The Genius of Tim Levins

I was lucky enough to work with the brilliant Tim Levins for four years and over 40 issues on The Gotham Adventures. Tim's storytelling was always pristine yet exciting, and his drawing ability was beyond superb.

Maybe best of all, though, was the nearly telepathic bond we seemed to have, where he would draw exactly what I wanted—although better than I was even capable of even imagining—but hadn't actually remembered to ask for. He's that good.

For instance, check out this full-page shot. First, here's my original script for this page:

Page Three
Batman has continued to move forward a bit and Superman has stood up so they are now basically nose-to-nose; not quite, because that would be more openly confrontational than either of them wants to be at this point in time, but these guys ain't exactly best friends. We should swing the camera around now—I see this as being pretty much an ECU of the profiles of the two of them, Superman on our left, Batman on the right, pulling in enough that we basically just see their faces. But, as always, I could be wrong and if something else works better, by all means. Here, at last, by the way, since I know you've been waiting anxiously, is our beloved indicia, unless we can wait until page four (I think it's the first four pages, isn't it, Frank?), which would most assuredly be preferable. Still no title or credits, however. But do make some color notes for the redoubtable Lee that while the Batcave will be all monochromatic cools as usual, Superman should practically glow like the god he is, pointing up even more just how unusual this pairing is.  

Now check out what Tim did, how much better he made it.

It's nice to see Tim's genius recognized by others. I can tell you that all these things this blogger spotted? They're all really there, and were entirely intentional on Tim's part.
You know what I like? Actually, know what I love? When artists get it right between these two. Writers too, but especially the artists. 
Look at this page. Look at how beautifully these two people are composed. Even taken out of the SuperBat context, just look at how their body language says everything about their friendship. 
Batman: Stoic, rigid, unflinching and unmoving — but look at his hands. They’re not balled into fists. In fact, there’s a gap in them created by his index finger touching the tip of his thumb. That’s nerves coming out, people. Batman is trying to keep himself from picking at his nails, gloves be damned, because Superman makes him nervous. Some people will probably say, “Duh, Batman doesn’t trust Superman.” Get that Post-Crisis shit out of here and look closer. He’s perfectly straight, not loose at all, and his feet are closer together with the heels slightly pointed in. What kind of person who spends his life fighting would stand like that? I’ll tell you who: someone who is trying to impress someone they think is better than them. 
Now look at Superman. He’s not as subtle as Batman is. You can see the uncertainty in his eyes and how his mouth is just slightly open. You can see that his leg is still slack, like he can’t decide if he’s allowed to move closer or not. He’s watching Batman, trying to figure Batman out, because he respects Batman and he doesn’t want to overstep his boundaries. And unlike Batman, he’s comfortable opening up and expressing himself to other people verbally. He hasn’t had to say a whole with his body before, which is why being around Batman makes him uncertain. Not nervous, not apprehensive, just uncertain. 

1 comment:

  1. It was through Ty Templeton sharing the link on Uncivil War that I found your blog.

    I really enjoyed reading The Batman Adventures. I stuck with it as it morphed through The Batman & Robin Adventures and finally Batman: Gotham Adventures. (I was one of the fan-letter writers that won one of the coffee table books on the animated series!!!)

    I liked Ty Templeton's art and Christopher Jones, too. My favorite has to be Mike Parobeck. I'm sure I'm not alone there.

    I liked when Tim Levins took over and he was the regular artist. It was nice to see fill-in issues from Brad Rader, but one consistent artist worked. Levins was awesome on the book.

    It seems like so long ago.

    I still re-read the issues from time to time. The Superman story is pretty good. I think the story of Joe is my favorite.

    Thanks so much for making a great book!