Tag Archive: Batman


Jean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

While many summaries of Batman: Sword of Azrael end with Batman offering to bring Jean-Paul into the Bat-Family, the miniseries was very vague about Jean-Paul’s future. It wasn’t until Batman #488 that we saw what became of him. Continue reading

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Sword of Azrael 1 Gatefold CoverJean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

This week we’re going to take a look at where things started for Jean-Paul, the 1992 mini-series Batman: Sword of Azrael. As in many superhero origin stories, the Jean-Paul of Sword of Azrael isn’t fully formed yet. However, Denny O’Neil’s vision for the character is definitely present and, perhaps more than it knew, Sword of Azrael lays the foundation of the character. Continue reading

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Finally we return to the very beginning, to DC’s namesake book, to close out the New Year’s 52…

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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Ever since its first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28, the Justice League of America has been torn between two principles, that the team should function as a showcase for heroes without other representation and that this was a collection of DC’s greatest heroes. The core Justice League title already provides a place for some of DC’s greats to be recognized as the best and brightest the universe has to offer, but every once in a while there are threats that need a greater show of force…
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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

The Man of Tomorrow and the Man of Gothic Yesterdays, Superman and Batman sound like a terrible pair. How do you mesh a gritty street-level hero and an embodiment of optimistic power? No matter how you manage, there’s no denying that these strange partners are one of, if not the, biggest team in comics. Their friendship and their respect are some of the key pillars of the DC Universe and that deserves a special spotlight.

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The New Year’s 52: Batman

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Batman is the general of DC’s army of titles. There are few characters who demand more respect in this industry and few who can be taken in so many different directions. Whoever takes on this book will have their work cut out for them, but I think I know someone who could handle it…

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Where do you get your ideas

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m kind of fond of Godzilla. The big guy has been a part of my life for a very long time and so, when I heard there was a sixtieth anniversary panel at New York Comic Con, I rushed to the back of the line.

Unfortunately, the king of the monsters didn’t receive a kaiju-sized room and I found the panel woefully overfull. It was the first of a number of instances where the limitations of the Javitz Center became apparent this year, but, while I would have loved to talk Godzilla with all of you, it turned out to be quite a fortunate bit of bad luck.

Dashing back to the room I’d just given up a spot in, I managed to find a great seat for one of the more interesting panels of my 2014 Comic Con experience: So Where Do You Get Your Ideas? And What Do You Do With Them? Continue reading

photo 1Following Marvel’s Next Big Thing, room 1E19 was turned over to a very different sort of panel. At once more important but less serious, Reimagining the Female Hero was my favorite panel at Special Edition: NYC and, judging from the reactions I’ve seen, I get the sense I wasn’t alone in that.

In a stark inversion of horror stories from previous conventions where feminist panels were trolled by attendees waiting out more traditional fare, I noticed many fans sticking around from The Next Big Thing. In fact, despite taking place in the same room as DC and Marvel’s offerings, the panel gave us reason to hope and easily held its own in terms of attendance.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the panel had some pretty excellent creators. The line-up included Jenny Frison, a talented cover artist for series including Revival and Red Sonja; Emanuela Lupacchino, the artist on DC’s Supergirl and the Superman: Lois Lane one-shot; Marguerite Bennett, the writer of Superman: Lois Lane and Batgirl #25 and #30; Gail Simone, feminist icon and writer on Batgirl; and Amy Reeder, the artist behind Madame Xanadu and Rocket Girl, who arrived from her dedicated panel a short while into the discussion.

It’s also worth mentioning that the panel had an excellent moderator in the form of Professor Ben Saunders of the University of Oregon. While I hesitate to devote too much praise to the only man involved with the panel, Professor Saunders did an excellent job of keeping the focus on his panelists, encouraging their relevant digressions, and recognizing their celebrity while keeping the mood light yet respectful.

In short I left the room with a greater respect for everyone involved. Continue reading

C2E2 Report: DC Comics – Batman

batman panel

Saturday was a big day for this year’s C2E2, with a lot of DC and Marvel’s biggest panels taking place. Besides entry in the morning, the longest line I saw all weekend was for this panel. Hundreds of fans filed through the doors of the convention’s largest panel space, and with good reason.

As things got started, John Cunningham, DC’s Marketing VP, introduced us to our panelists: James Tynion IV, former writer of Red Hood and the Outlaws and Talon and an architect of Batman: Eternal; Scott Snyder, writer for Batman, lead writer for Batman: Eternal, and all-around Batman superfan; Jason Fabok and Dustin Nguyen, the two artists for Batman: Eternal; Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi, the artist and writer, respectively, on Batman and _____; and Jim Chadwick, an editor with DC’s digital division who works on Batman ‘66, among others.

Cunningham started by reminding us that this year is the 75th anniversary of Batman and promised a slew of celebration, most clearly embodied in a “Batman Day” sometime this July. He also mentioned the two animated shorts commissioned for the anniversary and, as a thank you, revealed that we’d be screening them before the panel began.

Unfortunately there was some technical trouble, kicking off a friendly rivalry between Cunningham and the people running the projector.

Unable to resolve the problem immediately, we turned to the comics. Continue reading

Seen here, on an average day.

Seen here, on an average day.

Marguerite Bennett is a relatively new name to the comics world, but in the few months that she’s been gracing the covers – and more – of your comic books, she’s accomplished a great deal. She’s written Batman, recreated Lobo, and even filled in on Batgirl for Gail Simone!

A recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s graduate program, Bennett has proven to be a talented and distinguished voice within DC’s stable and has been rising like a rocket. Her fascinating entry into the world of comics and her even more fascinating talent for character work and psychological horror immediately made her a creator to pay attention to in my book and she’s been kind enough to speak with us.

In short, she’s clever, talented, and – I’m honored to say – here.

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