Warner Bros. Animation has enjoyed mondo success with its latest venture into all ages programming, "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." With the caped crusader teaming up with classic heroes like Aquaman and Plastic Man and newcomers like the Jaime Reyes incarnation of Blue Beetle, the Cartoon Network hit is a perfect blend of new and old.
In January, DC Comics launched a companion series, "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," and come June a new writer comes on board in J. Torres.
No stranger to kid-friendly fare, Torres previously enjoyed a long run on "Teen Titans Go!," based on the animated TV series "Teen Titans." He also recently landed himself a nomination for a Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award for his overall work in 2008 on such titles as "The Family Dynamic," "Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century" and "Wonder Girl."
CBR News checked in with Torres to discuss the project and to see if we couldn't find out if and when the Man of Steel will be making his first appearance in "The Brave and the Bold."
CBR: Growing up, were you a fan of team-up books?
J. Torres: I think my introduction to "The Brave and the Bold" was one of those old DC digests. I used to love reading those as a kid. I remember they put out ones that collected Superman team-ups and Batman team-ups. I thought they were a lot of fun.
Any favorite adventures you can remember?
I think my favorite team-ups were with the more obscure, rarely seen heroes like Batman with Viking Prince or Silent Knight or even Robin Hood. Even though sometimes it kind of confused me as a kid. Why Robin Hood? Where's Green Arrow? It also threw me whenever Batman would time travel and they'd never explain it. They'd just jump into the adventure. Even as a kid I wanted to know how Batman got there.
Why do you think team-up books work?
I think for the same reason team books do. You get more bang for your book, or at least two for the price of one. You get heroes working together, playing off of each other, joking around with each other and even giving each other the business. It's fun and the more the merrier as they say. It's almost always fun when worlds collide too and you make connections between characters who generally work solo.
Does the TV series feed the title at all in terms of stories and/or characters?
We're actually lucky in that we don't have the same limitations that the show has for whatever legal, licensing or other reasons. We pretty much have the entire DCU to play with. That said, the producers of the show have asked us to hold off on introducing or otherwise using Batman's rogues and sidekicks until they've appeared in an episode, and we're naturally honoring that request. We have so many other toys to play with that it's not really a problem or a question of running out of heroes or villains to use.
But I do love the show, and what they're doing with certain characters, like Aquaman, for example, and I hope to be able to write an issue featuring him, a story that's worthy of what they've done on the animated series. I also love the concept of 'Wildcat and the Teen Outsiders,' and I'm trying to come up with a story that's as inspired as that episode. I also recently saw the Demon episode and was wowed. It made me dig up my old "Demon" comics, re-read them, and maybe try my hand at a Demon story later. So that's just one of the ways the show feeds the comic.
What do you love about Batman?
What I love about this particular incarnation of Batman is that he 'plays well with others' and is traveling the world in search of adventure. This is also a Batman that shows a wider range of emotion than we've seen in recent years. He can still brood and menace, but he'll actually crack a smile or a joke from time to time. He's given Plastic Man that classic look of chagrin of his, but he's been playful with Green Arrow. It's a great version of Batman to write.
And what about your first co-star? The June solicitations tease it's Captain Marvel.
I've been a Captain Marvel fan since I can remember. There's just something completely awesome about a kid who says a magic word to transform into a superhero endowed with the powers of mythic gods and heroes. It's the ultimate boy power fantasy. Plus, I think his costume is probably one of the best out there. Ever. And the classic version of Captain Marvel is such a perfect fit for the show, so when I got my first assignment, I immediately knew who I wanted to team up with Batman.
In The Brave and the Bold,"#6, I follow up with Viking Prince, Vigilante, Shining Knight, and G.I. Robot whose appearance on the cover kind of spoils the climax. But that's my fault. I should have said something to my editor earlier.
Can you tease what other heroes we might see in some of your future issues? Villains?
J. Bone and I are jamming on a Doom Patrol issue. I don't want to spoil who the villain is, but the Chief thinks that it's General Immortus. Immortus, of course, appears in the previous issue. I mentioned Batman's globetrotting earlier -- well, he's off to Japan and Tibet in another issue. People will probably be surprised that he teams up with certain members of the Great Ten. I've always wanted to do something with the Global Guardians, so for starters Rising Sun appears in the opener of that issue. Olympian appears in the opening of the Doom Patrol issue, by the way. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring them and other Guardians back later for another story. Speaking of international heroes, I'd also love to do something with the Batmen of All Nations. But I digress...
Are we going to see a team-up of the World's Finest?
On top of wanting to use characters like Aquaman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and other Super Friends that have already appeared on the show, I'd really like to do some team-ups with the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, etc. But since that's been done so much more than, say, Batman and the Great Ten or the Global Guardians or even Jimmy Olsen and Kid Eternity, I'm focusing on the latter for now.
Any plans for any multi-issue arcs?
Not right now.
Will you be working with rotating teams of artists?
Andy Suriano and Carlo Barberi are the two regular artists who take turns each month. What I dig about this set-up is that each brings something different to the table. Andy, for example, is a big Kirby fan and it shows in his work. In Carlo's style, I see a lot of the late, great Mike Parobeck. This has inspired me to write a Jimmy Olsen story for Andy to draw. And I've come up with plots for Carlo involving a Justice Society member or two.
What else are you working on these days?
I just wrapped on some "Avatar: The Last Airbender" comic stories for Nickelodeon magazine. Not sure when they're coming out, though. We're also close to finishing a graphic novel called "Lola: A Ghost Story" drawn by Elbert Or and published by Oni Press. It's a kind of supernatural coming of age story set in the Philippines. That should be out in the fall, and I'm hoping to debut it at SPX but we'll see.
I'm also working on a second OGN for Oni called "Dead Goombas" with Andy B. That's a romantic comedy about zombies and gangsters. No ETA on that one yet, but people can keep an eye on my blog for more information on "Goombas," "Avatar" and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."