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Gagné On Batman

Posted: Wednesday, July 17
Posted By: Craig Lemon
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Coming soon to Detective Comics is perhaps a more off-the-wall version of the Dark Knight than one is used to. Self-publisher Michel Gagné, famed for his bunnies and the wonderful Zed series (see more details of these at his website http://www.gagneint.com/), is being let loose on a multi-part backup strip. SBC's Craig Lemon caught up with the man himself to find out more, and to exclusively preview some of the art from this upcoming storyline.

Craig Lemon: Tell us a little about this Batman project you're working on.

Michel Gagné: The story is divided into five 8-page chapters, which will run in Detective #776-780. In the story, Batman catches a deadly viral strain and struggles to cure himself. It's quite epic in scale, going from planetary to microscopic proportions.

CL: How did it come about?

MG: Around Christmas time, I received an email from DC editor, Matt Idelson. Matt wrote that he was a fan of my work and asked me if I'd consider doing a project for DC. After some reflection, I decided that I could do something really cool with Batman. There are many iconic qualities about his universe; the Bat-symbol, Gotham City, the Batcave and Batman himself. When I thought about all the possibilities, it put a big grin on my face. So, I wrote back and told him I'd like to do a full color 32 page story (which ended up expanding to 40 pages) with the Dark Knight. I asked him to let me write, pencil, ink, color and letter the whole thing, warning him that this would be a most different and outrageous version of the character. In a vote of confidence, Matt agreed.

CL: Many of the other backup strips have been designed with future strips in mind (e.g. Slam Brady's search for Catwoman, Josie Mac), is there future potential loaded into your plot or is it purely designed as a one-off?

MG: I'd say it's pretty much a one-shot deal, but you never know.

CL: How have you found actually working on the Dark Knight? Did it live up to your expectations?

MG: It's been a lot of fun, and it still is (I have yet to do the last two parts). I've really enjoyed the artistic freedom I was given. At first, I was a little nervous that DC might ask me to change this and that, but they have been completely supportive of my vision. In that respect, it's been a total blast. On the other hand, it's been challenging to remain true to the spirit of the character and his world, while creating something unique and twisted.

CL: Any plans to maybe revisit Batman soon, or other parts of the DCU?

MG: Anything is possible. We'll see how the fans react to this story and take it from there. I've already talked to DC about doing other projects. The dialogue is open, so we'll just have to wait and see.

CL: What's next for Michel Gagné? More Zed?

MG: I have a new hardcover book coming out early next year called "The Towers of Numar". It's an off-beat science-fiction tale about god, the creation, and a far-out concept. I'm going to try to get Zed #5-8 out next year as well. In the movie world, I'm designing special effects for Brad (The Iron Giant) Bird's next movie. As always, I have a lot of book projects at different level of completion, so don't be surprised if something unexpected hits the shelves soon.

CL: Michel Gagné, thanks very much for your time.

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