Between comics, movies and his upcoming show at Carnegie Hall, Kevin Smith has a lot going on these days. So, when he dropped by Splash Page HQ this week, our conversation with the veteran creator covered a wide spectrum of topics -- everything from his willingness to see "Star Trek" actor Chris Pine romancing his wife to some just-announced comics projects that readers will definitely want to add to their pull lists.
After completing a successful run on the three-issue miniseries "Batman: Cacophony," Smith is returning to Gotham City with his good friend and artist Walt Flanagan for a 12-issue series titled "Batman: The Widening Gyre." He told MTV News he'll introduce a new hero to the DC Universe (much as he did with the villain Onomatopoeia in his "Green Arrow" run), and then will follow up the 12-part story with an ongoing series starring the new character.
While he didn't want to spoil the surprise by sharing any details about the new character ("We don't introduce him until issue #2," said Smith), he did offer up some thoughts about the tone and origin of the series, and why this could be the last Batman story he'll ever write.
"What better way to introduce him then through Batman?" Smith told MTV News. "It's a book that's clearly created by two geeky fans who were like, 'I would like to draw Etrigan,' and so it was, 'Okay, Etrigan is in the story now.'"
"This miniseries is kind of our magnum opus," promised Smith
And though he didn't want to share too many details about the story itself, Smith was willing to explain the character's connection to DC's Dark Knight -- and take a familiar jab at the famous detective.
"Batman has always taken on a boy partner ... and in this storyline, Batman is going, 'If I'm going to do anything, why don't I pair up with an adult,'" said Smith. "This fledgling vigilante finds him and they partner up. Not to the deficit of Robin -- him and Robin still naturally sleep together, because they are gay -- but the new character kind of works side by side with Batman and gets brought into the DCU."
"It's really like the [Steve] Englehart and [Marshall] Rogers stuff -- the definitive Batman," continued Smith. "It tells a very long story and it's not just dudes beating each other up. It's adventure and intrigue and romance, and Batman falls in love."
And just in case there's any worry that the series will suffer the delays that plagued his early comics projects, Smith shed some light on the current status of the project -- which should hit shelves in August or September.
"I've got six scripts in the can already and Walt has the first issue drawn," Smith told MTV of "Widening Gyre," which will be released in two, six-part arcs with a break of several months between the two parts.
"After this, I will never touch Batman again," said Smith. "It's the best that I could do."
Check out a pencil preview page from "Batman: The Widening Gyre" below, featuring art by Walt Flanagan.