Exclusive LOG Interview w/ Russell Lissau! Feb 18, 2007 18:18:59 GMT -5
Post by /\/\att on Feb 18, 2007 18:18:59 GMT -5
LOG: You're from the Chicago area (my FAVORITE area) and you were working as a reporter and writer. How did you get started in the comics biz?
RUSSELL: I've been a professional newspaper and magazine reporter for about 15 years, as well as a lifelong comic-book fan. For many years I combined the two by writing stories about comics and their creators for my newspaper, the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, and for magazines and Web sites such as comicbookresources.com, Combo, Wizard and Cinefantastique. After getting to know so many people in the industry, a few years ago some of them asked, "You've written about comics so often -- have you ever tried writing them?" And honestly, at that point I hadn't. Never even considered it. And I didn't consider it until I had an idea for a journalism-related Superman story that I thought would kill. Jeph Loeb, who I consider a friend and a mentor in comics, was working in Superman at the time and introduced me to his editors. They passed on the story but suggested I think about other DC characters. Batman's always been my favorite, and I started developing Batman pitches. The fabulous Matt Idelson was a Bat editor at the time and liked my pitches and spec scripts enough to offer me the lead story in BATMAN ALLIES SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS 2005. So, at the tender age of 34, I had my first comic book story published!
LOG: What led to the opportunities you're currently receiving on the Johnny DC comic titles? Was it any specific project that got you noticed for this job?
Russell: Nachie Castro edits THE BATMAN STRIKES!, and he was the assistant editor on BATMAN ALLIES. I enjoyed working with Nachie on that project, and when I heard he was also editing STRIKES I contacted him. It's been a dream working with Nachie. He's a supportive editor who's really helped guide my stories.
LOG: Do you consider yourself a Batman or Dc Comics fan? Were there any characters or titles that influenced you growing up?
Russell: I have always been a Batman fan. When I was 5 or 6, my grandfather and I would play Batman and Robin -- he'd be Robin. The first superhero comic book I ever owned was a Batman book: Brave & the Bold 184, co-starring the Earth-2 Huntress. I still own the book. I loved the darkness of the character, and the detective elements to the stories, and the fact that he was a human -- not a metahuman -- doing all of this with just his willpower.
LOG: Had you seen The Batman prior to landing the gig on Batman Strikes? How many episodes have you seen now? What are your thoughts on the show?
Russell: I made a point of seeing a few early episodes and was intrigued. Unfortunately I don't watch a whole lot of TV right now -- my young daughter monopolizes the set! But I try to watch in on Saturday mornings, and I catch The Bat when I can. I like that they're trying to get a new, younger audience hooked on the character, something I and the other STRIKES creators are trying to do with the book.
LOG: What kind of research has gone into writing for Batman Strikes? Did you utilize any internet or print resources?
Russell: I have an extensive comics research library, and I rely on those extensively. Scott Beatty's BATMAN: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE is extremely helpful, as is Dini and Kidd's BATMAN ANIMATED. As for the Internet, I did a lot of Googling, and I've used wikipedia to give me a direction for research, and of course LEGIONS OF GOTHAM, particularly the episode and issue guides.
LOG: Do you have a favorite of the new character designs featured on The Batman? Any characters you're hoping to be able to write in the future?
Russell: I have been drawn to Poison Ivy more than any other character so far. I like that she's younger, and less experienced and not the sultry vixen she is in the mainstream DCU. She's featured in three of my upcoming STRIKES stories, more than any other villain so far. I also LOVED writing Catwoman for issue #30. I heard Gina Gershon's voice in my head as I was writing the story -- they picked the purrrrrfect actress to portray her in THE BATMAN!
LOG: What other DC projects do you have coming up in the future?
Russell: I'm focusing heavily on THE BATMAN STRIKES! this year. After #30, I have two stories already scheduled for this summer, and more are on the way. I'm writing one right now, as a matter of fact, and it's a blast -- one of the funniest scripts I've ever put together! It's a far cry from the darkness of my BATMAN ALLIES piece.
A HUGE thanks to Russell for taking the time to chat with us. You can also interact with Russell on our official forum. You'll be hearing a lot more from him in the future!