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Tom King Talks Writing a New Kind of Batman/Catwoman Story (EXCLUSIVE)

Tom King Talks Writing a New Kind of Batman/Catwoman Story (EXCLUSIVE)

Writing Batman is arguably one of the biggest gigs in comics, and the most recent creator to take on the task is Tom King. Bruce Wayne’s new head writer describes his take on the Caped Crusader as “a fun book in the best superhero tradition,” and we can’t help but agree! In this week’s Batman Annual #2, King—along with artists Lee Weeks and Michael Lark, and colorists Elizabeth Breitweiser and June Chung—delves into one of Bruce’s most defining relationships: that with Selina Kyle. The annual takes a devastatingly heartfelt look at both the past and future of Batman and Catwoman; we got an exclusive look at some pages and sat down with King to talk about inspiration, love, and comics.

King’s passion for the Dark Knight is immediately apparent, as the first words out of his mouth upon our meeting were, “All I wanna do is talk about Batman.” Still, writing one of comics’ biggest characters is a lot to take on, and that’s something King is very aware of. “It’s extremely frightening,” he said. “It makes me nervous. I think of the 100,000 people who rely on this book, and I feel like I have a responsibility to all of them, and because I have that responsibility I freak out a little bit.”

It’s not just the fact the Batman is a cultural touchstone, but the legacy of the other creators who have come before him that weighs heavy on King. “The greatest storytellers of the last century have worked on this character and given their voices to him,” he said. “I feel like right now it’s my great pleasure to take all those voices and make something out of them. Not to stand on their shoulders, but to keep sailing on their boat.”

Batman Annual #2 subverts our idea of what a Batman story can be, giving Bruce and Selina a beginning, middle, and end. It prompts the question: what does this mean for the pair going forward? “I’m not sure it’s 100 percent out of canon,” King said. “Alan Moore said it best: ‘This is an imaginary story, but aren’t they all?’ To me and to my Batman, this is a story that’s certainly possible. It’s something I think that could and may come true.”

He continued, “It’s the story of his first kiss with Catwoman and the story of his last kiss with Catwoman. Now, whether those last eight pages actually come true, whether it incorporates what Frank Miller did with The Dark Knight Returns, and whether that incorporates what we’re doing with the book now, you’ll have to wait and see.”

King’s inspiration for the core relationship in his book is very close to home. “To be perfectly honest, when you write you end up writing about yourself,” he said. “No matter how much you try to tear yourself away from the characters, no matter how crazy the characters are, you find something. Writing is weaponized empathy. It’s putting yourself in someone else’s head. It’s finding what’s in them that relates to you.”

Clearly, King has pumped plenty of himself into his work. “I’m lucky enough to be madly in love with my wife, and I have been for 17 years,” he said. “So I think what comes out right now when I write is that, I want to talk about that, how that brings meaning to my life.”

 

King is fully aware that he’s living out the fantasy of many comic book fans. “I have my dream job,” he said. “If I was seven years old and you asked me what I’d want to be 30 years from now, I’d say exactly who I am. So rare and lucky are the exact right words. It took a lot of hard work and I took a weird route to get here, but man am I grateful for it.”

Images: DC Comics

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