When you are talking about brain and brawn, you want those things to be proportionate. This is the cool part about Duke Thomas. He’s his own person, but he’s also a teenager, who has to become his own man and has to become his own hero. He needs to find his place in the DC Universe. I think there is a lot of exploration that he is going to encounter in future narratives. His intellect definitely plays a major part in his development plus he’s been trained by the world’s greatest detective – Batman. All of those things come into play.
It’s something that has been discussed a lot already in the first two issues of the series. The Signal is definitely not the next Robin? What does giving Duke his own superhero identity mean for him as a character and what does it represent?
Batman says that he is trying something new. He knows about his past successes and past failures with past Robins. And here is an opportunity that he has to get in on the ground floor with a new meta-human hero. If you could train Clark Kent prior to him becoming Superman or during his first year as a superhero, what would that be like? It also allows Batman to have a daytime emissary, who can get into those nooks and crannies that he can’t get into because he is too inundated with nighttime activity. He finally has someone to act in his stead during the day. That is a new opportunity for Duke. And another level, it’s also a chance for DC Comics and the Bat-group to explore a new daytime ecosystem in Gotham. It’s a new time period in Gotham to explore that sheds light on the city itself. For me, it’s an incredible opportunity to work on this book.
And his superpower echoes that, as well. Duke can see where light has been and where it’s going. Why is now the right time to explore Gotham by day?
Scott [Snyder] first talked about Duke Thomas a year ago and we both felt that there was this incredible opportunity to do something new. And to have The Signal be the character that brings us into daytime Gotham and the character that starts to solve the mysteries connected to that time of day is really exciting. This is new way of thinking. We are going to see heroes and villains grown in the sunlight in Gotham. DC is also currently approaching the New Age of Heroes and this was another new opportunity to play around with some old Gotham mythos and shed some new light on it.
Batman and The Signal can be read very much self-contained but it’s also a part of the Metal mega-event. As a fan of comics, you must be stoked to be playing within the DC Universe right now.
[Laughs] Absolutely. I am torn on so many levels. It’s a great opportunity to write this series, to work with Scott Snyder, Cully Hamner, Laura Martin, Deron Bennett and Brittany Holzherr, I feel like it’s the Oscars when I say all of their names at one time. I work with an incredible team on this book, who are working diligently to turn out the best tale and art and letters and colors that we can get in the business. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am trying to take it and run with it.
I am thrilled and overjoyed to be a part of it. It is hard work, and sometimes there is high pressure work that is associated with it, but I am up for it and just ready to dive in. But then, also, just as a fan of comics and a fanboy, I hit the jackpot when it comes to Metal. This is an incredible story, and I am so lucky to be a part of it. If you asked me last year, I never would have imagined that I would have been working for DC in this way or being a part of such a star-studded event as Metal. Incredible. When you get a chance to see just the mental writing and artistic firepower coming out of Metal, it’s incredible. So to be associated, wow! It’s still unbelievable to me.