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Grant Morrison, and the ‘really simple high concept’ behind Batman and Robin

by  in Comic News Comment

After a certain point, Grant Morrison’s marathon of interviews covering Final Crisis, “Batman R.I.P.” and, now, Batman and Robin bleeds together, like clips from a Hollywood press junket played endlessly on cable news.

So I sometimes have trouble figuring out what anecdotes are new, and which ones are Morrison chestnuts (not that it matters much, as they’re all entertaining). I’m fairly sure, though, that this interview with IGN.com covers new territory, as it’s the first since Batman: Battle for the Cowl wrapped up last week, and the identities of the new Batman and Robin were (officially) revealed.

Although the entire Q&A is worth reading, I found two quotes of particular interest:

On the accessibility of Batman and Robin: “… I kind of thought, while starting up Batman and Robin, that it was a really simple high concept. The guy who used to be Robin is now Batman, and Batman’s evil son is now Robin. You can explain that to any person on the street and they’re going to get it. It was that simple. Everyone can understand that Robin has now grown up to be Batman. Having just heard our advance orders for the first printing are the highest DC’s had in the last few years, it’s important for me to keep this material accessible — and everyone knows Dick Grayson”

On the recipe for a great Batman villain: “A gimmick. Creepiness. A distinctive look. Basically, you just have to pick something — like I did with the Club of Villains characters — you look at something that works in the Batman mythos, like the evil clown, obviously. You can play with different version of that, so we had the killer mime in the Club of Villains. Or you can have another take on it, like you can play up the grinning death mask aspect and do a ‘Mexican Day of the Dead’ villain. You kind of evolve those themes into new forms. Batman fights people who dress or behave like animals — Catwoman, Killer Croc, Penguin, Man-Bat — sometimes, so you can create your own lizard girls or serpent ladies or guys like my upcoming Flamingo. Then there are the ‘game’ or ‘puzzle’ villains like the Joker, and the Riddler, and there are the ‘Dick Tracy’-style ‘face’ villains like Two-Face, No-Face, etc. Like I said, there’s a set of ingredients that you can play around with to create a Batman villain.”

Batman and Robin #1 goes on sale June 3.