It's been announced that you're leaving DETECTIVE
COMICS at #775. Why?
It'll have been about three years by the time I'm
done and I think that it's better to go with stuff in
your pocket than to go too long and being asked to
leave politely. I'd rather go out with some stories
left and, God willing relationships stay good and....I
don't know where I'm going to be in five years but it
would be nice to be able to say I have more Batman and
maybe come back to the book later. I think I've done a
good turn on it and overstaying my welcome is a real
fear. I've been lucky, I think a lot more people have
liked what I've done on DETECTIVE than haven't and I
would like to leave while that is still the case.
The Bat-crossover events seem to be largely well
received. How much of the architecture of those has
been attributable to you?
"Officer Down" came up at a Bat-summit
that was held at Denny O'Neil's house in Nyack. I
don't actually remember who came up with the idea of
shooting Gordon first. We sit around and do that, you
know, "Who can we shoot this year?" That
sort of spun out from there. I think it was primarily
Devin [Grayson] and myself who sat down and hammered
out the initial stuff, then Ed [Brubaker] came in and
did a great big polish on the overall mystery. A lot
of these things come up in committee. I really wanted
to treat Gordon well, and I felt that we had started
stuff at the end of "No Man's Land" which we
had to follow up on and which we are now finally
seeing in the ultimate last stages of the whole
"Bruce Wayne: Murderer" and "Bruce
Wayne: Fugitive" stuff. It's a huge overall arc
that really does start with "No Man's Land."
With what's going on with the characters, fans have
remarked on it that Batman seems to cyclically push
people away, then he brings them back and pushes them
out further. One of the things we wanted to address is
the fact that you can only do that so many times
before people are gone and that's a bad place for
Bruce to be.
And on the current Bruce Wayne event?
The plotting was mostly myself and Matt Idelson. We
spent oh-so-much time on the phone working this thing
out. In part, breaking down the procedure of the
murder in the first books in January and February and
the discussion of Vesper's body on out. We had to
break that really tightly on the who and what and how
The idea, that again came out of a summit that
year, was we knew what we wanted to do with Bruce in
this overall arc and there was this last stand we
needed to take him through and that led to....under
what circumstances would Bruce give up being Bruce
Well, if Batman felt that he could not do what he
needed to do and if he felt that Bruce was now so much
of a liability and so much baggage that he got in the
way of what he needed to do, those would be the right
circumstances. So then it became "who are we
going to kill?" again.
There were long discussions. We've got a bad habit
in the bat-group of killing white women, which is not
to say it would be better if we were killing
African-American women. We do seem to go after the
Caucasian women pretty viciously, starting with
Barbara Gordon getting paralyzed by the Joker and then
moving on down the line. We also wanted to reference
the fact that "God forbid you have an emotional
attachment with Bruce Wayne" and "God forbid
you have a relationship with him" because that's
the kiss of death in the batbooks. We decided that
that in and of itself is a good idea for a batstory.
It had become a cliché. We look at that and
"Oh, she's dead," and we move on. Instead we
make that into the story. What is the effect on Bruce?
There is this woman that, regardless of all of her
faults and foibles, there is apparently a legitimate
emotional attraction to her. What happens when she
dies and the question of whether or not he actually
What's more important to him his happiness or
Batman? Everybody knows the answer to that. The answer
to that is Batman. You can not take that away from
him. That's a different story. No one has done that
one yet, at least as far as I know. That would be
another story. That he cannot be Batman anymore, and
not because he's broken his back...
Is there anything you weren't allowed to do with
Batman that you wanted to?