DC's"The Brave and the Bold" has gone through many iterations in the half-century since it was first published. When its first issue hit stands in 1955, it was a venue for period heroes like Silent Knight and Robin Hood. Twenty-five issues later it became a sounding board for new characters. And by issue #50, it became the DC team-up book fans know and love today. Thanks in no small part to the success of the infamous Adam West "Batman" TV series, the end of the original "Brave and the Bold" run was decidedly Bat-heavy. But the new re-envisioning of the book by veteran comics creators Mark Waid and George Prez will not be as Bat-centric as the "Brave and the Bold" of old. Though the Dark Knight will be one of the headliners of the first issue.
"Dan Didio pitched it, actually," Waid told CBR news, of the new "Brave and the Bold's" origins. "Knowing that the whole landscape of the DC universe would be transformed by 'Infinite Crisis' and the fallout from that, the idea was to create a series that would be a travel guide to the DC universe, if you will," Waid explained. "It can't just be fun little stories about Batman and Supergirl teaming up against Two-Face because that doesn't leave any impact on the DC Universe – it doesn't make it a must-read story. So the goal with 'Brave and the Bold,' and the reason that we're doing rotating casts and rotating characters, is so that every arc can contribute some new idea to the DC universe that can be used by other writers and other artists. Whether it be a new planet, or a new alien civilization, or a new villain or a new hero, the idea is that every arc needs to tell you something new about the DC universe that you didn't know before." The first issue finds Batman and Green Lantern on the trail of perhaps the greatest weapon in the DC Universe, a pursuit which leads them all the way to the gambling planet, Ventura.
Perhaps more akin to "52" than to its predecessor, the new "Brave and the Bold" is an anthology book with a purpose. "The idea is to do arcs. The first arc will be five or six issues, depending upon how the finale shakes out. It starts small with Batman and Green Lantern and then each of them picks up a plot thread at the end of that issue that sends them in different directions," Waid said. "So, then the next issue is Green Lantern and Supergirl following one of the plot threads and the subplot is Batman following the B plot. And then in issue three, the B plot becomes the A plot, Batman meets Blue Beetle and meanwhile Supergirl and Green Lantern are off in another part of the DC universe and now they have to interact with other characters.
"So the cast just sort of builds like that," Waid continued. "I call it a 'plot baton,' which is to say that we can hand the plot back and forth between characters, and write characters into the story and write characters out of the story as the plot dictates."
When asked if anthology books like "52" and "Brave and the Bold" were the wave of the future, Waid had this to say: "It would be nice if we could break ground like that. There's just so many characters in the DC universe that may not be able to carry their own series, but certainly deserve to have stories told about them because they're good characters and there are good stories to be told. The trick with an anthology book obviously is if it seems to stand alone, if it doesn't seem like it really has any sort of impact on the overall universe, for right or wrong, the fans tend to ignore it. It's a harder sell.
"Even though there may be, say, a Batman and Green Lantern logo on the cover, that doesn't mean that there can't be guest stars within the book moving in and out," Waid continued. "I kind of want the element of surprise to always be there, that at any moment you could turn the page and suddenly there's Batwoman, or suddenly there's Green Arrow."
Waid, who firmly believes that the creation of comics should be a collaborative effort between writer and artist, had nothing but good things to say about penciller George Prez and inker Bob Wiacek. "George is a consummate storyteller, so he gets the stories, he really understands what we're going for all the time and he contributes his own bits to it," Waid told CBR News. "And Wiacek's inks look amazing, I think it's as good as George's work has looked in a long, long time."
Prez, a veteran writer and storyteller himself, requested that Waid refrain from writing full scripts for "Brave and the Bold." "So we've adapted the working process – now it's a plot that we talk about over the phone, I'll write it up sort of panel by panel with rough dialogue, with the idea that George is free to sort of re-pace it and break it down as he sees fit, and then I go back and finalize the dialogue," Waid explained.
The first issue of the new "Brave and the Bold," featuring Batman and Green Lantern, hits stands on February 21st.
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