On sale now is Batman & Robin: Batman Must Die, a deluxe hardcover collecting the final issues of Grant Morrison's run on the Batman & Robin title, which includes critical connective tissue to the writer's Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne (also on sale in deluxe hardcover). For those who've yet to read Morrison's Batman opus in this format, DC Comics released online some of the supplementary material available in the hardcovers -- specifically, commentary by Morrison on the creation of his and artist Frank Quitely's memorable cover illustrations. You can see an example below.

It is typical for Morrison to devise cover concepts for his series at a very early stage of the book's development. In the case of Batman & Robin, the writer handed off his ideas to part-time series artist and frequent collaborator Frank Quitely, who developed the sketches into classic DC Comics covers.

Below are Morrison's sketches and notes for Batman & Robin #13. For more, head over to DC's The Source blog for Morrison commentary on Batman & Robin #14, Batman & Robin #15 and Batman & Robin #16.

Back in BATMAN #428, in 1988, the Joker had famously used a crowbar to beat Jason Todd, the unlucky second Robin, to within an inch of his life before blowing him [up] with a bomb. As is the way of comic book characters, Jason Todd eventually made it back from the dead many years later (and even made an appearance as the Red Hood in this very series), but I wanted to see the new Robin redress the balance in his own inimitable way - hence this image of a grinning, unrepentant Joker taking his skull fractures with a smile.

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