Beechen on "Batman Beyond"

Fans already excited for the forthcoming "Batman Beyond"-centric "Superman/Batman" annual (written by the legendary Paul Levitz) received a second blast of "news from Beyond" Wednesday when DC Comics announced a six-issue mini series based on the hit Warner Brothers Animation TV series. This "Batman Beyond" starts up in June from writer Adam Beechen and artist Ryan Benjamin.

"Batman Beyond" was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini and ran from 1999 to 2001, airing 52 original episodes. Set within the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) along with shows like "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League Unlimited," the series introduced the world to Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne's successor as Batman, the protector of Neo Gotham circa 2039.

Yesterday DC teased that Terry and his mentor will face off against a threat in the mini series that is targeting villains from the original Batman's rogues' gallery. And the events of "Batman Beyond" may also trigger some hostilities between the master and the apprentice. CBR News wanted more info, so we reached out to Beechen, who did share some more details including who else we may see in the mini series, where the story is set in terms of continuity and what the writer feels makes the relationship between Bruce and Terry click - and tick, like a time bomb.

CBR News: Very cool news that you'll be writing a "Batman Beyond" mini series. How did the project come about?

Adam Beechen: [DC Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio visited L.A. in December of 2008, and we had a meeting, and he mentioned this project as a possibility for me. He encouraged me to come up with a pitch for Editor Ian Sattler, which I did. The pitch was nothing more than the title of the story arc sent in an e-mail - two words - and Ian flipped out over it, in a good way, and immediately asked me to write a full-blown summary of the mini series. I did that, and when I saw Dan again at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2009, he told me the series was greenlit.

May I ask what the two words were?

Absolutely not.

I know you've worked with WB/DCU Animation in the past but how familiar are you with the "Batman Beyond" TV series?

Pretty familiar. Like a ton of people, many of whom are reading this, I was a voracious consumer of Warner Bros. superhero animation stuff - still am, actually. So I followed the show pretty closely. I loved it - thought it was a great extension of the mythology that made perfect sense for what we already knew about the characters and their world.

Will you be going back and watching the old TV episodes on DVD to prepare for this assignment?

Yes, with great excitement. Any excuse to watch those episodes again is a good one.

What do you love about the concept of a Batman from the future? And what about Terry in particular?

I love the idea of the cowl getting passed down from generation to generation. It makes Batman a concept, in addition to being an individual. It sends the message that, as long as there are criminals, there will be a Batman to strike fear into their hearts.

Terry's great because, unlike Bruce, in whom the seeds of becoming the Batman were planted at a very formative age, creating profound obsession, Terry came to it later in life, when he was already a teenager. He already had opinions and outlooks he had formed, so he can be more conflicted about being Batman than Bruce could ever be.

You have scripted Batman in the past, but I don't believe you have written future Bruce Wayne. How will you go about finding his voice?

My idea of his voice is a slightly softened version of what Frank Miller did in "The Dark Knight." Grim and gritty, pretty dark and cynical, but maybe a little more willing to socialize - at least with Terry. And Ace.

What are you most looking forward as you further develop the relationship between Terry and Bruce?

Just playing their outlooks and attitudes against each other. Though they're on the same side, and they've come to various understandings over the years, they still have pretty different methods when it comes to certain things, and that can lead to clashes - serious clashes.

So what makes the relationship work?

For readers, or for them? For readers, it's the tried and true crotchety oldtimer/cocky whippersnapper dynamic, and the built in conflict that brings. It also provides lots of opportunities for humor, as well as drama. For Bruce and Terry, well, the question of just how well the relationship works is something we may be looking closely at.

The Source teased this story features some of Batman's old foes. Can you tease us any further as to who we might be talking about here in terms of rogues?

Nope. Suffice to say we'll see representatives from the A list all the way down to the D list.

Any other characters from the TV series playing a role like Max or Dana? And with that said, are Terry and Dana married now?

The full range of Terry's world will be on display in the mini series, but center stage will be occupied by Bruce and Terry. Terry and Dana are not married during this series, which takes place closer to the end of the animated series than to the character's appearance at the end of "Justice League Unlimited."

With all the excitement about Grant Morrison's "Return of Bruce Wayne" storyline unfolding this summer, does this series tie into that at all? Meaning does this series tie into DCU proper or does it exist in its own "DC Animated" universe?

This series does not tie directly to what Grant's doing, but isn't what Grant's doing fun? And this miniseries does tie the animated series closer to the DCU proper, but whether or not it becomes considered the canonical version of Batman's future remains to be seen. And decided.

Does it tie into Paul Levitz' upcoming "Superman/Batman" annual?

It does not. Paul and I have been working completely separately, but I'm sure our stories will be able to coexist without conflict. I'm psyched to see what he's coming up with.

Not sure what you've seen so far but what does Ryan Benjamin bring to the characters of "Batman Beyond"?

I've been a fan of Ryan's for a long time. He draws great, graceful figures, and when I think of "Batman Beyond," I think of Terry swooping around all these dark towers and spires, and I know Ryan's going to get all kinds of atmosphere into the visuals. I can't wait to see his take on the characters themselves.

Anything else that you can share about the series or anything special you'd like to add for fans of the original "Batman Beyond" animated series?

Hopefully, they'll feel the characters and concepts are in respectful hands. I'm as big a fan of the animated series as anyone, and I want to do right by all the people who've come before me, not to mention Bruce and Terry.

What else are you working on these days?

Still writing "WildCats" over at WildStorm. It's nice to go from that book, with its cast of thousands, to this one, with its relatively small list of characters. Any time I want a change of pace, I can switch from one book to the other. And I'm happily watching the art roll in for the sequel to my graphic novel, "Hench." AiT/Planetlar and I are hoping to have it out in time for the holidays.

Any updates on the "Hench" movie?

Still on pins and needles waiting on the script from Danny McBride.

So the project is still moving forward?

As far as I know.

"Batman Beyond" #1 is expected to arrive in comic book stores across North America in June.

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