WRITER'S COMMENTARY

The stories behind the stories,  by the Storyteller himself.

CATWOMAN RETURNS-- This had to be a transitional story.  I wanted to start with the characters the way they were where Burton left them (or where they would probably be a year and a half later) and transition them to a place where I could begin putting my "spin" on them.

FRAIDY CAT--I wanted to get a bit disturbing and establish the overall dark tone I planned on taking.  Scarecrow was the perfect villain for that.  Parts of the story were inspired by "The Night of the Murderous Spring" episode from WILD WILD WEST.  I had to bring in Robin, because the events of BATMAN FOREVER had already taken place in the gap between this story and the previous one.

THE PURRFECT STORM--I love how a story that starts out light, almost like an episode of the 60s Batman series, takes a dark, stark, deadly turn.  The idea of professional assassins with cover girl looks was quite intriguing to me.  Something about the juxtaposition of beauty and violence, I guess.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS--To end the first season on a strong note, I created this "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" story.  I had a story without an ending, and I had an ending (the big wedding showdown) without a story.  So I put them together.

PERSONAL PROPERTY--A very personal story to me, it's more a police procedural than a typical Batman story.  I wrote it for someone close to me who suffered a loss similar to that of Señor Ramos.  Neither she nor the victim received justice.  I can't change what happened, but I can write a story with a different outcome.

DOPPELGANGER--The idea of Batman being framed has been done before, but I thought I could take it up a notch by having it done by someone in an identical suit who moves like him and gets caught on video.  The camera doesn't lie, right?  Riiiiight....

WILD BAT CHASE--My first solid Riddler story.  Fun, but hard to write.  At the end, I begin to lay the groundwork for Batgirl to come onto the scene.

DRAGON ATTACK--Probably my most bizarre story, with all manner of squeamish murders.  I was intrigued by the notion of importing a certain Asian villain from old books and movies into Batman's world.  Plus, Batman and Catwoman get to have a knock-down, drag-out fight like they haven't had in years.

THE JOKER LAUGHS AT YOU--My tip of the hat to DIE HARD.  With his fondness of things that explode, Joker was the easy choice for villain.  He takes his depravity to a whole new level, wiring an entire building with explosives and comparing killing hostages to hunting season.  Very dark stuff.

SECRET IDENTITY CRISIS--Honestly, I really don't like Robin that much, but for tradition's sake I felt like I had to bring him back.  I do like the way Batgirl reveals her identity to all concerned.  The idea of a hired assassin going after Batman was lifted from a discarded Harley Quinn origin story I worked on for volume 2.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE--I couldn't resist doing a Batman version of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.  Yeah, it's a cheap way to come up with a plot, but one's imagination can really go to town pondering what the people in Batman's life would be like if he never existed.  Definitely more Burton than Capra.

RECLAWED--If Catwoman was de-clawed when she gave it all up for motherhood, then here comes a reason for her to get back into action.  Basically, I missed her kicking fur and taking names, even though she was no longer among my front line characters.  First time I dared to kill off one of the villains.

THE DEVIL WEARS PURPLE / HELL NIGHT--This two-parter is my magnum opus.  Just once, I wanted to do a story that reads like a movie.  It's cinematic in scope, with citywide carnage and at least sixteen major characters.   It took the most time to plan out and plot of any of my stories, and when I finished, I felt rather shell-shocked myself. As a result, I found it hard to start writing again and even harder to follow up.

THE HOSTAGE KNIGHT--In the emotional aftermath of Hell Night, a depressed Batman ponders issues of good, evil, and why he does what he does.  All of which makes a wonderfully dark background for a situation where he must confront the single biggest demon from his past, and at a time when he's psychologically unprepared.  I admit that until THE JOKER LAUGHS AT YOU, my Bruce/Batman had been a pretty well-adjusted guy.  After that, doubts begin to creep in, and now he's painfully aware that things he believed were settled long ago aren't, and may never be.

DEMON FLOWER--This story wasn't even scheduled for volume 4.  In fact, it didn't even exist as a plot outline.  But one evening the idea literally possessed me, and within a few days the whole thing was finished.  Probably the fastest I've ever done one of these.  Another psychologically uncomfortable tale, it has a double twist ending.  I hope nobody sees them coming, at least the second one.

SHAKEN AND STIRRED--What if Batman met James Bond?  Once that curious premise crossed my mind, it was easy to create a story that could bridge the two worlds involved.  Penguin was the natural choice for villain.  The two hitmen were equally inspired by the pair from PULP FICTION and a similar duo from one of the last Connery Bond films.  A serious story, but much lighter than the three that preceded it.

THE MAZE--The idea of a giant maze filled with booby traps intrigued me, so I added it to Riddler's bag of schemes and puzzles.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?--Just what would Bruce/Batman do if his cover was blown by a criminal?  Batman's code of honor precludes out-and-out murder, yet he can't afford to have his identity revealed.  As with HOSTAGE KNIGHT and DEMON FLOWER, another step in demolishing the character's well-ordered life and putting him back in a world of psychological pain and darkness.

DUET--This is my darkest story so far, and about as disturbing as I ever want to get.  With a villain who makes Joker seem mild in comparison, there's no way it could be anything but.  Again, Batman is forced way out of his comfort zone--assuming any of it is left--and into two profoundly disturbed criminal minds.  Definitely NOT for anyone under 17.

SPLIT DECISIONS--This is one where the title has multiple meanings.  It applies to Bruce and Selina's relationship, Two-Face being the villain, and so forth.  My take on the old "bad guy trapped with good guy" plot.

THE DYING OF THE LIGHT--This is where Bruce's life hits rock bottom.  He's been badly injured by a drunk driver, Joker is killing people left and right, and Batgirl gets her wings permanently clipped.  The Batman who emerges from this chaos is rougher and rawer than ever.

BLACK WIDOW--I asked a friend to pick one villain who appeared only in the 60s TV show that he'd like to see modernized.  To my surprise, he picked Black Widow.  I've reimagined her as a cold, evil, yet ultimately sad figure.  At the same time as she plies her deadly trade, Bruce and Selina reach the end of the road, as do Barbara and Dick.  No romantic happy endings here.

STRIKE ZONE--A sad story, through and through.  My inspiration was a similarly somber episode of Miami Vice entitled "The Good Collar."

HE WHO LAUGHS LAST--I wanted a series finale that actually is a finale, yet leaves things open for more stories in the future.  Bringing closure to Batman's long-running battle with the Joker seemed the best way to wrap it up.


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