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

Posted by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

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!

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!

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!

#1 Edited by InkInk (188 posts) - - Show Bio

Just wondering when and if he will get his own name. Batman of Japan is silly

#2 Edited by usabfb (58 posts) - - Show Bio

@inkink: He does have his own name. It's Jiro. Jokes aside, I would think that it's fairly obvious that his superhero name isn't "Batman of Japan". The actual name will almost certainly be revealed in the issue.

#3 Posted by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio

@usabfb: @inkink: He might still be known as Mr. Unknown. That was his mentor's role before Lord Death Man killed him.

#4 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (35176 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought it was Mr Nobody?

#5 Posted by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio

@jonny_anonymous: Mr. Nobody is an old Doom Patrol villain. Nobody was Morgan Ducard in BATMAN AND ROBIN.

#6 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (35176 posts) - - Show Bio

Ahh that where I'm getting confused

#7 Posted by detective38 (183 posts) - - Show Bio

Please spare me this ridiculous nonsense and let me see the end of morrisons run. The idea of the whole "batmen around the world" hasnt been extremely important so far and now is definitely not the time to start trying to put a focus on that. And also that costume design for jiro is awful

#8 Posted by Mucklefluga (2602 posts) - - Show Bio

You gotta love Burnham.

#9 Posted by The Stegman (26115 posts) - - Show Bio

Ugh..I might just drop this title, I mean it's ending soon anyway, it's never really felt part of the rest of the New 52 and it hasn't impressed me in quite a while...

#10 Posted by kennybaese (1152 posts) - - Show Bio

I do kind of wish that they had let Morrison finish his run in a 12 issue limited series that didn't pay attention to the New 52. (Wasn't it originally announced that it would be called "Leviathan or something?) If they had wanted to bring Batman Inc. into the New 52, they should have made it a series of three issue arcs involving the different members of Inc from around the world with a bunch of different creative teams.

So basically this issue, but all the time.

#11 Posted by longbowhunter (7753 posts) - - Show Bio

I really enjoy these done in one stories about the various Incorporated characters. The Man of Bats and Raven Red issue was one of the stand outs for me in this series.

#12 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3404 posts) - - Show Bio
This is the 2012 version of Kamen Rider

Maybe I'm missing something, but is this suppose to be a silly comic, ala Fraction's FF? It would have to be with a character named Lolita Canary, who wears a sailor fuku. Not to mention that Japanese batcave with the giant 5 yen piece.

The red neckerchief is something out of the Sentai heroes TV shows, which are targeted toward grade school children. He even mentioned Kamen Rider in the interview as inspiration. A design that came out of the early 70s. The KAMEN RIDER shows are still being produced, but it shouldn't surprise anyone that they ditched the scarf long ago.

This reminds me of that issue of Western comic creators showing cherry blossom trees are always in bloom, regardless of season.

#13 Edited by johnny_spam (2020 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxxfireart: Lolita Canary is actually older than Fraction's FF since she first appeared in Final Crisis. Many of these weird things have been present in Morrison's run at DC and it just looks like this and the Batman Inc special are a last look at them.

#14 Posted by SmashBrawler (5978 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish Burnham's art looked like that cover all the time.

#15 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3404 posts) - - Show Bio


I already read her wiki page.

I wasn't saying she's a Fraction creation or even inspired by that. I was asking if she and the rest of this issue is trying to be funny, along the lines of Ms. Thing -- a joke character not to be taken seriously. Is this issue trying to be humorous or serious?

#16 Edited by Barkley (276 posts) - - Show Bio

im sorry this looks stupid

#17 Posted by johnny_spam (2020 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxxfireart: The first volume of Batman Inc before the reboot was intended to be more sexy and fun until Talia was revealed as the villain The New 52 version became the darkest part of Grant Morrison's Batman. I am sure this is not only being published to give Burnham more time to finish the last two issues but to be light hearted before the characters probably go away.

#18 Posted by Superguy0009e (2265 posts) - - Show Bio


#19 Edited by SmashBrawler (5978 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxxfireart: All of Morrison's Super Young Team are like that:

  • Most Excellent Superbat
  • Big Atomic Lantern Boy
  • Shiny Happy Aquazon
  • Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash
  • Shy Crazy Lolita Canary

Basically, in DC's Japan superheroes are more of a trend currently. They used to have legit superheroes that usually fought kaiju but actual superheroism is apparently becoming a dying tradition.

So yeah, I guess it is supposed to be silly and sort of humorous (even though Final Crisis wasn't supposed to be funny at all).

#21 Posted by Sleepbutnodream15 (570 posts) - - Show Bio

@inkink: He took the name Mr. Unknown when he first met Batman.

#22 Posted by KEROGA (1069 posts) - - Show Bio


#23 Edited by BR_Havoc (1340 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_stegman: I kind of agree with you. I thought the first part of the series was good then after the big "shocking" death of Damian. The book kind of took a crazy turn and its kind of stupid and over the top. Here is hoping there will be a good ending also does anyone else get the feeling the reason we are getting this side story issue is because Morrison is changing the ending?

#24 Posted by thebluedragon07 (72 posts) - - Show Bio

Why does look like Ranger Batman?

#25 Edited by RustyRoy (14046 posts) - - Show Bio

Love his work.

#26 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6836 posts) - - Show Bio

Looks awesome :) But yeah its high time this gets finished already I say.

#27 Posted by AWeekInGeekdom (230 posts) - - Show Bio

I appreciate the coolness but now it's clearer why the series was extended to 13 issues. I might just leave this in my pull list and pick it up later tbh.

#28 Posted by Arkhamc1tizen (2146 posts) - - Show Bio


Might pic this up

#29 Posted by maybetoby (13 posts) - - Show Bio

love the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai references.

#30 Posted by maybetoby (13 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxxfireart: Don't forget, Kamen Rider Double had a scarf and that was only 4 years ago.

#31 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3404 posts) - - Show Bio


Kamen Rider Decade

Four years ago was KAMEN RIDER DECADE. No scarf.

#32 Edited by maybetoby (13 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxxfireart: But remember, Decade was only 31 episodes. Decade aired from January 25, 2009, to August 30, 2009. Double debuted on September 6, 2009.

#33 Edited by secondfallen616 (119 posts) - - Show Bio

Its been a love/hate with this book since issue #4 for me anyways.

Ive shelled out lots of cashola' over the years following Morrison's career and its been because he had his own "voice" so to speak, but i've always wanted to see those words paired with an equaly dynamic artist. The majority of his series/character/career defining runs, hate to say it but, were drawn by guys who could produce panels and not worry too much about being consistent.

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