Ladrönn Covers the Cowl

As DC Comics reinvents the Bat-Verse with Tony's Daniel's "Battle for the Cowl" event miniseries, the publisher turned to Ladrönn to further flesh out the seedy underbelly of Gotham City and the various monsters that inhabit its walls, with the fan-favorite Mexican artist providing a series of covers for "Battle for the Cowl's" spin-off books.

Already enjoying a solid professional career highlighted by a two-year run on "Cable" by James Robinson and Joe Casey in the late nineties, Ladrönn received an Eisner award in 2006 as Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for his work with Richard Starkings on "Hip Flask: Mystery City."

Ladrönn, who serves as cover artist "Green Arrow/Black Canary," contributes covers for five "Battle for the Cowl" one-shots: "Commissioner Gordon," "Man-Bat," The Underground," Arkham Asylum" and "The Network."

With an eclectic cast including Doctor Phosphorus, Kirk Langstrom, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, Catwoman, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, The Penguin and Ra's Al Ghul, Ladrönn will no doubt know Batman's Rogues' Gallery better than any heir to the cowl. CBR News checked in to see how much Ladrönn did know, or was at least willing to share, about DC's plans for Batman.

CBR: First off, how did you get involved in this massive project for DC?

Ladrönn: I was contacted by Batman Group Editor Mike Marts and he invited me to collaborate in the "Battle For The Cowl" project. Mike briefly told me about the characters involved in the books, Commissioner Gordon, Dr. Arkham, Man-Bat, as well as some well-known Batman villains and heroes, and the basic concept for the project and then I started to work on some rough sketches.

Are you a long time fan of Batman and the Batman mythos?

I'm fan of the Batman but I don't pay attention to the myths around any characters. In this case, as an artist, I like to see The Batman and all the Bat-verse characters in my own way, but always respecting the original concept. I always want to see every character in its pure form and then I just go beyond that line. The myths are boring to me, I prefer to understand and enjoy the psychology of the characters I'm working with.

Do you remember the first time you drew Batman?

I'm not sure when I drew The Batman the first time, but when I was just a little kid I used to draw a lot of things all the time. I loved to draw machines, boats, planes and trains more than other things but I also remember doing comic characters. I'm sure The Batman was included along with some other comic characters.

What inspires you creatively when working in the Bat-verse?

As a creative artist, the most important thing is when you have in your hands the opportunity to create. There is nothing more important than that. If you are working on something where you can not explore beyond the current and traditional boundaries there is no reason to continue on that; I love to create, and I always feel attracted to projects where I can do that. The Bat-verse is full of hidden and twisted passages so, you have to take the time to go into Gotham's darkest places and get from there the real essence of the characters.

What do you love about working with the heroes and villains of Gotham?

I always enjoy working with complicated characters and in the Bat-verse you always find fantastic personalities. Gotham City has plenty of them, the Joker, the Riddler and Catwoman are formidable villains. And I like Commissioner Gordon. He is a very cool cop. At the end of the day, it is like a simple mathematical equation, there can't be a great hero without an important cast of good and evil characters around.

Is there a character, or two, you have enjoyed working on in particular?

That is a very complicated question for me to respond because there are a lot of characters that I love, and my heart is divided in two parts, North American and European comics. About what characters I love most; I like the characters with a strong psychological profile, maybe for that reason I have always been attracted more to the fantastic European anti-heroes, like the ones created by mythical Alejandro Jodorowsky in the "Incal," or characters like, Nikopol, Ranxerox and Blacksad, just to mention some of them. I also love very much the Jack Kirby characters: Kamandi, Mister Miracle, The Demon and The New Gods. In the "Battle for The Cowl" covers, I enjoyed painting Dr. Arkham and Commissioner Gordon.

Will you be working on any other Bat-books in the future?

Well, I don't know. If my schedule permits it, I think I will be able to work on it. But I think at this time, nobody knows. I always say, the good planets must align so that all good things happen and everything works out well.

What else are you working on these days?

I'm working on three projects right now. In the U.S., I'm drawing the second issue of "Hip Flask: Ouroboros," and in Europe, "The Final Incal-T2." These two books drain most of my energies. I also paint covers for a DC book, "Green Arrow/Black Canary" and recently, I did some illustrations for the "Faces Of Evil" books.

Ladrönn's first "Battle For The Cowl" covers strikes March 25 with the release of "Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Commissioner Gordon" #1 by Royal McGraw and Tom Mandrake. CBR News will have more from McGraw in the coming days.

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