LoG: How and Why did you come to work on the Batman Strikes?
Bill Matheny: Two words: Joan Hilty. I'd been writing for the Looney Tunes comic over the course of six or seven years. I'd mentioned to Joan on more than one occasion that I'd like to try writing something with more of an action bent, like the B:TAS comic series. Dan Slott and Ty Templeton were doing excellent work on that book, so there wasn't any openings.
One day a got a call out of the blue from Joan. DC was launching a new book based on "The Batman" animated series. She asked if I'd like to write it. I gasped. I cried. I said yes. The rest is history.
LoG: Were you a fan of Batman at all prior to working on the book?
BM: I was. The 70's Batman stories from O'Neil/Adams/Giordana and Englehart/Rogers/Austin were favorites. I also liked the early Kane/Finger stuff, as well as stories published throughout the run of Batman, including the camp of the fifties and sixties. You can find well written stories during every era of Batman, but O'Neil and Englehart stand out in my mind.
Batman's been graced by several amazing artists, including Jim Aparo, Irv Novick, Walt Simonson, Kelly Jones, Don Newton, etc., etc. Many of those artists influenced me as a writer.
And B:TAS has set the gold standard for every animated action series that's come down the pike since then. There aren't enough "very"'s to describe how well there best episodes worked.
LoG: Did you find it difficult to begin work on the book, having never seen an actual episode?
BM: Yes! What's more, it took a few issues for me to come to terms with the series and the character. The first issue was... beautiful to look at! I felt that the writing in the second issue was an improvement - Thank God! - and the latest issues are better still. I'd like to think that our book reflects the series, but the stories stand on their own.
The art by Chris [Jones] and Terry [Beatty] is outstanding! I have yet to equal those heights, but I'm working at it.
LoG: What Villian has been your favorite to write so far in the Batman Strikes?
BM: Probably Catwoman. The Batman is a series that's fueled by testosterone, so having a strong female villain is refreshing.
That being said, Joker is always a lot of fun. I was happy with how the Joker on trial issue turned out. That was a story that Chris and I wanted to do, and it's a fun read with a couple of nice twists.
This version of Bane is also interesting. It's too bad that he's not featured more in the series... except for the fact that it gives us lots of leeway with the character. (He said with more than a touch of glee!)
LoG: Who are you most anticipating getting a crack at?
BM: Riddler will be a fun challenge, and I'm looking forward to writing Clayface. Jeff Matsuda and Dwayne Capizzi have forged a very strong take on Clayface for The Batman series.
LoG: How do you envision the role of The Batman Strikes in this new Matsuda driven Bat-Universe?
BM: I'd like to be able to capture the strength and the heart of the show, then expand upon it. I think that's why the Thorne sub-plot has been fun. We also hint at Bane's past during his next appearence. Again, we have more elbow room with the characters that don't play a major role in the series. Both Chris and I enjoy the added freedom to make our contribution to this incarnation of Batman.
LoG: Do you enjoy working on titles geared more towards youth, like the Johnny DC books?
BM: I do. Kids titles often get the scarlet letter among comics fandom. When I was a kid, I read superhero titles, but I also read Archie Comics, the Harvey Comics characters - Spooky, Hot Stuff, Wendy, Little Dot - Bugs Bunny, Little Lulu, etc. I think that my interest in drawing and writing cartoons, comic books and comic strips assisted me in appreciating all kinds of comics.
Looking back, I can understand why it drove my parents nuts. Most kids were playing football while I was attempting to draw the Road Runner. No wonder Mom and Dad pretended that I was sired by a distant relative.
LoG: You have a heavy backround and future intertwined with animation. A pup named Scooby Doo, Pirates of Dark Water and even the new Krypto The Superdog! What has drawn you write for animation and comics? (besides a steady paycheck, lol!)
BM: I have no other job skills! As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to be an artist/writer in animation, comic books and comic strips since I was about four or five. The only "famous" people that I ever wanted to meet were animators like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. And Charles Schulz. I worshipped Peanuts... still do!
I gave up drawing when I realized how superior their cartooning abilities were to any line I will ever be able to scratch out. Really superior, because...because... my artwork blows chunks! How's that for a Doctor Phil moment?
I decided that my only hope was to concentrate on writing animation and comics. And the rest is history. Easy to ignore history, but history nonetheless.
LoG: What can you tell us about your episode of Krypto The Superdog?
BM: My episode of Krypto already aired. It was called "The Dog Days of Winter." The producer, director and designer of the show, Scott Jeralds, is a good friend of mine. We've been chums ever since we worked together on Pup Scooby. The episode looked great, as does the series in general.
I enjoy Krypto as an adult, and I would've loved it as a kid. Scott and his crew deserve much mad love. There is a sense of fun and warmth in the "look" and tone of Krypto that most shows are unable to grasp. And that's all because of Scott.
Alan Burnett and Paul Dini were... well, Alan Burnett and Paul Dini. I was fortunate to work with them. Their writing and understanding of the characters were essential in keeping the show from becoming a run of the mill animated cheesefest.
LoG: Do you anticipate working on the show again?
BM: I'd like to! Next week I plan on standing in front of the WB Animation parking lot and hold up signs that demand my involvement in season two.
LoG: Whats your favorite aspect of being a writer?
BM: The fruit platters. And being able to uncork little bits of the strange glowing fluid that runs through my brain.
LoG: Whats the most fulfilling?
BM: When I think I've given a story my best shot. I can't control anyone else's experience, so I concentrate on creating something interesting and fun that works for me.
I also love the collaborative nature of comics and animation. And I've been fortunate to work with people like Scott Jeralds, Chris Jones, and David Alvarez on Looney Tunes. I learn something about storytelling every time I look at their respective work. They may be the most talented trio of artists this side of Z.Z. Top!
Last Edit: Jun 20, 2007 10:04:05 GMT -5 by /\/\att
majorhoy: Where is everybody?
Apr 30, 2014 15:20:16 GMT -5
aikidodoc: Adopting a 13 year old boy from Bulgaria who is a huge batman fan (which is how I came on this site by a google search. Any help in finding a bulgarian batman comic source would be greatly appreciated. The DC Comic website said they couldn't help me.
May 6, 2014 9:29:31 GMT -5
manstink: hey has their ever been a like origin story on martha wayne. I think it would be cool if she were like in some kind of cult, and she was like ritualistically murdered for trying to leave the cult. Anyways thats my opinion.
May 31, 2014 15:02:51 GMT -5
batmanfan1: Did you guys see what Gotham TV did with Poison Ivy? like their poster has her name as Ivy Pepper not Pamela Lillian Isley.
Jun 25, 2014 23:55:50 GMT -5