CCI, Day 4: Tim Sale & Jeph Loeb talk with Mark Chiarello

On the final day of the Comic-Con International in San Diego, two fan favorite creators got together to discuss their upcoming projects. CBR News was on had to see writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale talk in a panel moderated by DC artistic guru Mark Chiarello.

"We're happy to be back at DC," said Loeb and later jokingly commented, "We're never going back to Marvel." Loeb did add that there was another "spectrum" series that he'd like to do at Marvel and isn't ruling that out in the future.

The first project discussed was "Catwoman: When In Rome," and picks up from the end of "Batman: Dark Victory" where she heads to Rome with Edward Nigma, better known as the Riddler. However, the Italian gangsters aren't familiar with costumed characters and Loeb commented, "They don't understand why she's dressed like this and want to shoot her." When asked about the Catwoman costume that will be used in the series, Loeb and Sale said they were fans of Darwyn Cooke's recent costume redesign, adding, "All three of us worship at Darwyn Cooke's door, which he finds funny, because he lives in Toronto." The series will also be colored in an inkwash style similar to "Daredevil: Yellow."

They'll also be collaborating on the artist centric bi-monthly anthology "SOLO," in which Tim Sale asked Loeb for a six page story that shows what happened on Prom night in Smallville between Lana and Clark, also asking for no dialogue. Loeb laughed that Sale never specified no narration and so Loeb threw some of that in the story. While many of the stories in Sale's issue of "SOLO" are personal, there will be a 50's style romance story featuring Supergirl and written by Diana Schutz, as well as a Batman chasing Catwoman story written by Darwyn Cooke that was written as a three page story but Sale adapted it to eleven pages. "With Mark, we can do anything" added Loeb, who credits Chiarello with being a major factor in bringing him and Sale back to DC.

Loeb was asked if he felt the industry was going to the a trade paperback only format or if he'd like it and he replied in the negative. "I think comics should be something you can read in the bathroom and hold in your hands," he said. He likes the trade paperback collections and compared them to DVDs, which help a movie but he doesn't feel will replace the theater experience. Loeb also asserted that he doesn't write stories that are made to fit in a trade paperback and writes for the monthly audience.

One fan wondered why all of Loeb's Batman stories are "whodunit?" stories and the writer said, "He's the world's greatest detective so I think I should tell a detective story. There a lot of different ways to tell a great Batman stories." He referenced his work on "Superman/Batman" as showing another facet of Batman, namely the superhero side of everyone's favorite vigilante.

Loeb & Sale were asked if any other DC characters held creative interest and the scribe said, "To put it simply, if Tim came to me and said he wanted to do the Atomic Knight, I'd do the Atomic Knight." Loeb hinted at a Wonder Woman story, saying he's not sure if they'll get to it, but didn't want to keep talking about future projects and instead focus on the current exciting work. In terms of other villain led series, Loeb related the story of his first pitch to Archie Goodwin, featuring Catman and a suit that gives him nine lives. It'd focus on Catman trying to be a hero and facing conflicts with old heroes who don't believe he's changed. "I don't see Selina as a villain," added Loeb.

If Sale was up for it, Loeb said he wanted to do one more "Long Halloween" era story and "tempt fate" by expanding on the Holiday killer and answer some other lingering questions.

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