Grant Morrison Talks Batman & Robin

Thu, March 19th, 2009 at 1:28pm PDT | Updated: March 20th, 2009 at 8:06am

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer
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"Batman & Robin" #1 on sale in June

If you can’t wait until June for “Batman & Robin,” the forthcoming series from DC Comics' dynamic duo of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, crack open your long boxes and read and re-read 2007's “Batman” #666.

When CBR News chatted with Morrison earlier this week, the superstar writer said the futuristic issue featuring Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian, as the new Batman contains some significant trigger points, as well as some key characters, that lead directly into the new series.

Morrison also said the new series feels a little bit like the classic Adam West/Burt Ward “Batman” TV series from the late 1960s, so you better check out AmericanLife TV Network too.

For more details on “Batman & Robin,” read on….

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CBR: There’s no denying the excitement of your fans, but how about you? Are you thrilled to be working with Frank Quitely yet again, this time on “Batman & Robin?”

Grant Morrison: He’s just handed in the first issue and he’s started to work on the second. It’s amazing. It’s a very different take on Batman. It looks quite different. And quite interesting.

How can you describe what he is doing with the characters?

Well to begin with, it’s Frank Quitely. This is certainly looser than what he was doing on “All Star Superman.” There was more control on that book, because we wanted it to be more like Superman. So it was all very controlled, very measured. The “Batman & Robin” stuff is more brazen. And he’s producing things like sound effects, because nobody does sound effects anymore. Everybody has given up on them, so what we’ve done is incorporate them into the artwork. When someone hits water, the water rises up and makes the “splash” effect. It just looks fantastic.

Again, it’s much more playful than “All Star Superman,” which was more classical and maybe more restrained. This is more wired.

Morrison says "Batman" #666 -- collected in "Batman and Son" -- provides clues to the direction of "Batman & Robin"

Quitely’s the first to admit he’s, shall we say, methodical in his approach. With that said, “Batman & Robin” is scheduled as an ongoing. Can we expect any delays?

This is a monthly comic and Frank won’t be doing all of them. With “All Star Superman,” we had as long as we wanted to produce the book. This is a proper monthly comic. The other books are going to be taking their cues from it, as well. So there will be other artists involved. It will be a little more like “New X-Men.” Meaning, Frank will be in and out as the artist.

That’s interesting that you say this book will feed the other books. Is the plan to have the Bat-verse titles line up even more than usual, similar to what Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Greg Rucka and Sterling Gates are doing with the Super-books in the “World Without Superman” storyline?

Well, I like to hope we’ll be playing off each other. I actually don’t know what’s happening in some of the other books just yet. Now, I’ve been told some basic details. And we know what we’re doing. So yeah, they will run in tandem. I don’t know that we’ll crossover with the other books, but we’ll certainly be in sync.

You’ve been writing Batman for three years with Bruce Wayne under the cowl. Was it difficult to hit the reset button and re-imagine Batman with a new hero behind the mask?

That’s part of the fun. It was planned way, way back. We always knew that after “Batman R.I.P.,” we were going to do this run of stories where we didn’t have Bruce under the cowl. And again, that’s the fun of it. It’s like writing a whole brand new book. It’s like getting a new assignment because Batman and Robin are two completely different characters.

And I don’t want to give away who they are just yet with [writer-artist] Tony [Daniel] still doing “Battle for the Cowl.” But what we’ve got is a more light-hearted, more spontaneous Batman and a real bad-ass, violent Robin. So I think people are going to enjoy it. It’s a very different dynamic between the two characters.

Bruce Wayne has been Batman for 70 years. Do you think the switch is going to be hard for some readers to stomach?

I think it works really well. There’s a really fresh feeling about the book. So I think fans will enjoy it. We’re not really entertaining the notion that Bruce won’t be back at some time. This isn’t like “Captain America” with the Winter Soldier story and Cap’s really gone. This is an ongoing story, another chapter in the life of Batman, so I think even people who are fans of Bruce and who think no one else can be Batman will be entertained by this. And be intrigued to see who it is.

Characters from "The Black Gove" will appear in "Batman & Robin"

You are obviously not going to spill who the new Batman and Robin are just yet, but what about the other characters that will appear in the series? Will we see familiar faces like Commissioner Gordon? Or Alfred?

Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, all of those guys are in it. Most of the villains are going to be new guys or at least guys who were just introduced, specifically in “Batman” #666, which I did a couple of years ago. That was a future story where Damian, Batman’s son, has taken over the mantle. And so, some of the characters that we saw in “Batman” #666 will be fleshed out a bit more in this new story.

Will Damian be a featured character in “Batman & Robin?” And more specifically, will he be a title character?

He’ll certainly be playing a role in the series, quite a big role. What that role is, I’m not going to say just yet.

Let’s try this a slightly different way. For any of the heroes in contention for the cowl, if they don’t make the grade as Batman or Robin, will they still be featured in the series?

Yeah, we’ll see a couple of them. I want to do a Batman/Batwoman team-up. That’s something I’ve been wanting for a long time. And also, we’ll being seeing Jason Todd in a different role than we’ve seen him before. But it’s a continuation of the “Battle for the Cowl” story, so all of the guys will be part of this again in some way. And I want to bring back some of the Black Glove characters too. It’s all stuff from the previous series.

So as far as your overall run with the character, you do consider “Batman & Robin” an extension of what you started with “Batman & Son?”

With the collections out, we’ve got “Batman & Son,” we’ve got “The Black Glove,” we’ve got “Batman R.I.P.,” and then we’ve got this one, “Batman & Robin,” and then, hopefully, there will be a final volume, a fifth volume. Bruce is still out there. “Final Crisis” revealed Bruce is still out there and he’s got to make his way back in some way.

"Batman R.I.P." on sale now

So it looks like you’re committed to the character for another two, maybe three years anyway.

This will hold me till the end of 2010, so at least that long. But I’m really enjoying this book, so if new stuff comes up, I’ll keep going.

And what about Robin? What makes him an intriguing character to write? And what makes him worthy of having his name right there in the title next to Batman?

It’s the classic buddy thing. It’s the original partnership. And it’s always worked. And I think it’s going to work in even more interesting ways in this book. Their personalities are very, very different. So where we saw Batman before in a leadership role, a mentor role, this shows Robin as having some big ideas of his own. It’s the sparks that fly between the characters in this incarnation that makes it very interesting. It’s a real fresh kind of feel.

Check back with CBR News on Friday for a new interview with Grant Morrison, where he discusses “Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye,” and some other projects he’s currently writing for DC Comics including one book about the Multiverse and a second in the vein of “Watchmen” featuring the heroes of Earth-Four, who are all former Charlton Comics characters.

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TAGS:  batman, batman and robin, grant morrison, frank quitely, dc comics

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