Over the last year, Rebirth has seen Batman through some pretty improbable scenarios, with everything from marriage proposals to giant kaiju-style monsters providing the Dark Knight a run for his money. But maybe the most left-of-center development of the run has been the prominence of one of Gotham’s most unlikely costumed criminals.
That’s right, we’re talking about Kite Man.
What started as a one-off joke — Kite Man, swooping through the air mid-burglary, mumbling his own name to himself Pokemon-style while exclaiming “Hell yeah!” — has spent the last 20-some issues evolving into something much, much more. With the current storyline (“The War of Jokes And Riddles”) in full swing, Charles “Kite Man” Brown is starring in his own two-part storyline penciled by artist Clay Mann. So, while discussing his and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle at Comic-Con International in San Diego, we couldn’t let the opportunity to ask about the surprisingly ascendant Bat-villain pass us by.
CBR: I can’t let you go before we talk about Kite Man. We have to talk about Kite Man.
[Laughs] From touching the face of God with Mister Miracle to Kite Man?!
Yes! We have to. “The Ballad of Kite Man” is something that is currently happening.
Yeah! [Batman #27] was part one of two, yeah. It’s funny, I see people online thinking that the Kite Man stuff is actually a break from “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” but it’s not at all. Kite Man is an integral part of “Jokes and Riddles.” His plot line plays a major part — the idea that this guy volunteered for The Joker will have an impact on the whole story.
It started with a desire to do a tribute to Frank Miller. I’m a huge Frank Miller guy, and his Daredevil has Stilt-Man who would sort of appear over and over again. So, it started out as something like that — I just wanted my own Stilt-Man. And I love Bendis’s Daredevil too and he had Owlman sort of in that role…But after I had done it and done a few jokes, laughed about it, I stopped to think.
What makes comics great is that the things that you laugh at can suddenly be the things that make you cry. That’s what The Dark Knight Returns was. People at that time were like “oh Batman’s stupid, we’re all laughing!” But Miller stepped in and said that if we took seriously what Batman actually is, he’ll melt your heart. So I was like, “what if we took seriously the idea of Kite Man?” He’s this guy who just can’t win, no matter what. He’s the kite floating in the wind. To me, he’s Sisyphus, the guy who rolls the rock up the hill only to have it fall back down and crush him. I was interested in a character like that and how he could possibly survive in Gotham City.
The fact that his name is literally Charles Brown, too… I’m a huge Peanuts nerd, so, to me, Charles Schultz is the best person to ever put pictures with words. I just loved that there was a character who had that Charlie Brown personality running around Gotham.
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