Sumney Sigler wrote from Denver Comic Con for Bleeding Cool:
The Batman in Comics panel at Denver Comic Con featured heavy hitters Brian Azzarello, Greg Capullo, David Finch, Tom King, and James Tynion IV. Due to a lack of moderation, this panel was basically a Q&A.
If you could write any other Bat character, who would it be?
James Tynion: I didn’t choose, I just stuck them all into Detective Comics.
On the subject of ending Detective Comics to start Justice League Dark, Tynion said, “I feel like I can walk away from Gotham pretty satisfied.”
David Finch: I’d have to go with Nightwing.
Tom King: I did a run on Grayson, so I did Dick for a while. Jason Todd.
Tom responded to a sudden outburst of applause from the audience by asking, “why do you guys like Jason Todd so much? He’s an asshole!”
The next question was for Tom King.
Would you consider reviving any of Batman’s other villains from the ’50s and ’60s, like he had done with Kite Man?
Tom King: Crazy Quilt.
James Tynion chimed in and said he would love to do something with Killer Moth.
Then came a question about the competition between the various Bat-family titles.
Brian Azzarello: I don’t think anyone up here is competitive.
Tom King: I benefit by them writing well so it’s not super competitive. Once you’ve established a great relationship with an artist you kind of defend them.
Greg Capullo: We compete with ourselves. I don’t even look at a lot of other artists’ work. You could look at somebody and be intimidated and maybe it’ll lock you up. I admire other artists.
Another question for Tom: Would you consider the Bat/Cat wedding a dream project?
He started to answer by joking that he wasn’t playing with Batman and Catwoman action figures as a kid, dreaming about the day that they could get married.
Then he gave us his more serious answer: “It’s a dream project to work on Batman. And to do something different with Batman. That part of it is a dream come true.”
When asked about The Court of Owls, Greg Capullo segued into a never before (publicly) told story about the story’s writer Scott Snyder…
The first script Scott sent to Greg was incredibly, unbelievably long. So Greg’s initial feedback was “just give me the important words.”
Scott responded with “They’re all important!” Then he went on to name some of his writing awards and nominations.
Greg didn’t know what to say to that, except for, “I’m sure your Mother is very proud.”
Scott took it seriously when he messaged back with, “Yes. I come from a close-knit family.”
The first time they met in person was at a convention, where they apologized to each other for “being assholes.” The two have been good friends and co-creators ever since.
Out of the other members of the Bat family, who would you choose to be Batman?
James Tynion: Barbara Gordon. Her pathos doesn’t come from trying to impress Bruce, she’d be doing it on her own terms.
David Finch: Lobo.
Tom King: Dick Grayson. They have the exact same origin, but they’re different people.
On the psychology of Batman vs. the psychology of Bruce…
James Tynion: There’s the public Bruce, which is a mask. There’s the public Batman, which is a mask. Then there’s Bruce sitting alone in the Batcave, which is the real Bruce.
Favorite villain from Batman’s Rogues’ gallery?
Greg Capullo: The vast majority are great, they’re fun to draw.
Brian Azzarello: Killer Croc. I tend to put him in everything.
Tom King: I like Bane. Willpower is Bane’s power too. Just that idea- that two willpowers meet feels good.
A Batman fan asks Tom about Calendar Man.
Tom King: Well, he’s in Rebirth: Batman #1. Read some books! He’s in the Eisner nominated Elmer Fudd special. David Finch drew him in the Bane arc.
Favorite team up outside of the Bat-family?
Tom King: I did Batman/Superman. That’s some bizarre chemistry, it’s my favorite team to write.
Brian Azzarello: Batman and John Constantine.
James Tynion: Batman and Green Arrow.
David Finch: I love the city and the setting. When you take him out of that it kind of loses a little bit.
Greg Capullo: Batman ‘66.
James Tynion: The Animated Series.
David Finch: Sean Murphy’s. The black and white, the new one.
Have any of you ever had an encounter with a well-known Batman-related celebrity?
Greg Capullo told of a time when Scott Snyder and he were given the opportunity to meet with Ben Affleck at the San Diego Comic-Con. But they both had a panel coming up. Greg sent his wife with Scott, who was insistent on meeting Ben. Greg got to their panel on time.
Greg laughed and told his audience in Denver, “I chose you guys!”
Tom King has met Julie Newmar. When he told her about the upcoming Batman wedding she pretended to think it was cool.
Brian Azzarello described a show in Orlando, maybe 10 years ago. Back at his hotel, he mistakenly opened a door that wasn’t his. Adam West was standing on the other side.
Brian apologized, “Sorry, Batman!”
Adam said, “It’s alright, old chum.”
Later that night he heard Adam out on the balcony, standing and singing scat for about 10 minutes.
On some of the first stories that they read…
James Tynion: When I was in Middle School I got a trade of Kingdom Come for the first time. A little bit later I was obsessed with JLA Earth 2.
David Finch: I stole my sister’s Phoenix Saga. It made me a fan, it made me aware of it. I started stealing all of her other comics.
Brian Azzarello: Thor 200. I thought it was so cool because they all died at the end.
Tom King: Watchmen was a religious experience for me. I read it when I was way too young.
Greg Capullo: It wasn’t any particular story. I was just drawn in by the stuff. It wasn’t a physical story, just the saturation of all these visual images that fascinated me.
I’m going to leave you guys with one last story. I was on another panel a couple of hours later, where Joe Giella was featured. At 89, Joe is the oldest living Batman artist.
Joe spoke so sweetly and so fondly of Mike Sekowsky, who saved Joe on day two of his first steady job. Which was under Stan Lee. Stan was upset with Joe for losing a piece of Mike’s art on the train. Mike said that he would quickly redraw the panel if Stan could just give Joe a second chance.
Thanks to Mike’s advocacy, Joe was successful in that position and he went on to draw Batman at DC Comics. After his first few Batman strips were published, Joe was called into an editor’s office. They liked what he had done so far — but they did have some notes in terms of house style and direction. Joe laughed and said it felt a lot harder after that. But he was able to do it anyways.
When Mike passed away he gave Joe one of the awards he had won. Joe said that he still has the trophy in his office. He always felt that if it wasn’t for Mike he wouldn’t be where he is today.