BATMAN BEYOND is back. When the animated series debuted in 1999, it changed the way we looked at Batman. We were introduced to a new world and ideas that felt both familiar and brand new. We’ve been lucky to have some great comics with Terry McGinnis and friends over the years and are even seeing Terry play a role in the current series THE NEW 52: FUTURE END.
With the news of this new ongoing title, there was the question of where would the title fit in in Terry’s world and timeline. With Dan Jurgens, one of the writers for FUTURES END, as the writer of this book, we had a slight idea. Now the details can be revealed. We spoke with writer Dan and artist Bernard Chang about the series to find out what we can expect.
COMIC VINE: Is this following the Terry McGinnis we’re seeing in FUTURES END?
DAN JURGENS: Yeah. In FUTURES END, we made the conscious decision to begin to integrate Batman Beyond and that world into the DC Universe. Once FUTURES END is done running and plays out, we’re going to pick up on Batman Beyond going back to the future and picking up where we are thirty-five years from now. It will be part of the DCU.
CV: Is there going to be any Back to the Future effects where things are different now and he’s going to have to adjust. Or is that something you can’t talk about just yet?
DJ: There’s a little bit of “Stay tuned.” Obviously, Batman Beyond came back to this world and time, or actually five years from now as we know it, with a mission in mind. We still have to address the concept of that mission and how that resolves itself. It’s safe to say Batman Beyond ends up, in the future, thirty-five years from now and we pick up on that story.
CV: Will we see how Terry’s been affect with the whole adventure and ordeal and coming face to face with young Batman, Tim Drake, and everything.
DJ: Oh, in terms of what we’ve introduced there, whether it was him meeting younger Bruce Wayne or the Joker-borg that is half Joker and half Batman, and things like that will be a part of it. In our first story, we’re also going to get someone in from Terry’s world, that I think will provide context for what these stories will be and how it’s all going to work out from a character’s standpoint.
CV: Are we going to see a character redesign or a costume change?
BERNARD CHANG: Initially we’re going to stick fairly close to his current costume. Although, as the story progresses, there will be room for revisions and additions. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to redesign a lot of the DC Universe thirty-five years out. Thirty-five years is not a lot of time but technology and society expands exponentially during that course. This past weekend I’ve been following Dan around like his shadow. He’s already very annoyed with me.
Especially today. I’m just picking at him, asking him questions. Sometimes it has something to do with Batman and sometimes it doesn’t. Part of it is, translation. Translating his ideas, his concepts, and his words into pictures, motions, imagery, and tempo. Hopefully the fans of both the animated series and the comics will come together and see this as a great next step forward.
CV: What’s the world going to look like? Will it be similar to what we’ve seen in the animated series or are you going to add some tweaks here and there?
BC: Dan and I talked earlier and he threw out a lot of guys like Ralph McQuarrie but mixed in with a little bit of Blade Runner. We are talking about thirty-five years from now so it’s not like buildings are going to be floating in the sky.
DJ: The animated show, I thought, and I think it was appropriate for the way they were doing it, was more almost Legion of Super-Heroes futuristic and we’re not going to be that. We’re not going to be there in thirty-five years.
CV: What is Terry’s mission going to be? Is it back to fighting crime and protecting Gotham?
DJ: There’s going to be a very particular mission that he starts out with right off the bat. We’re going to almost introduce some aspect of that in FUTURES END. So when he gets back, it’s not just going to be, “Oh gee, here I am. Time to have a beer.” He’s going to hit the ground running.
BC: Futuristic thirty-five year beer.
DJ: Yeah. Exactly. Craft beer will be all the rage and will advance from where they are now. He’ll hit the ground running and have a very particular mission in mind.
CV: What about his supporting cast? Any familiar faces from before?
DJ: In our first story, yeah, we’ll see a face that is very familiar to Terry. As I’ve said, he’ll provide context for where we are in that world and really let people know, yeah, this is the Batman Beyond future.
CV: One of the fun things was when you’d see the future versions of the characters. Now with things changing, you can go back and say, here’s what happened to…the Riddler within those thirty-five years. Are we going to see more of a return to what could potentially happened to these characters?
DJ: Yeah, I think the concept of seeing current DC characters, that we know, somehow manifest themselves into what they are thirty-five years from now, is too good of a concept to pass up on. I’m not going to leave that one on the cutting room floor. There’s too much there to play with. That’s going to be part of the fun of the series.
CV: What about new characters or new villains?
DJ: I think we have to introduce that as well. And what we also have to do, one of things I’ve talked to Bernard about, is wanting to move outside of Gotham. Often when we read a comic now it’s like here’s the story of Superman in Metropolis and here’s a story of Batman in Gotham. I think, part of the fun of the world thirty-five years is we can create some very different and exotic places. There can be places we can send him that are very different from what we’ve seen. You can’t really do that in the current modern day DC world but we certainly can do that thirty-five years from now.
BC: Visually, part of that design work is all Earth-based. Previously working on GREEN LANTERN CORPS, they’re all Science Ficiton/action-adventure stories. GREEN LANTERN CORPS is more alien worlds and alien civilizations and this is much more Earth-based so it’s going to give me a lot of opportunities to play with my architecture background and how to construct different things. With the Blade Runner approach, we’re going to be able to take some of the old and mix it with the new.
CV: How do you approach designing a new character in this future without just…putting a plastic bubble over their head or something?
BC: Or put a racing stripe down their shoulder.
DJ: Yeah, yeah.
BC: Or a goatee, but that’s usually for bad guys.
As we progress through the story, and the characters and storylines that do come up, we’ve been challenged to push the limits of how we take the characters. At this point, because we’re playing with a futuristic story, there really is no limit as far as how crazy we can go. Part of that is going to be, hopefully, a surprise for the fans and for the readers, but also for us, in terms of challenging each other as a team. Dan and myself will try to one up each other. A great book requires a great writer and a great artist. How they play off of each other will lead to the best product. Like in any kind of team, you need somebody that you can play with that’s going to highlight your strengths and also be able to pick up your weaknesses.
I’m looking forward to working with Dan. I’ve known him to for quite a while now and here we had the opportunity a little over a year ago to work on a project but the timing didn’t work out. But now, this is something I’m very excited about.
CV: What about Bruce Wayne? Is he still around? How much does he know about what has happened and what may have changed?
DJ: …You’ll see Bruce.
CV: Okay. The last question, most importantly, what about Ace?
DJ: [laughs] No plans for Ace right now.
CV: Oh no.
DJ: Oh no. I know. Not quite yet but never say never.
Get ready to go back to the future with Batman Beyond this June! Here's the solicit.
BATMAN BEYOND #1
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by BERNARD CHANG
1:25 Variant cover by KALMAN ANDRASOFSKY
On sale JUNE 3 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
At last, Batman Beyond gets his own ongoing series in THE definitive future of the DCU! But this isn’t the Beyond you think you know! With the Justice League missing and without Bruce to guide him, this new Batman will need to explore this bizarre world on his own while fighting to raise humanity from an opponent that’s already won.
The heroes Batman knew have failed, the world he knew has been turned on its head, and every step he takes will lead him either toward finding home – or further down the road of disaster!