The Black Bat – Brian Buccellato Talks The Pulp Anti-Hero
Dynamite's take on the classic pulp character The Black Bat hit's issue #10 and interviewer Byron Brewer sat checked in with series writer Brian Buccellato about the character, where the series is going and what else he may have up his sleeve.
BYRON BREWER: Of all the books launched around the same time, Black Bat has managed to keep both a spectacular momentum going as well as a true sense of the pulpish noir from back in the day. How do you manage the balancing act, Brian?
BRIAN BUCCELLATO: I think the pulpish noir elements are so much a part of the world that Ronan and I created from the beginning, that we didn't need to do any balancing. The Black Bat is so rooted in that genre that all I had to do was keep the story moving toward the conclusion that I planned from the very beginning. Understanding Tony's journey enables me to be very deliberate with when and how things unfold. There's a lot of set up in the earlier issues, and the payoffs come fast and hit hard as the series reaches it's conclusion.
BYRON: In the last few issues, you have really stabbed at the heart of the character. How much more can the Bat take before a vigilante becomes a villain in the true sense?
BRIAN: I don't think Tony will ever be a "true villain"…at least not in his heart. The choices he makes and the laws that he breaks have consequences, but ultimately he is trying to do the right thing. At it's core, this is a personal redemption story… and despite his failures, he will continue to reach for it.
BYRON: Redemption is a big part of the Black Bat mystique. How does that play into the events of issue #10?
BRIAN: Well, it seems every step towards redemption forces him to compromise. Last issue he broke his most hated enemy out of prison, which puts him further than ever from his goal. He's as low as he has been since he put on the mask. Yet, as bad as issue 10 gets for him… doesn't give up. He's been put to the test, but by the end of the issue we can learn that is committed to seeing this through to the bitter end.
BYRON: We hear betrayal might be coming down the pike. Can you tell us what effect this might have on Tony Quinn's war on inner city crime?
BRIAN: Tony's whole world is crashing down around him. This betrayal is at the core of who he is and what he is trying to do… so it's going to have a profound impact on his war on inner city crime.
BYRON: Speaking of effects, will we be seeing any backlash from the Bat's recent jailbreak of his arch-foe?
BRIAN: The Black Bat is a criminal. He's wanted. There will be consequences.
BYRON: This book has been full of twists and surprises. Some have been hinted at regarding the REAL threat to Quinn. Can you tell us more without spoilers?
BRIAN: By the end of issue 10, it's revealed who the REAL threat is. This threat has been seeded throughout the story and will impact EVERYTHING… including the climax. I can't say more, except… I bet you five buck that you won't see the ending coming.
BYRON: Will the Black Bat ever resolve the guilt issues he has regarding his father's death?
BRIAN: His life is defined by his guilt. He failed his father in the worst way, far worse than not being there at the very end. I don't think there is EVER resolution to that type of guilt. It motives his quest for justice, but he has to live with it. Forever.
BYRON: The Bat went from a half-whispered urban legend to Public Enemy #1. That certainly is heavily portrayed in the #10.
BRIAN: Obviously, there's a masked vigilante running around so you've got to suspend some disbelief, but my goal with The Black Bat was to tell a grounded vigilante story in a semi-real world setting. His growth from urban legend to America's Most Wanted felt like the natural evolution of the story.
BYRON: Ronan Cliquet has become a master storyteller since Black Bat's beginnings. How has it been working with this artist?
BRIAN: He's been EVERYTHING I'd hoped and more. When we started, I gave him a very specific direction in terms of the tone and style, and he delivered immediately. His layouts are perfect or the story we are trying to tell and I couldn't be happier with the final pages. He makes my job easy. I love, love, LOVE his work.
BYRON: So what is next for Brian Buccellato?
BRIAN: I'm working on DETECTIVE COMICS with Francis Manapul, so that's taking up a big part of my creative life. I'm also developing a creator owned series called SONS OF THE DEVIL that will be launching on Kickstarter as a comic AND a short film that will accompany the book.