Spoilers are included in this article.
A few weeks ago I (Jon) got in touch with Dan Jurgens (Comic artist, writer and creator) to talk about Batman Beyond at a time when it’s first arc was coming to an in issue #6.
Jon: “Firstly, congratulations on a non-stop start to Tim Drake’s Batman Beyond. It must be hard to take on a character that is synonymous with Bruce Wayne entirely and Terry McGinniss as the future version?”
Tim Drake (left) takes on the mantle of Batman in Batman Beyond (DC 2015), a role synonymous with Bruce Wayne (right) and later Terry McGinniss in the future.
Dan: “Thank you.
Is it a challenge? Yes. But not hard.
The backgrounds of all those characters are so rich that it gives us plenty of material to draw from. There’s a balance that really works here—and I think that’s important. That balance allows us to touch on all aspects of the Batman legend—past, present and future.”
Jon: “I guess throwing Tim into the fire from the start and never giving it time to go out helps to show this is Tim’s world and his Batman now?”
Dan: “The entire concept is that the future has been thrown into chaos. The readers need to feel that chaos and that means we have to move at a pretty fast pace. This story is set against a backdrop much larger than Gotham and we need to reflect that.”
“The entire concept is that the future has been thrown into chaos.”
I didn’t actually think about this until Dan mentioned it, even though it had been mentioned in the earlier issues. He doesn’t just become Batman for Gotham but also THE superhero to replace those Brother Eye has transformed – meaning his territory is much bigger than Bruce Wayne’s, and even when Bruce did expand Batman he did it with allies through Batman incorporated. I think there is definitely a case for Tim being the world’s number one detective now.
Back to the interview …
Jon: “I can’t believe** it’s only been six issues – how do you manage to fit so much into an arc in such a short space?”
** I really can’t! It’s been so long since I’ve read a comic book that has taken the arc by the horns, torn through the pages and being a fantastic tide along the way. Thanks Dan.
Dan: “Conceptually, I think too many titles are working at a pace that is too slow. From the start, we set out push things and make sure we’d show a lot of different characters, situations and concepts in the first six issues. We’ll continue with that as the series moves on.”
Jon: “This magnificent bullet of an arc has seen the end of two great Batman Beyond enemies – Inque and Brother Eye. And the way it happened was such a great twist, but this can’t be then end of them. Can it?”
Dan: “Stay tuned! Time will tell.”
Warning – dubious naming of characters below!
Jon: “Perhaps in the future we’ll see them reborn as Inqu-eye (pronounced inky)?”
Dan: “Uh… don’t know if we want to go there. Again—stay tuned. We want to have lost of surprises in this series. We have plenty coming up—some quite big.”
Dan Jurgens’s first arc brings two Batman Beyond enemies to an end, both old (Inque) and new (Brother Eye). We also found out I’m not great at naming conventions.
Jon: “On a serious note, why did you make Brother Eye adopt a human form?”
Dan: “I felt it was more interesting to give him that type of human representation. It made it a bit more of a personal battle for Tim.
More importantly, it personalized Brother Eye a bit. That was important since Tim had already beaten him—partially—as a satellite in FUTURES END.”
As Batman Beyond, Tim Drake beat Brother Eye when in the form of a satellite.
Jon: “Batman Beyond’s situation is a continuation of the fall-out from Future’s End. This series had a number of one shots showing a lot of DC characters preparing for the Future, including Bruce Wayne creating a number of clones – will these play any part in future issues?
Dan: “Once again, stay tuned. We have our plans set in place and I think we have some pretty good stuff coming. But I can’t tip my hand on all of it yet!”
Batman’s Future’s End one shot looked at Bruce Wayne creating clones to continue the legacy of Batman.
Jon: “From the final issue of Future’s End and what Brother Eye has said in previous BB issues, i get the feeling that Brother Eye and Tim are bound together throughout time. Is this something that will be explored?”
Dan: “I don’t know that I’d phrase it as “bound together throughout time”, though I can see where you’d identify it that way.
Are they linked?
But I think it’s in a more immediate and visceral way, which you’ll be seeing as the series unfolds.”
Jon: “Enough of my wants and fancies. We’ve only just ended one rollercoaster ride in issue six and there’s already so many things left open.
Has Alfred’s AI gone completely? Matt’s got a Green Lantern Power ring.
Will we find out what happened in between the end of Future’s End and the beginning of Batman Beyond?
How do you pick the next story to tell?
Matt McGinniss (brother of Terry McGinniss and former Batman Beyond) discovers a Green Lantern ring in Batman Beyond #5 – you just know this is going somewhere. But where? Stay tuned!
Dan: “I don’t know that I want to get into a lot of specifics about what happened between FE and BB. Frankly, I think that saying Brother Eye has taken over much of the world while throwing the rest into chaos, that we’ve said enough.
It’s kind of like looking out your window after a snow storm. You know it’s here and that you have to deal with the snow that was dumped on your driveway. You don’t care about where it came from or even the science behind it—just the fact that it’s incredibly cold, your car won’t start and you may not be able to get to work that day.
As for how I pick the next story, it all has to be a logical progression. It isn’t about the next plot so much as it’s about the next development and how it affects the main characters.”
Jon: “Finally, as its the 25th anniversary of Robin this year will we see any nods to this in Batman Beyond?”
DC’s celebrates the 25th anniversary of Robin in 2015. 2015’S Robin War will be a highlight of these celebrations.
Dan: “It’d be tough to do since we exist in the future. It’d kind of ruin the timeline a bit, don’t you think?”
Jon: “You’re right, it would. Selfishly, my love for Robin’s character glazes over practicalities like time. But then it’s why I’m an even bigger fan of Batman Beyond than I was with a former Robin in the suit.”
Jon: “Thank you for taking the time to speak to me and I can’t wait to see what happens to Tim and his allies in Batman Beyond.
Dan: “My pleasure. I think you’ll like what we have coming up!”
Jon: “You know I think I will. A Robin in the Batsuit filled me with joy when Grayson did it in Battle for the Cowl. So another Robin becoming Batman Beyond was just as good a feeling.”
There we have it my first interview with a comic book writer, artist and creator – which I think went quite well and thankfully continued after my attempts at naming a new villain. I’m a bit biased but Dan is correct I probably will like what they have coming up and I’m sure current fans and new fans will to.
What has my mouth watering and fingers ready to type about is the penultimate issue of Future’s End saw Tim Drake convince Brother Eye not to take the action against Earth 2’s hero’s.
The same action that caused the events sending Terry McGinniss back in time in Future’s End. So if Brother Eye didn’t do what he originally did, but Terry’s still deceased – Tim’s future must be a parallel one to Terry’s surely? Wish I’d thought to ask Dan in my interview.
Thinking about the 25th anniversary of Robin, with all these Robins running about Gotham City in We are Robin and the current Robin War story arc – will any of these grow up into adult superheroes or sidekicks for our new Batman? So much to think about – I don’t know how Dan and other writers take all these possibilities and put them into print, but my hat goes off to them for doing it.
If you haven’t read Future’s End I’d certainly recommend it, it shows how Tim becomes Batman Beyond and in itself is a really interesting story arc.
Batman Beyond is available from your local comic book store or if like me you don’t have one I’ve found my way into digital comic books through the good people at www.comixology.co.uk (www.comixology.com in the USA).
Interview and article by Jon Palmer (@palmerjono)
(Please let me know what you think of the interview, anyways I can improve or anything you’d like to see interviews about. I’ll always try my best to get them and definitely act on any feedback.)