TINY UPDATE 11/15: Good Night, Gotham City

“Tiny Update” is a weekly free newsletter that keeps you up to date on the latest news, comic book projects and merchandise offerings from James Tynion IV and Tiny Onion Studios.

A happy Monday to you all! One more update from Greg as James is returning from Thought Bubble as we speak!

It’s an exciting week in the Tiny Onion Studio as the last regular issue of James’s BATMAN run with Jorge Jimenez is in stores tomorrow!

He wanted to share some words with you all in a special BATMANNERY this week…

Hey Friends!

James here, writing from the train back to London from Harrogate after an incredible weekend at Thought Bubble. I’m sure I’ll have a full post-trip write-up after I’m back home (flying back on Friday), but this is a big week that I didn’t want to let slip by without you all hearing a few words directly from me.

This week sees my last issue of the main Batman series, issue #117, in stores. I still have the Batman Annual, and the Fear State Omega one-shot to come, and I’m on Joker through April… But the main Batman title was the mothership. The book I spent nearly ten years working toward, and the one I’ve spent a long two years shepherding alongside some of the top artists of the industry. I’m going to be writing up a full Post-Mortem about my time in Gotham City over the next few weeks to wrap up my THINKING BAT THOUGHTS feature here in my newsletter, with everything I learned in my time in Gotham City, and some thoughts on the priorities I hope I see embodied in the central continuity flagship Bat-Title in the future.

But for the moment, I want to say farewell to a few collaborators who I would not have been able to do any of this work without. First, I want to thank the legendary Jorge Jimenez. I’ve written over in my Thinking Bat Thoughts columns about the impact seeing the designs of Punchline and The Designer completely rewired my brain and rewrote the course of my Batman run. Jorge is a superstar, one of the most dynamic artists and character designers in the comics industry, and it has been one of the great pleasures of my career that I get to be a small footnote in what I am absolutely certain is going to be a long and celebrated career. I want to buy t-shirts and action figures and statues based on his work, and I’ll be reading anything and everything he does long into the future. These last few months of doubleship were a beast, but Jorge rose to the challenge, hitting every emotional peak and valley we needed out of our story together. I’m so damn proud of all of our comic book children, Punchline, The Designer, Clownhunter, Ghost-Maker, Peacekeeper-01, Miracle Molly, Simon Saint, and more. My goal from the start of my run was to try and pull Gotham City further into the future than the mainline had ever been allowed to go before, and I’m so incredibly proud that Jorge was my partner in doing that. I’m going to miss seeing his art in my inbox every week.

I also want to say thank you to Guillem March, who dove headfirst into this run at the very beginning, working like the powerhouse he was to get the book back on schedule at the close of 2019 and the top of 2020, and then launching the blockbuster JOKER title with me earlier this year. Guillem has been one of my favorite artists working in Superhero comics since I first found his work on Gotham City Sirens. Guillem had to step off the JOKER title last month, but I’ve got a few more pages with him to come in the Fear State Omega issue (A bit of a Gotham City Sirens reunion for him). I finally, after a decade of working together on and off, had a chance to meet him this weekend in Harrogate. A real highlight of an excellent weekend.

Next, I want to thank Tomeu Morey, the colorist who has helped define what Gotham City looks like in this era, working in perfect synch with each of the incredible artists on this run. I also want to thank Clayton Cowles, who in this past year, in particular, helped capture the kinetic energy of the art and color and pull it into the letters themselves, and managed to help me create the Bat-Grawlix of my heart and dreams. His approach to Scarecrow in particular has helped define the whole Cowardly Lot/Fear State storyline. I want to thank the Editors of the book, Ben Abernathy and Dave Wielgosz, who got behind a pretty radical shift away from what people expect out of a monthly Batman comic and helped take the ideas behind that book to bolster what I genuinely believe is the best line up of Batman Family titles to ever hit the stands. I’m incredibly excited to see where the whole line goes from here. I’ve heard some small portion of the epic plans they have in store for all of you, and they are something special.

And finally, I want to thank YOU – the readers and the retailers. Without your support, I never would have been able to do ANY of this. Thank you for letting me drive the Bat-Mobile these last few years. I’m incredibly excited to join you in the ranks of the Bat-Fans once again, eagerly reading each issue telling the stories of the best characters in any superhero universe, month in and month out.

BATMAN #117

W: James Tynion IV / A: Jorge Jimenez / C: Tomeu Morey / L: Clayton Cowles / Cover A: Jorge Jimenez + Tomeu Morey / Cover B: Jorge Molina / 1:25 Variant: Rose Besch / AE: David Wielgosz / E: Ben Abernathy

FEAR STATE, CONCLUSION

As the full scope of the Scarecrow’s plans is revealed, a bloodied Dark Knight fights for his life, and all the lives in Gotham City, against an unrelenting, unstoppable opponent. The shocking conclusion to “Fear State” is here…Will Batman ever be the same? 

Includes BATGIRLS, PART THREE

W: Becky Cloonan + Michael Conrad / A: Jorge Corona / C: Sarah Stern

After what happened in the Magistrate’s Skybase-01, nowhere is safe, and the Batgirls hide out in a hotel room until Babs arrives offering a plan for their future. Seer, the “Anti-Oracle,” is revealed here! And who they are will make you question everything you see moving forward in Gotham…

BATMAN SECRET FILES: THE GARDENER #1

W: James Tynion IV / A + Cover: Christian Ward / Cover B: Ejikure / 1:25 Variant: Christian Ward / AE: David Wielgosz / E: Ben Abernathy

She is shrouded in mystery, her motives a secret, and one cannot help but ask: Who is Bella Garten, a.k.a. the Gardener, really? Green-thumbed storytellers James Tynion IV and Christian Ward dig deep into her past and unearth the secret origin of the latest addition to Batman’s rogues gallery. Learn not only how Bella Garten came to know Pamela Isley, but how she was integral to the origin of the woman who would one day be known to all as “Poison Ivy.”

James here again! Just wanted to give this issue a special shout-out. Christian and I have been talking about doing this comic for almost a year now, a bit of a love letter to Black Orchid and Swamp Thing, that tells the back-story of The Gardener and helps re-center the backstory of Poison Ivy, a character who has been pulled in many directions over the years. The issue actually takes place before the events of the Everybody Loves Ivy storyline a few years back, and helps connect some continuity dots I’ve been wanting to connect for a long, long time. We had an absolute blast making the book, which I hope helps lay the track for many future stories for Bella Garten in the future of Gotham City and the DC Universe.

And now with it done, maybe Christian and I can start talking in earnest about ANOTHER idea we’ve been chatting about in earnest in the background of the last year…

Greg, again! I wanted to recommend something this week but all my reading has been work-related… but my TV time has been delightfully surprising…

Have you watched AQUAMAN: KING OF ATLANTIS animated series on HBO Max yet?! I did this weekend and holy heck it was a wonderful ride.

My confession: Aquaman is my all-time favorite hero in the DCU. I imprinted on him early from the Super Friends cartoon and tie-in toys. But ever since the Peter David/Martin Egeland/Jim Calafiore run in the 90s, I’ve seen so much potential in the characters and world. I have parts of that run memorized. THE ATLANTIS CHRONICLES by Peter David & Esteban Maroto and TEMPEST by Phil Jimenez are also from that time period and all-time favorites.

This animated series (3 hour-long episodes interconnect into one epic story) completely understands AQUAMAN in terms of scale and imagination. The tone is Adventure Time/Ren & Stimpy/Gravity Falls… the animation is just gorgeous in terms of how hard these artists pushed themselves into creating magic and how much fun it looks like they are having.

I would highly recommend this series for geeky families (or geeky adults) who like superhero stories like INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE or the recent relaunches of SHE-RA and HE-MAN on Netflix.

Everyone is talking about SUCCESSION on Monday but leave it to your other cousin Greg to talk about a completely different battle for the throne!

The schedule here should be returning to normal by the end of the week! James is en route home from Thought Bubble and Friday’s BLUE BOOK post will be a return to your regular scheduled Betty & Barney Hill postings with Chapter 4 of that story!

Until we speak again, thank you for all your patience with me this past week and all the great comments! I will continue to lurk and “like” there!

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Thanks for all your support!

Greg Lockard
The Editorial Cave
11.15.21