Writer, Tony Patrick, and Artist, Cully Hamner talk BATMAN AND THE SIGNAL, Arkham Juvie, and lots more at NYCC!
ComicsVerse: You guys are working on Batman and the Signal right now, right?

Tony Patrick: Yes.

ComicsVerse: Kowing it’s a whole new book, what’s it like, taking on the character of Duke right now?

Tony Patrick: I mean, first of all, it’s an honor, and it’ a privilege to work with these guys, to work with Cully, to work with Scott. So-

CV: Aw, shucks.

Tony Patrick: It’s a dream team. Yeah, it’s a shucks moment. But it’s a dream to work with these guys, and it’s unbelievable that Duke is getting his, you know, a book that he’s sharing with … It’s Batman and the Signal. So, it’s awesome in one way, and it’s terrifying in another because I’m also gonna have to write Batman.

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Tony Patrick: And so, there’s a respect and a reverence that goes into writing Batman. While at the same time, you’re doing this classic hero who’s also dealing with a new versioning hero at the same time.

Cully Hammer: Well, it’s exciting for me also because you get to see this guy come out of the gate and just start kicking ass and taking names. Right away. It’s just an amazing thing to see. To work with Scott also is just … I’ve been wanting to work with him for quite some time. We’ve known each other for a little while, and now we’re finally getting to do something together. The whole thing is just all good. There’s nothing really bad about it.

ComicsVerse: How do you take on Duke as a character. He’s not your normal Robin. He’s not your normal Bat family character. He’s outside. He’s in the daylight. How does each of your mindset change when writing and drawing this character?

Tony Patrick: Well, I mean … So we were talking about, you know … We’ve had an opportunity to watch Duke grow over the last, almost 45 years. So we’ve watched him grow from this unknown character that was helping Batman out of a very tough situation in zero year, right? To join a group of autonomous Robins, with a little help, with Alfred, now to having this opportunity to train with Batman, and now take on being his emissary for daytime Gotham. So that’s one hell of a trajectory.

So for me, it’s like … I don’t know. I get overwhelmed I think at some point. I was about to cry actually. I was a little …. It’s overwhelming in a way because you … The journey that we’re talking about lends itself to new opportunities. Right? So if we’re talking about daytime Gotham, where there’s a whole new ecosystem, right, which some of the ideas and concepts we’re playing with, first of all, is Arkham Juvie, which, this guy is designing.

ComicsVerse: Why don’t you talk about Arkham Juvie?

Cully Hammer: Arkham Juvie? I mean, what’s cool about it is that it’s an opportunity to, not just play with legacy characters, but actually come up with new designs with new characters. New powers that you haven’t seen before in Gotham and you haven’t seen in this Gotham. You’re used to seeing the night time villains. You’ve got your joker, and you’ve got all the Batman villains and everything. A lot of them are brand new. They’re in a whole different light. Actually, to me, that’s the underlying thing about his series is that it’s Gotham in a whole new light.

 

Tony Patrick: Literally.

Cully Hammer: I need to remember that to be in an ad or something. It’s literally a whole new perspective on Gotham. The Arkham Juvie thing is a lot of interesting design possibilities for the facility itself, not just the characters. I’m really trying to pull out the stops to do something different here. Even in that, it’s like I’m trying to play with … You’ll see when you see the book. There are some thematic light motifs. In the facility itself. I’m trying to play a lot with where to place light in the city.

BATMAN AND THE SIGNAL

ComicsVerse: So, you’re talking about new villains and new everything. This is basically a Gotham refresh in that sense.

Tony Patrick: Well, in some ways, I mean, yeah. There are new opportunities, but also there are a lot of opportunities for classic villains to show up as well. We were just talking about this. Depending on the length of the series, right? Duke Thomas has parents that are infective with Joker then. So at some point, we want to see that showdown. I’m hoping that we’re working on that. I hope we get there.

Cully Hammer: And you know I don’t look at it like it’s a refresh. I look at it like you’re opening a new wing of Gotham. You know? That you haven’t seen before, but it’s been there.

Tony Patrick:  And let’s give Batman a break for a few hours. Daytime he gets a chance to be Bruce Wayne. It’s like the TV show 24.Jack Bower, this guy never goes to the restroom.

Tony Patrick: But you know you also have that feeling. It’s not like you always see Batman but Gotham is always at night. It’s like no, there’s a whole 12 hours where Batman’s not out there doing stuff.  Or if he’s doing stuff, he’s doing it in an office. And, you know, he’s got, Duke. He’s got a signal as sort of his avatar during the daytime. That’s his whole purpose. But also, this is Duke after all of these seeds have been planted all these years, everything is coming into fruition. This is where he blooms. You bloom in the sunlight, right? There you go.

 

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ComicsVerse: What’s your take on Batman then? How do you pull Batman out of yourselves and create, kind of, your own Batman in that sense?

Tony Patrick: First, you put on a cowl, then, you jump off a roof and then, you know.

Cully Hammer: I can say, for me, that the big difference is in how he relates to Duke. And, what I’m going to try to do is I’m going to try to do it slightly different body language than you normally see in Batman in how he relates to Duke. I really do think … I mean, Duke’s a friend. He’s not his kid, or his ward, or anything like that. Duke is somebody who he looks at as a friend who he’s trying to train. He’s trying to make into a crime fighter. He’s different than anybody he’s ever trained. So, I want to put that in there.

Tony Patrick: And, also, because we’re talking about Duke’s potential mega human abilities. It’s also a chance for Batman to get on the ground floor. right. In working with approaching a new hero, mega human hero. So, that’s also the sanction between his relationship with Duke.

Cully Hammer: When Batman first shows up in the first issue, you’ll see by his body language what we’re talking about.

 

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