Mark Millar reviews The Gotham Adventures

A pal just sent me a review of The Gotham Adventures from way back when. It's a really nice review, but what makes it truly noteworthy is that it was written by superstar writer Mark Millar, back when he was still pretty new himself, and well before his days on The Authority.
Again, one of the buried treasures since it started. It's almost a cliche, but the Adventures books really do tend to be better than the core titles and incredibly underrated. I thought this would take a dip after the departure of the brilliant Ty Templeton, but Scott Peterson has really made this book his own. It's a shame more people aren't reading this. Peterson's another guy who should get a crack at the core titles and they could do a lot worse than Burchett on the art.
I don't know what issue he was reviewing, but it seems to have been published around November 2001, which means it might have been Gotham Adventures #44.

I opened on something not at attention-grabbing:

Oh, Tim Levins. No matter what I asked for, you always made it look so much better than I dared could have dreamt. That last page is comic book storytelling perfection. And the weird worm's eye view of the first panel of the previous page? Fantastic.

Kelley Puckett once teased me for these kinds of really blatantly obviously heartstrings-tugging openings. I ignored him. And then turned him into a villain.

(And of course, Millar was right about Ty the Guy's brilliance—I really truly believe that Ty's on the shortlist for Most Talented Creator in the history of the medium. He once wrote and illustrated a one panel comic for DC's in-house magazine that showed what looting during a blackout would look like in Gotham, and it remains one of my very favorite Batman-related pieces ever ever ever.)

Truckus Maximus

So this just happened:
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, gladiators are enslaved teenagers racing monster trucks on reality TV. How can you resist? by + illustrated by is coming to bookshelves in October 2019!

I am beyond delighted to finally be able to talk about Truckus Maximus, an original graphic novel that will be published by First Second Books in October. Written by me, illustrated by the amazing José Garcia, it’s nearly 300-pages of speculative fiction that’s been in the works for years. (Pencilling, inking, coloring and lettering 288 pages takes a while.)

I'll be writing more—much more!—about Truckus in days to come. For now I'm just excited that it's no longer a secret!

Batman: Kings of Fear #6 preview

And here we are, (almost) at the very end of the road. The previews for the final issue are out, and it's a bittersweet feeling.

It's sweet because the artwork by Kelley Jones (with Michelle Madsen and Rob Leigh) is gorgeous as always. And I'm incredibly happy with how it came out. And it's satisfying that it's finally concluded. But it's bitter because the journey, which started back in the summer of 2014, has been so doggone much fun.

On the other hand...well...just look at these pages:

And, I suppose, as consolation, there's always our next project, already in the works...

Batman: Kings of Fear #5 reviews

Do we have reviews? Oh, we have reviews:
What would life be like without the Dark Knight? Scott Peterson and Kelley Jones answers this classic question with a brilliant and refreshing breakdown that even makes the reader wonder if this fan-favorite hero is a necessity for a damaged city such as Gotham.
While there have been stories that wonder what this reality would be like if Batman wasn’t around, Peterson’s extremely detailed look into how the citizens, good and bad, of this tragic city would thrive for the better is spectacular.


This has been a series that I wasn’t too excited about initially, but it has won me over since with a strong story and some really excellent visuals. Having now read this fifth chapter of the story, I am thinking this might actually end up being a classic.
Peterson writes an amazing story. It’s an emotional ride into the deepest recesses of Batman’s mind. Eventually the hallucinations get so bad it becomes borderline insane.
This issue ends on one of the darkest notes I’ve been seen in a comic book.
This is a descent into madness and it takes that decent very seriously. And that’s something to truly be commended. This is simply a comic book that is fantastic.


Last issue was an sensational issue written by Scott Peterson getting into what makes Batman tick. Now the caped crusader has to see how Gotham would be different if Batman never existed.
The final line: This is a must-read, must-own Batman book. The story is fantastic and the visuals are to die for. I’ve read Batman comics for years and I’ve not seen Batman’s psyche so focused on with such mind blowing artwork. Seriously, this is the Batman to get. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

This was an amazing issue. It's something that I can actually wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who hasn't even read the previous four issues of the series. Just jump on and read this, and you'll be delighted.
Peterson's take on Scarecrow is one of the fresher perspectives on the character I've seen in the last few years, and is a major reason as to why this series has been really working for me. The lightness and the humour in the story despite the deep delve into why Batman shouldn't exist is a contrast that surprisingly works for me. This is just fantastic. Everyone should be reading this; Peterson's dialogue is expert and Jones' artwork is some of the best of the year.


I’m not even going to try to keep you all in suspense. I’m just going to say it. Batman: Kings of Fear, so far at least, is hands down my favorite Batman series on stands right now.
What I appreciate about Peterson and Jones’s approach to the story is that they maintain such a fine balance between creating a deep character study and still keeping it light and easy to read. In other words, the creative team dives deep enough but knows where to draw the line. I think they could have easily turned this into a convoluted psychoanalytical book, but such a story is probably a tough sell. Instead, they create a fun and engaging narrative that has me on the edge of my seat all the way through. I think that this fine balance and the overall quality of the story mainly comes from the chemistry that Peterson and Jones share. To tell a story in comic form the writer and the artist need to be on the same page, trusting each other to tell the story in such a way that the text and the art can’t be separated from each other. By extension, because there is such chemistry between the creators, it would be nearly impossible to replace the writer or the artist with someone else. I’ll give an example in just a moment, but first I need to explain a couple more things in order to really get my point across.
Without giving away what happens on the final pages, I can say this much: it is a cliffhanger that literally had me jump up from my seat and throw my hands in the air. As the creative team manages to turn the character of Batman upside-down through Scarecrow, they also manage to turn this entire comic upside-down with that final panel.

Wow. Deep stuff… and all from the glossy pages of a comic-book. Yet this issue isn’t just existential angst and philosophical debate, this is entertainment, this is art and this is 100% Batman.
Writer Scott Peterson and artist Kelley Jones are 90% through their epic tale of fear and terror. They have provided us with five issues of incredible emotion, nightmarish horror and true blue heroism. I have to say that this story could go down as the greatest Scarecrow tale of them all.
Though we know heroes always win in the end, I truly feel that any victory Batman may yet glean will come at a cost. This series has been so well executed that I even fear he may not win at all. I eagerly, yet tentatively, look forward to the final chapter of this excellent series.


We've loved Batman: Kings Of Fear since the beginning, and every time a new issue hits newsstands, our love for this miniseries grows stronger and stronger! Jones and Peterson have created a beautiful love letter to the Batman books of the 80's and 90's - one that's unafraid to peel back the layers of the Batman's subconscious and have one of the world's most popular heroes face some very real, hard truths! Sure, it may not be for everyone, but it's sure to offer something unique, fun and fascinating to those looking for something a little different! We'll be sad to see this one come to an end, but we're certain that the dynamic duo of Kelly Jones and Scott Peterson have something that will deliver in a very big way! 

With all of the Batman comics being published sometimes some get a little lost in the shuffle but hopefully you have been reading my reviews of this wonderfully offbeat book that has taken a very different approach to the Batman mythology. It has been a mix of both what if and a deep psychological mind f**k that break from the traditional approach that a lot of Batman stories tell. Peterson really goes deep into Bruce’s subconscious this issue and nearly breaks the man but the real question is Scarecrow just toying with him or is he actually trying to help him. That is what has made this story so fascinating is you’re not sure what is real or hallucinations. He never takes the easy path with the story in the sense that it just a dream and that in fact this might be what is buried deep down in Bruce’s deepest depths of his soul. Peterson really plays the devil's advocate story quite well here and never gives you the answers. It lets you the reader take away what you want from it that is quite impressive for a Batman story. I honestly can’t imagine any other artist that could pull off this mind trip as well as Jones has done here.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those comics that continues to surprise me and that is pretty hard to come up with a truly unique Batman story in today's comics. Peterson and Jones are delivering a story that cuts deep and takes a uniquely different approach to Batman. It’s a book that continues to surprise and impress and quite frankly keeps you on the edge of your seat. At this point I honestly can't wait to see where it all ends next issue. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!


Incidentally, this bit?
I think that this fine balance and the overall quality of the story mainly comes from the chemistry that Peterson and Jones share. To tell a story in comic form the writer and the artist need to be on the same page, trusting each other to tell the story in such a way that the text and the art can’t be separated from each other. By extension, because there is such chemistry between the creators, it would be nearly impossible to replace the writer or the artist with someone else.
Could not possibly be more on the money. I think Kelley and I had more back-and-forth, more give-and-take on this series than either of us has ever had with any other co-creator. And the results were not only all the stronger for it, it was also just ever so much fun.

Batman: Kings of Fear #5 preview

And here 'tis: what the entire series has been building to, from the very first shot of the very first issue.

Kelley and I very deliberately went with an unconventional story structure, something more akin to Psycho or Full Metal Jacket than the typical three-act structure (of which we're both extremely fond). That threw a lot of readers off, and understandably so—that was our intention from the beginning, and while it seemed to confuse and even anger some readers, hopefully it pays off with this issue.

(It does, if we do say so ourselves.)

((I mean, just look at these pages!))



Batman: King of Fears #4 reviews

Reviews, reviews, reviews...who's got reviews? (This book, right here, that's who.)


This is the strongest issue yet of this miniseries from writer Scott Peterson. I have to stand and applaud the title of this story, which I’ll do without spoiling.
This finally got into Batman’s soul and it was a riveting read.
The journey into what drives the Batman is a beautiful and sad telling. The story finally gets into the Dark Knight’s soul and answers some important questions. James Gordon gets some neat action sequences and the citizens and criminals get some space to react to an iconic item. The visuals are exceptional in this issue, with them showing a lot of humor and a lot of horrors, including personal failings. If you haven’t read the first three issues, you could pick this up and not be lost. Seriously, this is a book that every Batman fan should read. Overall grade: A


This is a nicely drawn book with economical and powerful writing that just works extremely well. It does an amazing job of telling a horror story mixed with the surreal. It’s an effective combination that works at an incredibly high level.You really can’t get much better than this.


Batman Kings of Fear #4 was pretty heavy.
Scott Peterson has done an exceptional job with this story and its pacing.
While it was slow to start, this series is now officially on fire. Veteran writer/editor Scott Peterson and legendary artist Kelley Jones are producing some of the finest work of their careers.
There are some gorgeous surprises in terms of writing, too. Getting inside Batman’s psyche and witnessing how he’d like to see himself is joyous. I’m rarely surprised by comics anymore, but these pages made me grin from ear to ear. Scott Peterson also made me nod in agreement and understanding at how Gothamites respond to seeing the Bat-Signal lighting up the night sky. I am impressed by the writer’s keen insights.
By the final act we not only see where Scarecrow is leading our hero, but we also get to see behind the curtain of the Dark Knight’s psyche, and that of Gotham City itself. This series continues to impress in the way it remains dark, yet also brings moments of fun, action and intelligence in equal measure. Two thirds in and I’m still aching for more.

Peterson continues his deconstruction here in Batman: Kings of Fear #4, allowing Scarecrow to bleed information form the Caped Crusader, and while said deconstruction has yet to add additional insight into the Dark Knight’s psyche, it has been presented in a unique fashion that is highly-entertaining. Kelley Jones continues to successfully churn out panel after panel of stunning artwork, fully-realizing the nightmare that is Gotham City. Scenes immerse and disorient readers in all the right ways, making this issue, yet again, one deserving of multiple reads.
Although it’s been popular, as of late, to deconstruct the Dark Knight, Batman: Kings of Fear offers the darkest, and most exciting deconstruction of Batman in recent history.


This series has been great so far. In a time where this so-called “deconstruction” approach seems to be the way to go in DC land, especially when it concerns Batman titles, it is refreshing to see a creative team come in and actually manage to pull this off successfully.
A great issue of a great series. We venture deep into Batman’s psyche, and rather than spelling out everything in captions, Peterson fully trusts Jones to illustrate Batman’s hallucinations and tell the story that way, and Jones is doing a great job. Especially in a time where other Batman titles fail to successfully “deconstruct” our hero, it is a real treat to see it done right in this book. Recommended to all Batman fans!

I've been a big fan of this book and I'm happy to report that it's as gorgeous and weird as ever.
Peterson's voice, when it comes to Scarecrow, seems much fresher than a lot of the different takes I've seen of the character. There's a methodology in his words that I haven't seen before, and his systematic breakdown of what Batman even is stands out as the most interesting bits of this issue, plot-wise.
Check this out if you haven't. Or pick the trade up when it's out. This is a really fun and beautiful story that every Bat-fan should check out.

Writer Scott Peterson is presenting an interesting dynamic between these two characters. I always knew the Scarecrow was a fierce foe in Batman's rogues gallery, but this book puts him on a new level of psychological horror. He literally brings the Dark Knight to his knees and he never even had to throw a punch.


This series continues to explore the destruction of The Dark Knight, and we'll admit that this is one of the most unique and fun Batman titles to hit newsstands in recent years! Whether it's the gorgeous 90's style art that calls to mind some of The Dark Knight's most classic adventures, or the fantastical plot which looks to exploit who The Batman really is, this is one great book that DC should truly be proud of as Scott Peterson and Kelley Jones continue to pull back the multi-layered veil of Bruce Wayne in new and unexpected ways!
A unique and exceptional series that offers a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of one of the pop culture world's biggest heroes!

Reading Batman Kings of Fear #4 is akin to finding yourself waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat after a terrifying fever dream. It feels like Scott Peterson has a great understanding of Dr. Crane and his powerset, and Kelly Jones' pulp-like artwork creates a face-melting comic book. A wise person once said that fear is one of the most important emotions a human can feel, and that's a sentiment echoed throughout this title. 

This book has been a pleasant surprise in that it has been quite an offbeat story and Peterson and Jones continue to pose a story that laced with a deeper level than most Batman books. While this issue does suffer a bit from being a bit of the middle of the story meaning that there is both a lot going on and a little slower pace here but still a solid outing.
Peterson takes a different approach to the deeper scars that Bruce has built up over the years and while some of the story remains the same he gives it nice little twist and turns that doesn’t change any history but adds little in-between to it.
This issue doesn’t have a lot of over the top moments on the surface but there is so much going on just under it that he makes sure that they are all there for the readers to soak in. This issues “dream” sequences are visually breathtaking and simply put I seriously doubt that any other artist could have been able to capture it all the way Jones has on this story.
Peterson and Jones [...] are going for a deeper outside the box approach to this story that tries to not outdo things in the Batman mythology. In a lot of ways they are underplaying things on the surface and letting the subtle things bubble up in the story. I can’t wait to see where they take it all in the end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


And this bit?

Scott Peterson also made me nod in agreement and understanding at how Gothamites respond to seeing the Bat-Signal lighting up the night sky. I am impressed by the writer’s keen insights.


I wish I could say otherwise, but the truth is that the keenest insight the writer had was when the artist said, "hey, you know what would be cool? Let's show what it's like for the average person down on the street when they see the Batsignal go on," the writer had the perspicacity to say, "okay!"


This is an example of how insanely lucky I have been to get to work with the artists with whom I've worked.

Here's my panel description:

I like the idea of an ECU, a twinkle in the Scarecrow’s eye.
Here's the result.

I mean.

Batman: Kings of Fear #4 preview

Is the fourth issue of Batman: Kings of Fear out this week? You bet it is. Am I excited? You bet I am.

One of the things Kelley and I really tried to do with this series was make sure each issue built from beginning to end and that each issue built upon the previous issue, ramping up the tension...but not necessarily in an expected way.

I know some readers were a bit confused with where the story was going initially, and that was very much by design. We're hoping they've stuck around to see it become quite clear this issue—or as clear as things can be when one is under the influence of the Scarecrow's fear gas, that is.

Ooh, cliffhanger! What's going to happen next? What's going to happen next?!

I have to admit, that first page always cracks me up. If others like it even half as much as I do, I'll be pleased.

to fear or not to fear

So the reviews for Batman: Kings of Fear #3 have been pretty great, by and large. (Although there have been a few pans of each of the issues so far, something which delights one Kelley Jones no end, especially since the pans and the raves both say more or less the same thing.)

But the scene that's been called out more than any other—possibly than all the others combined—is the scene with the little girl.

I had already sent Kelley the first draft of the script, which had the beginning, the ending and the middle...but I had deliberately left the script several pages short, as I did all the scripts in the series, so Kelley could say where he thought we could expand a scene, or perhaps add a scene.

I was pacing around the backyard in San Diego talking about this issue. "It's fine," Kelley assured me. "I really like it."

I wasn't sure. I thought it was missing something. He accused me of never being satisfied with my work, which isn't untrue. He then pointed out that when it came to stories, my focus was often on the structure, making things were air-tight, that everything had been properly set up, and anything set up had been properly paid off, all of which was, again, true. Whereas he tended to care about the moments, that handful of bits that you immediately thought of when you recalled a story.

We got to talking about someone out on the street at night, late, who sees the Batman and maybe the Dark Knight doesn't even see them, much less interact with them; it's somewhere between nothing and virtually nothing to the Batman and yet to that other person it's a life-changing moment. Like those two drunken idiots fighting after closing time who stop what they're doing, frozen, terrified, merely by the Batman's presence.
I have the feeling Kelley said something about how terrifying the Batman is, how he can't help but be, because he's so physically imposing but, just as vital, he's so powerful on an emotional and (if you do actually interact with him) an intellectual level as well. Obviously, his costume has a tremendous amount to do with that, and intentionally so, but so does...well, basically everything about him, from his towering size to his ominous bearing to his generally threatening aura; as I said, pretty much everything about him. And we talked about despite the fact that the Batman had cultivated all that for years, how sometimes he perhaps has to deliberately try to turn it off, and how hard that might be for him, especially on this one night of all nights.

I said, "I gotta go" and hung up and ran inside and about half an hour later I sent Kelley the script for this scene and he said, "yeah, that's pretty much what I meant."


So yesterday I was (gently) chided by Kelley Jones for exercising too much creativity and not being traditional enough.

Allow me to explain. Kelley and I were talking about household duties, as we so often do, both being stay-at-home dads. And we were talking about how we were both overdue for the annual pumpkin carving, and exchanged some basic pumpkin-carving tips. I mentioned that I try to bounce back and forth between (poorly carved) scary jack o' lanterns and (poorly carved) funny jack o' lanterns.

Kelley averred that jack o' lantern faces should consist of triangle shapes, and that to go too far afield from the basic design was to lose the essential jackness o' lantern.

The guy who took this character:

and turned it into this:

thought I wasn't hewing closely enough to tradition.

I took it under advisement. Then I grabbed a pumpkin, closed my eyes, and allowed my id to take over.

I feel it might be expressing some sort of opinion on the matter.

(Also, I realize this is a bit on the nose but, hey, I've never done one like this before, and Kings of Fear did just come out last week.)