02: Cold Snap In Gotham
None of the cold puns made it into the script.
I’ve only passed through Gotham twice before in my career. Both trips were way back in 2014. I was lucky enough to do a mini-series called Arkham Manor with Shawn Crystal, and co-write an issue of Batman with Scott Snyder for Matteo Scalera and Lee Loughridge. They ended up being great comics, and Batman 34 has been a constant reminder of the staying power of “one and done” comics. I’ve attempted to bring that mindset to my time on X-Men, too.
Last year as the pandemic caused chaos with comic book scheduling and certain books were slowed down, a window in my calendar appeared at a fortuitous time, and the result was an invitation back to Gotham City with Matteo beside me in the Batmobile.
Sometimes opportunity knocks, other times it pulls up on your lawn in the Batmobile and leans on the horn. The assignment was potentially a tricky one, as the rogue we were asked to pit Batman and Robin against was Mr. Freeze. I love the character, and written him a little as a guest star in Arkham Manor, but ironically, he’s sort of forever trapped by that incredible episode of the animated series.
An all-time episode of television re-introduced and rebooted a minor villain into a tragic figure. He’s sympathetic, and…perhaps too much so? What we attempt to do in ONE BAD DAY: MR. FREEZE is reframe…certain aspects of their relationship, and look at a more toxic side to the man. I won’t say any more, and we hope it hits for you, it has been one of the many projects I’ve been lucky enough to disappear into during the pandemic.
When you work with Matteo Scalera, you’re getting a partner with such a wonderful design sense that staying “on model” would be frankly a waste of his talents.
We were interested in what Matteo’s Batman looked like. What his car looked like. What his Freeze looked like, and so I just tried to serve up the Glengarry leads and then get the hell out of his way. The results speak for themselves, I think. Once again. I am conveyed across the Gotham skyline on his back, and this time he’s joined by Dave Stewart on colors, and Deron Bennett’s letters. They made a hell of a team. Every time you get back to Gotham, you always need to pass through the cave. We did it in 2014 and did it again this time. Here’s a look at our process on that spread from the issue:
You’ll notice some improvements to the balloons and boxes not present in the original script. That always happens when you have the time to look at the boards and polish the script before lettering. It was a nice touch to be able to have Batman saying he’d like to throw a criminal “into the deepest” hole they could, while he himself was down in a cave. It’s the holidays and Batman, Robin and Alfred were reflecting on who in their rogues gallery might be redeemed. Thanks to everybody that wrenched on the issue, especially our editors Dave Wielgosz, Jessica Berbey and Ben Abernathy.
The variant covers are a murderer’s row of talent, too. It BLOWS my mind that I’ll get to sign copies from my favorite artists someday. Thank you, all. Speaking of killer art, Matteo’s dropping his original art to the book tomorrow. If you want something for your wall, move fast here, and to find a comic shop near you check click here.
Later this week: Scott Koblish and I destroy more of San Francisco and your brains, and later…a look at The Invincible Iron Man coming next month from the House Of Ideas.
More soon, and hope you enjoy ONE BAD DAY: MR. FREEZE tomorrow. Lemme know what you all think.