BATMAN INC.'s Chris Burnham Reteams with Grant Morrison for NAMELESS
CREDIT: Image Comics
The men who killed Damian Wayne are coming back to give you something even more jarring.
After their celebrated run on DC’s Batman Inc., Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham are reuniting for a six-issue creator-owned series dubbed Nameless, delving into the heart of what scares you. Described by Burnham as the “ultimate horror comic” when announced earlier this month at Image Expo, Nameless aims to reinvent horror by examining Western culture’s obsession with it – The Walking Dead, horror movies, and the like – and push it beyond.
In an interviewwith USA Today’s Brian Truitt, Morrison says that the book focuses on a man named the Nameless. Morrison describes the Nameless as extremely intelligent but damaged, comparing him to Sherlock Holmes as seen in the BBC series Sherlock as well as Batman, whom he wrote continuously from 2006 to 2013. And as Burnham tells Newsarama, Nameless comes out of an idea for he and Morrison to have free reign to create stories in a way they couldn’t on Batman Inc.
“I had a blast on Batman Inc., and editorial left us alone for the most part to tell our story the way we wanted to. But there are still a lot of inherent restrictions working on a character that's been around for 75 years, will probably be around for at least another 75, and has eight other books coming out simultaneously,” Burnham explains. “If we wanted to mind-swap Batman and The Joker, both we and the audience would be damn sure they're going to be swapped back by the end of the story. With Nameless we've got no such restrictions. This is our guy and we don't have to worry about putting him back in the toy box when we're done with him. We're going to melt this poor bastard with a magnifying glass and light the house on fire before we close the door behind us.”
Nameless is the first “straight-up, balls to-the-wall horror book” for both creators says Burnham, and something he had asked for when Morrison brought up the idea of a creator-owned project. And it’s something the two creators had been talking about even before Burnham began Batman Inc.
“The first email Grant ever sent me, he invited me to do a run on Batman Inc. and then a creator-owned book, so this has been a long time coming,” Burnham reveals. “My Batman Inc. run quickly expanded from doing two or three issues to handling the bulk of the series, so we only got serious about figuring out a creator-owned book since last year's San Diego Comic-Con.”
Although the creators are keeping the plot of the series under wraps, Burnham has opened up about the dark and bizarre research he’s done for the project. It’s involved everything from Rotten.com to “the dark subthreads of Reddit,” with Burnham experiencing the grossest of internet memes and stomach-turning real occurrences.
“It's a little too early to start quoting too many my sources, but it has become something of a dark addiction,” Burnham admits. “You start out with your friends watching people fall off their bicycles, move on to some pimple-popping stuff when no one is watching at 2am, and before you know it you're mainlining Mexican drug war decapitations while your niece and nephew are opening up Christmas presents in the next room.”
Burnham says the research for Nameless is something he hasn’t been able to leave behind when he’s done working for the day, and it’s something that’s followed him to his bed – and his sleep.
“I have a few recurring nightmares that are probably due to my obsession with this stuff,” the artist says. “I actually had a particularly violent and vivid dream last night... I can't get into specifics since it's a situation I'd like to put into a story at some point, but it was a doozy!”