Batman Eternal, the first high profile weekly DC brings to the New 52, hits comics shops this week and Tim Seeley says working on a weekly with three other writers (Ray Fawkes, John Layman and James Tynion IV) and Batman’s main man, Scott Snyder, has been surprisingly easy! No small sentiment for the guy who started out slashing trough comics with Hack/Slash and currently the man behind the highly successful and unique tale of a small town and it’s inhabitants returning from the dead in Revival from Image. Seeley writes from his perspective of his small town upbringing but with big city ideas and appeal.


Cover of Batman Eternal #2

Seeley took time out during his appearance at the 2014 Lexington Toy and Comic Con to discuss with UTF the success of Revival and what fans of the series can look forward to this year. He also spoke about the ease with which Batman Eternal is going and how it is working with a multitude of talent on DC’s #1 character and the pressure of putting out a weekly series. Seeley has worked closely with his brother, Steve Seeley (Hoax Hunters), and he explains the nature of how working with friends and family brought about the birth of his Chicago based crew of talent which makes up Four Star Studios. With plenty of irons in the fire and along with his work at both Image and DC he expands his workload with new series and one-shots at Dark Horse and a long delayed  pet project bringing the Chaos Comics family of characters back for a mini-series at Dynamite. Not bad for a guy who stared out just a hackin’ and a slashin’ !

UTF: Batman Eternal is coming out in April. What’s it like to work with Scott Snyder and all these other writers on such a major DC character?

Tim Seeley: So far, it’s really easy, like, it’s actually kind of weird. I mean, you can imagine how difficult it could be to do something like this, but Scott knows his Batman, so he and James Tynion came up with the over arching story, and broke it down and we each get assigned our parts. Actually, it’s pretty easy, we know where we’re going and we all just work together and it’s actually pretty fun. There’s no egos or no arguments yet. I’m pretty impressed, and we’ve been doing it for almost five or six months now.

BATETERNAL_001There’s been so much speculation since the the teaser image for “Batsgiving” came out, Gordon being in handcuffs, Stephanie Brown’s introduced through “Zero Year”…

Yeah, there’s some cool stuff! I think, Scott kind of wanted Eternal to be where we spin out new ideas for the franchise. Scott is writing the main Batman book and our job is to go in there and shake stuff up and then they can pick stuff up. So we have our big plot and then, Scott will say, “Hey, I like this idea, expand upon this in Eternal, so I can pick it up later.” We’re just kind an idea generation house, and we’re making a really cool, very connected Batman story!

“Actually, it’s pretty easy, we know where we’re going and we all just work together and it’s actually pretty fun.” — on working with Scott Synder and multiple writers on Batman Eternal.

You work with several friends and family from Chicago in your own studio. Tell me how that crew came together.

Yeah, basically, when I used to work at Devil’s Due, I made a lot of good friends but when that company went out of business, we all wanted to stick together. So we started a studio called Four Star Studios which is me, Mike Norton (Revival, Young Avengers), a print maker named Sean Dove and a writer named Josh Emmons.  Then Jenny Frison (Revival, Hoax Hunters, Hack/Slash) joined our studio and I met her when she first moved to Chicago. I think I gave her, her first professional work. I saw her stuff and I was like, “This girl is amazing.” So I hired her for a Hack/Slash cover, and then obviously, the rest of the world has taken notice that she’s, in fact, really, really good.  She was mine first, so I am able to get her for Revival covers and stuff but, Chicago is a big town, but it’s not too big, so all of us hang out and we all know each other and we work together. When we made up Revival, we kept it in the family.

Revival-001Revival is a critical and fan favorite book for Image. Talk about it’s success and the reaction of fans.

I think there was something in the air, because as soon as we brought the comic, then there’s the TV show Resurrection, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff kind of at the same time that came out that’s similar, but I think we really looked at like, “Zombies are one thing. What if the zombies were, you know, like us?”

I think, the most surprising thing is that, I’ve written comics for 10 years. I think for most people, they just assume that all I wrote was like exploitation, like that’s all I had in me. Which, I knew wasn’t true, but I was happy that people give me a chance, and tried something that is outside of what people know I can do. Yeah, that’s been great and it’s also led to be able to write other stuff like Batman and various stuff for Dark HorseRevival kind of opened a lot of doors that Hack/Slash, as much as I love it, it’s my baby, didn’t really open those doors. I think people looked at it and was like, “Oh, it’s just a cheap, you know … it’s a dumb book.” Even though it’s not, it looks like it.

What’s been your approach with Revival, because it is different take on “zombie” stories so popular today with comics and shows like The Walking Dead?

Yeah, what we wanted to do, what Mike and I talked about for years was doing a crime story set in a small town. Mike and I are both from pretty small towns and we just had to come up with a hook for it. I had been working on something that was about a girl that comes back from the dead but she’s not a zombie, and basically, we kind of combined those ideas. I was like, “Let’s do a crime story set amidst this weird, you know, people coming back from the dead.”

We wanted it to be kind of a quiet book about the characters, more than anything. It’s about a town, it’s about people and it’s a horror story but it’s also, it’s a little bit of a crime story. It’s a little bit of sort of a slice of life aspect to it. Hopefully, it’s a very unique voice in comics.  I mean, you can do anything in comics, but not everything is super successful, and now is finally the time that you can do something besides superheroes, and actually you have a go at it, which is great. We live in a great era for comics. The fact that you like spy books and sci-fi books, and all those things where for years, it’s all there was, successful superhero books and that’s about it. Yeah, I think we just hit the right time and there were people looking for something different.

Give us a little sneak peak of what’s coming in Revival.

REVIVAL_HCDana gets sent to New York City to investigate and help the FBI and it looks to them like they have one of the revivers in New York City, which doesn’t make sense because of the quarantine and stuff. Dana goes to investigate that, and she’s a small town girl, she’s never been to New York before, so you get to see her, who’s actually pretty competent and calm in her own town.  When she goes to work in New York City I drew on my own experience of coming from a town of about 400 people and go to New York City and just even having your mind blown in knowing that there’s 400 people in one building in New York.  Then we introduced Em to a sort of a new love interest, sort of. Then, we introduce a new character that I really like. It’s actually the local Indian chief. We’ll see how he relates to all this stuff. We’ll keep on with the mystery. I’m really happy all of the things are starting to come together, because I think when we started up, a lot of people might have been like, “You have no idea where to go.” I was like, “No, we do. We do, I promise. We do.”

It’s a big picture, and it was lot of plotting to figure out where stuff went and I think now, you start to see, “Oh yeah, this is tied together.”


Myself and Tim Seeley at the 2014 Lexington Comic and Toy Convention

I don’t even really remember, because when I worked at Devil’s Due, we had the license to Chaos very briefly, and I was always the big Chaos fan, like where I grew up on that stuff and I was always really into it. I was always wanting to work on it. We did a Hack/Slash for this Evil Ernie crossover.

I think my affection for it was always kind of obvious, but when Nick at Dynamite bought the rights to it, at some point I talked about it, probably at some bar or something, and I was like, “Yeah man, if you do it, I’ll do it. I mean, I’d … Whatever the case, I want to do the Chaos thing.” It took like maybe three or four years, I think. I just got an e-mail like, “All right, we’re ready to go,” and, “Well, oh, okay.”

Basically, I approached it like, there was nothing broke about the origins of the characters. None of it is, it’s totally good. It just needs a little bit of update as far as the costumes and stuff, so it doesn’t look so quite as ‘90s and there was too much continuity to mess around with and then Lady Death’s not part of it anymore because she’s owned by another company. We restart, reboot but keep the characters and what is great about them the same.

jack kraken

Jack Kraken returns to Dark Horse in a new one-shot.

I have a book called Sundowners coming from Dark Horse, which is a weird horror book starring, sort of like home made superheroes, like low budget superheroes.  Jack Kraken, which is my creator owned book that I made up, the character I made up when I was five. I re-did him and put him out as a one shot through Dark Horse. He’s a guy, he works for an agency called H.I.M. (Humanoid Interaction and Management) and his job is to make sure that like the mermaids and Bigfoot don’t kill each other, because he deals with territory, disputes and the trade disputes and stuff, among non-human species. It’s fun goofy stuff that I just wanted to make something sort of pure superhero crazy fun.