Paul Dini's more than two-year run on "Detective Comics" ended when all of DC Comics' Bat-books went on a three-month hiatus during the events of Tony Daniel's "Battle for the Cowl."
But fear not, the five-time Emmy Award winning writer and producer of "Batman: The Animated Series" is back with not one but two Batverse titles in the new era of former Robin and former Nightwing Dick Grayson as Batman in the DC Universe.
Launching today, "Batman: Streets of Gotham" sees Dini reteaming with "Detective Comics" artist Dustin Ngyuen to explore Gotham City's seedy underbelly through first-hand accounts by virtually anybody and everybody who may encounter the new Batman and Robin. That means you're just as likely to hear from Commissioner James Gordon as you are the goalie of the Gotham Blades or a beat reporter from the Gotham Gazette.
In this, the first of a two-part interview, Dini discusses with CBR the new series that he says has an "epic feel" and reveals details about which rogues will be the first to try and knock off the dynamic debutants.
Dini will be back again tomorrow to dish on his second series, "Gotham City Sirens," the title expected to set Gotham's heart a flutter with its cast of Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.
CBR: You've been writing Batman in "Detective Comics" for some time now. How are you enjoying putting words in the mouth of the new Batman, Dick Grayson?
Paul Dini: It's a challenge. I had not planned on doing a lot of out-of-costume scenes with Dick and [new Robin] Damian, but in the first issues especially, it made sense to explore that dynamic and some new threats to the Bat-family.
He obviously has a different one than Bruce Wayne but how would you best describe Dick's "voice?"
He's a little more "good cop" than Bruce Wayne's Batman. He still has to come off pretty well the same with criminals the old Batman has fought before. But he's still learning the ropes and he'll encounter plenty of new villains that will be his alone.
What we've heard about "Batman: Streets of Gotham" is that stories will be told primarily from the perspective of some of the supporting characters in and around Gotham City. Can you share who we will be hearing from in the early issues? And who else might be featured in the title's cast?
Each issue will cut around Gotham very fast. We'll follow Commissioner Gordon, cops, villains, random Gotham citizens, anyone who might have an encounter with Batman and Robin in the course of the book. We're telling one story through a number of different perspectives.
Will "Streets of Gotham" be told in arcs with a larger, ever-developing mythos? Or will these be done-in-one tales?
It's a series of larger stories. The done-in-ones worked great in "Detective," but the "Streets of Gotham" stories will have more of an epic feel.
Can you share what villains we'll be seeing in the first arc?
Early on we'll see a lot of Firefly, who up until now was forced into service by Black Mask. Seems Firefly has gotten some ideas about branching out on his own and that doesn't sit too well with Black Mask. After that, I'm working on a longer story involving Victor Zsasz.
What's the relationship like between Commissioner Gordon and the new Batman?
Respectful. Grateful. Brief. Gordon may suspect things have changed where Batman and Robin are concerned, but it makes his job easier to stay ignorant about who is under the masks, these days.
And what about the new Batman and the rest of the Gotham City Police Department?
Some of the cops are asking questions. I'll deal with that at some point soon.
Will this book tie-in to the other Bat-books on a regular basis, and specifically your other Bat-verse title, "Gotham City Sirens?"
Not too much. I used Harley to set the stage for "Sirens" within the first issue of "Streets," but we won't be seeing the ladies much outside their own book.
So no plans for a larger crossover in the future with "Streets of Gotham" and "Gotham City Sirens?"
"Streets of Gotham" includes a Manhunter co-feature by Marc Andreyko. Will the co-feature tie into your story in "Streets of Gotham?"
That's a conversation I've been meaning to have with Marc for a while. We'll get to it. DA Kate Spencer does show up briefly in the second issue of "Streets of Gotham," so maybe there's a more involved story to be told between the two of us.
"Batman: Streets of Gotham" #1 is on sale now from DC Comics.
And don't forget to check out CBR News tomorrow for the second part of our conversation with Paul Dini when he discusses "Gotham City Sirens."