Batman He’s Not

You ever play: What comic book would I write if I suddenly got picked up as a new author by a comic book publisher? I confess—I play that game all the time!

Admittedly, I’m a novelist, not a comic writer. But I’ve had collegiate level script writing classes and have read so many comics, I’m fairly confident I’d give a good showing in comics if I got the chance.

The idea here is that you can pick any comics company you want: DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, etc. And any character already on their roster. I don’t really go in for “new” characters because that’s just an exercise in character creation. With this, you’re acting as Garth Ennis being brought on to Marvel. When they say “We’d love to sign you,” you come back with “OK. But only if I get to write a Punisher book for as long as I enjoy it and keep it profitable enough.”

So what’s mine? Well, it changes from week to week. Currently, I’m thinking The Agent of the Bat. That’s actually one I often jump back to. Who the heck’s The Agent of the Bat, you ask (or maybe you don’t because you’re just that cool). He’s Jean Paul Valley, best known as Azrael and the early 90s Batman. Jean Paul temporarily replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman after Bane broke Bruce’s back and about 60-70 issues into his solo book as Azrael, Jean Paul put back on a costume closer to his early 90s Batman suit. At that point DC added the subtitle to the Azrael book The Agent of the Bat. That’s the character I’d resurrect.

I always felt that Jean Paul Valley’s Batman didn’t get nearly a full enough run just being Batman. As Batman, Jean Paul was only really a pawn in the Knightfall story. But the idea of a Batman who truly loses himself to the demon, who armors himself to the teeth, and who is a little super-powered kinda works for me. I’d like to see where that could go. And Valley’s so opposite Bruce. Bruce’s personal backstory is his whole character. Valley’s backstory doesn’t really involve Valley at all. That’s a cool split that I’d have a ton of fun playing with. Plus all the little Templar and occult references are right up my alley.

How about you? Who would you pick?

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