One of the closing panels on Saturday at WizardWorld Chicago put the spotlight on Batman artist, Tony Daniel. The panel started off a bit late, but Daniel rewarded the audience with some interesting hints about what's coming up in "Batman R.I.P."
Daniel began the panel by saying that drawing Batman was a dream come true for him. He said it is giving him the opportunity to reach his true potential as an artist, which he said he failed to do as a younger penciller.
He said coincidence was what helped him get the gig. After his stint on "Teen Titans" he felt ready to tackle DC Comics' bigger guns. He approached Dan Didio, and at the time Andy Kubert was just about to leave Batman so the timing was right.
With his darker style Daniel felt that he was better suited for an edgier title like Batman as opposed to Superman or Wonder Women.
As he continues to grow as an artist, Daniel said that his ability to meet deadlines is something he remains proud of. He said he is able to do about a page a day, and when in a crunch, up to a page and a half.
He said his influences for Batman were Neal Adams, Jim Lee and Jim Aparo. "Those are the best guys to have handled the character," Daniel said. "I hope to be named in same breath as them in the future."
As for the title character's future, Daniel said honestly that he didn't know what the outcome was going to be, but that it has changed a few times.
"I know Bruce Wayne as a character is drastically changed as a character at the end," Daniel added.
He also said to look for another appearance by Bat-mite in the near future.
Unlike Batman's uncertain future, Daniel said he remains committed to the title for at least two years. "I just don't see anything cooler, coming along!"
After that he hopes he can get a chance to draw the Justice League and Green Lantern, and hopefully work with writer Geoff Johns again.
He then talked about working with Grant Morrison. Asked specifically about designing all the new villains for the current storyline Daniel told the audience that Grant sends him pages of notes about imagery and reference for him to follow.
He talked about a flashback scene coming up in issue #679 where Bruce, as a young boy, goes to see Mask of Zorro with his parents. Grant sent him a note telling him to rent the movie and told him to fast forward to a specific minute and second. He wanted that frame to be in the background.
Daniel laughed and said that he was going to actually have to find the movie tomorrow so he can incorporate it into the story.
He revealed that he has been asked by DC to do redesigns on Batman and Robin. The Robin design was easy he said, but Batman was very hard since Warner Brothers has a lot of restrictions on what you can and can't do with the character. A few other artists have already tried and their designs have been turned down by Warners, so he isn't sure if his will go through.
Pressed for more hints about "Batman R.I.P." Daniel said fans will see purple gloves soon...and that he wasn't making a reference to the Joker.
One fan asked him about the ending to "Batman #670" with Joker in Arkham.
Daniel said the confusion stemmed from a mistake he made in having the Joker covered in blood on the final splash page. He said that when it goes to trade paperback the blood will be removed so fans can distinguish Joker's delusions with reality.
He said the R.I.P. tie-in issues of the other Bat-titles are more thematic in nature, and not directly connected to the story.
The panel ended with Daniel expressing excitement about what is coming up on the title. He said he couldn't reveal who the main villain is that he is drawing, but that it he's awesome.
Daniel also said he will be drawing more of Catwoman, Jason Todd and Nightwing. He concluded by teasing the crowd with the information that there will another huge Bat storyline coming in April.
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