As Bruce Wayne publicly announced that he funds Batman, DC Comics is publicly touting the moment as a historical milestone.
"I think this is one of the Top 10 moments in Batman's long history," said Bob Harras, the recently appointed Editor-in-Chief at DC. "It's historic; it's a game-changer."
The moment itself comes in the final pages of writer Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin #16, which was released today. Bruce Wayne admits that he foots the bill for Batman's crime-fighting technology. "I've been financing Batman in secret for years," the character says at a press conference.
Harras, who spoke to Newsarama in one of his earliest discussions with the press since becoming E-i-C in September, said the idea to position Bruce Wayne as the public financier of Batman was completely orchestrated by Morrison. "This is all part of Grant's long-term planning," Harras said.
According to Morrison, Bruce's admission of his financial role takes the public eye off him as the actual crimefighter, particularly since Dick Grayson is now also wearing the Batman costume. It also sets up Morrison's Batman Inc. comic, where Bruce Wayne travels the globe to recruit international heroes into his network of financed crimefighters."It's not that they all dress like Batman or look like Batman, although some of them might do it, but they all wear the symbol. And it's almost like a badge, like the Red Cross or the police or the army," Morrison told Newsarama of the comic, which launches November 17th.
"You'll see Bruce Wayne as almost a Tony Stark figure, using his money in a very different way," Morrison said.
But the effect of Bruce Wayne's public declaration goes beyond just Morrison's comic. Writer Scott Snyder told Newsarama that even Detective Comics, where Dick Grayson plays the leading role as Batman, will be impacted by Bruce's announcement."One of the things we thought would be fun is," Snyder said, "because Bruce is publicly endorsing Batman to everybody through Batman Inc., and is saying, 'I throw all my support behind Batman and I'm all for him,' we figured that, in our book, since we deal so much with the Gotham City Police Department, that the police would be a little bit angry about him being so supportive of a vigilante when they're struggling so much on the streets.
"So what we did was we set it up so that Wayne Enterprises has opened a new state-of-the-art crime lab and offered it pro bono to the GCPD, within the Wayne Industries tower," Snyder said.
Harras said the effect of the announcement goes even further. "Something this big will obviously have ramifications across the DCU," he said.
The attention on Batman comes just as DC shakes up creative teams on the Batman titles. Beginning in November, two Batman comics will feature Bruce Wayne in the lead role: Batman Inc. by Morrison and Yanick Paquette, and Batman: The Dark Knight by writer/artist David Finch. Three comics will feature Dick Grayson in the lead role: Batman by writer/artist Tony Daniel, Detective Comics by Snyder and Jock, and Batman & Robin by Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason.Yet with all the changes to the Batman office and mythos, Harras wouldn't go so far as to say Bruce Wayne himself has significantly changed. "I think he's still Bruce Wayne, but his determination to reach his goals has just been reinforced by the whole past year, especially in Grant's storyline. So I don't think Bruce Wayne has changed, but his vision has grown."
Since Harras didn't joint he team at DC until recently, he admitted he wasn't involved in early discussions of the idea to make Bruce Wayne go public with his Batman association. But he said he liked it from the get-go.
"Honestly? I'll give you my honest impression of when I saw the pages for the first time, which was soon after I became editor-in-chief. I felt like a 12-year-old kid again. It was just totally amazing to me. It was a game-changer in the whole mythos. It made me incredibly excited. I just said, 'Wow, I can't wait to see where this goes.'"