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War Rocket Ajax #9: ComicsAlliance’s Podcast Talks to Greg Rucka!

This week, War Rocket Ajax is proud to welcome the Eisner Award-winning writer Greg Rucka to the show! Following last week’s release of The Punisher #1, he talks to us about what makes Frank Castle work, his awesome runs on Detective Comics and Wonder Woman, his new webcomic and why he hates the Joker — and you can listen to it right here at ComicsAlliance!War Rocket Ajax v.2, #9: The Dead Don’t Need Music, with Greg Rucka
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)

In this week’s show, Chris and Matt discuss friendship. Specifically, they talk about Chris’s brand-new best friendship with not one, but two Batmen (including one who almost knows his name), their mutual love of “Metroidvania” games, and how the Punisher is an awful lot like Bigfoot.

As you might expect, our converstation starts off with Rucka’s tenure on Batman and when the Topic turns to Gotham Central, we hear his thoughts on writing one of the best Joker stories ever:

I hate that character so much. I loathe Joker beyond reason at this point, and one of the things I think both Ed and I wanted in that story was just make the most dangerous view of the Joker possible. It’s got to be horrible. Honest to God, if you think about it at all, you’re some poor SOB on the GCPD, one of the hundred non-corrupt cops, and here’s this lunatic playing this mutual masturbation game with Batman, and the casualties are everybody else.

Why they just haven’t drilled that guy… He beggars belief. I could believe why you don’t kill Two-Face, I can believe why Batman doesn’t kill Poison Ivy, I can believe that. I cannot believe at this point, I can’t maintain the fiction that Batman would actually keep the Joker from falling to his death.

On how far you can take realism in comics:

“Realism” is a very dangerous word when we talk about fiction, because if you push it too far… you can’t see me, but right now I’m whipping off my glasses. That’s not a costume, guys. You can’t take realism to Clark Kent. You can’t do it. You have to make a decision: “Okay, he slouches, he wears a frumpy suit, he wears glasses, and nobody puts it together, and that’s the way it will always be.” Fine.

Denny [O'Neil] used to say “you don’t ask why the Batmobile never gets caught in traffic.” As I understand, Archie Goodwin used to say that we hold the DC Universe as an inverted pyramid built on the fact that Clark Kent’s disguise is a pair of glasses. You have to accept those things and take them in. If you chase them too hard, the universe will collapse.

That said, the emotional honesty within the universe should always be realistic, because that’s the strength of your story and I don’t care who you’re writing about. You can write about Chartreuse Lanterns to your heart’s content, but if I don’t give a rat’s ass about how they feel, and if I don’t believe in their emotional state, then you’ve lost me. It doesn’t matter. All it becomes is a bad Michael Bay film.

On starting a run on a character others have worked on:

I am not a Grant Morrison when it comes to continuity. I’m not going to read everything and try to make it all work. By the same token, I do not want to disrespect those people that came before me, because I’ve been guilty of doing that in the past. I think in particular, for instance, writers who come on Wonder Woman are pretty much given an editorial mandate to ignore the guy who came before you, or in Gail’s case, the gal. I don’t think that’s necessary, nor do I think it’s actually particularly courteous.

So it was not so much that I figured I need to have a complete grasp on his continuity as much as I wanted to know Frank, and also see how different people had written Frank in different situations, and in a lot of cases, the same situations.

Plus, you’ll hear about his unused plans to change Wonder Woman’s costume during his tenure on the book, and how he would’ve handled it in the story!

Show Notes

Installments of Major League Baseball are not traditionally referred to as “episodes,” but we’re trendsetters. Deal with it.

For more on Greg Rucka, follow him on Twitter!

Check out Rucka and Rick Burchett’s brand-new webcomic, Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether!

Chris’s favorite Joker story, “Soft Targets,” can be found in Gotham Central #12 – 15, or the hardcover Gotham Central v.2: Jokers and Madmen.

Earl Scruggs vs. Masta Killa (who is actually from Brooklyn but spent some time in South Carolina): WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?!

Chris’s Rec: The Legend of Ricky Thunder, by Kyle Starks

Matt’s Rec: Adam Warrock feat. Tribe One – Study Hall

Comics Reviewed: La Mano del Destino #1 is “a really cool idea and a great comic,” Punisher #1 “does not shy away from opening up with some violence,” Superman #714 is “the send-off that you want Superman to have,” and Flashpoint #4 “lifted the BioWare playbook.”

Next Week: Michael Kupperman! The writer and artist of Tales Designed to Thrizzle and The Autobiography of Mark Twain: 1910 – 2010 joins us, and you can win a copy of his new book just by sending us a Twitter question! We’ll be accepting them during the interview, starting at 9:30 PM Eastern time, Thursday, August 11th!

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