Interview: Adam Beechen on Batman Beyond

In 1999, fans of DC's animated universe were exposed to a radically different vision of Batman, with the debut of the Batman Beyond animated series, featuring an all-new Batman; teenager Terry McGinnis, who fights crime in the year 2039 under the tutelage of the retired Bruce Wayne. The series ended in 2001, but due to popular demand, DC Comics is returning to the world of Batman Beyond in a 6-issue limited series that picks up where the animated series left off. At the reins is writer Adam Beechen, accompanied by artist Ryan Benjamin. I spoke with Beechen to learn more about his plans for the series… and beyond.


Matt Adler: This seems to be a pretty exciting time for Batman Beyond fans, with your upcoming miniseries, along with a Paul Levitz-written story in Superman/Batman. Why do you think all of this Batman Beyond action is happening now?

Adam Beechen: I think we all love to ponder the futures of our favorite heroes, and the recent Batman: RIP storyline certainly made a lot of us Bat-fans do that with the Dark Knight.  Batman Beyond is one take on that future that’s already been done, and is fondly remembered, so it seems a natural time to revisit it for longtime fans, and unveil it for readers who might not be familiar with the animated series.

MA: What made you want to take on this assignment?

AB: I was asked!  Being a fan of the original series, but never having had a chance to write for it, I jumped at the chance, the same way I did the Justice League Unlimited comic years ago.

MA: What are some of your favorite memories of the animated series?

AB: I will always remember the Return of the Joker movie.  It was a genuinely chilling animated movie…I don’t think an animated film had ever left me feeling that way before.  It was unpredictable, it pushed the envelope, and it was still totally on-key with the rest of the series.

MA: Do you feel your background in animation gives you an assist in bridging the gap between the animated series and the comics?

AB: Only in the sense that, because writing for animation is my business, I made it a point to watch the show (and boy, was I glad I did) because I always try to keep on top of what’s out there airing.  At the end of the day, no matter the format, I need to write what I think is a good story that will entertain anyone who decides to pick it up.

MA: Having been in both, what can you do in comics that you can't do with animation, and for that matter, vice versa?

AB: Two words: Unlimited budget.  In comics, you can draw one person in a panel or three hundred, and it will cost the same (although the artist will likely want to kill you).  In animation, drawing that same stuff takes a lot longer, takes more people, and costs a lot more money.  So, in comics, you can throw caution to the wind a bit more and really “go big.”  The big advantage animation has, of course, is motion.  You can see the characters moving, which brings you into the story at a different level, whereas in comics, all the motion is suggested between panels — which can have some dramatic benefits.

MA: Tell us a bit about Terry McGinnis. How does he contrast with Bruce Wayne?

AB: For me, the big difference is in their ages when they each became Batman.  Bruce essentially became Batman forever when his parents were killed, and he was very young.  That obsession took hold and never let go.  Terry came to it much later, with the same degree of commitment, but without the obsession.  Consequently, he feels a little more to me like someone I’d actually meet on the street, instead of a very extreme personality like Bruce.

MA: Where do we find Terry as this latest series starts? What does this story focus on?

AB: Terry’s entrenched in his role as Batman, with Bruce still serving as his backup and mentor.  Terry’s a little tired from the demands of his double life, but he’s hanging in there.  Bruce, if anything, wants more of a commitment from Terry, and that’s causing some friction between them.  Then a new killer who has deep ties to Batman’s past hits town, and everything gets crazy.

MA: What made you decide to keep this in continuity with the cartoon, rather than just starting with your own take?

AB: It was an editorial request to give the miniseries a link to the cartoon so that, if DC decided to draw the cartoon tighter into its mainstream continuity, it could do so.  I think we’ve come up with a story that does that.

MA: Are there any elements you'll be tweaking or modifying from the cartoon?

AB: Not intentionally, although I’m sure I’ll manage to accidentally get a detail or two wrong along the way, and ever-helpful readers will be there to point it out!

MA: You've said the two-word title of this arc will tell us what it's all about; can you give any clues as to what those two words may be? Perhaps the initials?

AB: Nope.  Sorry.

MA: What is the Gotham of the future like?

AB: Still dark, still grim, still gritty, but more sterile.  If anything, it’s a colder place than before — not physically, but emotionally.  The technology of the future hasn’t made the world easier, it’s put everyone at more of a remove from each other…and it’s opened up new doors for criminals to step through.

MA: Are you familiar with artist Ryan Benjamin's work? What do you like most about it?

AB: I LOVE Ryan’s work and have for a long time.  The energy he brings to panels and pages is fantastic.  When things are moving quickly, action leaps off the page, and in quieter moments, his art sucks you right in.

MA: I've heard you will be making an effort to tie the Batman Beyond universe in with current continuity; any hints on how you'll do that? And do you think there's a difficulty in making future stories "count" with the fans?

AB: We’ll be name-checking a lot of stuff from current continuity, and our story has to do directly with Batman’s comic book past.  And making this story “count” was never a problem because, once we had the basic idea, there was never any doubt it was going to “count” for both fans of the books and the cartoons.

MA: Will any of the revelations from the Justice League Unlimited episode Epilogue factor in here?

AB: Our story takes place before Epilogue, but some of the things we learned in that episode may be seeded in our miniseries, yes.

MA: Is it tough to write a story like this, where you're bound by somebody else's defining run on the characters and their world?

AB: I don’t find it tough…At least you know where the walls are, if you will.  Your job is to tell the best story you can within a certain set of parameters.  It’s a fun challenge.

MA: What audience will you be aiming at with this miniseries? Will this be a "G-rated" story? PG-13?

AB: Most definitely PG-13.  Most definitely.

MA: Have you talked about going beyond (pardon the pun) this miniseries?

AB: I’ve thought about it, although there haven’t been any talks.  I have a number of ideas where the story could go after the miniseries ends.

MA: Do you think there's a chance the animated series could be resurrected? If so, would you want to write for it?

AB: I haven’t heard any rumblings about reviving the series, although that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been discussed somewhere.  I’d love to see it happen…and I’d give my left Batarang to write for it.


Third time's the charm. Feel free to email Matt Adler with comments, questions, concerns, etc.


  1. Awesome interview, I am very much looking forward to this series, Batman Beyond is one of the best cartoons every created and I’m glad to hear that this comic will work within that continuity. 

  2. Cannot wait.

  3. I really do want this series to return to the cartoon world.  I don’t recall if it was the higher-ups that said the series is done or if the writers just ran out of stories, but I personally thought there was more to tap into with that series.  I’ll take the books for now – sure it will be worth it.

  4. I’m excited.  Batman Beyond is a property oozing with potential.  This answer "Our story takes place before Epilogue, but some of the things we learned in that episode may be seeded in our miniseries, yes." is very exciting.

    @conor – You better hurry up and watch Justice League Unlimited, so you don’t get this episode (one of my favorites) spoiled for you. 

  5. As a fan of the DCAU this series it’s perfect for me.

  6. OMG I want this mini-series out now! I can not wait!!! Does anybody know when this is suppose to come out like later this year? Or next?

  7. @stuclach: Hurm.

  8. Sooo stoked. 

  9. Yes, more Batman Beyond.

    @stuclach: I agree and I want to watch those episodes again. Maybe I can find them on the net somewhere.

  10. @JesTr – I have them on DVD.  I may have to watch Epilogue tonight (after I watch this new South Park everyone is so hot and bothered about).

    @conor – Indeed. 

  11. @conor: @stuclach is right. Not only do you need to see that before reading this series. But in general it is an amazing episode. A nice, touching finale to Batman Beyond and even for Batman the Animated Series.

  12. To this day I have not watched the episodes in sequential order, so alot of the Unlimited references take a long while to kick in. Still though I’m so pumped for this my only real worry is the story going nowhere. I hope he stays true to the animated series.

  13. Is that the 2039 Superman? I assume that’s from Levitz’s story. Have we seen him before? I watched the entire Beyond series when it was on TV, but I don’t recall that Superman. Love the image though. Even if his costume looks a bit too Black Lantern.

  14. @SpiderTitan: It comes out in June (full solicit info in the "6-issue limited series" link above).

    @WheelHands: Yeah, the future Justice League appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episodes that crossed over with Batman Beyond. More info (and links) in the link to the Epilogue episode above.

    And here’s a pretty cool picture of that future Justice League that Brian Stelfreeze drew for Wizard:

  15. Is the 3rd picture an office image from the 6 issue run? I’d love me some future superman

  16. @MattAdler Oh wow awesome can’t wait!!! Now I got the show’s theme song stuck in my head, which btw it is an awesome theme song for any show!

  17. @Gramercy: That 3rd pic is the cover of the upcoming Superman/Batman Annual by Paul Levitz (more info in the "Paul Levitz-written story" link above).

  18. I loved Batman Beyond and the JLU episode "Epilouge" just might be my favorite of the whole series. I will be picking this up. My fav character from the series was Curare. I enjoyed her because after her failure instead of being killed by the league of Assassains she goes on the obliterate their entire organization.

  19. @MattAdler: Thanks man. That’s cool. I caught a lot of JLU, but never did see that Batman Beyond epsiode unfortunately. Lookin forward to it.