Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Greg Rucka, the new writer of Detective Comics. Here is what he had to say.
AJ: First off can you tell everyone a little about yourself. What work you've done and such.
GR: I'm freshly thirty, married, and generally pleasant. I've written several novels--four of them about a bodyguard named Atticus Kodiak (KEEPER, FINDER, SMOKER, and SHOOTING AT MIDNIGHT)--and the just released BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND novel. I've just finished working on a Grendel Prime novel with Matt Wagner, that Dark Horse will be publishing come spring.
AJ: As you are a novelist, Just how different is it writing a comic as opposed to a novel?
GR: Radically different. A novel is solitary, solo work, and everything that's being conjured for the reader must be conjured by the writer alone, through the words. Writing a comic requires communicating a clear vision of the story to the artist, as well as writing the actual movement of the narrative--the lines, the actions, etc. Certain traits carry over, but they are radically different forms.
AJ: How did you get the job as a NML writer? did you get picked or were you recommended by someone.
GR: Denny offered it to me on the basis of my novels, and on the strength of an "audition" script I did for him--the story "Two Down" which ran in Batman Chronicles prior to No Man's Land.
AJ: In the story "Endgame", Sarah Essen was killed by the Joker. However from what I heard, you picked someone else, but your choice was vetoed by Chuck Dixon Can you tell us who your choice was and your thoughts on Sarah dying.
GR: I was sorry to see Sarah go--I liked the character, and had hopes of using her in Detective. She had a lot of untapped potential. I'd offered up Bullock and then Montoya as the sacrificial lambs, but both were vetoed by editorial. Saying the Chuck vetoed anything is unfair to him and to me and to Devin Grayson--and all the Bat Editors, as well--and implies that there
was more of a conflict about the choice than there actually was. Chuck was opposed to losing Bullock or Montoya--something that I think is quite understandable. To my memory, it was Chuck who suggested Sarah, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought he was right--it was a good dramatic choice.
AJ: Can you tell us about the No Man's Land Novelization? and will we see the person you chose die as opposed to Sarah Essen <g>
GR: The best way to tell you about the book is to urge people to read it, honestly. It's radically different from the comics in many ways, but is still, essentially, the same story. And for that reason, if nothing else, I made no changes to who died
AJ: Now that you are the head writer of Detective Comics, Can you tell us
what your plans are for the title? Any surprises to expect. Plus how long will you
be on the title.
GR: I want to explore Batman's participation in the life of Gotham City a little more--both as the Dark Knight and as Bruce Wayne, and there are some stories I have planned where we'll be seeing more of Bruce. In Post NML Gotham, there's a lot of resentment and hatred bubbling beneath the surface--the
city is polarized between a small, vocal, minority that survived NML, that stayed behind, and the people who came back when it was all over and reaped the benefits. Bruce Wayne is seen as someone who deserted Gotham by many people--they don't care that he's spent money trying to rebuild--they feel it's an act of a guilty conscience. So that'll get some play.
The GCPD will be more prominent, though it's difficult to create stories where the cops are at the center. Expect to see a lot of Gordon and Batman working together.
Ultimately--and this is a ways off--a new character will enter Bruce's life, and make things very complicated for a while.
And of course, there are the villains--not all of them "super"...
AJ: Besides Detective Comics, are there any other projects that you will be working on.
GR: I'm continuing my work with Oni Press, the company that published WHITEOUT and WHITEOUT: MELT. I'm working on two other projects with them right now--one a spy story, and the other about a professional art thief. At DC, I'm going to be doing a couple of mini series--there's a Huntress one that starts in April, I think, and after that Rick Burchett and I want to do a
story about Echo (the woman who appeared in "Claim Jumping" during NML).
There's a Wonder Woman project in the works, as well.
AJ: What are your thoughts on the movie franchise? What about a possible new movie based on Frank Miller's Year One.
GR: I think every single one of the movies stinks, each for their own particular reasons. And because of that, I have a very dim view of what a Year One movie would look like--they'd ruin it. The only movies that have been any good at all, in my opinion, are the animated ones; I think MASK OF THE PHANTASM is a remarkably good film, and an excellent Batman story besides.
AJ: I'd like to end this interview by tossing some names out and you respond by giving a word or sentence that comes to mind when you hear their names.
GR: "Spiritual Currency" was one of the best stories of 1999. That says a lot about Devin Grayson right there.
AJ: Damion Scott
GR: Never met him.
AJ: Dennis O'Neil
GR: The Master.
AJ: Larry Hama
GR: Writing BATMAN.
AJ: Shawn Martinborogh
GR: An amazing collaborator, and a serious work-horse. I love working with him.