Interview: Artist Gary Frank Talks BATMAN: EARTH ONE, Vol. 2, SHAZAM, and More

Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

On the heels of the release of BATMAN: EARTH ONE came the announcement that artist Gary Frank and JUSTICE LEAGUE writer Geoff Johns would be teaming up once again to begin work on volume two of the BATMAN: EARTH ONE series. That's right; if you loved Johns and Frank on Batman, you'll get to see plenty more of it. So when we were invited to interview Gary Frank, we couldn't resist asking him about the upcoming project that is currently slated for release sometime next year. Check out the interview below where we talk to Frank about Batman, the Riddler, Shazam and much more.

Comic Vine: If you had to choose, which project do you enjoy working on more? Earth One or the Shazam backup in Justice League?

Gary Frank: Well they are just so completely different. I think Batman is more of a…there's a grand sweep to Batman and the nature of the project, the way we worked in one go rather than small sections felt like we were working on a much bigger canvas. SHAZAM is a warmer story, it's not more emotional, but it feels closer and warmer, if that makes any sense. I don't know, Batman is like going to a big restaurant and Batman is like going to a big restaurant and eating this really huge and impressive meal. You're going to be involved in something with a big scope and skale to it, sometimes overwhelming. Working on it is almost overwhelming. Whereas working on SHAZAM is like eating a meal your mom cooked; it feels just as nice. I really am tortured on this metaphor but that's the best way I can put it. Even though SHAZAM is not as grand, there's a wholesomeness to it at the heart of it.

== TEASER ==

CV: Over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Geoff Johns announced you've both begun to work on BATMAN: EARTH ONE Volume two. How far along in that process are you?

GF: We're still in the talking stage. I know Geoff is putting pen to paper but we're spit balling ideas, trying to come up with things that will set the tone. Right now we're working in very broad strokes. It's not really pinning itself down to the degree where I am actually getting sketches in, it's purely at the stage where we are deciding what we need from visuals and from the story.

CV: Johns also mentioned the Riddler may be involved in Volume two, and you mentioned you don't really have sketches ready yet, but do you have some sort of an idea with what you want for the Riddler's character and whether he will be getting a redesign?

GF: Well he will certainly get a redesign, certainly get something to make it more relevant to our Gotham…When we were doing Penguin, we had an idea of what the character was going to be and at that point it would have been ridiculous to have him going to-to-toe physically with Batman, which is why we needed another physical threat for Batman. Penguin is kind of like the tip of the iceberg which is Gotham; the corruption and rot at the core of Gotham. Penguin is a politician and a gangster. Riddler…I don't know. At the way we are talking at the moment, it's very hard to know how much I can say. I think we may be bridging the gap a little bit more, but he still is not the Riddler that we know. He certainly won't be too colorful. We don't want him to feel out of place in our Gotham.

CV: The first book is certainly very dark, the tone is very dark, and I think the art and colors really reflect that. Is that tone and theme something you plan to continue to bring to the second volume?

GF: Oh yeah. It's still…the tone and feel of the book…Batman is still learning and descending into the darkness with Gotham so certainly we won't be making it feel like metropolis any time soon. I guess if there comes a point in some future time where we feel that Batman is somehow turning the tide, then maybe Gotham will have a slightly different atmosphere but in this stage it's still a very grim and dark place with a lot of nastiness underneath the surface.

CV: You mentioned you and Geoff are chronicling the early years of Batman in this very different and new universe. Do you envision that your artistic style and the way you interpret the character is going to evolve as the character evolves?

GF: I don't know so much about my artistic style, but certainly the way in which batman is portrayed will evolve as the character evolves. At the moment, in the first book, he's an amateur. He's not a superhero. He's basically the beginnings of the character that may one day evolve into Batman. We get a glimpse of that at the end of the book, that he understand he needs to make Batman something more, something more solid if Batman is going to work as the tool that he needs it to be. In the beginning he wears no armor, he isn't wearing traditional superhero boots because he's not thinking of himself as a superhero. He just wears a pair of Doc Marten, military style lace-up boots -- he doesn't have a clear idea of what he needs to be.

CV: Going back to SHAZAM for a minute, is that a book you want and enjoy doing full time?

GF: I am drawing it full time at the moment, and it's going to be a substantial project. We decided early on if we were going to do it, we needed to make a proper story of it. It's not going to be a few pages and then we move on -- we've got an idea and a story-arc there and we'll take it to the end of the story.

#1 Posted by crazyflashfan11 (182 posts) - - Show Bio

i like his work on SHAZAM

#2 Posted by Aph8825 (65 posts) - - Show Bio

Gary Frank puts out awesome work! I love the gritty feel to his cross-hatching style. I cant wait for Batman: Earth One volume 2

#3 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely curious on how Frank's redesign of Riddler will pan out. And if its one thing I loved about Volume 1 of Batman: Earth One (which I just finished reading before reading this article) it is how Frank and Johns portrayed Bruce's earliest foray as Batman as an experiment,o ne in which he was TERRIBLY green and void of experience. Anyone who has read the HC (HIGHLY recommended by the way) will get what I mean. With that said, Gary Frank is one of my all time top ten comic book artists of all time. That and Geoff Johns I'm going to have the pleasure of meeting and greeting once more at my LCS on Saturday morning when he comes to sign copies of the book!

#4 Posted by MrGutts (279 posts) - - Show Bio

They rebooted Captain Marvel?!@!

#5 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1761 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm interested on what they'll do with Riddler. I've always thought there was a lot of unused potential in this character.

Man! I'm glad that Billy Batson is not such a pure white bread kid like he has been for several decades, but is he going to stop being a violent jerk anytime soon?

#6 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1743 posts) - - Show Bio

@MrGutts said:

They rebooted Captain Marvel?!@!

Where you have been fella? They are running his story on JL backups.

#7 Posted by firecracker22 (43 posts) - - Show Bio

Gary's work in Batman Earth One was really great. So, I look forward to seeing what he brings with Vol. 2.

#8 Posted by Webjaker (369 posts) - - Show Bio

Creepy, i JUST finished JL #11 and said, wow Im really liking this new take on Shazam and Billy Batson and then this article popped up ... 0.O

#9 Posted by AngeTheDude (160 posts) - - Show Bio

Gary Frank's art makes EVERYONE look like Christopher Reeve.

#10 Posted by JamDamage (1195 posts) - - Show Bio

Shazam has been advertised enough now in Justice League that it needs it's own title. More people like that story over the J.L. story right now anyway.

#11 Posted by Lvenger (25718 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't wait to see the end of the Shazam back up and then Shazam joining the Justice League. That's gonna be so cool!

#12 Posted by Cyborg6971 (204 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the little things in e1, that make it gritty. Like the pic above w\ bats lying in the garbage, and there is a used syringe on the ground next to him. That is something you never think about when he's out fighting crime. The little things that could kill you.

#13 Posted by MrGutts (279 posts) - - Show Bio

@RedOwl_1 said:

@MrGutts said:

They rebooted Captain Marvel?!@!

Where you have been fella? They are running his story on JL backups.

I must have been sleeping at the wheel. But to toss Captain into the over priced under sold JL comic doesn't make me happy.

#14 Posted by fACEmelter88 (690 posts) - - Show Bio

Whatever...give me more Shazam/Battson

#15 Posted by CaptainMexico (70 posts) - - Show Bio

It would be funny if Shazam was the new member of the Justice League since he's a backup story in the comics.

#16 Posted by chipoer (2 posts) - - Show Bio

That is something you never think about when he's out fighting crime. The little things that could kill you.


#17 Posted by Trodorne (2763 posts) - - Show Bio

Better question to ask him, is why he made Thomas Wayne look like Christopher Reeves?

#18 Posted by Sammo21 (733 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked Earth One but Bruce Wayne looks a lot like Billy Batson to me.

#19 Posted by Oedipus_Rex (42 posts) - - Show Bio

So Earth One is a different universe then the New 52 universe, right? Does that make the New 52 main stories happen on Earth Zero?

#20 Posted by TheMess1428 (2211 posts) - - Show Bio

I like how he can always make Superman look like Christopher Reeve. lol

#21 Posted by modunhanul (425 posts) - - Show Bio

Just one word, Shazam!

#22 Posted by soduh2 (1044 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick said:

I'm interested on what they'll do with Riddler. I've always thought there was a lot of unused potential in this character.

Man! I'm glad that Billy Batson is not such a pure white bread kid like he has been for several decades, but is he going to stop being a violent jerk anytime soon?

Isn't the fact that he was a "goody two shoes" part of the reason he was chosen for the mantel in the first place?

#23 Posted by Dedpool (547 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked Earth One. Both Superman and Batman! I'd love to see what they come up with for GreenLantern. I think it should be the John Stewart GL with hal being the back up this time!

#24 Posted by Linore (33 posts) - - Show Bio

Im really loving this book. I wonder when Batgirl is going to make an appearance

#25 Posted by Madame_Mist (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

Billy looks like old school Superboy.

#26 Posted by jphulk26 (2013 posts) - - Show Bio

I think they should do a Wonder Woman Earth One series.

#27 Posted by Andhaira (126 posts) - - Show Bio

@modunhanul: Preach it bro.
Bring on Shazam Earth One (but call him Captain Marvel there again plz)

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