‘Telling Punchy Little Stories’: Chris Burnham on ‘Batman Incorporated Special’ #1

Grant Morrison’s run on “Batman Incorporated” ended with issue 13, but that doesn’t mean the worldwide network of heroes that was the book’s focus for much of its run has to go away. This week, DC Comics will release “Batman Incorporated Special” #1, a one-shot anthology filled with stories featuring the Batmen and Batwomen of Earth.

For a little insight into just what the one-shot will be, MTV Geek caught up with Chris Burnham, who will write and draw one of the stories in the issue, and who was the artist on much of Morrison’s “Batman Inc.” run:

MTV Geek: Chris, you already explored another corner of the Batman Inc. universe in “Batman Incorporated” #11’s interlude about the Batman of Japan, Jiro. You’re returning to the character again this time. Will your portion of this one-shot be something like that story, or will it be something else entirely?

Chris Burnham: It’s definitely similar in tone, and is also kind of a date between Jiro and Canary. Nothing more romantic than beating up the bad guys, right? There are some some gross-out gags, some silly word play, a new weird bad guy, a few nifty storytelling tricks I tried out for the first time, and one of the best kicks to the face I’ve ever drawn. Comic books!

Geek: “Batman Inc.” #13 seemed like a pretty definitive end to the concept of Batman Incorporated, so I have to ask bluntly: Why do more, particularly without Grant Morrison?

Burnham: As the scope of “Batman Inc.” narrowed to focus on Batman and Talia, we saw less and less of our international team of Batmen and Batwomen. The fans let us know that they were missing them, so we came up with a bunch of spiffy adventures to give them a chance to shine. These characters are super cool, and I think you’ll start to see them popping up around the DC universe more and more.

Geek: Is your story taking place before or after the events of #13? What about the others?

Burnham: I think only Joe Keatinge’s Knight and Squire story explicitly refers to the events of the last few issues of “Batman Inc.” All the other stories are pretty stand alone and could probably take place whenever you wanted them to.

Geek: Can you tease which characters will be showing up in the book? I’ve seen Man-of-Bats, Red Raven, Jiro, Knight, El Gaucho and Bat-Cow’s names listed. Who else will show up? Anyone new or maybe unexpected? Maybe…Kathy Kane, for example?

Burnham: Let’s see. You missed Canary, Nightrunner, and Dark Ranger. There’s also a few “deep cut” special guests that show up, along with a few fun new villains. But you’ll have to plunk down your hard earned money to find out who they are!

Geek: What can you tell me about the Bat-Cow story in the book, by Dan DiDio and Ethan Van Sciver? Have they sworn you to secrecy?

Burnham: I can tell you that the ending literally made me laugh out loud.

Geek: Is there going to be an effort in this to more concretely tie Batman Inc. to the New 52? It always felt pretty separate to me, outside of some cosmetic changes, mentions here and there in the other books and, of course, the repercussions of Damian’s death.

Burnham: There are very few references to any continuity of any kind here. The focus was on telling punchy little stories, not ticking off a chronology checklist or making stupid “how about the Joker’s face, huh?” comments.

Geek: Though “Batman Inc.” is over, do you expect these characters to go on to lives of their own? Do you envision a lot more Jiro or El Gaucho stories coming down the line? Give it to me straight, Chris: Will I have more Beryl as Knight in my life?

Burnham: Now that Grant is finished with the characters, I think they’re going to be used a lot more. I saw the bat-bots are making an appearance in “Talon” #12 and there are some upcoming big plans for a few of the running subplots and supporting cast. Grant and I intentionally left a lot of new and refurbished toys in the sandbox and we’re excited to see what people do with them next!

Batman Incorporated Special #1 is now on sale!

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