200 Words with Paul Dini #13 – “But when exactly?!?”

May 8, 2008

When we started our respective Bat-runs, Grant Morrison on Batman and me on Detective, having the books follow a strict interlocking continuity was never seriously discussed. In fact, with the exception of the recent Ra’s Al Ghul storyline, our stories have been independent of each other. Most fans have been cool with that, though some have approached me in confusion, wondering how the hell Bruce Wayne, who is currently romancing Jezebel Jett in Batman, could also be running around Gotham making time with both Zatanna and (soon) Catwoman in Detective. The obvious flip answer is, “He’s Batman, he’s good at that kind of thing.” Even when said with a smile, I was surprised to learn how unsatisfying that is to a fan trying to categorize every event in their hero’s life into a logical chronology. When pressed, I’ll say that in my mind my Detective stories are designed to take place around the same time as Grant’s stories in Batman, but it’s up for the reader to decide exactly when. If the fan presses me further, I look around for the first well-dressed shaven-headed young man I think could pass and say, “There’s Grant now. Ask him,” and run.


Paul Dini is the Emmy and Eisner Award winning writer of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Detective Comics, Countdown among many, many other things. You can find him online at either kingofbreakfast.livejournal.com or http://www.jinglebelle.com/.


  1. Makes sense.

    Said this on a forum before a few weeks back; I read Dini’s <i>Detective</i> run as occurring at some point in Batman’s life, but not exactly <u>now</u>.

    Often <i>Detective</i> feels as though it is taking place in the past. Whereas Morrison’s <I>Batman</I> seems to be the lead book right now in Batman continuity.

    I do like the done-in-one stories of <i>Detective</i>. However I read <I>Detective</i> only occasionally as I feel the book has become a "Batman Confidential"-like title. Not in quality, but in structure and the nebulous feeling of "It doesn’t matter until it does".

    Clearly, Morrison’s <i>Batman</i> is setting the tempo of the dance as far as the Bat-books are concerned. <i>Batman</i> is the superior work as well.

    Interesting frankness on Dini’s part in this article. 

  2. @Labor

    Well, it’s been affected by The Ressurection of Ras Al Ghul and his Zatanna budding romance has shown upin other books.

  3. @ SixGun

    Right, as I said; "the nebulous feeling of "It doesn’t matter until it does."

  4. Also.  Ugh @ the comment section formatting on IFanboy proper.

    Yeah, I know how to write HTML. Don’t offer help or tips. I don’t need it. This text editor is hella clunky. No two ways about it.    

  5. Yeah, I wouldn’t even begin to try and give you HTML advice man. You’re like some Oracle-esque webmaster no?

  6. That reminds me that I kinda "accidentally" dropped Detective one or two moths ago…Gotta get back on that, I remember that from Dinis was(is) good.

    Not as good as Morrisons, but still fun.

  7. I like both Detective and Batman.  Grant’s stories leave me confused sometimes where as Paul’s detective stories are a bit more straight forward.  The issue with Robin and Joker in the car was phenominal as well as the story with Zatanna and Joker.  Both titles have had ups and downs and when putting them all together, I think I’ve had equal enjoyment out of them.  It doesn’t bother me so much if they don’t seem to fit together, however, if after RIP, we get the change that Morrison is promising, and that change isn’t reflected in Detective, then we got a problem.

  8. Just keep writing great Batman stories, Mr Dini.  I don’t care when they take place. 

    Thanks for another fun 200 words.

  9. Note to Conor: Stay away from Dini’s table.

  10. I agree with Labor about Detecive and Batman. I just want good bat stoys and thats what iam geting. 

  11. I’m loving Detective and Batman right now; I don’t think that’s a conflict of interest.  It goes into the whole wide interpretations of Batman issue that’s been floating around as of late.  To try to define or categorize a definitive Batman just seems a little silly.

  12. Detective is one of my favorite books to read every month as of late.  Keep doing what you do. 

  13. I definitely prefer Dini’s Detective over Morrison’s Batman.  I dropeed Batman about six months ago because it just got too weird for me…in terms of what I want from a Batman title.  Which is fine, becuase Dini scratches that itch each month. 

    It still blows me away that people walk up to creators and ask them about continuity stuff.  I will never wrap my head around that one.

  14. I’m find with the loose continuity, as long as the big things are kept in sync, like who the Commissioner is. It only bothers me when there’s an obvious conflict.

  15. Indeed, Becca has the right of it here.

    One of the things so great about Batman is the character’s ability transcends genres. One can have the ninja-esque Batman, the detective Batman, the steampunk Btaman, the vampire Batman, etc. The character has shown a great deal of versatility over the years.

    Also, I think it was a smart move to have an easily digestible Batman book on the shelves every month in Detective. Done-in-ones are very low on commitment  and can appeal much more broadly to casual fans when given the mood for a succinct and well told Batman story. 

    The current Detective arc with Zatanna is excellent and the Ra’s Al Ghul epilogue was amazing.

    Nice to have options in my comic books.