James Tynion IV On Being Told To Write Alfred Pennyworth's Funeral

James Tynion IV has continued to talk on his Substack newsletter about his work on the Batman comic book and the editorial and creative challenges it faced, working on a run that was basically a fill-in, something to lead up to 5G, which is all anyone was interested in and, in November 2019, there was no sign that DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio was going to be fired and the entire 5G DC Comics relaunch would be a) binned b) bits turned into Future State and c) it's even existence denied onstage at a major DC event.

James Tynion IV On Being Told To Write Alfred Pennyworth's Funeral

The latest missive sees James Tynion IV break down his relationships with creators, editors, and publishers alike, as well as publishing his response notes to try and fix issues that DC Comics had, or even just might have, with his previously posted pitches. The lack of communication is a constant theme here. Here are a few highlights of yesterday's newsletter – for the rest, and the amended proposal pages in question, you will have to subscribe like everyone else.

  • I have turned in a number of outlines in, but I am not getting the feedback I need to nail down the pieces for the first arc on the book. The trouble was, all eyes internally at DC were focused on building the publishing line that would come on the other side of my run, and trying to get their attention to shift where we needed it was incredibly difficult.
  • Instead, DC wanted us to focus on a special issue that effectively gave us a "Funeral" for Alfred Pennyworth that would serve as a kind of breaking point for the Bat-Family where they could all separate in a more permanent way to be ready for where they needed to be on the other side of the line. Anyone who knows both Pete [Tomasi] and my writing could probably guess that we didn't particularly want to write a story about the Bat-Family breaking up.
  • People liked the issue, but it still feels like me executing someone else's story rather than me telling my own… And after feeling the rush of launching SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN, I was realizing more and more that I wasn't interested in just executing other people's comic stories.
  • I booked a last minute flight to Burbank on my own dime for the week before Thanksgiving. I was going to be on hand to answer any final questions or concerns, hell or high water, so that I could get to work.
  • I sat down in Ben Abernathy's office with my laptop and while he was in a meeting, I wrote the coda. Ben [Abernathy] read it, and approved it on the spot, and passed it over to Guillem.
  • I had written these Joker Gang members into the scene, and it made for such a creepy visual that Ben and I just started talking.
  • It was in that meeting where Ben said "What if we called the story World War Joker… Or just… Joker War." And I had this image in my head of all of these Joker Gang members causing mayhem in the streets.
  • Who was going to be Joker's new number two?

James Tynion IV's creation of Punchline will be next week's highlight…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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