In his day job, Michael Green shepherds along a re-generating cheerleader, a time-traveling computer programmer and a power-absorbing nurse-- something about ordinary people discovering extraordinary abilities. But the "Heroes" writer and executive producer gets to script the World's Finest come December when he begins his six-part run on DC Comics' "Superman/Batman" with issue #44.
The "K" arc, with art and covers by the "Mystery in Space" team of Shane Davis and Matt Banning, features the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight exploring the globe in pursuit of one thing -- you guessed it, the green stuff.
"The challenge of that Herculean task isn't quite what you'd expect," Michael Green told CBR News. "It's not just the logistics of how much there is all over the place, or how deep it's buried. It's that maybe not everyone in the world really wants them to succeed. Some folks like having Kryptonite handy. And some of them folks can punch hard, too."
Green says one of the difficulties with leaping from the wildly successful "Heroes" to the established "Superman/Batman" is while the former is creating new beginnings with each episode and season, Supes and Bats are icons, each belonging to a mythos all their own that is both long and storied.
"The stock in trade with 'Heroes' is stories of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. Batman and Superman are anything but ordinary people," explained Green. "I'm not even sure Superman counts as a 'person,' more like a conveniently humanoid alien. They're both so much larger than life and that colors everything they do, think, and want. So there's that enormous scale issue.
"The other key difference for me is that in writing Superman and Batman in any incarnation, you're automatically the custodian of a massive, carefully considered tradition. So you have a lot to own, and a lot to live up to. In 'Heroes,' we're just trying to make these new people a fraction as beloved."
Green just completed writing his six-issue run on "Batman Confidential," which he characterizes as his "official maiden voyage into comics."
"It's a retelling of Batman's first encounter with the Joker, which got marketed as a new Joker origin," Green explained. "Internet mayhem ensued. I came on to
'Superman/Batman' purely because of [series editor] Eddie Berganza, who I met when I did a ten-page Lex Luthor story for the first 'Smallville' comic. We initially talked about the opening he had at the time for 'Teen Titans' -- I pitched him all these awful ideas that made him wonder why he was even talking to me. I think I actually pitched having Beast Boy living with a woman as a woman, making him the first male lesbian in comics history. He said, 'Umm... maybe there's a better book for you.'
"He mentioned 'Superman/Batman' and I was the happiest boy ever."
Don't believe Green?
"There are pictures of me dressed as Batman at my college graduation procession. Those gowns make really good capes," Green laughed.
One of Green's fellow executive producers on "Heroes" is superstar comic writer Jeph Loeb, and in a "Heroes"-like twist, Loeb is also the person who actually originated the series "Superman/Batman." When asked if he talked to Loeb about writing "Superman/Batman," Green offered, "Talking to Jeph about comics is bad for my self esteem. He knows too much. And he's always right."
Additionally, both Green and Loeb are former "Smallville" writers, but their paths did not cross on that series." "I was on the first season only," Green said. "Jeph came on after. But we did meet back then and got on dandy. He was actually the only familiar face for me on the first day at 'Heroes.' We hugged. He doesn't hug me anymore. If you see him, ask him why, because I miss it."
Green says while Superman is known for his super strength and Batman has his trademark detective mind, the two now share one power. "Right now, both of their strengths are that they're being drawn by Shane Davis. Shane is doing something absolutely amazing with them for this book," said Green. "He's a maddeningly talented artist. There are kids out there who are going to want to become artists because of the way he articulates surprise and puts pointy ears on the Bat Computer."
Since its inception, "Superman/Batman" has made a name for itself as a haven for guest appearances. No change there either, says Green. "[There are guests appearances] all over the darned place. They're going change the book's name to 'Cameos,'" he laughed.
Green's most recent episode of "Heroes," entitled "Lizards," aired October 1. "We did violence to a young cheerleader's toe," quipped Green. "My next episode is tentatively set to air in early February. And I honestly can't think of a single thing I can tell you about it that won't spoil the whole concept. I guess I could say it's one of our 'other timeline' episodes. Which are usually my favorite, but which confuse my mom."
And while he is "ultra-busy" with TV's mega-show, Green says he would love to keep writing comics -- and one title in particular. "As many [issues of 'Superman/Batman'] they'll let me do," Green confessed. "It's way too much fun. I told Eddie my plan is to move into 'Superman/Batman' and stay there till they kick me out, because I honestly can't think of any comic characters I'd like to write more. I recently brought on a fantastic budding screenwriter, the majestically self-effacing Mike Johnson, to work with me on the later issues of the arc so I could keep doing them and stay honest about deadlines. TV writers have such a bad rep in comics for being late with their books. I figure, say what you will about the stories, at least they came in on time."
Without delay, "Superman/Batman" #44 hits shelves December 19.
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