When writer Judd Winick and DC editor Eddie Berganza went looking for the comic book pages that showed the reaction to Bruce Wayne's death, they were surprised with what they found.
Nowhere did DC tell the story of how Superman dealt with the death.
In fact, there wasn't exactly an examination of Dick Grayson's immediate reaction. Nor Tim Drake's. And for a writer like Winick, that's a story just waiting to be told.
What resulted is Superman/Batman #76, a one-issue story dealing with the immediate aftermath of Bruce's death. While Winick is filling in some of the Bat-continuity with his Red Hood: The Lost Days mini-series, he'll also be filling in some details in this Superman/Batman issue.
In the third and final part of our interview with Winick (see the first two parts here and here), we talk with the writer about Superman/Batman #76 and find out what's up with his promise to do more of his hit comedy series Barry Ween.
Newsarama: Judd, Superman/Batman #76 falls within continuity, but a while ago. How did this issue come about?
Judd Winick: I was originally going to do a story arc in Superman/Batman. The editor and I had talked about it, and this was supposed to be the prologue to the whole story. But in a boring, "how-the-sausage-is-made" story, when everything went digital with Generation Lost, we lost about a month, deadline-wise. So I suddenly didn't have a whole lot of time. My lead-time just evaporated. So my Superman/Batman run had to be scrapped for a while.
But... I was already into doing this prologue. And this was something I felt like we really needed to address, which is Superman's reaction to Batman's death.
Nrama: It's hard to believe nobody's done that. Did you guys go back and check?
Winick: We did! We asked the Bat-group, the Superman-group, and nobody actually did the moment... or moments... where Superman is processing the death of Bruce Wayne, which seemed really intriguing to me.
So that's what this is. It's a very, very character-driven story where Superman, Clark Kent, is dealing with the loss of one of his closest friends and allies. And how he feels about Dick Grayson now becoming Batman. All these things get thrown into the mix.
I'm very pleased with it. It's a wonderfully heart-wrenching story.
Nrama: I know you've written Superman before, but not even close to how much you've written the Bat-characters. How was it delving into his mind and seeing Batman not through your eyes, but through Clark Kent’s eyes? Was that a little different exercise for you?
Winick: Yeah! I've only written Superman a handful of times. But I always see him as kind of a tragic figure. Some people see him that way and others don't. But in this case, we're dealing with death. How he feels about who and what he is, and about the death of people around him, really comes to a head.
As opposed to Batman, Superman is kind of a celebration of life. That's what he was born from. He was jettisoned out of a dying world, but he was born into this world as a human being and beloved by his parents as a gift of life. So I like the tragedy of this event, and how we deal with it.
Nrama: It's surprising nobody thought to deal with this earlier.
Winick: Yeah, it surprised us to. No one has done it. Including scenes that happen with Dick Grayson. I'm giving away a little bit, but there wasn't a scene in comics that really had Dick react to Bruce's death. We have never seen the moment he finds out. So yeah, we were kind of stunned that we never really did that. Eddie and I were thinking the same thing: How did we let that pass by?
So we have that moment now. Dick Grayson finds out Bruce Wayne is dead, and we see what he does with that. And Tim Drake.
Nrama: Does the art by Marco Rudey lean toward something dark, since it deals with Bruce's death?
Winick: It's not so much dark, but it's serious. It's not dark shadows and grittiness, but it is solemn. And Marco does a really good job with that. He does some good characterization, and some good acting. He does some really wild things with layouts and panels. Just really interesting things you don't expect. So it's a really interesting one-shot. I'm really pleased with it.
Nrama: Then to finish up, Judd, you had hinted around that you were going to do some more Barry Ween?Nrama: But you are working on it? I mean, it's hard to figure out where you have time to write and draw Barry Ween when you're working on all these comics...
Winick: I allot one day a week to work on what I basically call non-paying gigs. Barry Ween falls into that. So no end in sight, but yes, I am still working away on it.