The Comic - Ty Templeton
Below is a boatload of questions from almost every issue; Ty
Templeton was kind enough to answer all our questions for us and
Burchett kept Scarecrow in shadows. Was that intentional?
What plans did you have for his character?
Keeping him in shadows, absolutely, was intentional. We hadn't
seen his unhooded face on the TV show since his transformation
and I liked the mystery. I had a story in mind about an accident
and a murder trial that caused him to change his costume, but
that's clearly one we won't see.
You destroy Arkham in this issue. Is that a nod to the
destroyed Arkham in RETURN OF THE JOKER? Were there other
deliberate nods in the series to past episodes and series?
Yes, that's a deliberate nod to Return of the Joker, which was
our last touchstone with the series when Batman Adventures
(volume 2) launched. (We got Mystery of the Batwoman in the
middle of our run, but that was still in our future while we
were plotting issue #1). I was planning to return to destroyed
Arkham a couple of times during our series, and using it as a
set, and referencing ROTJ specifically.
And...the police against Batman? Why bring in that plotline
Not the police...it was the Mayor. Big difference. In my mind,
the cops were very conflicted about catching Batman, but it was
their job, so they went about it. Cops do what they're paid to
do, no matter who's in office. I was more focused on Mayor
Penguin than Batman vs. Cops, but it made for a couple of
interesting scenes and stories when we started writing the
series. Also, it re-enforces the idea of Batman as vigilante,
rather than Batman as weirdly dressed cop. Some of the best
comics and issues of the show feature Batman escaping from cops.
Also, why the choice for Back-Ups?
The long answer or the short answer? The long answer: Dan Slott
wrote an issue of Gotham Adventures (#58) that I asked if I
could ink. I had just finished a long graphic novel project, and
I wanted something relaxing to do, and I find inking very
relaxing. I had a ball on the issue, and the editor liked it.
So, since I had written and drawn the Batman Adventures book,
but had never been its inker, I asked the editor if she was into
having me ink the book on a semi regular basis while Dan wrote
it. She thought that would be fine, but she wondered, since I
was willing to work on the book as an inker, was I willing to
write or draw it? Well, Dan had been slated to write the book,
and I had no interest in taking his job, and Terry Beatty was
already inking the book, so I didn't want to take his job, we
sort of came up with this idea that I would write HALF of the
scripts, and pencil HALF of the stories, and end up inking none
of them, oddly enough.
Originally, the half writer status meant I would write four
issues, then Dan would write four issues, etc. I was asked to
write the first four, and Dan the second four, with me drawing
Dan's issues, and Rick Burchett drawing mine. But after a week
or two of talking on the phone with Dan, we didn't want Dan to
be left out of the relaunch first issue, and came up with the
backup story idea. We thought we'd launch with a 38 page issue,
and the backup story seemed like an easy fit. We found out a day
or so later that it would be a regular 22 page issue, and I
lobbied for the backup story to stay intact, and to continue the
concept into each issue. That way, Dan and I would write EACH
issue, and no one got left out.
When I was a kid, my favourite comics (Detective, Action,
Adventure, Our Army at War) all had two stories per issue
(sometimes three) and I was trying to revive that idea. I'm
still a huge believer in the two story per issue format, and am
committed to trying it again somewhere else. Dan and I used to
complain about how little room you had in 5 pages (or 17 pages,
when you're trying to tell a complex story), but I grew to LOVE
the format of the five page story. It's like a comic haiku in
its own way. I used to do these weird TWO PAGE stories for the
Christmas holiday issues over the years, so five pages is a
Why bring in Julie Madison?
Dan asked for that. He had an idea for doing something with a
new Bruce Wayne love interest and I suggested Julie, Silver or
Julia Pennysworth (three love interests from the comics not seen
in the animated universe.) Dan and I decided on Julie primarily
cause she was retro. I actually regret she was discarded so
Obviously you're fond of The Riddler. What makes him an
appealing character, and what inspired your plans for his
I like that he's not evil, he's just ALMOST smarter than Batman,
and that almost ness pisses him off. And he's the most clearly
insane member of the rogue's gallery. I like that he needed
medical help, and we got it to him. The "reformed" Riddler was
my favorite character in the new version of Batman Adventures
because you can almost root for him.
Why the decision to "evolve" Ivy?
Dan and I were brimming with ideas of stuff to do to all the
characters, including Croc, Scarecrow, Two Face (Dan had some
Two Face ideas that were WAYYY COOL!). Evolving Ivy came out of
phone sessions with Dan until we both liked the outcome. The
idea that she needed to breathe Harley's CO2 was Dan's bit.
Pretty cool, no? A lot of the evolved Ivy stuff was Dan's, I
Were there any plans to come back to Talia? Her getting shot
and healed and Bruce leaving without a "goodbye" were sort of
left hanging. And what plans were in place for Ra's and Talia (I
remember hearing of an "Oz"-type tale for good ol' Ra's)
Yes, absolutely there were plans. In fact, I wrote a script for
Batman Adventures #5 that focused on Ra's in prison…the whole
script, dialogue and everything, was rejected outright. I was
told that we had finished with Ra's in #4 and it was time to
move on to other characters. Well, the editor is the boss, so I
wrote a different script for #5, which covered Bullock getting
fired, and that turned out pretty good as well. Six of one, half
dozen of the other. I'd love to have done the Ra's story too,
but there's only so much room. Talia was slated to come back in
the second year..sigh.
Why the decision of getting Bullock fired? Why bring in
Phantasm, a decision which as many fans hated as loved it.
Bullock was going to be an interesting ongoing character of a
private eye working for Bruce Wayne, and never knowing he was
working for Batman. Dan was setting that stuff up for our second
year, which turned out differently, since we knew we were
cancelled as we started writing the second year's stories.
You'll have to ask Dan about Phantasm, that was his script. The
Bullock stuff was Dan's as well.
Why bring in Matches Malone? Also...Sportsmaster. Is he an
old-school villain or new? What's it like to be able to bring in
all these new characters?
Sportsmaster is an old school villain. That was a fun story to
write, since Sporty's dialogue was all sports metaphors. The
basic fun of that story was that Batman spends the entire script
tied to a chair. He never gets out, but he still kicks
everyone's ass. Malone was Dan's bit. I think he likes the
character since it's sort of close to a Moon Knight kind of
riff, and Dan's a HUUUGE Moon Knight fan.
In the talkback you noted a typo in the back-up, mentioning
Nightwing when the story took place in BTAS times. Do you find
problems when distinguishing between TNBA, BTAS, and JL times?
And...what "flashback/lost years" will you not be able to tell
due to the series cancellation?
That wasn't a typo, that was a scripting mistake. And it's
usually not hard to keep them all straight in my mind, I'm just
human and I made a goof. As for flashback stuff...we had a story
about Alfred's injury. We had a Scarecrow story, and at one
point, we were going to do the "election" as a flashback.
The Matches Malone backstory? Amazing. I don't know where to
start so I guess...just roll with it?
Glad you liked it. I noticed how much Matches looked like Thomas
Wayne when looking at Rick's art for issue #6, and the story
flowed from there. I didn't create Matches as a character (I
think Denny O'Neil and Irv Novick did) but I retold his origin
with a few twists. In the original O'Neil story, Matches is
killed by a ricochet bullet, fired from his own gun (at Batman),
but he's still a small time hood who becomes Batman's third
identity when he dies. I find stories that focus on Batman's
childhood or parents strike a chord with readers, since almost
everyone has parents, and can identify with the pain of losing
Did Catwoman peek? Why the three outfits?
It's up to the reader, really, since we clearly don't tell
you…but in my opinion, she probably did, since she's not good at
impulse control, or she wouldn't be Catwoman, would she? In
Dan's opinion, she didn't peek. The truth is, until we wrote her
next appearance, I didn't want to decide if she'd peeked or not,
I was going to "feel it" when I got around to scripting her next
guest shot, which of course, never happened. The three outfits
were a nod to the new Catwoman costume which was being done in
the "animated" style (sort of) in her own book, which Rick and I
both liked a lot.
Who's with Jim Gordan?
The woman in bed with Jim is Sarah. We were going to bring Sarah
in later, but it was a toss away moment since I had Jim waking
up in bed, I asked Rick to draw a pair of female legs in the bed
with him, just to tweak fans.
Again...more Riddler. How far along was his storyline
planned? In the first 4 issues, you intertwined four stories
into a larger arc. Beginning this issue, you start the same
idea. How do you approach something like this, making the
storylines come together?
The Riddler "storyline" was played by ear as we went along. I
knew I wanted him "reformed" and no longer a criminal, but still
a thorn in Batman's side. The second and eleventh issues are
both variations on the theme, "how is a reformed Riddler still a
problem for Batman?" Dan likes to plan stuff years in advance,
but I'm a seat of the pants kind of guy.
You brought in two characters not seen since TNBA started --
Hill and Clock King. Any particular reason? Is there pressure in
bringing these characters back to continue their storyline? Is
there stress to do them justice? Also, putting Riddler in a
coma...that must've been hard.
Riddler in a coma wasn't hard at all, since Dan and I had a
GREAT story to wake him up. Dan suggested that a revived Riddler
would have amnesia, and would have to solve the greatest riddle
of all.."Who Am I?" That's such a cool idea, I put Riddler into
the coma to set up Dan's script. Hill and Clock King were
planned guest stars since issue #1. Since the backstory that ran
through our first year was Penguin as Mayor, I always intended
the former mayor, and his greatest enemy, to come into the story
as minor characters. There was no pressure, that was Dan's and
my idea from #1.
Batman's plan to get Penguin out of the office is ambiguous,
and left some readers uneasy. Was that intentional, and if so,
how does that affect his character? Is Batman losing his cool in
his old age? :) And the Penguins "I'll kill Batman if it's the
last thing I do!!" A hint to a future storyline?
The ambiguous ending was very much on purpose. First, in the
real world, touch screen computer voting fraud is IMPOSSIBLE to
prove forensically, so I wanted Batman to have that real world
problem to solve. Second: Batman is a vigilante. He DOESN'T
operate within the law and doesn't have to deal with the
intricacies of proof and evidence. He's just out there
protecting Gotham from bad guys, and Penguin was a bad guy
Batman felt we needed protecting from. Greying the lines of
morality to take down a bad guy is central to a good Batman
Your tale provides a great look into Bruce as a child, even
giving hints to how far he'd eventually go with his training.
What is it like, doing these old tales, exploring a time that
has only a handful of tales?
Um..it's fun. Dan had an idea that for his very next set of four
back-ups he was gong to do the stories of Teen Bruce Wayne. I
wish he'd had a shot, he had some fabulous ideas.
The Ivy plot-twist--planned all along? This is a drastic
character change, considering what many fans believe. Were you
worried about overdoing the character changes, or worried about
Sort of planned all along. We weren't going to reveal it for a
little longer if we'd not been cancelled, but yes, the Ivy in
issue #1 isn't the real Ivy, and that was planned all along. Fan
feedback? I was happy to see some folks were pissed and some
folks were thrilled. That means you've written a provocative
story that gets people talking. What better fun for a comic
series than to have something happen the fans can argue about.
If everything was always pleasing every fan, it would be a
fairly "safe" comic, which I doubt would please every fan.
Obviously it wasn't planned, but Batman Adventures #17 and
Justice League Adventures #34, both final issues of their
respective series, start out with alley scenes of Bruce Wayne's
parents death. Any thoughts on this?
I hadn't read the last JLA, so it was not on purpose. I think
any story with Batman in it that has some sort of cathartic
ending, starts well with that iconic and cathartic beginning.
It's simply basic story construction. In my case, however...my
very FIRST Batman script (Batman Adventures #33) was about
recreating the alley way murder (and originally contained a
flashback), so I was "bookending" my writing stint on the series
with a similar scene. I also "bookended" the bit with the
Batsignal destroyed and restored in the first and last issue of
this particular series.
The shot of Bruce Wayne and his parents is a great rendition
of the cover to Batman: Year One #1--was this something you had
planned, or something that Burchett did?
I'd have to check specifically, but I assume I suggested the
pose in the original script and Rick did a fantastic (as always)
job of drawing it. I've used that pose a few times in my own
Batman Adventues art, and consider it an iconic image, like the
shot of Wayne in front of the painting, or the grave, etc...
Obviously using the Joker in the final issue is a cliché you
wanted to avoid; why use Joe Chill, and not, what some many
consider to Batman's ultimate love and villain, Phantasm? Or was
Joe Chill always something you wanted to do.
I used Joker in the issue before for just that reason. One last
Joker story before I hit the road, for grins, you know.... As
for Joe Chill...yeah, he was in mind for the last Batman
Adventures story for years now. Every now and then when you talk
to other writers and you say things like "If they ever let me
write the last Batman story, I'd do such and such..." The moment
I heard we were cancelled and there would be a "last" issue, I
knew it would be a Joe Chill story. And the Phantasm stories
were all written by Slott for this series, and I felt she was
his character to play with. We BOTH plan to write at least one
or two more adventures style scripts for the JLUnlimited book,
if they'll let us, and the plan was to wrap up the Phatasm/ Red
Hood over there. You'll have to ask Dan who the Red Hood was.
It's his bit so I'm not allowed to reveal it…
The way Chill was constantly seeing Wayne's face was a great
buildup to him removing Batman's mask to only see that face
again. This was an excellent bit of writing. Did you always want
to do that, or was that just something that came about and you
thought "man, that'd be cool!"?
The scene with Chill ripping of Batman's mask was the first
image of the script that came to me. It's a "left turn" from Bob
Kane and Bill Finger's JOE CHILL story, where BATMAN purposely
removes the mask in front of Joe. I wanted the opposite to
happen, where Joe removes the mask in a fight. That was the
first thought I had before I'd typed a single word. You could
say the final scene was the inspiration for the story.
And, believe it or not, it almost didn't happen the way it was
supposed to. Burchett originally misunderstood the staging of
the scene and he drew the Batman mask in place for the last five
pages of the story. When the finished art (already lettered and
inked) got to me just before it was sent to the printers, I
spotted the problem, and asked Rick to do some quick drawing to
fix the art in time to get it to the printers correctly. Rick is
a trooper, and he was more than willing to redraw the sequence
to help send off Batman in style. I'm glad he did, too, cause
the scene wouldn't have made much sense with the mask in place.
Sometimes miscommunications happen, but Burchett saved the DAY!
Batman apologized to Detective Giella--something he has never
even done to Gordon. Was this done because Giella had been
assigned to the Wayne murder?
Yes. Absolutely. And there was another reason, although slightly
more subltle. Batman's line: "I forget I can be frightening
sometimes" is to set up the idea that people in Gotham are just
a little afraid of Batman....except Joe Chill....who is only
afraid of Bruce Wayne. I wanted a quick reminder that Batman can
frighten people. But the apology was because this was the man
that tried to solve the Wayne murder and never gave up. Imagine
Batman's relationship to the man that hunts your parents
killers, just like you do.
The ending of the issue felt like a finale, and, at the same
time, continued on. This is similar to the season three finale
of the show "24", where the main character, Jack Bauer, was
showing going off in the end and simply "continuing the good
fight". Did that show influence it at all, or have you not even
seen the show?
Never seen the show. But I did want a sense that "Batman
continues on" even if we're not there to read about him any
more. The last line of the last OG Star Trek movie is, I believe
"Second star to the left, and straight on til morning..." A
quote from Peter Pan that suggests childhood lasts forever if we
keep exploring the next unknown...I think that scene is a more
direct influence for this Trekkie than the 24 show. (I
hear 24's quite good, though...a number of my friends
swear by it.)