Tony Daniel made a rare appearance at Fan Expo Vancouver, the city’s first major comicon. The creative force of DC The New 52 Detective Comics shared his take on Batman’s foes and the new villains he’s bringing to plague Gotham City.
“Batman has the greatest rogue’s gallery of all the comic book characters in the world probably so it’s easy to use those characters and find something fun and creative that you’ll enjoy as a writer and the fans will enjoy because they love seeing these villains.
What I try to do in Detective is bring in a little bit of the new as well as a little bit of the old. I created a character named the Dollmaker who I think fits in rather well with the other characters, the other villains taking up residence in Gotham City.”
Daniel launched his Detective Comics run with a violent showdown and shocking cliffhanger for Batman’s archrival and his favorite villain.
“My favorite villain…well my favorite villain is the Joker but I’ve only used him sparingly. I worked with the Joker in Grant Morrison’s RIP. That was a lot of fun. (Say Thank you to my gushing!) That was…you know…I can’t believe I was part of that it was just a great experience. I’m lucky to have done the work with Grant on that. And then of course Detective Comics #1 I show a nice fight, battle that goes on between Batman and the Joker and we leave it off with his face hanging on the wallI would love to get back to him. I can’t say when but I’m sure it will be soon because we can’t leave him hanging there so to speak.”
Detective Comics #8 was the start of a backup story starring Two-Face. Daniel says you may experience conflicting feelings for Harvey Dent with this tale.
“He’s pretty much the protagonist of the story so you gonna end up rooting for him. He’s kind of the good guy in the story but he’s still a bad guy so it’s the perfect noir style story which I absolutely love that. Those old school detective stories. The Jim Thompson stories. He’s a great noir book writer – one of the groundbreaking writers from the 50′s and 60′s. I love that pulp fiction type atmosphere and I’m going to bring that to my Two-Face backup story so I’m having a lot of fun with that.”
Daniel praised artist Szymon Kudransky as the perfect fit for back up story.
September will mark the one year anniversary of DC Comics The New 52 with big plans for Detective Comics. Daniel says he will change-up the villains.
“One of the characters we’ve seen before in the Penguin arc at the Iceberg Casino. He’s the guy that shows up and gives Batman some trouble and we deal with a lot of radiation and villains that are experimental. We have one guy who is a new 52 version of Professor Radium so we haven’t seen that guy in a long time and I kind of breathed new life into that character but he’s new…he’s a 52 version so he’s not the same Professor Radium so hopefully people will like that. It’s a story I’m writing and Ed Benes is doing the art work.”
Daniel expressed his ambition to create a story with Clayface and a bigger arc with the Scarecrow. Detective Comics #1 ended with a shocking fate for the Joker and Daniel hopes to dive back into the fate of Batman’s archenemy.
In the Fan Expo Sketch Duel against Whilce Portacio and Yanick Paquette, Daniel revealed his early comic book dreams were inspired by KISS and how the love of the rock band led to this first commissioned work. I asked if he shared my love for the movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.
“I did and when I was a kid man I loved that show. I like 7-year-old - it was a long time ago. As a kid those guys are like superheroes. They’re more than like rock stars. Every kid in my class loved KISS just because they look crazy and had the makeup on – dragons and space guys and what not. What I remember it was so weird. But back then you didn’t have video recorders, Tivo - you watch it once and when it’s over you’re like, man what did I just see. Today you can rewind and watch it again. It was such a weird – you know maybe that screwed me up or something it was very…I just remember it being very bizarre. I’m sure if I watched it now I might feel disappointed in it (laughs) but it was super cool back then as a child.
(I interject asking about how KISS art was his first paying work so to speak)
Yeah it was my first commission. I drew a giant poster size picture of all of four characters. One kid was gonna buy it from me for like two dollars and another kid was gonna give me a big giant stack of basically the entire collection of KISS trading cards and I went with the trading cards and ended up getting into a brawl afterwords with the guy that lost. So yeah, you know blood, sweat and tears from age 7 on with the art.”
Detective Comics #9 arrives May 2nd featuring Mr. Toxic and the Two-Face backup story.
My only regret – not bringing more books to be signed – including Gambit and the X-ternals – anybody remember that one?