Neal Adams, artist and writer of groundbreaking comics like Deadman, Green Lantern, X-Men and (most famously) Batman, took some time between signing autographs to discuss his new Batman miniseries and what he has coming down the pipeline.
Q: Tell us about the big project you’re working on.
A: What I’m working on now is called Batman Odyssey. It’s a 13-part miniseries and it goes through the toughest time in Batman’s life and how he deals with modern times. What’s happpening in modern times that is different from 20 years ago, let’s say. There’s a lot more ordinance and how you deal with ordinance without killing people. And he has very difficult time with it because he has to put guys in jail and they might get out and they might murder somebody. So how does he justify that? Why doesn’t he act like a real avenger and kill them? It’s an interesting story.
Q: So this is Batman challenging his own code?
A: He has to challenge his code from the point-of-view of reality. If you’re in a difficult situation, and you’re armed or not armed (but you get armed) and you have somebody who’s going to kill someone, what do you do about it? He has to deal with that and it’s not so easy to deal with.
You know, it’s one thing to have a comic book about a character who is going to do superhero deeds and smash warehouses–it’s another when someone’s life is one the line. I mean, what are you going to do? And what if your only decision is to kill or be killed?
So my goal in this series is to face Batman with these things and to have Batman kind of go on an odyssey to understand what the world is all about and what his place in the world is and he is to deal with in these modern times with all this ordinance flying around.
The other thing is, you sorta have to ask yourself, is Batman going to more good or is Bruce Wayne going to do more good? If Bruce Wayne can feed a million kids in Africa, what of significance could Batman ever do in comparison to that? I mean, Bruce Wayne is in a position to do more good for the world than Batman ever could.
Q: What draws you to Batman?
A: He’s a reality-based. Batman is human. And in being more human, he’s more fun to deal with. I mean, there’s a certain aspect of what I do that I truly believe in real life drama. And if you believe in real life drama, how can you constantly do superheroes? Well, I walk the edge between being able to do superheroes and also dealing with real life drama. I think that’s what makes my stuff grittier and more interesting.
And I don’t invite everybody to do it; I don’t think every comic book artist need to be compelled to do it, but I do it and I like it. I just think it’s more interesting. We’ve now had a five minute conversation and you’re are now already interested in the story–that’s the kind of story I like to tell.
Q: What do you have planned after Batman Odyssey?
A: I’m working on a series for Marvel, based on Wolverine. It’s a Wolverine short series. (smiles) And I really can’t talk about it. But I promise it will be as interesting as Batman Odyssey. It’ll take you back to a place and time you never thought about.
The first two issues are on the shelves now. Issue number three will hit the stands on Sep. 8. To get your copy, click here.
Interview by Sabastian Wee, Newton Managing Editor