BOF INTERVIEW: SCOTT BEATTY
On November 28, 2005, Jett had the privilege of interviewing Scott Beatty, author of numerous books and super hero comics, and the man behind the upcoming BATMAN BEGINS VISUAL GUIDE. Scott will also pen DC COMICS' official comic book adaptation of BATMAN BEGINS. Check out the interview below and make sure to visit Scott's official website at SCOTTBEATTY.COM!
SB: Thanks for having me!
BOF: Obviously, you are a comic book fan. What got you into comics as a kid?
SB: I’m not sure if I can pinpoint my first experience reading comics, although I’m fairly sure it was the issue of AQUAMAN in which Aquababy was murdered (DAMN YOU, Black Manta!). But the pivotal moment came during a hospital stay when I was seven. I was bedridden for a week with little else to do except convalesce and read the comics that my dad bought for me in the hospital’s gift shop. BATMAN FAMILY, RICHIE RICH, and SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS. Except for the RR ish, I¹ve still got the other two among the thousands of books presently in what I like to think of as the “archives.”
BOF: Who are your comic book influences?
SB:Anybody I ever read. I grew up devouring the works of Bob Haney, Denny O'Neil, Archie Goodwin, Gerry Conway, Cary Bates, and so many others. Alan Moore's earliest work at DC made me want to be a writer. I still read comics voraciously, and I’m just as inspired by my peers in the business today as I was the creators whose stories I read as a kid.
BOF: You've done several “Ultimate Guide to” books with DC characters. Tell us a bit about doing them and is one your favorite?
SB: The Ultimate Guides for Dorling Kindersley are a real labor of love, emphasis on labor and love. Obviously, if I didn¹t have such an affinity for DC’s characters, I wouldn¹t have the patience to delve so deeply into their histories and try to make sense of continuity for new readers. These books take months to complete. The UGs are very much research-intensive, but the end-product is well worth the cataclysm of comics that befalls my office every time I tackle one. I’m constantly pulling the books off a shelf to look up some obscure fact during my own comics writing. So to that end, I suppose BATMAN is my favorite. But it was the first, so I have a certain affection for it as the “first-born” of my Ultimate Guides.
BOF: Tell us a bit about the comic RUSE that you worked on for CROSSGENERATION COMICS.
SB: In a nutshell, RUSE was a detective serial set on the planet Arcadia, which was modeled on 19th century Earth. The “Sherlock Holmes” of RUSE was Simon Archard, a bit of a cad in terms of interpersonal skills, but a brilliant sleuth nonetheless and favorite son of Partington, the London-like city which served as home base for Simon and the series itself. Simon¹s partner was Emma Bishop, a bit of a cipher since her origins were part of the mystery that was at the heart of RUSE. Think of it as a Victorian Era “X-Files” with the detectives investigating a variety of strange crimes and mysteries, with two Moriarty types (Simon’s former mentor Malcolm Lightbourne and the beautiful-but-utterly-evil Miranda Cross) keeping our heroes on their toes. After picking up RUSE following writer Mark Waid’s departure, I wrote the series for 18 issues before CrossGen‘s financial demise. Despite CG‘s end, writing RUSE was one of the most satisfying creative experiences I’ve had to date, mostly because of the opportunity to work with such talented comics pros as penciler Butch Guice, inker Mike Perkins, and colorist Laura Martin, all of whom remain friends.
BOF: You have done a lot of work within the BATMAN mythos: BATGIRL YEAR ONE, BATMAN CHRONICLES, GOTHAM KNIGHTS, and ROBIN YEAR ONE among others. Is the “Batman Universe” one of your favorites and if so, why?
SB: Yeah, I think that¹s fairly obvious from my body of work to date. I’ve always loved Batman more so than any other superhero, or fictional character for that matter. The Bat-Family are self-made characters. They’re all forged in tragedy with a will to do good that transcends having super-powers. They’re flesh and blood, and can be hurt, which makes them more compelling to me. [Better than a] hero that is invulnerable or can point his magic ring and save the day without breaking a sweat.
BOF: Any non-DC characters you enjoy or would like to work on?
SB: I had the opportunity a few years ago to write a Mace Windu short for Dark Horse Comics. Having grown up on Star Wars, I’d welcome any chance to delve back into that universe from a long, long time ago and far, far away. But my love for DC’s characters is pretty strong. I guess I’ve always been a “Johnny DC” at heart.
BOF: Myself. I know there are some legalities involved, but tell us what you are doing in conjunction to BATMAN BEGINS.
SB: I'm sworn to secrecy on anything related to the film’s plot and story. I can only say that I’m writing Batman Begins: The Visual Guide. And I’ve just signed on to write DC Comics' official comic book adaptation of the movie.
BOF: That's cool. BOF wouldn’t have it any other way. So, without revealing any spoilers, etc., tell us what¹s your impression of BATMAN BEGINS based on everything that has been revealed about it so far.
SB: Again, I'm not allowed to breathe even the tiniest secret about BATMAN BEGINS. Let me say this: I’m one of the biggest Batman fans there is, and a “purist” when it comes to the Bat-Mythos. My impression is that BATMAN BEGINS will be the best Bat-Film ever and set the bar even higher for super-hero movies.
BOF: What's your take on the cast that Christopher Nolan has put together for BATMAN BEGINS
SB: I like the casting very much. I think it works, mostly by virtue of having actors who fit the roles without necessarily being the first persons you might expect to play a particular character. Gary Oldman as Gordon is inspired. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is a no-brainer. I¹m anxious to see what Michael Caine does with Alfred. And I had absolutely no reservations when I first heard that Christian Bale was cast as Bruce Wayne. He played both suave and dangerous in AMERICAN PSYCHO and he proved his action hero chops quite well in REIGN OF FIRE.
BOF: What villains do you consider a “must have” for this new series of BATMAN films?
SB: Well, you can't go wrong with the classic Bat-Rogues. I think I’d like to avoid the baddies who’ve been committed to the silver screen in the previous films. Clayface II would be fun, especially with CGI enabling a nice interpretation of the character. Man-Bat in that same regard. I’d love to see someone really get into the role of Two-Face and stay true to character. In my opinion, Tommy Lee Jones played Harvey Dent as a Joker knock-off rather than a multi-layered rogue. Done right, Two-Face can be even more chilling than the Clown Prince of Crime.
BOF: Amen on that Two-Face take brother! What projects do you have in the works that your would like to tell everyone reading about?
SB: 2005 is a pretty big Bat-Year for me.
January kicks it all off with NIGHTWING YEAR ONE. Chuck Dixon and I are re-teaming to chronicle Dick Grayson¹s decision to give up the role of Robin and continue fighting crime in a wholly new superhero guise. Rather than a miniseries like our previous Y1 efforts, NWYO will be told in NIGHTWING #101-106, with two issues shipping per month. Scott McDaniel, Chuck¹s former creative partner on the NIGHTWING series, provides the art with Andy Owens inking.
My BATMAN: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE DARK KNIGHT (DK) is being re-released in a few months with an awesome new Jim Lee cover and sixteen pages of additional updated material
April will see publication of THE BATMAN HANDBOOK: THE ULTIMATE TRAINING MANUAL from Quirk Books, the company responsible for THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO SURVIVAL GUIDE. My book details how to fight crime just like Batman with real world experts describing how Batman accomplishes those skills so easily. Want to know how to build your own Batcave? Or how to survive a poison kiss? Or how to jump a bridge in your Batmobile? It’s all in there. Just be advised that DC Comics, Quirk Books, and I aren¹t condoning any attempts at costumed vigilantism. That¹s best left to the professionals.
Beyond that, I've got a new miniseries at DC Comics, SON OF VULCAN, a new take on the old Charlton Comics character that’s very much inspired by Batman and Robin. Look for it in Spring 2005 with the wildly talented Keron Grant penciling and inking.
BOF: Thanks again for your time. I¹m sure the readers of BOF will enjoy!
SB: Thanks for having me! For more Bat-Updates, just check out my website (SCOTTBEATTY.COM) and stop by the Message Board!
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