26 Nov, 2013
Batman Black & White #4 premieres on December 11th, and our very own G-Man spoke to our good friend David Macho Gomez, who wrote the uncharacteristically uplifting story of the Dark Knight, Even in the Darkest Moments.
Even in the Darkest Moments is a story of friendship and hope. What inspired this uplifting tale that takes place in the dark, unforgiving world of Batman’s Gotham City?
I am always a glass half full kind of guy, optimistic by nature, you could say. I guess Monty Python would put it like I “always look at the bright side of life”, but it’s true, I’m an idiotic idealist, I guess, and I really do believe that there’s always going to be somebody there for you, doesn’t matter if you are Batman, a pet, just a regular man with nothing left in your life but a pet mouse and a piece of stale bread. There is light after darkness, there is hope after despair. There has to be. So from that point of view, and with Gotham being so bleak, so sad, so dark, I wanted, needed to find the optimism, the hope, and it had to be showing that, even being in the worst situation, human beings can rise above the bad cards life has thrown their way, they can find a reason to leave and escape the horrible situations we can be a part of, and become, well, heroes…
You’re a well known talent agent that represents a number of comic book artists from Spain. How the heck were you able to decide who should illustrate this story?
Oh, but I didn’t! This doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with me repping artist, and it’s actually a funny story, because in a way, i didn’t pick this book, the book picked me.
Let me start from the beginning: a couple years ago I attended a Convention in Zaragoza (Spain) to see my guys Jesus Saiz and Javier Pina. Ruben Pellejero was also a guest at that Con. (As a side note, and for those of your readers who don’t know, Ruben is one of the best and most important comic-book artists in the world, and it’s really sad that not many American readers know his work, because they’re really missing a lot of masterpieces, from Dieter Lumpen to The Silence of Malka to many many others, but…). As I was saying, Ruben was a guest at that Con, and we got together for lunch one day. He mentioned he had an itch he had never been able to scratch, doing a story for American comics. Not superheroes, but maybe some vertigo stuff… I answered, joking “but you wouldn’t say no to Batman”, and he said “well, nobody says no to Batman”.
When I got back home to Barcelona, as I has promised Ruben, and as a friend, nothing else, I called Mark Chiarello and explained to him that conversation with Ruben, because I knew that he’s a big admirer of Ruben’s work (yes he did, he said “of course, the master”), and he immediately followed it with “Batman Black & White, 8 pages, back to his Dieter Lumpen style”, and BAM! The funny part, again, is that I had mentioned Batman to Ruben as a JOKE. I didn’t have a clue Chi was planning another BB&W series! Anyway, I told Chi I was going to call Ruben and let him know, and he told me “give me five minutes,” and then he came back and the conversation was something like this: “ok, you’re writing it” “no, I’m not!” “Yes you are” “nope, this is just a favor to Ruben, nothing else, i didn’t ask for this” “and that’s why you should shut up and take it. We liked your JL story, Dan has just approved it, take it”, so I just said “only if Ruben is ok, this is his story”, and Ruben, being the sweetheart he is, said yes. So, I’ve had the honor and privilege to write a story for one of the biggest comic masters in the world (ask Tim Sale or Chi if you don’t believe me) thanks to other really generous people, I guess. So again, i think this story picked me, I didn’t pick it, and I certainly didn’t pick the artist for it.
art by Ruben Pelljero
Batman is one of the great American cultural icons. How does it feel to write a story about a character of this stature?
Hmmmm… You’re right. Batman is more than a character, it’s an icon, an ideal, a symbol…, but honestly, I didn’t feel anything really different, because stories are, for me, about people, about their emotions, about the circumstances they have to go through, and Batman can embody all of them. He’s “that” character that can be a vehicle for any kind of story, and emotions: sadness, despair, hope, survival instinct. He will always find a way to win… But… what about those who surround Batman? Where are they in this equation? How would they react if Batman needed their help? Has Gotham become so bad people have forgotten their humanity? Or will they rise above it and be an example for all of us? And yes, there is a reason for our main character’s name to be Atticus, and another one for the name of his pet.
In the end, I guess, knowing that Batman can be so many thIngs, gave this almost newbie at writing some tranquility (and no, i don’t think I’m a writer because of two short stories, I haven’t earned those stripes yet, and it would be disrespectful to those who are real writers to call myself that).
art by Ruben Pelljero
art by Ruben Pelljero
Batman Black & White #4 will be available December 11th.