Grant Morrison on Batman Inc.

Grant Morrison spoke to the LA Times Hero Complex blog about the next phase in his Batman epoch.  We spoke to him about some of the changes in store in San Diego, but he goes further in depth here, and there's a look at some of the David Finch art in the upcoming Batman: The Return.

I'm gonna go ahead and get this out of the way right up front. David Finch put the yellow back in the bat symbol, bringing the design further away from Batman: Year One, and if I'm honest, closer in line to Michael Keaton.

The thrust of the conversation is about the upcoming state change happening in Batman books, as Bruce Wayne returns from being lost in time, and decides to implement "Batman Inc." where he, more or less, franchises out the Batman brand around the world, to heroes like Knight and Squire and El Gaucho. I have no doubt in my mind that fans will take a little time to get used to the idea that things are going to be very different than they remember them.  I imagine a very split fanbase, but I also imagine some very unique stories to come out of Gotham.

Morrison talks about the wide range of possibilities there are with a character like Batman: "It's really weird. Batman can take anything. You can do comedy Batman, you can do gay Batman…it all works. It something intrinsic to the character. It 's so strange and amazing."

He clears up a little of what is in store for Batman, once he begins to franchise around the world to other heroes. "The second team-up is Batman with El Gaucho, the Argentinian hero. So here's these super macho guys, these alpha males, and the Gaucho isn't sure he wants to wear that bat symbol, He doesn't always agree with Batman but he does agree with his principles and ideals. He agrees with the mission but not the branding. That's what it's all about: Branding."

To fans worried about the changes, Morrison responds. "Nothing I've done with Batman is so shockingthat it hasn't been seen before. I've tried to tell fans: 'Don't worry about time travel, he's done it before, we're just going to see it in more conventional, more down-to-earth way." Don't worry about the aspects of this stuff, we're re-drawing aspects of Batman's history all the time. He had team-ups before and… his is a lot like "Batman Family," I suppose, except the family is very extended in this case and it's global.  I tell people not to worry. Batman can take it. He'd done it before."

Plus, as I said, there's that yellow bit back again.  Now comes the part when people discuss whether that's important in any way or not.


  1. Wow, that’s a really interesting concept.  Not sure if I like it or not, but it’s got potential.

  2. I will read anything Grant Morrison does with Batman. It doesn’t matter what the details are.

  3. For me Morrison has been doing amazing batman work, it’s not 100% great, but it’s all been interesting and I love seeing my favorite character being used in different and fascinating ways. I think when Morrison is done (whenever that is) with Batman, we’ll have a great big story to look at, a giant tome of great Batman stories. And for anyone that doesn’t enjoy what Morrison has been doing with Batman, that’s more then fair, but there’s always Batman confidential or Superman/Batman to get your fix of old school non Morrison bats. 

  4. I’m very interested in seeing where Morrison takes the "Batman Inc." idea. If there are several Batmans around the world, will there be several Robins? I’m assuming that Dick and Damian will also stay as Batman & Robin after Bruce’s return to the bat mantle. I think that will create a odd but compelling dynamic.

  5. I can’t wait to see how fans respond to Morrison’s three-issue Elsewords arc of "Gay Batman".

  6. Awesome. I can’t wait for this.

  7. I am so on board with this. I know he just came up with the idea recently, but if you look at Morrison’s run, this Batman Inc. idea fits right in line with what he was doing pre-RIP with the Club of Heroes. I’m optimistic about it, as I’m one of those fanboys who responds to someone like Grant Morrison saying "Don’t worry about it." with a hearty "Sure thing."

    I guess I’ll be the first to comment on it. The yellow symbol doesn’t really bother me. If anything it is the most iconic symbol to date. Since Batman Inc. is all about the "brand", this change makes sense as it’s the most recognized version. What does annoy me a tad is the symbol on the belt-buckle. This has always seemed redundant to me, and just a bit too Wade from US Acres for my taste.

  8. @WheelHands: But how we’ll we tell who’s belt it is when a villain strips him of it? j/k

  9. Remind me a lot of the Gary Frank design shown in the Batman Earth One images.

  10. @JesTr: Alfred writes his name on the inside with a Sharpee.

  11. Wow. They’ve been doing lots of different stuff with David Finch’s art. On some covers he’s looking painterly-esque and on others he’s looking like he did at Marvel. But here he looks similar in style to Jock. I think I like this Finch the best.

    I really like Morrison’s concept. I just wonder if I’m going to have the money for all these Batman books later this year. I’m so used to just having one. 

  12. So…I haven’t liked much of Morrison’s recent Batman writing, but the long term concept he’s working on is fantastic.  I really wish DC would name him the editor of the Batman line, and have him farm out the actual issue to issue work to other writers.

  13. Imagine if comedy Batman and gay Batman would meet in a coffee.  Obviously comedy Batman would just tell comedy Robin "not that there’s anything wrong it" over and over again.  Then he would meet a girl named Mulva.

  14. I imagine ‘gay Batman’ would just be a giant middle finger to everyone that didn’t pick up Detective Comics with Batwoman.  It would be part of DC’s secret gay agenda, an agenda so secret not even they know about it.

    On a more serious note I was never really impressed by Knight and Squire, El Gaucho seemed cool but that was more because Sombrero (That was his name right?) was a pretty awesome villian.  Will still pick it up though. 

  15. It looks like Bruce is going to have a different costume.  I don’t know if its the colors or if its purposeful, but it looks like he’ll have pants on and they will be a darker color.  Maybe a bit more commando?  Who knows?

    I’m interested in the series, but if Grant Morrison does some crazy shit I don’t agree with, I’ll keep in mind that no matter what, someone will come in and fix it.

  16. I can’t stand this guy.

    Am I the only one who has hated everything Morrison has done in the last few years? 

  17. I’m not sure I’d describe it as Keaton–in fact, from the other image posted on Hero Complex, it looks more like the costume from Arkham Asylum if you add the oval and remove the trunks.

    Like with Dick’s Batman costume, the symbol on both the chest and the belt buckle seems a little redundant, but otherwise, I can dig it.

    Overall, I’m really interested to see where Morrison’s taking the Bat-verse next–he’s probably doing one of, if not the greatest run of Batman that I have ever seen during my lifetime. 😀 

  18. I’ve hated Finch’s work until he moved over to DC and started doing covers there. Very odd. His paintings have been tremendous.

    Who’s the artist going to be again? Yanick Paquette, right? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen nothing he’s done. Any good?

  19. I’m giddy to see that costume again. I love the yellow Batman logo.

    Also, if this series is just an excuse to get the ‘League of Batmen’ back together then I won’t complain. 

  20. If DC is brave enough I’d love to see them totally redesign the Superman costume.

  21. There’s nothing to debate about here.  Long as the story is good and characters grow and develop, I’m on board with it like I am with any other book that follows these same guidelines.

  22. In Grant We Trust.

  23. This sounds like it provides a framework that is ripe for a VERY wide variety of interesting stories.  I don’t care what color Batman’s chest is if the story is as interesting as I expect these to be.

  24. For me, I’ve read, what… 30 years of dark, gritty, street level Batman? Something like that. I’ve seen the Batman concept played out in everything from Frank Miller to Tim Burton and beyond. Thus, to find fresh paths for the icon — I am all in favor of bending the concepts as far as you can take them.  I am all in favor of Morrison running wild with the franchise and taking it into places that people think he shouldn’t.

    I didn’t care for RIP for specific storytelling reasons, but the time travel mini-series and the Dick & Damian stuff have been VERY good, and I’m actually really looking forward to seeing what he does with "Inc."

  25. Once again @daccampo has said exactly what I tried to say in a MUCH more eloquent manner.  Thank you, sir.

  26. He got me interested when he said "branding".

  27. I like the yellow and think this could certainly open the door to some really cool stories.  I’d love to see the Batman of the South.  

  28. I don’t mind, I prefer the non yellow bat symbol, but hey you live with what they give you. Granted artists will draw it differently, but the belt seems a tad overkill.

    On the concept of Batman INC, I like it. It goes into the character’s convept of a war on crime, him not just branding, but creating his own soldiers. And that can create conflict with other heroes, or even within his own ranks. And Bruce is a pretty stern taskmaster. 

  29. Batman’s been extending his brand for years in Gotham with his Bat Family Army. Now he’s taking it global. It’s a logical extension of where the character has been for, like, 20 years. I’m looking forward to it.

  30. I’m fairly sure that logo predates the Keaton movie by at least a decade beyond that I’m allways excited by what Morrison brings to the Batverse

  31. @wulfstone: It’s not the yellow oval that recall’s Michael Keaton’s costume, it’s that it’s raised off the chest on a plate.

  32. @conor tbh I suppose tho tbh I’m not a fan of that style looks too much like one of those clocks Flavor Flav used to wear

  33. At this point, I just wonder about what Scott snyder’s gonna do with detective

  34. So is this raised yellow bat symbol plate thing going to be one of those old school "shoot here cause is Kevlar" kinda things? It would be cool if there was some sort of defensive weapon inside of that plate since its raised off the chest. 

    I’m slowly coming around on Morrison. I read the first HC Trade of Batman and Robin and loved it. 

    I’m down for a franchised out International House of Batman as long as he gets a series of catchy commercials like Subway or McDonalds.

  35. Also I just want to quickly say I think the yellow symbol is back kind of as a marketing tool for Batman in Batman Inc and yes also a focal point of where he’d like to be shot if it must happen.

  36. It will be an interesting extension of the "bat-family," but at the end of day there’s only one true Batman. I’m not sure if I’ll be staying on the book if all about the "branding"

  37. @kahones: Well, I doubt there are going to be a lot of scenes featuring marketing meetings.

  38. @Conor: If you’re right, I’m less interested.

  39. @JumpingJupiter Holy shit, Don Draper really is Batman!

  40. @HEROVILLE:My money was on Saul Bass. 🙁

  41. @jumping–would love to see Black Lantern Paul Rand design the new Bat Franchise logo. "Here’s your damned freak show logo…1 million dollars or i’ll eat your soul!"

  42. @Wally: Hahaha! Good one!

  43. So it looks like they’re making Gary Franks Earth One Batman costume the canon costume. Anyone suspect Geoff Johns, with his new position, used his influence on this?

    And Im glad the yellow emblem is back, call me nostalgic but its always been my favorite look, on Batman and am glad they’ve brought it back. Not too crazy about that belt though.

  44. I gotta second incredibledave about the similarities to EarthOne, but other than that I am loving the redesign (maybe because Dick’s batman costume wasnt really much of a redesign, so I still get to see that suit around the DC universe)! I grew up with Michael Keaton and Batman TAS so I always thought of Batman with the yellow oval. I’m also digging the all grey batsuit, kinda reminiscent of howard porter in morrison’s JLA. This batsuit actually looks a little more realistic to me. Its not entirely new, its just recombininb old designs in a new way. Hope DC builds on this stuff after Morrison leaves the batfamily (unlike Marvel House of M-ing all that Morrison did in New X-Men). Lastly, I’m pretty sure I would kill to see Frank Quitely’s version of this suit…

  45. Mexican Batman? Hee hee. Im there.

  46. That’s a pretty out there concept. I’ll certainly be giving it a go. Colour me curious.

  47. I understand what he’s doing, but I have to ask the question:  Is Diedrich Bader doing the voice during Batman Inc.??  Oh wait.  It’s a book, not a cartoon.  Sounded kinda like a mix of old school, camp, and multi-dimensional…..Wasn’t that Brave and the Bold???  I don’t expect NPH to do a musical number, but I do have to ask the question.

  48. @marshark75 Ask her what?

  49. sounds like more Bat books just with Bruce pulling strings behind the scenes? I would rather have him on the front lines…..will wait and see about this


  50. I love the idea of Bruce and Dick being Batman at the same time, as Dick has proven himself to be a competent Batman. It serves those who wants Dick to remain Batman and the rest who wants Bruce to reclaim the mantle, everyone wins. But I don’t really want to see anyone else wear the cowl, if that’s what’s going to happen here.

  51. It has the potential to take Batman back to his quasi-legendary roots. Creature of the night. Is hye human? How can he be all over the world at once?

    This angle could be cool.

  52. Theres another Finch pin up of the costume out there on the interwebs in that one it reminds me of the Arkham Asylum costume

  53. Nooo!! not the tacky yellow symbol!! Also, two symbols on one costume? Why not slap one on the back of his cape, top of his boots, shoulders and forehead!

    I love the understated but powerful bi, black bat spread across the chest (jim lee). This could have been a great opportunity to bring batman up to date with a great functional looking armor, suit comb…kinda like Paul Pope’s renditions, but with just a little less of a home-made look.


    Oh well, it probably won’t last long anyway, another artist will probably change it up on their run.

  54. The costume doesn’t really bother me and I don’t know how anyone can tell what it will look like as the above pic is so covered in shadow. I do however wish if they were going so similar to Gary Frank’s OGN design they would have just used that exact suit because it may be my favorite ever.

  55. I feel like this could wind up being an intriguingly meta piece of work, given Morrison’s emphasis on the "branding" concept.  Looking forward to it.

  56. @dirtyharry2030 What makes the yellow symbol "tacky"? There’s nothing wrong with it people just don’t like the association with the 60s show

  57. yes to anything morrison does with Batman, it’s bound to be interesting.

    no to the yellow on the costume…why would he wear yellow, what’s the reasoning behind that? it’s gunna be tricky hiding in the shadows with a massive yellow target on your chest. plus, yeah it reminds me of the michael keaton look, which i’m not a huge fan of, looks kinda dated.

  58. @GloriousGodfrey the whole point of the yellow is that its a huge target.  It supposed to direct fire to his most reinforced spot on his costume.  Hell realistically speaking if he’s all about hiding in the shadows why does he bother to have symbol in the first place? The whole rest of the costume does a good enough job of selling the bat motif.

  59. Wow. This is just bad. Batman Inc? "Branding"? I just don’t see this as Batman, Booster Gold sure, not Batman.

  60. @CaptainSweatpants: Batman’s a business man, always has been. And a successful one.

  61. ^Heh. Yeah, I mean Bat-branding is pretty damn sensible. Just look at how successful the Batman brand has been in the real world! And, really, when you think about it this is just an updating of the "Batman Family" title. To be honest, though, I don’t particularly like the name "Batman INC." I don’t like "inc." in titles. But the concept? Makes total sense. (And there will still be PLENTY of Batman solo titles, for people who want that. Just like there have been plenty of new Bruce-as-Batman stories over the past two years. DC caters to everyone.)

  62. @heroville…

    oh yeah, i’ve heard that explanation somewhere before, … oh wait is that in DKR?

    still, i dunno, yellow doesn’t sit right with me. i’ve always like the black and grey golden age style.

  63. Seems to me that Batman should expand into the United States first before going global.


  64. @GloriousGodfrey The Golden Age costume also had him wearing short purple gloves

  65. purple gloves – whaat?

     sorry – i meant really early batman, as in first appearance style with the over-sized point ears!


    here’s a not altogether unrelated, and probably quite stupid question – …Batman was originally designed as wearing black and grey right? but actually in the comics they use a lot of blue on his cape – is this because they didn’t like having lots of black because comics were all about lots of colour or it was hard to draw/print or something – so like superman has black hair – but in the comics it’s like he has blue hair, but you ‘read’ it as black…OR is it that batman has a blue cape?I mean come the 60s and 70s it’s literally blue. and then it goes back to being black again in like the 80s…?

    so what colour was it originally meant to be?

    this is probably really basic, and i feel stupid for asking, but hey you never know if you don’t ask, right?  i’ll shut up now.

  66. @GloriousGodfrey: Blue was used to highlight the color black in the old printing days. It’s possible that Batman was originally meant to be black and gray but with the highlights he became blue and gray. I’m not sure, I havent’ seen any interviews about it. The only way to really know is to ask the people who were the originally. For instance, we know that Spider-Man’s costume was supposed to be red and black but, again, the blue highlights turned it into red and blue in the public consciousness and thus it became red and blue.

  67. ahh..! i thought it might be something like that.

    Thanks for the speedy reply there, sir.