Well, he was talking to us about the release of Batman #50 and the New York Times spoiler, and I was struck by how emphatically he said, "We did everything right. I know that people are upset, but that's part of what we need to do to draw people to the book." Are you as the writer thinking about all those external factors, or is it just about the story?
I've got three kids – Charlie, Crosby and Claire – and a lovely wife. And every Friday I've got a deadline. And my focus #1 is always to put the best story on the page. And if I spend half my time worrying about how the marketing is going or worrying about what the media does? My focus just has to stay on that story. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I only have so much energy, and I want all that energy to go to me looking at the right words and putting the right things in the right place. I just can't focus on the marketing. To me it's about the story, and the rest of it has to be noise.
And of course, that's not how it comes out. The reader just sees all the noise. But I'm a stupid writer. I just want to focus on the writing. But I was mad about the rollout of it. That's legitimate to say. I wanted the story to stand on its own. I knew very much this was a story that was going to break hearts. I knew this was a story that was going to bring pain. And I wrote that issue in a way so that people saw it wasn't, "Ha, ha, ha!" It was a celebration of their love. We worked so hard to get the best creators in the history of Batman to show dedications to their love – the idea that this love has lasted for 80 years and is something eternal that can't be broken.
The twist at the end is, "This is something that can be fixed." It was meant to give salve to the wound. But it didn't come out that way. Instead it came out as a headline and as people reading about the issue instead of reading the issue.
As a storyteller, that's a disappointment. Because people were reading the issue and saying, "I like this relationship." That's what you want. It's all about how much I like the relationship. It's like, "As mad as you are, I agree with you. I want them to be married and to be together." But part of exploring that happiness is understanding that happiness is something where there are obstacles both in your control and out of your control. You have to deal with that and find a way to push through it. That's the story.