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The Master

Batman: Earth One

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From AICN:

Bug continues the EARTH ONE goodness with BATMAN: EARTH ONE writer Geoff Johns!

To read his work is to love his work. Geoff Johns has become THE man at DC with a track record of hits like few others. Geoff had a chance to answer some questions about the upcoming BATMAN: EARTH ONE graphic novel.

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So what is BATMAN: EARTH ONE all about?

GEOFF JOHNS (GJ): It’s Gary Frank and I joining together to be a part of the first line of ongoing graphic novel series ever from the big two.

BATMAN: EARTH ONE is more in line with the European idea of releasing chapters of an ongoing series in graphic novel form. We’re planning on doing two novels a year and set in this new universe, we’re getting unlimited creative freedom that we couldn’t have in current continuity.

When Dan Didio asked if Gary and I would be interested in something like this we were onboard immediately. We’re taking on Batman, and the world around him, and rebuilding it from the ground up.

BUG: How do you make an iconic origin like Batman's fresh and different than previous takes on the story?

GJ: Our Batman is a decidedly different Batman yet it is, of course, Bruce Wayne.

I want to let the book will speak for itself, but Batman, Alfred, Detective Gordon, Arkham Manor, the twisted origin behind Gotham City, the Bat-Mobile and, of course, the world’s greatest group of villains are all a part of the world we’re creating. Some of it the characters will more closely resemble the classic interpretations while others will be wildly different. We’re introducing a lot of new characters and elements to this Batman.

The first graphic novel features an entirely new villain.

BUG: Apart from event books and maybe the occasional guest appearance or team book appearance, this is the first time I recall you doing a Bat book. What was it about this project that finally attracted you to Gotham?

GJ: Three words: “Gary Frank” and “freedom.” Obviously, I love long form storytelling. I gravitate to projects I can dive into and reinvent and add to, like Green Lantern. I’ve wanted to work on Batman, but I wanted to wait until the project was right. BATMAN: EARTH ONE allows Gary and I to break the restraints of any continuity and focus on two things: character and story. Add to that the idea of working on a line of graphic novels instead of being limited to twenty-two pages, it’s a challenge and I love a challenge.

BUG: I know you're a multiverse freak. How does BATMAN: EARTH ONE fit in with current continuity? Is it another universe, an Ultimate/All Star style take, or something completely different?

GJ: All of the above.

BUG: I've observed somewhat of a split between those who like Batman and fans of Superman. What is it about Batman that appeals to so many readers?

GJ: I think the grounded nature of Batman. And if there is one word that might sum up our version of Batman it’d be grounded.

BUG: The Joker: insane or sane? And will he be showing up in BATMAN: EARTH ONE?

GJ: If anyone knows my work they know how much I love villains. I’ve been dying to crack into the best rogues’ gallery in comics for years. Eventually, yes -- you’ll see the Joker, but the first well-known villain we’ll be focusing on early in the BATMAN: EARTH ONE graphic novel series is the Riddler.

BUG: Gary Frank has been one of my favorite artists since his INCREDIBLE HULK run. Can you tell us a little bit about how you and he collaborated for this project?

GJ: First off, Gary Frank is one of the greatest partners-in-crime a writer could ever ask for. The amount of thought, care and effort he puts into his work along with the brilliance of his talent makes him someone that I’m chaining myself to. My aspirations are nothing less than to work with Gary Frank until I’m dead.

The fact is, Gary Frank is the single best Superman artist of this generation, but he’s actually a Batman guy. Before we started Superman, we’d talk about Batman at length. We’ve spoken about ideas for Batman since we started working on Superman together. We started brainstorming this project before it even started, discussing what we would do with Batman and where we would take him.

BUG: After doing this project, which do you prefer writing: monthlies or graphic novel sized stories?

GJ: Ask me again in five years.

BUG: What does this graphic novel format say about where the industry is going? A lot of folks are waiting for trade these days. Is this the first step of DC dropping monthlies and cutting out the middleman and going straight to trade?

GJ: I don’t think it has to be the case with either or. Monthlies, graphic novel series, digital, etc. DC is exploring every avenue of publishing. It’s a changing market, but it’s an expanding and growing market, and I’m psyched to be riding the wave up front with Gary and Batman.

Thanks, Geoff, for chatting with us.

johns6.JPG

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Sounds very cool! Hopefully these are priced right, because I would love to see graphic novels really take off in the US.

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Sounds very cool! Hopefully these are priced right, because I would love to see graphic novels really take off in the US.

It does sound awesome and considering that Earth-1 has never been revealed in the current 52 Universes, a great way to use that mystery. Since this is a series, I assume we'll get Superman Earth One next if this does well followed by a Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, or Flash.

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According to Wiki, the new Earth-One was shown in Trinity #52, and it's described as "a world of Silver Age characters and locations" and it "resembles the pre-Crisis Earth-One."

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The only thing that doesn't totally gel with me on either design is the bat-logo on Bruce. It's too small, sticks out too far and has that damned yellow oval I hate so much, no matter how Frank Miller tries to claim that it's a target.

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Well, to be entirely honest, more than the other two, Tim is like Bruce's real son. Which is fucked up, because he had his parents the longest.

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Well, to be entirely honest, more than the other two, Tim is like Bruce's real son. Which is fucked up, because he had his parents the longest.

Yeah.

Is there a ground plan on when this is coming out? I know their really busy with Secret Origin: Superman. But I want it now!

I also really like the look of the batarang.

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It does sound awesome and considering that Earth-1 has never been revealed in the current 52 Universes, a great way to use that mystery. Since this is a series, I assume we'll get Superman Earth One next if this does well followed by a Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, or Flash.

They've already announced Superman: Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis.

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Love the look of these, but a big part of me wishes that the costume was more reflective of the detective aesthetic of the original Batman. After all, this is Earth-1 original Batman, who was supposed to start out in the late 40's. This looks great but a Brubaker/Lark 40's Batman would be my choice for an Earth-1 setting. This is more All-star redux.

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That's right about what I expected. As I've said elsewhere on here, 128 pages is the same as a six-issue series, so $20 is a great price.

That said, I figure at lease 10 of those pages will be dedicated to sketches, script pages, etc.

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totally forgot to say this a week ago. but at ECCC, they said this book was gonna have Barbara Gordon and that there would be two of these Batman graphic novels a year.

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Alright I wanna revive this thread. Does anybody know when this is coming out? I haven't found any word from DC.

Any word we get will probably be from DC. Geoff Johns is working on three books right now, one of which is a bi-weekly in addition to his job as creative director. I'll be suprised if we get it anytime before July next year.

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