When artists dabble in comic book writing, it's difficult to know if they'll stick with it. But fans of Tony Daniel's run on Batman are glad this one's lasting a long time.
"I have no plans to leave comics anytime soon or Batman for that matter," Daniel said on his blog last week. "I have at least another year's worth of tales to tell, and I'm already in the story planning phase with the office."
But what's probably most exciting for Daniel's fans -- and for the readers who are predicting a Batman event later this year -- Daniel has confirmed that "big things" are "happening this fall, as many are already speculating."
Daniel started writing Batman after his acclaimed stint as artist-only during Grant Morrison's "Batman R.I.P." story. He became the regular writer/artist on the comic last year as he "Unmasked" the new villain, the Black Mask.
Now that his "Sensei" story arc finished up last month, Daniel will be exploring yet another Batman supervillain -- Two-Face, who has lost his coin -- beginning with May's Batman #710 in the story arc, "Pieces."
Readers have already seen a new character teased who was a female with Two-Face-type markings, and the story promises to not only explore her identity, but further establish Kitrina Falcone, the new Catgirl.
Although he couldn't talk about those "big things happening this fall" with Newsarama and was tight-lipped about what's coming, the writer/artist did sit down for an interview about his work on Batman, including a discussion about story threads he's hoping to pick up during his anticipated long run.
Newsarama: Tony, the writing on this arc seemed even more streamlined and driving than usual. Did you have a clear direction for this story as you took the book back over?
Tony Daniel: Yes, I wanted to tighten the story elements in "Sensei." The only sub plot elements are a couple scenes devoted to Kitrina. Other than that, I kept the focus of the story very tight. Part of it is that I wanted the last arc to be only three or four issues. So working within those margins, it forces you, as a writer, to use that space economically.
Nrama: I'm curious about the seeds you planted during that arc. Will we see more of Riddler's daughter? And do you intend to follow-up on the future romance between Peacock and Dick Grayson?Daniel: Enigma will pop up again soon, though I can’t reveal more details. As for Grayson and Sash, the “Peacock”, there is a chance of course, based on Luki’s transferred vision. But that could be months or years in the future, or maybe never. Though, the chances of them meeting again, I would hope would be strong.
Nrama: The last arc had a very Asian feel to it. What can we expect for the tone going forward?
Daniel: Yes, we were set up in Chinatown as well. It will probably be a while before we have another story like that. By me, at least. I do like to mix it up and play with locations in Gotham City. The next arc is classic Gotham City. That much I can say.
Nrama: We saw a tease of a female Two-Face, but solicitations indicate the Two-Face we know best is back. What can you tell us about "Pieces," the storyline coming up over the next few months?
Daniel: I can say very little, but as the solicitations and cover art reveals, we’ll be seeing much of Two-Face, the Riddler and even the Falcones. It appears that Two-Face has lost more of himself than anyone would’ve imagined when he lost his coin and he’ll do anything to be reunited with it again.
Batman is on his trail, which is a bloody one. A mysterious person is steering Two-Face in a certain direction, but it could lead him to destruction or his salvation. I know that sounds like a solicitation, but it’s enough for you to get the vibe of the story. It’s even more streamlined and focused than the "Sensei" arc.
Nrama: Who are the main players? Will the supporting cast stay pretty much the same?
Daniel: I’m focusing as much as I can on the star of the book, Dick Grayson as Batman. I’d say we’ll be seeing more of characters like Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon. But I’m keeping the focus very tight.
There will be guest stars, but I can’t say who. I think people will be surprised in the coming year, some of the characters that will pop up.
Nrama: You've been playing with elements of The Long Halloween in your run, so should we expect this female Two-Face to be something connected to that story?
Daniel: It’s very possible, and it’s also unlikely too. I don’t like to give away my story beats ahead of time. But I don’t take too long in revealing the character.
Nrama: You've been drawing Batman for a long time, but you've only been doing the writer/artist combination for a year or so. Do you think your art has evolved since you took over Batman writing duties?Daniel: I think so. But I think it’s more of a coincidence that it’s evolved while I’m writing too. My work has always evolved. I think my playing with the inks really helped establish a fresh look for my work. It’s how I see myself looking, for the most part, when I pencil. It’s hard to keep up that kind of workload, so I may have to just stick to inking covers.
Nrama: You mentioned on your blog that there are "big things" happening this fall. Is there anything you can tell us about what's coming and about your future on the Batman title?
Daniel: I am sticking around. There are other books I’d like to tackle in the DC universe, but right now I think I’m only mid-way through my journey on the book. In fact, I think soon people might guess that it’s only just the beginning.