Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CBR Interview With Tony Daniel

Yesterday on Comic Book Resources, we got an interview with Tony Daniel, where he discusses his new Batman title as well as The Savage Hawkman.  You can read the entire interview right here.

The copy for the first issue reads very much like an origin story. Is that the case? And if so, was it necessary to do an origin due to the character's long, and sometimes convoluted, backstory?

It's not an origin story, but the approach is, as if we're meeting this guy for the first time. He's already Hawkman. He's already lost the love of his life. It took me several months to work through his initial arc. It was very, very hard work. He's setting up new roots in NYC. I'm establishing a supporting cast of characters. Some are human, some are more than human. Some friend, some foe. I didn't feel I had the luxury of a great rogues gallery, such as the likes of The Flash or Batman. I need to make challenges for Carter Hall/Hawkman from the ground up.

My first priority was to introduce a character who will eventually be his nemesis. His arch-enemy. I'm very excited about that.

Another arch-enemy?  I understand the desire to rejigger everything and introduce new characters.  But a newly introduced nemesis seems a bit excessive, and they never seem to work out.  But if Shiera is not there then having someone other than Hath-Set as the Big Bad makes sense.

Regarding the Rogues Gallery, yeah, Hawkman doesn't have the strongest or most recognizable band of baddies, I still think that some of the old school foes need to stick around.  shadow-Thief, for one.  I.Q. is still around and availbe now that Doom Patrol is over.  Lion-Mane would be great, especially considering the new "savage" approach.  Can't you see the two of them tearing into each other?  And of course the Gentleman Ghost.  Everyone loves Gentleman Ghost.  The solicitcations seem to suggest that his new foes will be alien in origin, which is fine with me.  

My main hope is that Daniel keeps some of the stronger characters from older stories.

You mentioned he's already lost the love of his life. So may I ask, what role, if any, does Shiera Saunders/Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman play in this series?

For now I can't say a whole lot. People will have to wait and see how things develop this fall.

Expecting any information on this development in this interview is silly.  Sooner or later we'll get Hawkgirl, but for the time being the Winged Wonder is going to be flying solo.

We have to wait and be patient.  I feel like I am talking to my 2 year old.

As an artist yourself, can you break down the strengths of Philip Tan? As the book's writer, what do you feel he brings as a collaborator?

I'm very excited about Philip Tan's incredible artwork. People are about to have their socks knocked off when they see what this kid is doing. He's come of age here. Philip has been dying to do a Hawkman book for a long time. He has so much built up energy and excitement for this book. He's worked many, many hours working on character designs, layouts, cover ideas and that was way before he even had a finished script.

The passion he has is definitely translating onto the page. He's doing a great inkwash technique that is mind blowing. So he brings a lot to the table as an artist. This is important to him and he's working his butt off with the art. I'm happy I have him as my artist.

I really dig Philip Tan's work.  Very dynamic and very energetic.  I have said it before but my main issue is his timeliness.  Hopefully he can get ahead enough that we can avoid too many fill-ins like we did on Outsiders (before they just said the hell with it and brought in Kieth Giffen).  His take on the Savage Hawkman looks good in the single image we have seen, and Tan is very good at detailed costumes like this one, so I am definitely eager to see his sequential work.

What else can you tell us about "The Savage Hawkman" as it appears much more Indiana Jones in style than the gritty Bat-books you're known for?

Maybe a bit more Sherlock Holmes, the Robert Downey Jr. version, than Indy, but some of that too. Plus some savage beatdowns. It's going to be very exciting. Lots of adventure. Lots of fun characters being introduced.

Is it sad that I own the Robert Downey Jr. version of Sherlock Holmes and have yet to watch it?

So we should take note of the word "Savage" in the title?

He'll be savage when he needs to be, which could be a lot.

I suspect that he'll be Savage quite frequently, yes.

Overall, a good interview.  Daniel saying that this was not his pitch suggests that this was Johns new direction for Hawkman as planned by Brightest Day.  Just that Daniel is actually performing the story.  I enjoyed Battle For The Cowl, but have never read his stuff on Batman.  I feel pretty good about him taking on Hawkman because I think Tony Daniel will write straight forward, earnest superhero Hawkman stories, which is what I am looking for in this title.  And Philip Tan will definitely bring a visual flare to the character which will certainly be unique amongst the lexicon of Hawkman comics.  So now the waiting game begins, as we anticipate September 28th and the bowing of the fifth Hawkman series.


Diabolu Frank said...

I like the reference to RDJ Holmes, because it means he'll still be a detective, rather than just a winged Conan. On the other hand, almost any time someone sets out to create an arch-enemy, they unknowingly repeat past character beats that bores the faithful. Hell, I just now realized how much Byth and Ma'alefa'ak had in common, but at least that was same creator/different franchise. Who wants to start the betting pool on which already existing Hawkman rogue the new nemesis will be a slight variation on? This happens with Wonder Woman pretty near every other creative team.

P.S. "Holmes" was meh, even though I usually like the actors and director.

Count Drunkula said...

I hated Tony Daniel's script for "Battle for the Cowl" to the point that I literally threw the second issue across the room when I finished it and never read the third. So the announcement that he's writing another of my favorite characters wasn't thrilling to hear.

However, I am willing to give this a chance and hope for the best. Tan's art has me excited; getting Carter out of the shadow of the death/resurrection cycle has me excited; new villains has me excited (even though Shadow Thief is one of my all-time favs, too). I'll keep my fingers cross that this--and roughly fifty other books--are going to be great.

Luke said...

@Frank, Gardner Fox crated Ma'alefa'ak?! I never knew that! All kidding aside, that is a good point about those two. One reason why I like the Silver Age Byth a lot more than the Modern one. I imagine that his new archfoe will be a take on Lionmane. Just a hunch.

The Detective/Policeman aspect of Hawkman is sorely lacking nowadays. I don't need him to be a super sleuth (leave that to Bats and the Manhunter) but he should be an agent of law enforcement, still, and not just a winged barbarian.

@Ryan, I think this is as good a time as any to advance my theory of the Minimum Batman Appreciation Level. See, the way I figure it, there is an index of every comic book fan's Batman Appreciation Level. And unlike pretty much every other character, Batman has a minimum level which all comic geeks have. At some level every comic geek likes Batman. My BAL is pretty low. I like B:TAS and am a huge BATO fan, but solo Bats is not my gig. Clearly, your BAL is a good deal higher. So I can see how Battle For The Cowl would have rubbed you the wrong way. Since I didn't have a particular investment with who won said battle, I just had fun with it as a loopy superhero romp. Understanding of course that Your Mileage May Vary.

I'd love to see Hawkman cast off the shadow you refer to, and get back more into the Silver Age/late Bronze Age adventuring role which I enjoy so much. Heh, I wonder if maybe the baddies will be Thanagarians using an Absorbascon to influence events on Earth? Nah, too far-fetched... ;)

Count Drunkula said...

It seems like this relaunch would be a good place to completely distance "Carter" from Thanagar and the Katar craziness, but I don't think that'll happen. Still, an alien arch-nemesis seems like an odd choice, but having not read the story, I could be way off.

I can see the new nemesis being a variation of Lion Mane--the animalistic imagery is very striking and elemental. I don't dislike Lion Mane, though I always kind of saw him as a one-note villain; perhaps a good re-invention could do better. I preferred Shadow Thief and Gentleman Ghost much more because they were just so different than everything else out there.

As for Batman... I can appreciate just about any depiction of him short of a live action movie where he flashes the Bat-credit card (Yes, that bothered me more than Bat-nipples). "Battle for the Cowl" made me want to do something irrationally violent, but I take a deep breath and go to my happy place. I grant that even my favorite writers have flopped at times. I'm not going to boycott anything by Daniel, and besides, the book was two or three years ago; I'm sure he's gotten better.

And anyway, while James Robinson might have been masterful in the '90s, I've found his recent stuff on Superman and Justice League of America to be god-awful, so I wasn't looking forward to him writing Hawkman either.

Juss said...

Luke, interesting about your Bat-index idea. Personally I'd always thought each comics fan had a Superman-index. I'd always assumed, as you do, that we all enjoy Batman on some level; but being more of an innate Superman fan, it's always been interesting to me to see how much a fan will idolize, dismiss, or actively 'dis' Kal-El. Comments about 'underwear on the outside' and 'Big Blue Boy Scout' are big giveaways. But to Hawkman.

Gentleman Ghost and Shadow Thief, yes. They'll never go away; they're just a little back-burnered for now. I'd like to see Matter Master again, too. I think Headhunter could be developed more or better. I wish Hawkman had his own version of Spider, or Coyote, the Amerindian Trickster--like Spider-Man's Mysterio, or Flash's Trickster. Or maybe Byth fits in that category? I've forever wanted to see Hawkman fight--one long, book-length *fight*--Solomon Grundy. Just pounding the living ...... out of each other. Finally, I'd like to see Hawkman have a foe who would more irritate and bedevil him, as Myxyzptlk does to Superman. It could even be someone who wants to be an ally-which brings me to a dream I have of seeing Badger in a comic with Hawkman.

Last, I very much agree that I long for the detection and adventuring we saw in the Silver Age!

Juss said...

One more thought. Great villains are almost always a counterpoise to the hero's strongest aspect. Luthor and Brainiac are brains against Superman's array of physical powers; Joker and Two-Face are chaos and unpredictability to Batman's focus and effort to bring order; Captain Cold and Mirror Master make it slippery and difficult for Flash to run, or blind or distract him so that he can't see to run in the right direction. I'm sure there are lots of counter-examples to show this isn't the only way to make a great villain, but I still think it's a good place to start.

Diabolu Frank said...

So long as you heard what I meant over what I said, whatevs. I liked Ostrander's take on Byth better than his creation of Malefic. The template works better for a corrupt CO than an evil twin brother.

I do like space cop over detective, especially with Shayera gone, but I still want brains with my brawn.

My BAL is also pretty low. I like the Bronze Age stuff through Miller/Starlin, before the Brits made him the UberBat. Most of the cartoons and some of the movies are okay. The '60s show was cute. I'm more of a Nightwing guy, as the family goes.