The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin

Posted by invizweb on May 23, 2009

The following is from an interview conducted by Dan Phillips with Grant Morrison for IGN:

The man who “killed” Bruce Wayne discusses the new Dark Knight and Boy Wonder along with his plans to create new Gotham-based villains…

IGN Comics: You described Batman RIP as Batman fighting the greatest evil he’s ever come up against. How would you describe the “tagline,” so to speak, for Batman and Robin and ‘Batman Reborn?’

Morrison: Basically, I suppose it’s ‘Can the a whole new Batman and Robin team cut it in the wild world of Gotham City 21st century?’. The only way I can explain the tone is that I had this idea of recapitulating the television show in a certain way. I wanted to do something different with that kind of format – the short, punchy serial format. Because obviously I looked at a lot of the Batman fifties stories when I was doing RIP and the stuff leading up to it. I’ve kind of always had this notion of looking at the dark and dusty corners of any character. If there’s a long running character, there are almost always certain parts of their history that no one wants to talk about because everyone’s embarrassed by it.

So with Batman, there’s that kind of fifties era with weird modernist aliens and paranoid stories where Robin’s constantly breaking down in tears because he thinks Batman is going to leave him. That era was something that people didn’t like at all because it obviously just did not fit the tone of modern stories. That was a time in the fifties when the comics code stopped Batman from being able to fight crime or deal with anything realistic at all. Those stories really didn’t fit the character, but I tried to bring them back in and give them a new slant and freshen them up. Because it was an area of inspiration that nobody had really gone to. It was kind of an untapped well.

So with Batman and Robin, it was the same thing. I was thinking of what other aspects of Batman are completely out of favor – that people tend to hate and don’t seem to work anymore. The Batman 60s TV show was one of those. Obviously it was camp and a product of its time. But when I was a kid I thought it was really serious. [laughs] So I wanted to take some of that bizarre, psychedelic feel. I wanted to take the idea of very short, punchy stories that just kind of existed on their own terms. Rather than Batman RIP, which was a big, epic story that had a lot of secret subtext and hidden meanings and stuff, these are just crazy stories that are pretty upfront.

It was taking that aspect of the Batman TV show and then trying it in with David Lynch and Twin Peaks. [laughs] And creepy European cartoons and marionettes and stuff like that. That bad dreamlike feeling of a Marilyn Manson video in the ’90s, or like Chris Cunningham’s video for ‘Windowlicker’. [laughs] Again, it was about trying to fuse those two things together into a bad trip, Lewis Carroll kind of world. I realize I give a massive, long answer every time we speak, Dan. But that was kind of what obsessed me about Batman and Robin going into it – to take these weird elements and marry them together to see what we could get.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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