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Batman Panel at SDCC '08
Author: Jett/"So Cal Bat-Fan"
Saturday, July 26, 2008

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to family obligations and the fact that I did A LOT of traveling for BOF this Summer, I did not attend Comic Con International out in San Diego for the first time in years. However…

Thanks to “SoCal Bat-Fan” (who asked to remain anonymous since he actually works for another online outlet!), BOF was able to provide you all with a rundown of DC Comics’ “Batman Panel” from Comic Con International.

The following is my rundown based on the transcript sent to me by my friend and colleague. - Jett

If you’ve ever been to one of these things, you know that no spoilers are ever revealed and it’s pretty much nothing more than a big PR event for the fans. Consequently, nothing big was disclosed by the panelists that took part in the event. And who were the panelists? Here’s the lineup: Grant Morrison (BATMAN writer), Brian Azzarello (THE JOKER writer), Paul Dini (DETECTIVE writer), Dustin Nguyen (DETECTIVE artist), and Batman editor Michael Marts. There was a “surprise guest” as well: classic Batman creator Jerry Robinson.

Mike Marts opened the panel by introducing all involved and asking the crowd, “So, has anyone seen this movie…THE DARK KNIGHT?”

In regards to BATMAN and the “Batman, R.I.P.” storyline, writer Grant Morrison said that we will find “Bruce in trouble” in the finale -- which he apparently just finished. So who is the “big villain“ of the “R.I.P.” storyline? “What's the most twisted bad guy we could put up against Batman," Morrison said. "[I’m surprised that] nobody's guessed it yet…it's so up front, right there in every issue we tell you who we're dealing with. And it's a villain everybody knows.”

The was a lot of Joker talk due to Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance in THE DARK KNIGHT. Regarding the character, Morrison said, “"The Joker's great to write…he changes all the time." He also compared the character to “…a on the subway looking over your shoulder, reading your book. You just want him to go away.” He continued, “The Joker's kind of Euro, David Bowie-ish, 70s type of character!” “He’s a mask,” said Morrison, “he doesn’t even have to be human.”

About Batman ever resulting to the use of guns, “"Never! Never, never, never! That's the whole point -- he doesn't use [them]. If he uses a gun, he's just another soldier. We don't need a soldier, we need Batman!”

Morrison also said that the two main Bat-monthlies -- BATMAN and DETECTIVE would remain separate.

Regarding DETECTIVE, Paul Dini confirmed that issue #850 will be a double-sized issue and conclude the current storyline involving the villain Hush. Dini also informed the crowd that the relationship between Batman and Catwoman “…features very heavily in the Hush story arc.”

Brian Azzarello said that his work in the upcoming THE JOKER “…is the most violent thing I've ever [done]. It's an ugly story.”

Marts said that Two Face would be seen in the comics in 2009, although not in BATMAN, per Grant Morrison.

Regarding the film THE DARK KNIGHT, Morrison proclaimed it to be the absolute greatest of all the BATMAN films.

Both Dini and Morrison loved Heath’s Joker and said he has a “Johnny Rotten” vibe.

Jerry Robinson said that he had the chance to visit the set of TDK when it shot in the UK. He revealed that he enjoyed Heath Ledger as The Joker, calling it “different” and sort of an amalgamation of how the character has been portrayed throughout the years. Like in TDK, Robinson said that the early Joker’s appearance and origin was never explained. “We never even explained why he was there, or [why he looked the way he did].” Robinson continued, “I took his look, originally, from a playing card, then thought wouldn't it be interesting if we didn't color him…if we simply left him white. That would be part of the mystery [about The Joker].” Robinson continued, “I think he's a lot more sinister [today] than we intended -- more psychotic.“ He said their original version was more of “…a master criminal.”

As far as the plot of the next BATMAN film, the panel guessed that “Batman against the Gotham PD” could work as that storyline has been set up by TDK.

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