Kurt Busiek Plans Batman-Focused SECRET IDENTITY Sequel


In 2004, writer Kurt Busiek and artist Stuart Immonen won accolades for their mini-series Superman: Secret Identity. The prestige-format comic told the story of a Clark Kent who lived in a world where Superman is just a superhero in a comic book.

Now, Busiek and artist John Paul Leon are working on a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed comic, this time concentrating on a young man named Bruce Wainwright who lives in a world where Batman's a comic book character.

As we continue our discussion with Busiek about his work — including Astro City and The Witchlands — we turn toward his new Batman mini-series.

Newsarama: Kurt, is it true that you've got a sequel to Superman: Secret Identity coming out?

Kurt Busiek: I'd say "it's in the works" more than coming out. It'll come out eventually. But yeah, we're doing a follow-up to Superman: Secret Identity. It's not exactly a sequel, because it doesn't follow the same characters or even take place in the same world.

Nrama: But it follows the same general theme?

Busiek: Yes. I call it a thematic sequel. It's a natural companion book. Superman: Secret Identity is about a young man named Clark Kent in a world where Superman is a comic book character. Batman: Creature of the Night is about a young man named Bruce Wainwright in a world where Batman is a comic book character. And both of them get involved in fantasy adventure scenarios that involve these characters.

But where Superman: Secret Identity was much more about self-identity and science fiction, Batman: Creature of the Night is a lot more about horror and dark things, because... he's Batman!

Nrama: When you first were writing Superman: Secret Identity, did it immediately spawn scenarios in your head for more of those types of superhero stories? Or did the idea for this come later?

Busiek: By the time I was done with Superman: Secret Identity, I had an idea of what I wanted to do with Batman: Creature of the Night. I thought it would be a nice idea to do a Wonder Woman one as well. But the Wonder Woman idea has never fully crystalized in my head. I haven't come up with that defining title. I know what sort of ideas it would be about, but I'm not sure how to translate that into a story, so I'm not sure how to make that one happen.

But I don't have plans to go through the whole DC Universe character by character. Even if I did write the Wonder Woman one, I'm pretty sure that would be the last one.

Nrama: What's the status of the Batman: Creature of the Night project?

Busiek: John Paul Leon is doing the artwork. And as far as I understand it, he's penciling and inking and coloring. And since it's going to be 200 pages of material, it's going to take quite awhile for this to be finished.

Nrama: Have you written most of it?

Busiek: I've written the first issue, and he's working on that now. I'm working on the second issue now and we'll continue on.

It will be awhile before we can have this in solicitations. If we released it when he was halfway done, then he would still have 100 pages left to do, and he's not going to finish that in time.

I'm not DC. I don't do the scheduling. But I would solicit it when Issue #3 is done. Once it's solicited, there's a few months before Issue #1 comes out, then another month before Issue #2 comes out, then another month before Issue #3 comes out. He probably would get #4 out on time.

But you gauge that on how quickly it's coming in, and when you can expect it. And you release it so that the deadline for Issue #4 is going to be about the time you need to have #4 in to make the schedule.

So it's going to take awhile before it can be released.

Nrama: You talked about how Secret Identity is about self identity, and those of us who have read it know what Clark goes through within that theme. Can you tell us what sort of journey Bruce Wainwright will go through?

Busiek: I don't want to say too much, because it's going to be awhile before it comes out. But I will say that in Superman: Secret Identity, Clark Kent is somebody who is heartily sick of Superman. He discovers that he has the powers, and it brings up questions about his place in the world and who he is in secret inside.

So he's somebody who didn't like Superman, but in becoming Superman, he learns about himself.

Bruce Wainwright, however, loves Batman. But becoming Batman is not a happy process. So where Clark goes from dislike to a sort of acceptance and wonder, Bruce goes from love to horror.

So I won't say more about it than that, this far away from the book coming out. But yeah, given the two of them, you'd rather be Clark than Bruce.

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