Animation and comic scribe Adam Beechen has worked on such franchises as Batman, Justice League, Teen Titans, Rugrats and Ben 10. Renaldo had a chat with him about Batman Beyond and more!
Batman Beyond #1
CBNAH: I watched the cartoon religiously so I must ask - how challenging was it to take this cult-favorite, Batman Beyond, and its revered world and scribe it? What was the pressure like knowing fanboys like me never wanted it off the air?
AB: There's pressure taking over any existing character. After all, every character is someone's favorite. But in this case, the pressure was extra high because I'm such a fan of Batman Beyond as well, and the animated series was done so brilliantly, I really wanted to try and live up to the standard that had been set. I know Batman Beyond's passionate fans wouldn't accept anything less, so I can only hope that, for the most part, we've been successful so far.
You touched not only on the evolving relationship with Bruce and Terry but also with key factors of the Bat-Family such as Dick, and even romantic aspects...so I ask...how difficult is it arranging and plotting air time for such a unique cast?
It's tough. There's so much to explore, and relatively few pages in which to do it all. So we try and find storylines when possible within which many of characters can interact. In 10,000 Clowns, for example, it's logical that the story would affect almost everyone in our cast.
Did the animated RETURN OF THE JOKER influence your arcs?
Sure, absolutely. A lot of what we're doing is exploring whether or not Terry really wants this path for his life. ROJ showed him one of the things that can happen to someone who's traveled his path, and it affects his thinking.
The epilogue episode where Terry's genetics are revealed to be that of Bruce's...how instrumental has that been as you charted the title?
Extremely. We know that's a point in Terry's future. So we create our stories, which take place before that, with "Epilogue" in mind. We know things lead there, so we steer our ship toward it, however far ahead it may be.
What was it like writing the JLA in this world?
Great fun! There's a lot about those characters we still don't know, so any chance to develop them further is exciting. I think Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen have been doing a terrific job with those characters in their Justice League Beyond segments.
I love Teen Titans, the Batman and Rugrats...so how you make the transition from books to tv and vice versa? i.e. your creative process
I find it pretty different. Comics scripts for me tend to be a lot more detailed, as you're describing every panel for the artist. In animation, you do some "directing on the page," but it's looser, more of a framework for the artists to work in. That doesn't mean comics scripts aren't flexible, but to start with, you want a pretty detailed description of what you're seeing in your head down in the document.
From Batgirl to Animal Man to Countdown...how has it been writing at DC? What's your favorite title you worked on?
I've loved every minute of writing for DC. What lifelong fanboy wouldn't feel the same? DC's been very supportive of me, and let me work with a lot of their characters. I'm more personally invested in Batman Beyond than I have been in any other book so far, because DC's given me so much rein to explore the world, but probably the most pure fun I've had at DC was writing Justice League Unlimited, in which I could spotlight one hero, or a couple heroes, each month that wouldn't normally get a lot of exposure. And because it was outside the DCU continuity, there were fewer restrictions on the stories I could tell.
I'd been writing animation for some time, including shows about DC characters, so I was kind of on DC's radar. My good friend Larry Young offered me the chance to write a graphic novel for his imprint, AiT/PlanetLar, so I did (That was called HENCH, and it's available now HERE). On a visit to New York, I connected with an old college friend, Ivan Cohen, who was an editor at DC at the time, and he gave me a tour and introduced me around. From that, and with my animation work and graphic novel as calling cards, I got the chance to pitch to the Teen Titans Go comic, and everything rolled from there!
Dream book and artist?
I would love to have written an Aquaman comic drawn by the late, great, Jim Aparo.
What are you doing with your journalism degree? :) I ask this as I love journalism!
I use my degree every day, as journalism taught me a lot about how to communicate ideas clearly and directly, how to strip away unnecessary detail and information and get right to the heart of what's important in a story.
Advice to aspiring writers?
ABW: Always Be Writing. The more you do it, the better you get. Find people whose opinions you trust, and show them your work. Take criticism gracefully and not personally. If you don't agree with a note, fine, but at least try to understand why your reader tripped when they did, and think objectively if you can't make that moment or story point better.
Lastly, finish this - 'Comic book nerds are hot because...'