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RAY FAWKES BATMAN: ETERNAL INTERVIEW!
On hiatus since the sizzling ‘70s (e.g., Tomb of Dracula and its ilk), horror has made its way back into comics. BIG! The popularity of the comic and TV show, The Walking Dead, is testament to that.
Horror will be the featured atmosphere in the pages of the new weekly Batman Eternal book when Ray Fawkes takes the writer’s helm. Other writers working on the grand 17-issue experiment include Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, John Layman and Tim Seeley.
Fawkes will be throwing a horrific spotlight on Batwing. To learn more of his plans, Dynamic Forces discussed his darkest of Dark Knight scripts.
Dynamic Forces: Ray, how does it feel to be part of such a monumental undertaking as Batman Eternal and how did you happen to get involved?
Ray Fawkes: It feels straight-up fantastic. It’s hard work, and it’s daunting, and it keeps me up at night, and I absolutely love it. The story of my involvement is simple and sweet: Mike Marts and Scott Snyder asked if I wanted to be part of it and I said yes without a moment’s hesitation.
DF: Before this weekly limited series began, was there a great meeting of its writers? Or did Scott Snyder just say, "Here's what I've got planned for Batman and this is what you're going to do in the weekly”?
Ray Fawkes: There were several meetings and a number of long phone calls, too. Scott gave us some great guidelines and had fantastic ideas for the overall themes and atmosphere of the story, but he was much more interested in seeing what we could all come up with together than he was in dictating detailed plans.
DF: So you are largely concentrating on the horror aspects of the Dark Knight?
Ray Fawkes: Well, the elements of the story that I’m spearheading have a horror element to them, but I think it’d be more correct to say that I’m mostly concentrating on the madness of Gotham, with an eye to the supernatural. One of the great things about Batman is that he strides easily and comfortably through several genres -- detective procedurals, superhero crime fighting, supernatural horror, high-tech sci-fi, and more. All of these elements are reflected in Batman Eternal, and all of the writers take their turns with each …though each of us obviously gravitates towards our subjects of preference.
DF: We hear Ten-Eyed Man is returning. Can you tell us why he will be back and what other villains from Gotham's past might be making an appearance in this series?
Ray Fawkes: Ha! He’s back because I pounded my fist on the table at a summit and said “The Ten-Eyed Man is TERRIFYING!”…and then somehow made my case to my amused audience. It’s nearly impossible to answer this question without spoiling some of the fun of the book, though, so all I’ll say is: many, many villains from Gotham’s past will be making their appearances in this story.
DF: Any hints at what you may have in store for Batwing?
Ray Fawkes: Batwing is going to see what pulses in Gotham’s darkest corners, and he’s going to be tested to his very limits. Readers are really going to see what Luke Fox is made of in this story, and that’s no lie.
DF: Talk around the DCU is that a certain lady will be returning with your works that will go on to be an integral part of the series. Comments?
Ray Fawkes: Several fascinating ladies are an integral part of this series! Stephanie Brown is one that many people are talking about -- are you referring to her? If so, yes, she plays a crucial role in this series. And she runs a gauntlet that few would stand a chance of surviving along the way.
DF: What is the hardest part of working on such a multi-writer project as this? Is there any fun aspect to it for a creator?
Ray Fawkes: The hardest part, honestly, is just the amount of time committed to reading everybody’s work, commenting on dialog and lettering, and double-checking art in every chapter, all in service of making sure that every element of this huge story dovetails smoothly and creates a satisfying whole. It’s a lot of work.
As far as fun, though -- the fun is always there. In creating the scripts, in discussing story elements with the rest of this fantastic team, in watching the incredible artists interpret what we give them … and in seeing the audience react to it each week. I love it.
DF: Do you see more weekly comics surfacing in DC's future? if so, how will that affect the monthly titles?
Ray Fawkes: DC’s announced plans for two other weekly books – The New 52: Future’s End and Earth 2: World’s End. Beyond that, I’m not sure if there are plans. I couldn’t say how this’ll affect the monthly titles. I know that plans are for the seismic shifts in Batman Eternal to be reflected throughout the Bat-books, so I imagine that they’ll create excitement!
DF: Do you know who will be the artist on your section of Batman Eternal? If so ... opinions?
Ray Fawkes: The nature of the schedule demands that several different artists work on each of our scripts -- so far I’ve seen work by Trevor McCarthy, Dustin Nguyen, Andy Clarke and R.M. Guera on my scripts, and I couldn’t be happier. Every one of them is incredible.
DF: Ray, any other projects present or future you'd care to discuss?
Ray Fawkes: In addition to my duties on Batman Eternal, I’m scripting Constantine and Trinity of Sin: Pandora -- and any fans that are enjoying the work they see on Batman Eternal should pick those books up and give them a read! We’re getting into some heavy-duty darkness in both titles, and showing off some of the most mind-blowing art in the entire DC line!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ray Fawkes for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about Batman Eternal.
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