A fan-favorite Batman art team returns for their first crack at Bruce Wayne

Batman is about to have a new writer heading up his adventures in Chip Zdarsky (along with a new logo). But when the veteran Daredevil scribe comes to Gotham City, he’ll be joined by some familiar faces: artist Jorge Jiménez and colorist Tomeu Morey, who previously worked on Batman with writer James Tynion IV.

Batman #125

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Jiménez and Morey worked on some brand new characters in their previous time on Batman, but as Zdarsky takes over with July’s Batman #125, Jiménez will draw some classic characters he hasn’t previously worked on – including Robin and even Bruce Wayne outside of his Batman costume for the first time.

And that’s not all that’s in store for Batman as Zdarsky’s run begins – in fact, we’re just scratching the surface. Fortunately, we’ve got Jiménez and Morey themselves to lend some insight into what’s coming up for Batman, along with a look at some advance interior pages.

Newsarama: Jorge, Tomeu, if memory serves it was August of last year when James Tynion announced he was leaving Batman, but Jorge you immediately added that you’d be returning to Batman down the road. Clearly Jorge you really wanted to let fans know you weren’t done on Batman. What were you thinking at the time to make the announcement you did? 

Jorge Jiménez: Literally at the moment that James Tynion announced he was leaving Batman, I started receiving messages on Instagram like “Are you leaving the series too? Don’t leave DC! What are you going to do now?” [laughs]. This was a bit crazy and of course, I already knew that I was continuing in the series, so I quickly said on my social media that I would continue for now and that I was very excited for what was to come, although obviously I am eternally grateful to James and It has been an honor for me to work in this stage where we have created so many characters!

Tomeu Morey: The truth is that I have never stopped working on Batman! I’ve been working on Josh Williamson’s Shadow War event while I continued with the new pages of Jorge and Chip’s story, and finished the Batman/Catwoman series. It is really interesting to see how the same character can tell his story in ways as different as his creative teams.

Nrama: So for Batman fans waiting for you both to return, can you tell them what you’ve been doing since? 

Jorge: Well, that’s the thing, I only rested for a few days after James finished, and I’ve already started working directly on the new stage of Batman with Chip. Definitely the planning of this project is very solid, Ben Abernathy and Chip Zdarsky have been working on this for a while and made it possible for each link in the chain to be perfectly oiled and ready, there is nothing improvised. I can say I have already finished several issues even with months to go before the publication of the first. This is very good for the quality of the project and I’m really excited and looking forward to showing you what we are cooking!

Batman #125

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Tomeu: Jorge works at a really fast pace, and I think that in a few days he already had the first pages. So I alternate between one series and another.

Nrama: You both were receiving high praise for the work you were doing with James, so do you feel like you’re just picking up right where you left off or has your approach to art in general or your approach to Batman specifically evolved over the time-off from Batman?

Jorge:  I’m trying to give a new visual approach to the whole project, especially at the level of visual narrative. I want it to feel like a slightly more timeless product, I would love that in a few years it will continue to be read and age well. 

Although with James I was looking for something purely current, with a full wave of cyberpunk fashion and video game style, here I feel like going back to a little more classic iconography, yes, always mixed with unbridled action and my great anime/manga references in head. So basically I’m experimenting in a direction that feels different from my previous stage, while still being my Batman. 

In terms of color, this has a very important weight in the new image of the series, so I spoke with Tomeu just before starting the project to indicate my intention to focus on color, not only in treatment but also in color palette in a slightly more classic way. And obviously, Tomeu, who, as everyone knows, is a color genius, adapted impeccably and without a doubt I think it has been a success and an added value to the aesthetics of this run. I find it incredible how he is doing his job.

Nrama: Obviously, readers haven’t gotten a taste of Chip’s storytelling yet, so can you articulate any differences you’ve noticed between his and James’ approaches?

Jorge: I have felt Chip’s support from the first minute. He knew my work and he didn’t hesitate to tell me what his intention was with all this, and how we could approach it in terms of art. He insisted that he wanted a slightly more dramatic, dark aesthetic, and it was key to this little artistic twist that Tomeu and I are working on. 

Just like Tynion, Chip really is a great writer. In my opinion, while James’ strong point was the brilliant dialogue between the characters, Chip has those kinds of ideas that no one else has, he’s the kind of writer who reinvents the game, and the dialogues he builds are also a great added value. 

Batman #125

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Besides, I feel that I have enough space to show off my work when necessary and always in favor of reading the story as best as possible. I honestly feel lucky to have worked on Batman with two of the biggest writers in the industry.

Tomeu: One of the things that I like about Jorge is that he has things clear, and before starting the arcs he explains to me what he is looking for and sends me a lot of documentation so that I understand what he is referring to. He has also helped this margin of time between James’s last issue and Chip’s first to be able to find out what worked best with Jorge’s new approach in this new stage. Jorge always challenges me but I love it because it makes me experiment, look for new ways of working and “improve” [laughs].

Nrama: Jorge, what’s your general approach to Batman linework, say as opposed to your work on Justice League or Super Sons? Is there a fundamentally different approach? 

Jorge: Batman has its own identity in the world of comics. We are talking about one of the most important series in this market, and artistically it demands the best of each one of us. For me, being on this title is a huge responsibility and I never lose sight of this. 

Batman has his own pre-established aesthetics, his codes that must be respected. These have been built with the hard work of many of the greatest comic artists that exist. That is why I try to take care of elements such as darkness, the game with shadows, and with negative space, the black ink stain, and a long list of characteristics that define the character. 

Sometimes I get it, many other times I think not [laughs]. But I try to work very hard to live up to what this project demands. When I made Super Sons I was in youthful mode, working on line cleanliness, dynamism, and looking for a Shonen anime style was the most important thing for me at that time, as well as turning slightly to something more purely American and less manga was crucial during my time in Justice League. I always insist that the Jorge of each series is a different person, considering different scenarios and different sensations… and now I’m in Batman mode, and I’m fully involved in this role. 

Hollywood actors get into the role of their character so much that they end up thinking like him? Well, I immerse myself in the stories I draw and even my personality changes a little when I do one series or another. Yes, I know it sounds crazy but well… so I’m happy [laughs]!

Batman #125

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Nrama: And how about specifically for you Tomeu. Is your work on Batman and in Gotham City as opposed to say Action Comics or a Green Lantern book a matter of palette? Shading?

Tomeu: For me they are totally different ways of working. I love light and I work using light to give color. I don’t really use preset palettes. Before I start, I read the script and see the pages that I have and from there I decide what ambient light can work in each scene of the issue. When I was working on Justice League or Action Comics it was more “simple” [laughs]. Most of the scenes are during the day, and the superpowers mark a lot where the color range of the scene will go. In Batman I continue to use light as a way to give color, but since it is almost always night I look more for contrasts and points of light that will mark the scene.

Nrama: Jorge, obviously I’m trying to get you to reveal things about upcoming stories, but have you had a chance to draw something or someone new for this new run you didn’t during your previous run with James? 

Jorge: There are several characters and/or elements that I am working with and that I did not do in the previous stage. I would highlight two above all the rest, one is Robin, which I am enjoying a lot! And the second, although surprising… Bruce Wayne! Interestingly, after 20 issues, this is the first time I’ve drawn Bruce without the Batman suit. How crazy, right [laughs]?

Nrama: Somebody well-received by readers during your previous run was Miracle Molly, which if memory serves Jorge, you (or both of you) designed. First of all, do you have any thoughts on how the character was embraced by fans? 

Jorge: Miracle Molly had an incredible acceptance by the fandom. Yes, she’s a co-creation between James and me. Like Punchline, Ghost-Maker, Clownhunter… Without a doubt, this previous stage has given me the honor of co-creating many characters for the Batman universe and I am very happy to see how they come to life and follow their own path. Actually today it is still incredible to see how Punchline or Molly cosplayers tag me almost daily on social media networks, or how prestigious companies are recreating these characters as figures and statues. Honestly, as an artist this is a dream for me.

Nrama: And again, flirting with spoilers, is that a character readers can look forward to seeing you draw again?

Jorge: Currently we are focused on the new story, with a new character that will take your breath away. I would be happy to draw Miracle Molly, and my characters again, of course… although it will have to wait for now.

Batman #125

Batman #125 cover by Jorge Jiménez with a new logo (Image credit: DC)

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Nrama: Anyone or anything else you personally look forward to drawing again? 

Jorge: Nightwing is a character that I really wanted to draw again… and I’m doing it!

Nrama: So pardon the broad closing question, but what can you two say about what readers can look forward to when your run with Chip begins?

Jorge: Chip shows again why he is a great among the greats, and Tomeu and I are giving all our effort and passion once again in this. So friends,Join the Batman team! I promise you’ll see an amazing adventure, with cool ideas, great dialogue, the best characters, a frantic pace, and a LOT of action!

Tomeu: Jorge has said it all [laughs].

Stay on top of everything coming up for the Caped Crusader with our handy listing of all the new Batman comics (opens in new tab) planned for release in 2022 and beyond.

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