@’s by BATMAN & ROBIN’s
AMBUSH BUG (BUG): It’s always great to talk to you, Pete. You’re a writer of BATMAN & ROBIN and many, many other things that go all the way back to THE LIGHT BRIGADE, which was a fantastic book as well.
PETER J. TOMASI (PT): And you’re awesome for helping push it and get some interest started in it.
BUG: Yeah, and I’ll check back in with you about that at the end of the interview, but tell me about what we have upcoming on BATMAN AND ROBIN.
PT: Well, the biggest thing is ROBIN RISES in July, which is by Andy Kubert. It’s a 38 page action-packed opening salvo to the ROBIN RISES storyline, which will come to a big-ass conclusion in December, where we will introduce a new Robin to the DCU.
BUG: And you guys have been pretty tight-lipped as to who that Robin is going to be…
PT: Oh, we are so tight-lipped—you wouldn’t believe how tight-lipped we are.
BUG: But are there any clues, any hints you can drop?
PT: Any clues or hints? Nope. I can’t say there are, actually. I think it’s just one of things that if you’ve been a reader of the book from the beginning. I think you’ll really enjoy where it all goes and I think the emotional journey that Bruce goes through to have a new Robin at his side and get the dynamic duo back into the streets of Gotham, I think, I hope the readers will enjoy and appreciate it.
BUG: Well, in the meantime, this book has become kind of like a BRAVE AND THE BOLD style book with Batman teaming up with somebody new every month.
PT: Yep. I always wanted to be Bob Haney, so, but Pat is my Jim Aparo, but no, it was just one of those things where I wanted to explore Bruce’s sort of emotional journey with some other characters bouncing off, and even selfishly write some characters that I enjoy, that I wanted to write, so it was cool to kind of approach it that way and it’s been fun. It’s even fun for Pat, too, to draw some of the different DCU guys in the books.
BUG: Yeah, it’s great to see him bouncing off the characters you normally don’t see. Is there someone that you really wanted to bring in? I just read the Frankenstein issue. Fantastic read.
PT: Thanks! Yes, Frankenstein is great, and it’s crazy, the art is awesome. Yeah. If there were anyone I wanted to use, it would be Sgt. Rock. I would love to have Sgt. Rock or the Unknown Soldier in the book, but I guess that won’t happen. Yeah, the Hunt for Robin isn’t a very long one, really, in the scheme, and it’s only four issues. So the characters that we picked and ended up doing were just right for it. I mean, there’s a lot of other decent characters that I’ve edited over the years that I would love even to take a crack at writing-wise, but that will come in time, but it was fun to do these group of characters. And we’ve got the Justice League coming up too in issue 33, and even a little bit in 34.
BUG: Starting out editing at DC, how did that prepare you to write for them?
PT: You just are the man behind the curtain, so to speak, and you’re working with writers every day as an assistant, and then working my way up to be the Batman editor you, just by osmosis and keeping your eyes and ears open and then just being a sponge. Just growing up as I kid I was writing and making my own movies, so it was sort of a nice little zeitgeist of storytelling that just, you know, working on all those abilities, it prepared me to be in the trenches of the writing side of it.
BUG: Would you ever go back to making movies?
PT: I don’t know. You know, that’s a good question. I think at this point, I’m having so much fun doing comics, and then one of the things you learn is when you’re in the movie business, the little bit that I’ve been in it, you know, there’s just so much more control and the tangibility factor of having something you write and edited here and actually be able to have over a very short period of time really, it can’t be beat and it’s a great feeling still after 23 years of it, so it’s pretty awesome still. It’s like, you hear the horror stories about the Hollywood development hell, so when you don’t have to be in that mix, that’s not a bad thing.
BUG: Is there anywhere we can see these movies? Youtube or anything like that?
PT: You know what? I never put them on. Everybody tells me I should dump them on there. There’re some cool epic action movies of 10 and 12 year olds and 13 year olds blowing stuff up they shouldn’t be blowing up.
BUG: Sounds fun. Well, this book has been very much about character, and we were talking about this on our podcast a little while ago about how much harder and how much this is very much an emotional journey for Bruce coming to grips with the death of Damian. Is there something you drew from to make that loss so palpable?
PT: Thankfully I haven’t, I mean obviously I’ve seen death in my family and, you know, and then stuff over the course of time. Luckily it’s never been as close to home. So it’s something I think all of us live through at certain points, but the relationship of a father-son aspect of it with, you know, my own son who’s 11 now, he’s my little Damian, so it’s even something in like issue 17 of BATMAN & ROBIN when, he picks up Batman’s boot and puts his own boot against it and compares the size. I mean that was straight out of my son’s actions in the garage and we’re getting ready to go and he picks up my sneaker and he holds his own sneaker up against it and you draw from that stuff. So it’s a fun book to write in that respect, and just be able to use my son as, stealing all the stuff between us and putting it in there, and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been happy to make this book more about the character aspects of it. There’re a lot of BATMAN books, and they’re all distinct in their own way and they’ve got their own action piece but, you know, we have our own action stuff too, but I’ve always wanted to make it be about the characters.
BUG: And just going through that this summer with Damian with ROBIN RISES, how are you going to play a part with that? Is it going to cross over into this book, or are you co-writing with people, or…?
PT: No, it’s all me and Pat. Well, Robin, Andy Hubert obviously in ROBIN RISES OMEGA, but it’s me and Pat till December where Andy will come back and do the book again which is called ROBIN RISES ALPHA.
BUG: Any more updates on THE LIGHT BRIGADE?
PT: Yeah, the rights reverted back to me from DC. They were kind enough to pop them back to me, so Dark Horse has been awesome and they’ve put it into a nice hardcover collection with a beautiful supplemental section in the back, and so all you fans out there who have heard about it, or it has been tough to find if it hasn’t been around, it’s a good time to rediscover it, tell people about it. Definitely the art by Peter Snejberg and the coloring by Bjarne Hansen is just beautiful. Even if I didn’t write it, it’s one of the best looking books I’ve ever seen, and we are really proud of it and I hope people find it and enjoy it.
BUG: Well, thanks so much--it’s always a pleasure talking with you.
PT: Thanks, Mark--I appreciate it.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be an Uptown 6 Films feature film), Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13, UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES, and the critically acclaimed THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark wrote/provided art for a chapter in Black Mask Studios’ OCCUPY COMICS. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G