A Quick Gotham City Visit with Paul Dini

A Quick Gotham City Visit with Paul Dini

As reported from WonderCon, Paul Dini will write both Gotham City Sirens and Batman: Streets of Gotham (the latter illustrated by Dini’s partner from Detective, Dustin Nguyen), two of six new Batman titles launching from DC in June, set in a post Batman R.I.P. world.

Streets of Gotham will focus on Batman from the point of view of Gotham City’s residents – heroes, villains and civilians, while Sirens, of course, will feature Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, three ladies with which Dini has more than a passing familiarity.

We caught up with the writer for a quick chat about the two titles.

Cover art for the two titles was not available at the time of posting.

Newsarama: Paul, was this move to Gotham City Sirens and Streets of Gotham always in the plans for you? Did you pitch these when you heard the plans for Batman after Final Crisis, or did they call you looking for a writer?

Paul Dini: A little bit of both. Things were going to change after Batman R.I.P., and they were going to shake things up on Batman and Detective, and I don’t think anybody was really sure about exactly what was going to go on – we’re talking back in the formative stages, nearly a year ago. So we sat down and starting asking what would be fun to do as a Batman book, and just shot around a bunch of ideas. There was a lot of back and forth and give and take with Streets of Gotham, but I came up with a take that I was really excited about, and my editor Mike Marts got excited about it, and talked with Dan [DiDio] about it in early December, and we all decided to go ahead with it. I never wanted to be too far away from the Batman universe, and Dan and Mike never wanted me all that far away, either.

So that was the first one we were going to do, and then Gotham City Sirens came up, and I couldn’t resist.

NRAMA: With Streets of Gotham, it sounds as if you’re going with an all too often ignored take, that is, focusing on how Batman is seen, rather than showing the story through Batman’s point of view. What can you say about the different views that will be highlighted?

PD: One of the things that has always formed an image of Batman for me goes back to the animated series. The first thing that anybody ever saw from Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski was a little trailer which in part became our opening for the very first animated series, which had these thugs on a rooftop and Batman is just…there. He’s like a living shadow. You don’t even see any detail on him – he’s just a silhouette. I’ve always liked that interpretation of Batman – you see him from the crooks’ point of view, or you see him from an innocent person’s point of view. So with this, it was “Let’s leave the Batcave behind, let’s leave the alter ego behind, let’s just do Batman and the effect he has on people.”

That’s a lot of fun, seeing it from that point of view.

NRAMA: As you said at the Wonder Con panel, there will be multiple points of view showing Batman – how will you pull a throughline through all of this?

PD: We’re looking at doing it more in arcs like “Heart of Hush.” We have some stories in the works about some very compelling people, and we’ll have compelling stories that take place from the point of view of regular people of Gotham or Jim Gordon or cops on his staff who find themselves working in tandem, or at odds with, this creature known as Batman.

NRAMA: Moving over to touch upon Sirens - teaming the characters seems logical enough, but for you writing Harley…is it a different mind space for you to handle her in the “mainstream” DC Universe than it is for handling her in the animated series?

PD: It’s kind of story-by-story basis. I came up with something kind of unique for her to do this time around, and I like the character a lot, and reinvented her a little bit through her different animated permutations where she was and yet wasn’t eh same character. With this one, she’s the DCU character. There are elements of the animated series, but I really want to take her in a different direction this time around and stretch her personality a little bit and reveal some things with her that have never been revealed before; delve into her history and some things like that.

It’s the same with all the girls – with Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and we’ll probably throw Holly Robinson in. You’ll find out a lot more about them as we go on. I don’t want them to be one-dimensional bad guys. We’re going to give them all more depth.

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