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DF Interview: Jeff Parker brings Batman ’66 into the realm of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
By Byron Brewer
Two 1960s television icons are crossing paths for a 1960s-esque adventure in a one-of-a-kind miniseries, Batman ’66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E. The deadly organization known as T.H.R.U.S.H. has a new twist in their plans for world conquest—they’re recruiting some of Gotham City’s most vile villains!
Time to call the Caped Crusader … AND Napoleon Solo!
To get the full 411 on this madcap mini, we met with scribe Jeff Parker in a back room of Stately Wayne Manor to give him a groovy but grueling quiz. Hang on! The best is yet to come!
Dynamic Forces: Holy 1960s TV fantasy crossovers! Jeff, how much fun was this coming miniseries to write?
Jeff Parker: It’s always fun but it’s also a challenge this time. You can’t just slap characters from different shows together and expect it to have some magic, it involves finding a tone for the series that they can all inhabit convincingly. Some Batman stories are wackier than others, but for this one we’re going for a bit more grounded approach, less jokes.
DF: I’m sure you have answered just about every question imaginable about TV’s beloved 1960s Batman iteration, BUT … were you a fan of Napoleon Solo?
Jeff Parker: Yes, and Illya Kuriyakin. I was lucky to catch reruns of Man from U.N.C.L.E. as a kid, but it had still been a long time since I’d seen them so I started watching from the beginning. I was delighted, I had forgotten how good that first season was, and how serious the stories were. I didn’t want to skip past that to the campier final stuff as everyone might expect, it’s all too cool. When we open the story it opens very close to how one of those early U.N.C.L.E. episodes would, on a deadly chase with Napoleon.
DF: Can you tell us how these two camp crusaders meet? (No doubt T.H.R.U.S.H. will be involved, but are any of the Dynamic Duo’s baddies in the tale?)
Jeff Parker: T.H.R.U.S.H. has realized there are some incredibly powerful criminals who would make perfect operatives for their organization: Batman’s Rogues Gallery!
DF: Will the Dark Knight and Solo be allies, or will there be the uneasiness as was involved in Batman’s meeting with Green Hornet?
Jeff Parker: They are allies, but Batman isn’t crazy about Solo’s gun-using methods, as you might suspect.
DF: On this “groovy, globe-spanning adventure,” can you tell us what kinds of iconic 1960s items we might be on the lookout for (vinyl records, surfboards, Beatlemania, etc.).
Jeff Parker: Everyone is all excited about a new satellite; that’s the one that leaps to mind. Many cool old cars, though since we’re not sponsored by Chevrolet like the early U.N.C.L.E. show, we can use whatever we like. It’s very clear David Hahn likes drawing the ‘60s styles on women, like Barbara Gordon.
DF: Will we see Illya Kuryakin as well?
Jeff Parker: Everyone loves the Russian, of course. And he gets to meet a comrade: Olga, Queen of the Cossacks.
DF: Why is David Hahn the right artist for this mini?
Jeff Parker: David is nailing this thing so hard, it’s stunning. Even better, Karl Kesel is inking him, and they do qualify as a dream team. They’re clearly into the material, and their sensibilities go perfect with super-spies and Bat-heroics. Artist Roberto Flores is coloring, and using a lot of the pop-art approach Jonathan Case did in his stories, and the whole thing comes together beautifully. You could spend all day pulling out panels to make posters. Jim Chadwick and I could not be happier with how this is turning out, a really handsome series.
DF: Jeff, any other current or near-future projects you would care to discuss?
Jeff Parker: I would like to, but I can’t. Something BIG is coming, though. I’m sorry, I know those allusions to secret projects are annoying!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jeff Parker for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Batman ’66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E. #1 hits stores today, December 23rd! Return here next time … same Bat time, same Bat channel!
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