DC Comics pre­pares for new Bat­man as Bruce Wayne hangs up his cape

The China Post - - ARTS - BY JESSE J. HOL­LAND

Move over, Bruce Wayne: There’s go­ing to be a new Bat­man fight­ing crime in Gotham City for DC Comics, and in­stead of a cape, he’ll wear a man­gastyle suit of ar­mor.

The cre­ators of Bat­man are de­thron­ing Wayne and bring­ing in a new Dark Knight as DC Comics be­gins to gear up for the an­nual Free Comic Book Day giveaways.

Au­thor Scott Sny­der and artist Greg Ca­pullo won’t say who will be un­der the ar­mored cowl in Bat­man #41 — the cape is also re­tired along with Bruce Wayne — but say this is one of those sto­ries that “changes all the pieces on the ta­ble.”

“The char­ac­ter we’re putting un­der the cowl never ex­pected it, never saw it com­ing and never set out to be Bat­man,” Sny­der said. “It comes out of left field, and he re­al­izes that he’s the only one that can make it make sense.”

Wayne ends his run as Bat­man fol­low­ing a cli­mac­tic battle with his arch­en­emy the Joker in the ap­pro­pri­ately named sto­ry­line “Endgame,” but it doesn’t mean he’s gone for good, said Sny­der (he has re­lin­quished his role as Bat­man at least twice be­fore).

“He might not be un­der the cowl when the story starts but his pres­ence will be a big part of the story and shape it,” Sny­der said.

Bat­man is one of the most en­dur­ing comic book su­per­heroes, star of a long- run­ning comic book, tele­vi­sion se­ries and movies — with the “Su­per­man v Bat­man: Dawn of Jus­tice” movie sched­uled for next year.

Any kind of change to the char­ac­ter’s mythos can be risky. But Sny­der and Ca­pullo — who de­signed the new ar­mor — say their in­ten­tion is to in­ject new in­ter­est into the Dark Knight comic books by putting a new per­son into the role.

“It gives us a chance to see Bat­man from this in­cred­i­bly dif­fer­ent an­gle,” said Sny­der, who has worked on the comic book with Ca­pullo for four years.

The change in Bat­man is one of many go­ing on in comic books re­cently, with Marvel re- cast­ing a ver­sion of Spi­der-Man as a multi-racial teenager and Thor as a woman, and DC Comics reimag­ing icons like Su­per­man and Won­der Woman dur­ing a compa- ny-wide re­boot. This all comes as comic book su­per­heroes are the fo­cus of Hol­ly­wood block­buster movies like “Avengers: Age of Ul­tron,” open­ing this week, or TV’s “Gotham,” which tells the story of a young Bruce Wayne.

The new Bat­man wears a manga- in­spired suit of ar­mor, Ca­pullo said, in ad­di­tion to an­other uni­form un­der­neath that’s used when ar­mor may be too bulky.

Comic book com­pa­nies are pulling out all the stops for “Free Comic Book Day” on Satur­day, when comic book stores of­fer some free comic books to read­ers in hopes of bring­ing in new fans to the in­dus­try. Marvel Comics, the home of the Avengers, the X-Men and Spi­der-Man, will be of­fer­ing free comics in both English and Span­ish on that day.

The change in Bat­man hope­fully will bring in new peo­ple to the book, Sny­der said. “This gives us a new lease on the book, and it gives hope­fully fans a sense of how fun Bat­man can be,” Sny­der said.

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