The Batman Comic You Should Read After Watching The Movie

It’s not that it’s superhuman, it’s that it’s a coping mechanism. So leaning into some of the realities of that… I don’t think we talk enough about Bruce Wayne’s mental health. On the one hand, it’s visually cool and exciting to dress up as a bat and go beat people up and at the same time, it’s disturbed. The point so many creators and fans make about how Bruce Wayne should be in Arkham with all the bad guys, I don’t necessarily disagree with. So, it was kind of like, let’s dive into that a little bit more, let’s be a little bit more honest about what’s going on with this guy.

The look of the book is like a perfect blend of the Batman: Year One aesthetic. I feel like you can see some of that David Mazzucchelli influence, especially in the colors and the backgrounds. But he also has these very modern, particularly cinematic costume influences. How did you work with Andrea Sorrentino on this? Especially some of these spreads are just crazy the way they are laid out.

Andrea is a magician and a genius, and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them… most of the time, I was just getting out of Andrea’s way. He knows how to stick the landing with these pages. With lots of prints, they are so detailed, so intricate and perfectly executed. I am not the one writing this…. So instead, it’s really going, “It’s going to be a double-page spread that shows Bruce and Blair’s detective mode where I really need us to see that they’re thinking about the same issue in a similar way.” Top left, I think we see Bruce Wayne, and we see him tackling this issue… Bottom right, there’s Blair here…”

That’s about as descriptive as I’d get in my writing. Sometimes Andrea took all of that and added to it in a way that really made it more impressive. Other times, he took none of it and came up with something 1000 times better. There was never a time when I wrote something and Andrea delivered something worse. The script has always been the worst thing about this thing.

There are a lot of villains in there that aren’t really recognizable as villains. They are not the antagonists of the play. In particular, the stuff with Ratcatcher is heartbreaking, almost from the minute he appears on the panel. How did you decide to include Ventriloquist, Ratcatcher, Squid…you mentioned Firebug…how did you come to populate this story with these particular characters?

You know, on some level, I felt like I had to earn the respect of the comedy community. I have this tremendous opportunity for my first book to be a Batman book because of the film side of my career. And I love comics, really. I didn’t want to just walk in and be like, ‘Okay, guys, here’s the Joker.’ I don’t feel like I’ve really earned the right to play with these toys somehow…. If I put Two-Face or the Joker or whoever in this book, it’s going to be compared to all these other stories where what really interests me is the psychology of Bruce Wayne… so for me, I just felt like I could earn some credibility here, by not just going for the big star, the big story. So let me fill it in with all these other characters that aren’t usually in the spotlight.

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