandi was sent back in time, and ended up being brainwashed, made invulnerable, poisoned with snake venom, joining up with the mob and punching Batman in the face. It... It's a weird one.
I don't know that from experience, of course (if anything, I fall on the villain side of the spectrum), but I've read enough comics about superheroes trying to get some semblance of a normal life back that I can say that with certainty. Artist Ryan Quickfall clearly gets that, too. In conjunction with Shutterstock, a leading purveyor of stock images of people holding clipboards, he has made some super-cool images of pharmaceutical aids for some of the world's most popular superheroes.
There's a brand new demo of Batman: Arkham Knight on display at Gamescom in Germany, and from the sound of it, the game--Rocksteady Games' return to the franchise after a one-game break--will be a pretty fun time.
After a fight sequence at Ace Chemical and the introduction of some new gadgets, there's a fairly sequence involving the Batman popping out of the moving Batmobile (!) and onto rooftops. Unfortunately, you have to be at Gamescom to play that demo at the moment, but GamesRadar has nabbed a few screenshots to whet your whistle. Check them out below.
What if you woke up one day and your life was completely different? What if all the things you wished for were suddenly a reality -- you have the job you always wanted, the person you want to be with loves you back, and the people you thought were lost forever are alive again?
One of the most remembered episodes of Batman: The Animated Series is "Perchance to Dream," a powerfully dark story in which Bruce Wayne essentially wakes up to a "perfect" life. His parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne, are alive and well; he is engaged to Selina Kyle; and he is no longer burdened with the job of being the Batman. In fact, Bruce learns that someone else, some other disguised vigilante, is effectively ridding the streets of criminals. No need for him to be Batman anymore. Bruce is initially ecstatic, grateful, almost relieved to learn he can live a normal life. "The nightmare is over," he tells himself.
Only it's not.
We discuss the fascinating neuroscience of dreams and the growing research supporting our ability to control our actions in dreams. Furthermore, by raising the scenario of being "plugged into a dream machine," this episode dares us to contemplate the importance of an existence in which we have free will, motivation, and actual contact with an unfiltered reality. Before The Matrix, The Nexus, and Inception, there was Batman: The Animated Series.
It's safe to say that former Vertigo editor Mark Doyle has been blowing our minds since he took over as editor of DC's Batman line, launching and relaunching titles like Batgirl, Grayson, and Gotham Academy that feel exciting, entertaining, and refreshingly different from DC's "house style." Now add another title to the pull-list; the horror series Gotham By Midnight, by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith.
Gotham By Midnight tells the story of the Gotham City Police Department's horror beat, the "midnight shift" that deals with monsters, ghosts, and a creepier class of creep. The book is headlined by a familiar name from the Bat-universe, Detective Jim Corrigan -- who happens to be host to the vengeful divine force The Spectre. It sounds like Gotham By Midnight has the potential to be a very left-of-center Gotham Central.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
When I was a kid, there was about a year where I got really into building models, mainly because I didn't have many friends and that was the easiest way that you could get a giant Darth Vader with a glow-in-the-dark lightsaber. It didn't last too long since the enjoyment that I got from putting things together moved back into LEGO sets, but it was enough that I get a little twinge of nostalgia from it -- especially when I see something like Bandai's new line of Sprükits Action Figure Model Kits.
The deal with them is that they're not just models, they're kits for building fully poseable action figures with accessories that require no scissors, glue or paint. You just snap it all together, and judging by the Arkham City Batman figure that I just put together, they're actually pretty cool.
Chip Kidd is a one of American publishing's foremost graphic designers, a respected novelist and author in his own right, and a life-long comic book fan. He's worked with DC Comics on a number of different projects over the years, writing histories, creating logos, designing books, and even authoring stories like 2012's Batman: Death By Design graphic novel with Dave Taylor. Recently, he produced a "remix" of the first-ever Batman story (which was originally slated to be published in DC's "Detective Comics #27 Special Edition" giveaway, but ended up as a feature in the deluxe hardcover Batman: A Celebration Of 75 Years instead).
While at San Diego Comic-Con last month, we got a few minutes to drop by DC's booth and talk with Kidd about Batman, his design work, and his current (and upcoming) projects.
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