James Tynion IV will be taking over Batman, DC's flagship title, this January - and its a role he's been preparing himself for for years.
The former Detective Comics, Batman Eternal, and Batman & Robin Eternal, has been linked to the Dark Knight for most all of his comic book career, and has high-profile endorsements from the last two Batman writers Tom King and Scott Snyder.
Earlier this month, Newsarama spoke with Tynion about his upcoming debut, and we delved into his approach, his choice in villains, and how he's approaching Bruce Wayne.
Newsarama: James, how are you going about making your mark on Batman, especially following Tom King and before that, Scott Snyder here?
James Tynion IV: Honestly, the thing I'm most excited about is that like I've written a lot of Batman comics. In the eight years I've been working at DC, the majority of that work has been in Gotham City, but most of what I've done in Gotham has been with the supporting cast. It has been with the Bat family - that was definitely the center of my Detective Comics run. That was the center of both Batman Eternal and Batman & Robin Eternal.
But I've never really told a Bruce Wayne Batman story with him up front and center. And honestly, the sporting cast I'm most interested in playing with in the story are his classic villains. I can't really reveal much about it right now, but in the same way that in my Detective run, my favorite moments were seeing a Bat family characters with combinations that you really don't see that often. I love doing that with the villains too, and I've always loved doing that, and now that I get the main book, I'm very excited to tell a story where the villains are going to be up front and center in a big way. But also, it's all an incredibly emotional story with Bruce Wayne at the center.
Nrama: How do you feel your run on Detective Comics has helped you prepare for your run on Batman?
Tynion IV: Gotham is in my blood. I love that setting. I love those characters. I've wanted the keys to the Batmobile for a long, long time and I am very, very excited for what I'm going to be able to do once I get there. As much as I was playing with all of the different supporting cast of characters - every story I wrote I would have ideas for what I would do if I was telling a solo Batman title. And now I get to start telling some of those stories.
Nrama: Now I know you’ve said that the villains of Gotham are your supporting characters, but will be we see any other Bat Family members play a part in your run?
Tynion IV: I love the Bat family. They are my favorite characters in all of comics, and if you put me on Batman, you are not going to keep the Bat Family away from me for all that long. But I do want to do something a little different. I don't want to go back and do exactly what I was doing on Detective. To challenge myself and also give the readers a different taste of what I can bring to Gotham City. But all that said, of course, the bat family will show up. I love those characters. I love them more than anything. They will be a part of the story I’m telling.
Nrama: Has Scott Snyder or Tom King given you any advice for your run on Batman?
Tynion IV: They’ve given me a lot of congratulations and all of that, and I'm incredibly grateful. But one thing is that I've been working with them and around Gotham for this whole time. I've been studying them both very closely. I've read every issue of Batman that's come out for years and years and years. I've been building what I want to build, and they've been incredibly supportive of it. I'm just excited for everyone to see it.
Nrama: Well Scott, with James sitting right next to you, what advice can you give him as the new writer for Batman?
Scott Snyder: The irony is that I feel like James can give me advice in the way that this guy, he was my student long, long ago, but I feel like he's been a sensei to me over the years. I know people keep saying things like - the protege, but the truth of the matter is that this guy has been my partner, a creative partner, and my equal for years and years and years.
The way that he's going to bring it on Batman, I really believe and hope will surpass what we were able to do. As a fan, I couldn't be more excited. He's born to take the helm of it. He's going do amazing things and there's nothing I have to teach him. Except, I have kids - maybe as a dad.
Nrama: What can you tease about your upcoming Justice League arc?
Tynion IV: Right now, we are working on the “Justice Doom War”, which I'm co-writing with Scott Snyder with a whole host of artists. Like pretty much every amazing artists that we’ve worked with in our entire run came back for this big nine part epic that's been running through the book since September. It's taken us to every strange corner of the DC universe and really, really tried to be the most epic DC storytelling we could ever bring.
A lot of this is all centered on Lex Luther's incredibly terrible plans for the DC universe and the rise of this multiversal mother – Perpetua, who is one of the most dangerous villains that the DC universe has ever seen. Now that we've been building all of that - over on the side, Scott Snyder wrote the Batman Who Laughs mini-series and then Josh Williams took that story a step forward in Batman/Superman.
We know Batman Who Laughs is up to something and Lex Luther has been up to something. And this December there's going to be a four-issue mini-series starting called Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen. That is essentially Batman Who Laughs versus Lex Luthor for the heart of the DC universe. And this is going to be a really, really big story. I really can't overstate how key this story is going to be to the DC universe.
It really is a culmination of the last like several years of stories in planning and it's really all going to come to a head. It’s very hard to even hint at parts of it, but things are going to happen in that comic book that people are going to drop that book and be like, Oh my God, I can't believe they just did that.
Nrama: What made you two decide to bring the JSA to Justice League?
Tynion IV: We wanted to do a story that was really about justice through the entire history of the DC universe into the past and into the future, which is why we brought in the JSA in such a big way. It’s also why we brought the Justice League of DC 1 million, and then we've seen a bunch of other characters from the past and present. Like, we're bringing in a Vandal Savage again, but we're also bringing in, Atlantis, Kamandi, and all of that.
This is a battle between good and evil that has been raging since the dawn of time and will rage until the end of time. And it's happening in this huge, huge way that's really coming to a head. I couldn’t be more excited for people to see where it's all headed.