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Exclusive: Riley Rossmo Talks Batman and Night of the Monster Men

Take a look at what sort of kaiju-like creatures Batman and his allies will be fighting this fall.

Night of the Monster Men is coming to Batman, Nightwing, and Detective Comics in September and October. Batman and the Bat-Family will be fighting giant kaiju creatures in Gotham City. DC Comics has given us the exclusive lowdown on this story and we spoke to showrunner Steve Orlando and concept artist Riley Rossmo about the story and creatures. (You can read our interview with Orlando here).

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Comic Vine: Besides providing designs for the monsters, are you drawing any of the issues?

Riley Rossmo: I'm drawing parts one and four.

How would you describe the sorts of monsters we'll be seeing?

They're kind of kaiju, I guess. They're like Pacific Rim-scale monsters, for the most part.

How big are you talking?

That's a good question. There's a bunch of different ones. The smallest one is sort of like the queen from Aliens. There's one kind of like the Slurm Queen in Futurama. The biggest ones are like Godzilla-scale.

How many different types are you designing?

There's five, but then some of the cast members get infected. There'll be some monster-versions of some of the Bat-Family.

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Is this the first time Gotham has had to deal with something on this scale?

Yeah, I believe so. I think its the first time Batman has fought Godzilla—something like Godzilla.

For the people in Gotham, it's going to be time to go on vacation or move away?

Yeah, it takes place when a hurricane comes through Gotham. It coincides with the rise of the Monster Men. That's the night they reveal themselves.

You mentioned a couple of inspirations for the monsters? You do sometimes draw really cool and creepy rings, is there anything else that inspired this story?

The biggest thing for me is to make sure all of them read. Their silhouettes are really distinct from each other, but they all have to fit. For me, it's important they all fit in that family. All the monsters were siblings. If Godzilla was there with King Kong and all the giant monsters, you'd see their silhouettes are all very distinct, but they have a similar color palette and some of the texture is similar.

In designing these monsters, I always draw from the natural world and take bits and pieces from it. I think some of the best designs are ones that feel familiar. So if I take an element from a jellyfish or take a bit of a horse and then combine it with a bat, the forms are familiar. It's a new creature, but you can still connect to it on some level. If thins are overly-alien or too inventive, even if they're more original, they might be harder to relate to.

What kind of gadgets or tools are you designing for Batman and his allies to fight them off?

There's a rocket pack that's pretty awesome. There's a sort of jet ski rocket cycle. I guess there's a lot of rocket stuff in it. There's like air-motorcylces, almost like speeder bikes (in Return of the Jedi). I don't want to give too much away because it's cool, but Batman has an exo-suit like Hulkbuster Iron Man so he can go hand-to-hand with one of the giant monsters.

You'll be adding your touch to the costumes, vehicles, and locations?

The tech stuff is a stretch for me, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I tried to make it as high-tech and cool as I could given that my leanings are more towards organic material and stuff. It was a fun challenge. I like the idea that all Batman stuff is like the Apple-brand stuff, but it's all Batman-brand stuff. His rocket pack looks sort of like a batarang.

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What was your first thought in getting the chance to draw Batman fighting kaiju?

I'm a fan of the original one, and I liked the Matt Wagner story so the fanboy part of me was squealing. Squealing with delight. Then I started thinking about the mechanics of how you draw things and show scale with tiny little people fighting giant monsters. Then things like the Batman rocket pack becomes a really cool device so you can show the silhouette of this batarang-thing fighting a giant monster. I thought about the different ways to incorporate the scale. That's the technically interesting part—keeping the immediacy of battles, but you'd only be able to show little bits and pieces of monsters if you want close up of the figures.

Any last thing you want add—anything really cool?

There's this Clayface/Batman team-up section that's going to be fantastic.

The craziness begins on September 21 in Batman #7 (drawn by Rossmo). Check out our interview with Steve Orlando here.