DC’s push for the New 52: Batman, Wonder Woman and mental health
With another wave of debuts for DC Comics’ New 52 — including Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Legion of Super-Heroes — comes another round of previews, interviews and assorted articles. Here are some of the highlights.
• Vulture previews the highly anticipated debut of Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and chats briefly with the writer about the appeal of the Caped Crusader: “What appeals to me, no matter who’s in the cowl, is how Gotham City challenges them. Gotham is almost a nightmare generator, filled with villains that seem to represent an extension of Batman’s greatest fears. A lot of his greatest villains feel like mirrors: the Joker is who Batman would be if he broke his rule and fell into madness; Two Face is a mockery of the duality of his life. But what I love about Bruce in particular, and the reason I’m so excited to be doing Batman, is he’s a superhero that has no powers. He takes it upon himself to go out every night, punish himself, and be the best out there. To me, that is both incredibly heroic and exciting, but also really pathological and obsessive.”
• The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog kicks off a multi-part interview with Snyder about Batman, American Vampire and Swamp Thing: “With Swamp Thing, he’s a character like Animal Man that has a legacy of having creators come on and do a very different vision each time somebody takes up the mantle of that character. For the Len Wein/Berni Wrightson version of him, it started as this big, classic, southern, gothic, creepy old grindhouse monster. And there’s something really fun in that. With Alan Moore, it became more about — as you were saying — this notion of what it means to be a god, almost like Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen, and the loneliness in the responsibility of being the protector of the green. So, both of those iterations of Swamp Thing I really loved, and again for me, they’re kind of about the same thing. I wanted to do a story, as too did Lemire, on Animal Man that honors the history that came before, not changing the continuity of the character, but at the same time taken in a very different direction. For a little while it was tricky, but [Lemire and myself] work together a lot. We trade scripts, and both of us are excited about what we came up with, hoping to preserve all of the rich history of the characters we really love but also taking them in a direction that’s our own and fresh.”
• On The New York Times op-ed page, three forensic psychiatrists ask DC to “seize the opportunity with The New 52 to move to the forefront in transforming mental health depictions in comics. To start, writers should stop overemphasizing a link between violence and mental disorders to explain criminal behavior.” They focus, of course, on Arkham Asylum and Batman’s rogues gallery.
• Comic Book Resources reviewer Doug Zawisza gives Batman #1 five stars, saying, “Snyder delivers some great moments in this first issue that features both Bruce and Batman, and in doing so seems to be giving us a slice of what’s to come in his time on this series.”
• USA Today’s Pop Candy blog previews Wonder Woman #1, and talks briefly with artist Cliff Chiang about the relaunch.
• Chiang goes a little more in depth at MTV Geek, where he describes his approach to the art for the series: “I’ve been moving towards a style that has a little more texture, and energy. You can see it in the Zatanna issues that I did. I’m using the same ideas about shadows, and areas of black, but they’re not solid anymore, and the lines are not crisp. For me, I feel like so much of the world is becoming digital; and we’re reviewing these things on a digital platform – we’re going to be looking at things on an iPad, or a computer. So it’s important to celebrate anything organic. What I’ve been trying to do with my art, which has been feeling very graphically sharp, to soften it up, and make it feel more hand-done.”
• Meanwhile, at Comic Book Resources writer Brian Azzarello addresses, among other things, Wonder Woman’s powers: “Can she fly? No — but maybe she can. I’ve really been avoiding that. She is able to hover. Maybe I’m just using her ability to fly judiciously. She’s using her ability to fly judiciously! I’ve been really trying to take some of the powers that she has that I think are redundancies in other characters, and claim them back. There are things about that character that make her unique from other characters that need to be pushed to the forefront. I think a lot of what makes her unique is like I said, it’s behind her eyes. That’s what she needs. So when I fail [Laughs] it’ll be spectacular.”