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Monday, June 26, 2000

BEATTY TALKS ROBIN

Scott Beatty is teaming with Chuck Dixon to write a pair of Robin stories, the Robin: Year One mini-series and Robin #87-90.

The Continuum caught up with Beatty for a short question-and-answer session for his insight on the stories and the different Robins.

The Continuum: How did you become involved with the project?

Beatty: "Co-scripter Chuck Dixon and I are friends...and we've collaborated in the past on a story or two...but I think I can say that this has been the most satisfying project we've worked on so far. Robin: Year One grew out of a long telephone conversation and a mutual desire to take Dick Grayson back to the Batcave and see what it was like for a 13-year-old to ride shotgun with Batman."

The Continuum: When will it be released?

Beatty: "Four issues, 48 pages each issue, beginning in October. Javier Pulido is penciling, with inks by Robert Campanella. This year marks the Boy Wonder's 60th anniversary, and we could think of no better way to celebrate than to tell a story from Dick Grayson's freshmen year as Robin. The only thing more satisfying than writing it has been seeing Javier's gorgeous pencils arrive from Spain. The art is simply amazing."

The Continuum: Beyond its title, what can you say about the story?

Beatty: "Robin: Year One: picks up right where Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet left off. Dick has graduated Batman's grueling training regimen and 'final exam' to become Robin. He's meeting the Dark Knight's rogues gallery for the first time and virtually oblivious to the fact that he's on a collision course with Harvey Dent, perhaps the worst of the bunch. Everything Dick struggled to achieve as Robin will be put to the test by Two-Face's 'Double Gallows,' a death-trap mentioned briefly in The Prodigal storyline from a few years back. And if that wasn't bad enough, waiting in the wings is a new villain who'll have a lasting impact on both Nightwing and Batman continuity."

The Continuum: What do you like about this version of Robin?

Beatty: "What's not to like? Dick Grayson lived every comic book reader's fantasy: He got to wear the domino mask and utility belt and help Batman, actually saving his bacon on more than one occasion. If you had trouble imagining yourself as the hero, it wasn't a huge leap in pretending that you were the sidekick. And for my money, Dick Grayson's the most compelling character in comics at any age."

The Continuum: What's it like working with Chuck?

Beatty: "There's an old DC Strange Sports Stories tale which featured a feverish game of tennis played with a hand grenade. Collaborating with Chuck is a lot like that.

"We write each other into corners -- leaving the hero in a cliffhanger moment with no help in sight -- and then we dare each other to find a way out."

The Continuum: Beyond your Robin work, do you have more projects you are working on?

Beatty: "Lately, my workload has been divided between Power Rings and Boy Wonders. This week, Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #3 hits the stands and features a book-length story illustrated by Graham Nolan, Grant Miehm, Michael Lily, Aaron Lopresti and Joyce Chin. Kyle Rayner discovers an untold tale of the Green Lantern Corps and learns the dark secrets behind the Corps' disastrous campaign on Apokolips. Readers will finally learn why the Guardians of the Universe never trifled with Darkseid.

"I also scripted the Circle Of Fire: Green Lantern / Power Girl one-shot tying into DC's August 5th Week Event. I'm hoping Power Girl fans who've enjoyed her guest spots in Birds of Prey will rattle the DC Message Boards and demand that she get her own monthly series.

"Right now, I'm re-teaming with Chuck Dixon on the monthly Robin for a four-issue arc (#87-90) which introduces a new character destined to upset the balance of power in the DCU...and immediately after that, Chuck and I begin work on a DCU 5th Week epic slated for April 2001 that we're pretty certain will jolt readers to attention.

"We actually rattled ourselves on this one."

X-MEN MOVIE UPDATE

Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in the upcoming X-Men movie, said that Logan is a "very restless character."

"It's sort of very easy to say that he's kind of angry, but I think really what it is is that he has no peace in any way," Jackman told The Continuum. "There's no peace about him. So he's searching for so many things. This is kind of on a deep level. He's searching for a history; he's searching for a past. They are things I don't think anyone can really relate to. The guy's got no memory beyond from what we've decided is 15 years ago. And no one knows how long he's been around prior to that.

"He's a loner by nature, very independent. So he likes to think that he can do it on his own, and he does think that, and probably foolishly sometimes thinks he can do it better on his own. That makes it even harder for him in a way to cope with everything that's happened to him. He's a very impulsive person, rash, acts before he thinks sometimes and also confident, very confident in himself.

Jackman said Logan is "very wary" about Professor Xavier and the X-Men.

"He innately sees something very dangerous about any kind of organization, which is, you know, a probably very wise thing," Jackman said. "It makes him kind of cynical about it and very wary, and ultimately, to Professor Xavier, very loyal because he goes through.

"Everybody, with Logan, has to earn his respect, and it's pretty hard. And when they have earned it, it's for life. By the end of this movie, he's got a lot of respect for a lot of them, but none more than Professor Xavier. And he was probably the most skeptical of him, everything he stands for, the authority figure. An authority figure is the antithesis to what Logan would respect. But he grows to realize he's a man of honor and believe in what he's doing. If we do more movies, you'll still see them in fights and arguing and this and that, probably until the day they die."

Jackman said he also enjoyed Wolverine's biting sense of humor.

"He enjoys, and this is probably why it's good to have an Australian in the role, bringing people down to what he thinks is an acceptable level," Jackman said. "No one is too tall. No one's beyond a little bit of ribbing. As we say in Australia, if they're knocking you, that's a sign of affection. I think Wolverine's got a little bit of that in him."

In other X-Men movie news:

  • Tyler Mane, who plays Sabretooth, discussed X-Men during an official chat recently.

    Here are some selected comments:

    On Sabretooth returning for a sequel: "And as far as returning, for Sabertooth to come back...I cant say. If enough people make it to the movie in the first week, I'll never have to go back to wrestling."

    On his future roles: "I just did a series of Son of the Beach, for Howard Stern's spin-off of Baywatch. And I finished a film with David Spade and Adam Sandler's production of Joe Dirt. I'm also up for a few projects in the works right now."

    On wearing the Sabretooth gear: "To get into the costume took about four hours of makeup. Wig, prosthetics, teeth, contacts and then getting into a complete leather suit. After that point, I was definitely in the mood to play Sabertooth."

    On his action figure: "I saw it a couple days ago. That's pretty cool. I had a couple action figures from my wrestling career like in Mexico, but this is unbelievable. I went to a comics store in L.A., and that was really great. It blew me away. And the Sabertooth is of course the best."

    On the Mutant Watch campaign: "I thought that was very interesting. I was watching TV and that campaign came on. I was like....'Who the heck is running for what?' And I had to see the whole thing until I recognized Bruce! I thought it was quite good. Unbelievable, and so realistic."

    On special effects: "I've gone into the editing room and I saw some scenes being put together, and when I watched them, I got goosebumps."

    On wearing 4-inch lifts: "It made life interesting. They weren't heels really, but it was built up in the back and front. I wore them in special scenes except during actions and stunts. Then I wore stunt shoes."

  • Tom DeSanto, talking about the eclectic casting for the X-Men villains: "We surrounded Ian McKellen, the world's greatest Shakespearean actor, with a pro wrestler (Mane), a super model (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) and a stunt man (Ray Park). But each of them was perfect. I couldn't ask for a better group."

  • McKellen, who plays Magneto, has updated his site with information regarding his involvement with X-Men press, late-minute voice recording and other notes. Click here: http://www.mckellen.com/cinema/xmen/000621.htm for the posting.

    * An interview with Jackman will be included in the giveaway X-Men comic from ToysRUs. The interview was originally scheduled for X-Men Universe #9, which will now feature an interview with Mane.

    JURGENS TALKS MAXIMUM SECURITY

    Dan Jurgens told The Continuum that the Maximum Security event will have an impact on both of the Marvel Comics titles he writes, Captain America and Thor.

    "Cap #36 crosses over with Maximum Security as Cap finds himself dealing with the problems of aliens on Earth. He ends up crossing swords -- or shields! -- with Thor's and Captain Marvel's old foe ... Mercurio the 3-D man!

    "Thor's off planet with a group of Avengers and is unable to respond to the emergencies here, one of which is a dire fate which has befallen Hogun. As such, a surprise guest star, someone everyone's been waiting for, is forced to step in!"

    Captain America #36 and Thor #30 both ship in October.

    MARVEL KNIGHTS YEAR THREE?

    Joe Quesada told The Continuum that he hasn't decided if he will return for a third year of Marvel Knights.

    "Marvel has spoken to me about it but we haven't had a proper sit down as of yet," Quesada said. "Once that happens, then I'll have to kick back and see if it's what I want to do and if I feel I have something left to offer.

    "It's an all-consuming gig for me, life has to be pretty much put on hold. If I'm going to go about it and just hit cruise control, what fun would that be?

    "The idea of MK is to try to do it better than anyone out there! If at any given moment I feel like we're not achieving that, or at least trying to, then I'm escorting myself out the door."

    Jimmy Palmiotti, Quesada's partner on Event Comics and Marvel Knights, resigned this spring from the imprint. Quesada has also been writing Iron Man.

    The imprint's current titles include Daredevil, The Punisher, Marvel Knights, Sentry and Marvel Boy.

    BRERETON'S NOCTURNALS: TROLL BRIDGE

    Oni Press will be publishing the return of Dan Brereton's Nocturnals in October with a 48-page one-shot, Nocturnals: Troll Bridge.

    The special is written by Brereton and illustrated by several artists.

    "The story opens, naturally, on Halloween night, as Eve stumbles upon an ancient bridge that is home to a large troll," Brereton said. "Amongst his collection of junk is a mischievous supernatural relic, The Devil Lantern. When Eve foolishly listens to the evil toy's false promises, they cross the Troll Bridge and are hurled into another dimension. Adventures ensue as Halloween Girl hops from one spooky world to the next. Doc Horror and his Nocturnals follow behind, trying to catch up with Eve and bring her home."

    Each of these worlds is illustrated by a different artist, and each sequence is geared to that artist's particular talents. On board for the project are Stan Sakai, Bruce Timm, Ted Naifeh, Arthur Adams and Joyce Chin, Kieron Dwyer, John Heebink, Jay Stephens, Eric Jones, Adam Warren, Steve Purcell, Stephen DeStefano and Jill Thompson. In cases, a particular artist's own characters will make appearances, including cameos by Jingle Belle, Usagi Yojimbo and Little Gloomy, as well as a stop in the world of Scary Godmother.

    "We didn't want this to be just another excuse to get cool artists to draw Dan's characters," said Oni Press editor-in-chief Jamie S. Rich. "I mean, it is, but we wanted to have a story that gave us a reason to do this. And we figured if we were going to get all these different people to come over to Dan's sandbox, it only made sense to ask them to bring their toys with them. And since we're leaping from one world to another already, there was no reason we couldn't go to theirs."

    Jingle Belle, created by Paul Dini, has also been published by Oni.

    "Dan Brereton ran some ideas by me and we kicked a few gags back and forth," Dini told The Continuum. "Basically it's fun little cameo where Jing sort of encounters Halloween Girl on her trip over the North Pole."

    Troll Bridge will also have a holiday-themed art scheme-the issue will be printed in black, white, and orange. It will also feature a fully painted cover and a couple of interior art pages by Brereton.

    "This tale of tricks is our Halloween treat to the fans," Brereton said. "We wanted to make it as sweet as possible."

    Nocturnals: Troll Bridge will ship on Friday, Oct. 13 and will cost $4.95.



    BRIEFLY

  • Dark Horse is following up the release of the Big Guy watch in October with a Rusty the Boy Robot watch on Nov. 15. The watch will be limited to a numbered edition of 1,000 and will cost $49.95.

  • Chaos! Comics publisher Brian Pulido, talking about licensed books like Insane Clown Posse and the upcoming Halloween: "Entertainment comics have opened a lot of doors for publishers. We are now selling books and getting a lot of attention from high-profile retail outlets including Tower Records, Hot Topics, Warehouse Records and many others. This is good for us and good for the industry as a whole. We are seeing new audiences exposed to comics that wouldn't otherwise know about them and that's what it's going to take to grow in this industry."

  • Coming Tuesday: Marvel news - and much more!!!
    E-Mail the Continuum at roballs@aol.com



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