We here at Batmania Reviews have your first, exclusive look and interview with Renegade Comics' own Nate Peck; who is the writer for the highly anticipated comic, Batman: Retribution! Find out what he's been up to, how this ambitious project came to life, and what we can expect from the series ...
Amputechture: Okay, first off Nate ... When and how did you create this idea for writing your own Batman comic?
Nate Peck: Hmm, first off great question to start with. (Smiles) I've been reading comics since I was old enough to even read. My dad was constantly underway because he was a submariner in the Navy. So when he would come back from leave, he would run me up to the comic shop and we would buy comics and read them.
I've wanted to write a comic for a long time but never had the talent to do the other things associated with them like writing, coloring, etc. The how part of this question was that I decided to create a fan fiction Batman story to match Batman: Arkham Asylum to drum up buzz. My good friend Kurtis (Thebatman226) then confronted me, asking If I wanted to do something together with him. After seeing his talent, it was an obvious yes. I hope I answered that as you wanted.
AM: Definitely. That is an interesting story! So it was the game that really pushed you over the edge and into your desire to write a comic?
NP: Oh, definitely. In my opinion, none of the Batman video games were ever that great. And after watching trailer after trailer and gamplay after gameplay, I was completely convinced that this game was going to end that streak. So in a way it was like motivation. If Rocksteady can end the streak of bad Batman games, then my friends and I can create a story worth telling.
AM: (Laughs) Very true. So what was it about the writing aspect of comics that attracted you to writing one yourself?
NP: Well, I've always been a good writer in my opinion and others'. I've had countless teachers and my parents tell me how skilled I am. I've done journalism, screenwriting, novel and now comic book writing. Personally, comics can show themes and elements a lot better than say a movie or television show. You have more free roam, not a lot of boundaries. So that appeals to me a lot better.
AM: I see. As this is a Batman tale, are there any specific storylines you are following in your own comic. For example, does your story involve a post Battle for the Cowl scenario?
NP: Yeah, this is a Batman tale but we are going with a different storyline. I like the Battle For The Cowl story line and all but personally a writer has a lot more resources when you go without a follow up story. Writing on top of Battle For The Cowl would have been a great benefitiary or pissed off a lot of people if we did it wrong. This way people can understand that we are building off other peoples momentum, we are just simply creating a story with our favorite Batman characters are running our vision on it.
AM: That's a good point. Seeing as how their will be plenty of those stories hitting shops. So how did you meet the rest of your creative team?
NP: Well, most of the Renegade crew I met on yours truly, Batman: Arkham Asylum/Eidos forum. I was first approached by Kurtis (TheBatman226) and I told him my story and he immediately agreed on it. The rest I approached, first being CJ (The Comedian), he liked my idea as well. After that I approached Chris (Timeless Unknown) and he too liked the story. And I'm forgetting my buddy Michael who isn't a poster on BAA but he is a loyal friend that's been writing with me for a few years now. Last but not least Killer Croc decided to join us in hype for our story, he simply couldn't handle it anymore.
AM: (Laughs) It is very exciting to say the least. What difficulties arose when creating this particular project?
NP: Well, life is life and there are constantly difficulties and a project like this really shows you that. My artist is 14 hours ahead of me, making meetings a chore to assemble. Not to mention you have to be realistic on a release date which is one of the biggest challenges we face now. I thought a July 1st release of Issue 1 was realistic, now it seems impossible.
Thats when I have to remember that we aren't professionals. Our biggest problem as of right now is figuring out our colorist problem. They are harder to find then you think and on top of that it's a business that wants money and we are a team that doesn't have that. So we are scanning the net and our options which as of now is looking like a black and white comic, which oddly enough I think suits us.
AM: I think that may really work out well. A while ago on the forums, you had hinted the villain in your story. What can you tell us about that? Any secrets you can share ...
NP: Of course I can share. The villain is Shin Satsu which in Japanese simply means, "To die killing." He is a villain that doesn't believe in a no-win scenario like Batman. He is ruthless like Batman's rival The Joker, but where The Joker fails, Shin tops and thats fighting. Shin is a psuedo Ninja with a hidden past and many black belts. The best part of him is the machete he wields and his mask. His mask is something we based off Alan Moore's Watchmen, which is simply a Rorschach Dot mask, it doesn't move like Rorschach's. However, it is ink blotted like his and constantly stays the same shape of a smile face. The blots are created by the blood of his victims. Truly in my opinion he might be the hardest villain for Batman to face because of his knowledge in Martial Arts, his intelligence and ruthlessness. No question readers will be instore for one of hell of a match when Batman meets him.
AM: So essentially we are seeing a version of The Dark Knight that doesn't mind killing? Sounds epic! So it seems you were influenced by several comics. Are there any that you would consider your favorite?
NP: Umm, I like to always keep a comic book near me at all times just in case I stumble up on something or need a good panel shot. That comic is simply Frank Miller's Collection of Batman stories, which are The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. My favorite comic, hmm, well I've read a lot but the one that probably sticks out the most in my opinion is Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. His Batman was probably the first edgy and dark Batman ever. He was realistic with his military belt and he actually looked sorta chubby. His take on Batman was truly inspiring to me, I really do believe it should be taught in school, a simple masterpiece.
AM: An excellent choice. It's great to see you have been inspired by one of the best. When are we going to be hit by the first issue?
NP: The original date was July 1st but due to some inconsistancies we were forced to move it back. In my mind, I'd love to see it out by the later part of the first week of July or just the second week of July.
AM: Well I am glad it is sooner than later. (Laughs)
NP: So am I...
AM: Okay, are there any big surprises you can tell us about?
NP: Hmm, a few actually. We will be putting to the test emotionally and physically. Be prepared to see our hero lose a few battles as well. You are going to be shown a few villains that connect with the story and Batman's battle with Shin. You will also get to see a few of Bruce's beloved family members, but not in great terms. The last thing I can tell you is that we are going to have the last issue be a deluxe issue in every way possible. The average issue I've written is around 13 pages (average for a web comic) the last is going to be around 40 pages. So be prepared to get blown away.
AM: Awesome, it looks like we will see a more vulnerable Batman. I like it! Are there any other villains that will be making an appearance?
NP: I'll only release one villain at this time, the rest are under wraps but Scarecrow will play a minor, and I mean minor, role in the story line. It's a new touch to the character but I think people will respect it.
AM: Sounds good. I am sure we will have a lot of surprises! Now, is the series one giant arc or are there several others?
NP: It's one giant arc that I've constructed to fully run it's course around 15 comics. I originally planned 30 comics but too be honest it had way too many holes and the amount of characters felt overdone and forced. I trimmed it back by half and came out with something way more enjoyable.
AM: Sounds complex. One more question for you Nate: What is the future of Renegade Comics? Is there anything else up your sleeve?
NP: The plan is to continue writing the stories we love; Batman, and to go on to new things as well. After Retribution is over I'm going to start planning out a different take on Batman that is going to be like BTAS meets comics with a twist. It's going to be exciting and at the same time fresh. I have some other ideas up my sleeve but nothing that I've been able to incorporate into a full fledge comic. I'm sure once Retribution has run it's course we will be back to work on another series
AM: All I know is that I can't wait. Thanks for your time Nate!
NP: It was my pleasure!
Stay tuned to Batmania Reviews for more exclusives on Batman: Retribution!