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April 18, 2014

WonderCon: Francis Manapul talks Batman and Harvey Bullock

Posted in: Comic-Con,Comics

Batman has long been able to count on help from Gotham Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. But the same can’t be said for the hero’s relationship with Det. Harvey Bullock.

The gruff homicide investigation veteran is as much a lead character in current and upcoming issues of “Detective Comics” as the Dark Knight, the DC series’ new writer-artist, Francis Manapul, told the crowd at the Batman comics panel Friday at WonderCon.

“The great thing about Harvey Bullock is he ain’t giving him nothing,” Manapul said. The two will be tracking the same killer but getting in each other’s way, and Batman will ask Bullock, “What’s more important — you wanting to win, or solving this crime?” he added.

He and his co-writer, Brian Buccellato, debuted on the series with this month’s No. 30 after a well-regarded run on “The Flash.”

On the differences in writing for Batman instead of the Scarlet Speedster, Buccellato deadpanned, “He’s slower.”

They were joined on the panel by “Batgirl” writer Gail Simone and “Batwoman” writer Marc Andreyko.

The upcoming “Batgirl” annual will feature a “very different perspective” on Poison Ivy, Simone said, but held back on spoilers. The writer also will be bringing Ragdoll, whom she wrote to memorably twisted effect in “Secret Six,” to Gotham in Issue 31 (out May 14), and Barbara Gordon’s roommate will get on his bad side. Following that, Simone said in Nos. 32-34 she’s getting to do some things she’s been waiting to do for a while.

“I’ve been asking for stuff for three years now — ‘Can I do this?’ ‘No.’ ‘Can I do this thing?’ ‘No,'” Simone said. Issues 32-34 “are pretty much everything I’ve been asking for for three years.” She was tight-lipped on details, but said there will be female guest stars and that “a lot of things are going to be in ‘Batgirl’ that you haven’t seen in the New 52.”

Andreyko said the upcoming “Batwoman” annual would complete the unfinished story line from No. 24, with Bones trying to blackmail Kate into revealing Batman’s identity by threatening her sister. It will have art by Trevor McCarthy and Moritat.

“Working with these guys, it feels like I’m getting to act in my first movie with Robert De Niro,” Andreyko said.

The following “Batwoman” arc will feature Nocturna, a character created by Doug Moench and Gene Colan in the 1980s that Andreyko said he’s long been a fan of. “She likes to collect older, wealthy men and then kill them,” he explained to those unfamiliar with the villainess.

It is Batman’s 75th anniversary, and Bill Finger, a key figure in the early days of Batman comics, would have turned 100 this year. He and other contributors, including Jerry Robinson and Gardner Fox, had been the subjects of discussion on an earlier, DC-unaffiliated panel titled “The Men Who Made Batman.”

In the audience Q&A, one fan asked for the panelists’ opinions on Finger not getting a creator credit alongside Bob Kane, who is the sole credited creator of the legendary character.

“Crickets,” Buccellato joked about the silence.

But the panel’s moderator, DC’s Larry Ganem, spoke up: “We cherish what Bill Finger did, and his contribution to creating Batman, and we’re all good with Finger and his family.”

– Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon | @LATHeroComplex


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