When "Batman: Detective #27" ships in November, DC Comics expects that it'll surprise a lot of fans if writer Michael Uslan's comments on CBR News Tuesday are an indication, they may not be ready. But rounding out the creative crew on this original graphic novel is artist Peter Snejbjerg and he offers an introduction to those who might not be familiar with the OGN's concept.
"We can just say that it all starts when Abe goes to the theatre, but meanwhile this not entirely sane doctor is holding a meeting in a clock tower. Sometime later, after Teddy Roosevelt's involvement in a scandalous affair at a well-known New York restaurant, a small boy sees his parents gunned down in cold blood. He then goes on a tour of the continent, and comes back, and there's a big fight. Several, actually. Then it gets really complicated, because there's another Roosevelt, but it's not the same guy at all. And Superman is there, too! And some kids and a girl. Hey, what do you expect, I'm not the writer," laughs Snejbjerg.
His involvement with this graphic novel came about the way most of his stuff does, he says- through the use of the modern invention called the telephone. "Usually, people just call me and ask if I'm interested. With this one, if I remember correctly, I actually got in on the project when it was hardly more than a twinkle in Michael's eye and a 2-page proposal. And it was a relief to get to work on something that didn't have to fit into the monthly schedule."
When fans finally see "Detective #27," they'll see it's not their typical Batman story. While you might think that's why Snejbjerg took the gig- to show people he can do more than "JSA" and "Starman"- he says that he doesn't feel people see him as a superhero artist. "Actually I don't think I've done so much straight superhero work. And even Starman was hardly wall-to-wall spandex..."
This was also a book that he committed a long time of his life to and Snejbjerg says it was worth it. "I think I worked on this one for about half a year. And yeah, sure sometimes you've got to pass up something else when you're booked. But that's just life."
In that time, Snejbjerg says there was one area of the art that was harder to hit on the head and it's because of the references. "It was sometimes difficult with some of the historical characters," the artist admits. "Many of them seem to have adopted an official grimace that they'd wear in every photo, making it difficult to picture them with any other expressions."
If you're not familiar with the former "Starman" artist's work and you want more than the "sexy & stylish" description you'll hear from most fans… well Snejbjerg laughs and says he can't offer much else. "Well, that's okay, 'sexy & stylish' is fine by me."
As Uslan explained in his interview, Snejbjerg did a lot of research and it gave him an interesting idea for one of the lead characters. "Well, it's mostly leafing through mouldy old books and the like. Old issues of 'National Geographic' and the Internet came in handy too. Reading a ton of pre-WWII comic books probably left it's mark. And I thought Alfred ought to have big ears."
And though he may have punched up some action scenes and added some more historical credibility to them, Snejbjerg says he followed Uslan's script for the most part. "I think I actually followed Michaels script pretty straightforwardly... although I probably took the drivers seat with a couple of the action sequences, to make them fit the research as it came up."
But don't ask the acclaimed penciller if he's a fan of the Dark Knight- he says the answer should be obvious. "Who's not a Batman fan at heart? Come on..."
While Snejbjerg says he'd be happy to so a sequel to "Detective #27," he's got other projects lined up and lets CBR News know what those will be. "I'm working on a 4-part series called the 'Light Brigade,' which will be out in the beginning of 2004. It's something completely different again... a WWII story featuring scary glow-in-the-dark nazies and a ton of other cool stuff. It's going to be quite bloody. It's written by Peter Tomasi and colored by Bjarne Hansen, and published by DC."