December 12, 2017

 




Interview:
Greg Rucka

By Michael Sullivan



 

You are completely out of the Bat-books past Detective? There's GOTHAM CENTRAL, right?

I am told that you can expect it before the end of the year. I have seen inked issues one and two of it. Ed is working on the first story arc after that. I think it's really more a question of when marketing wants it out. It is moving forward and Michael Lark's art on it is phenomenal.

In the post 9-11 world, we've seen some ramping up of police and rescue related stories. Marvel is doing THE CALL. Is any of this renewed interest in that sort of story going to affect Gotham Central in any way?

It is not my intention.

I wanted GOTHAM CENTRAL to be, and I had this idea for awhile and when Ed came in he and I talked, that GOTHAM CENTRAL is about a fundamental question. It is a question that Brian Bendis is asking a variation of in POWERS, but the heart of GOTHAM CENTRAL is that you're a dedicated detective in the most prestigious squad in this horribly corrupt department. You are one of a handful of twelve or eighteen honest good cops and every day you go to work knowing that there is a chance that you'll get a call and when that call comes, you will be so far in over your head that the city's costume vigilante will have to bail you out.

What is like to be that cop? For me, that is a compelling question. Let's say you discover that the triple-homicide you're investigating is actually related to something that the Joker is going to do and the Joker never does anything small. The investigation will be out of your hands because the commissioner will go up to the roof of the central precinct and switch on the Bat-signal and that's it. It's over. At that point you now work for Batman, whether you want to or not.

That's what GOTHAM CENTRAL to me is about. What is it like to be a cop in Gotham?

You'll get into a whole world of mess if you say that New York City in the DC Universe was attacked and the Twin Towers were collapsed, because you must then ask "Why didn't Superman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, The Flash....you know? That's enormous. I think that's problematic and it diminishes what really happened.

Then you have to turn around and say the reason Superman wasn't there is he was busy on Krypton and I think it destroys that the super-hero universe is a fantasy universe. You can't take the horror of what happened on 9-11 and transport it. Especially not when, in the super hero universe, we have had the Green Lantern Corps blowing up planets and we have seen multiple deaths in the millions and billions. So, my inclination there would be to stay as far away from it as possible.

When Phil Jiminez was announced as taking over WONDER WOMAN, it was said that he'd run for a year and then you would follow.

Yes.

It's been a year and he still keeps going.

Yes. Good for Phil.

Are you still going to get your shot?

I love Diana and I really really want to work with the character. Mostly it's going to be a question of when Phil is done and when my schedule permits it. I've got no urge to shove Phil Jiminez out of the way and if that opportunity is still there...it goes to the DETECTIVE book, why I'm leaving DETECTIVE. There are certain things that nobody wants to do half-assed. I don't want to write Diana half-assed, when I get the opportunity to write that book I want to make sure I give it everything I've got. I don't want to worry about other projects. I don't want to worry about being behind on a deadline. As a result, I'm going to wait until I'm in the right position to do it.

HIKETEIA, which is the 96 page hardcover that J.G Jones has been working on, it seems like for years, is going to be out in June, I understand. It may be that from that litmus test, it might be that the Wonder Woman fanbase will go "Dear God!"

Don't let him near Wonder Woman again?

That's a valid point, and if that happens, then maybe DC is going to turn and say "Well, you know those things you wanted to do with Diana? Go away now, Greg." We'll see. I really do want to work with the character. I love Wonder Woman and I have faith that it will happen, it's just a matter of when.

How did the Wonder Woman Hardcover come about?

It's pretty funny actually. Bob Schreck called me. It's gotta be three years ago now, almost. He said "I just got out of a meeting and we were talking about doing a Wonder Woman Hardcover and I thought of you? Would you like to do a 96 page hardcover Wonder Woman book?

I've noticed a lot of Greek women in your work lately. There's Elektra, there's Wonder Woman, and there's Thessily Thessilonikki (featured in "Born To Run" the lead story in TALES OF THE SLAYER VOL. 1, a collection of short stories based on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Universe, specifically focusing on past Slayers). Is that merely a coincidence or is there something more to it?

I've always been really focused on Greeks. There's always been that history and that mythology. What made J.G. such a great choice for "HIKETEIA" is that so is he. He is a nut. He's worse than I am, to such an extent that I was writing in the script "okay, now this is the Agora. The Agora is..., " and then a little description for those of you who don't know what the Agora is...and Jeff calls in that....drawl of his..."Yeah, I've been wanting to draw the Agora for years!" So basically, I'm like an idiot in my script because he knows all this.

There is something. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about this time period. There's certain historical eras that just compel me and that's one. And the whole issue with that Buffy story is that I wanted to do something way back and I think in that collection, by over a thousand years, that is the oldest Slayer we see. I think we go from that one in Marathon to, I think, the next one is in Elizabethan England

And, it's okay to write in Elizabethan England and I have no problem with anyone doing that, but doesn't anyone want to write about the Roman slayer? Or see the Mongol slayer? There is so much history. There's something about the nature of religion and culture and especially what's going on in Athens

There's a bit and it never made into this ELEKTRA arc, that was going to be in, I think the third issue, where Katamides, who hires Elektra to get these men for her (because they raped her), had this speech about what she wanted her vengeance to be. The reason it was cut is that it was me pontificating, but it was going to be her talking to the effect of the worst thing that can happen to you in Athens.

The worst thing for punishment of a crime was not execution. It was exile. It was to be told you are no longer a citizen. You do not belong here. And to have that taken from you was literally a fate worse than death to an Athenian. They would rather die that not be able to call themselves an Athenian.

In imagining that place and being somewhere where the religion and this nascent sense of civics is so tight and there's this world and mythology that overrides it.

There's an argument being made that their Gods were as secular to them as they are to us. That they did not actually go and pray to Zeus expecting Zeus to come down with a lightning bolt and to do anything. They did treat their gods as abstractions to an extent. So, in that sense, that runs counter to what we've been led to believe. We've been led to believe that Greeks would go around saying "Hermes made me fast today." Rather than saying that Hermes is an idea.

So you have all that and the sense of incredible advancement, but at the same time the Greeks are keeping slaves and their women are second class citizens at best. There's a lot of contradictions there. It's fascinating stuff.


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