10 August 2008

If the Secrets Must Be Told

Newsarama's interview with current Robin scripter Fabian Nicieza shows how assembly-line comic books are a collaborative, deadline-driven, and sometimes improvisatory storytelling medium:

NRAMA: Okay, by the end of #175, Tim [Drake, the current Robin] has somewhat convinced himself, thanks to Bruce [Wayne]’s journals, that Batman may have gone nuts, and if that’s the case, he’s going to take him down...again, take us inside his head. That seems like a rather hasty conclusion to jump to in light of no evidence that he has, or that he may be lying in an alley, bleeding to death somewhere...

FN: Well, if the secrets behind the comics must be told, [artist] Joe Bennett did a great job under incredibly tight deadline pressure on both these issues, but in #175, he gave me a little more of a superhero dramatic pose than I’d expect for that last splash page, so I had to change my script, which resulted in a little more testosterone on the page--and my dialogue--than I’d intended.

That being said though, I don’t think Tim is jumping to conclusions based on everything that’s been going on the last few months in the Batman title. He is stating possibilities. Of course he’s concerned about Bruce’s safety, but he’s also concerned about what a mad-dog Batman could do to the people of Gotham.

And Tim’s a smart guy. He knows he was drawn puffy-chested on a cliffhanger splash page, so he has to say something appropriately Eastwoodian to carry us over to the next issue. He is very helpful to writers that way. [laughs]
The artwork above is for that issue #175 of Robin. DC's announcement of the magazine still carries the initial credits for scripter Chuck Dixon and artist Chris Batista, who were suddenly replaced this spring.

The cover art, which didn't change, is by Freddie Williams II. Shown above, it's an obvious visual echo of Jim Aparo's cover for A Death in the Family, which chronicled the death of the second Jason Todd, the Robin before Tim, back in 1988. And that in turn was a visual echo of Michelangelo's Pietà.

The new comic book's subtext, in both story and art, is that this Robin might be more mature than Batman.

No comments: