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Interview: Chris Burnham Talks Japan Batman in BATMAN INCORPORATED #11

The series writer shifts gears and pens the issue focusing on Jiro, the Batman of Japan.

It's not a happy time for Batman in the pages of BATMAN INCORPORATED. Issue #11 will take a slight departure as artist Chris Burnham returns to writing with a story focusing on Jiro Osamu, the Batman of Japan. Burnham recently co-wrote BATMAN INCORPORATED #0. With his solo issue and the end of Grant Morrison's run coming up, we asked him a few questions to see what we could find out.

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Comic Vine: You co-wrote BATMAN INCORPORATED #0 and now #11, is writing something you want to do more of?

Chris Burnham: If they'll let me! As much as I love writing 140-character jokes about how much I hate Mike Norton, it doesn't compare to writing Batman comics!

CV: Is weird having someone else draw your scripts? Any moments of "That's not how I'd do it" or "Aw man, I wish I thought of that"?

CB: It's almost all from column B. Jorge [Lucas] is an absolute master at drawing outlandish Kirbyesque environments. That splash page of Jiro and Canary transforming gets me excited every time I see it. And he absolutely NAILED the bad guy's secret lair. One of the coolest buildings I've seen in comics. I hope I get to draw it some time!

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CV: Issue 11 will have the return of Jiro (Batman Japan), what can you tell us about the story?

CB: I guess it's the story of Jiro and Canary's first date. Just as things are going well they're interrupted by the Bat-Alarm! Five superpowered motorcyclists in color-coordinated track suits are running wild in the streets. So Jiro and Canary suit up and continue getting to know each other as they head out to beat up some bad guys. There's lots of action, juvenile insults, fun surprises, gross-out gags, scientific mumbo jumbo, romance, and an amazing new villain that I'm SUPER excited for people to see. All sorts of fun stuff. I should have told Jorge to draw a cosmic-powered kitchen sink in the bat-base, cuz this book has it all!

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CV: Who came up with the design and color scheme for his costume?

CB: The night before we were going to give the script to Jorge Lucas, I started screwing around with his face and was getting nowhere fast. I threw up my hands and asked my buddy and studio mate Sean Dove, "What if I just give him a scarf and make him look kinda like Kamen Rider?" Sean recommended that I go a bit more obscure and make him look like the guy with the black outfit from Battle Fever J. (Battle Kenya, if you're keeping score). I added some bat scallops to the shoulders, Sean did a quick color mockup to make sure it was cool, and we were off and running!

I recently noticed that his helmet is kinda halfway between Frazer's Irving's original helmet from Batman Inc #0 and that of Berg Katse (the bad guy from Gatchaman). Subconscious!


CV: In the BATMAN INC. Special, you're writing and drawing a story, is doing both easier with less restrictions or more of a challenge since you're handling it all?

CV: The only way it's easier is that I can be sure that artist me will be able to understand the weird references that writer me makes. "Do it like the BATANG! page with Ken on the staircase" would probably only make sense to one human being on the earth: Me! (I'll seriously paypal $20 to the first person who knows what I mean and can post a jpeg to prove it. Not a joke.) Other than that, it's harder! Drawing is HARD! Writer me asks for stuff that's impossible to draw and can crack the whip on poor artist me 24 hours a day!


CV: We saw Veiniac in BATMAN INC #0, any chance we'll see his return?

CB: I sure hope so! Why isn't he in that Injustice game? Move over, Black Adam!

CV: Have you started working on Grant's final issue yet?

CB: My new dog's name is Penny and she's settling in nicely. Thanks for asking!

CV: Ha ha. When are we going to see a Bat-Cow action figure or t-shirt?

CB: Not soon enough! Write your congressman! Do one of those petitions on! Let your voice be heard!

BATMAN INCORPORATED #11 is on sale Wednesday, May 22. Be sure to check it out!