John Layman Taking Over Detective Comics

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By Todd Allen

DTC Cv13 200x296 John Layman Taking Over Detective ComicsThere’s a new team on Detective Comics and it probably wasn’t who you were expecting.  New artist, Jason Fabok, maybe you could have seen him coming.  He’s filled in on a couple issues of Batman: The Dark Knight and also worked on the recent Batman Annual.  You could make an argument he got a quick promotion from designated reliever (while that isn’t a formal title in comics, it probably should be) to primary artist.  John Layman writing Detective?  No, you didn’t see that one coming.

Layman isn’t a stranger to detective work.  Parts of his breakout hit, Chew, would fall into the mystery category.  This isn’t Layman’s first dance with the world of superheroes.  He wrote of run of Gambit for Marvel a few years back.  A bit of Marvel Adventures, too.  This is definitely his highest profile mainstream project, though.  Layman did have a stint in editorial for Wildstorm in his past, so at least one of DC’s co-publishers is familiar with him.  Very interesting choice, this one.

No word if Detective Comics will continue to be having a back-up strip or what it will be.

Here’s the official PR:

This fall, John Layman (CHEW) will be writing DETECTIVE COMICS. And joining him to tell his twisted stories about the Dark Knight will be fan-favorite artist Jason Fabok. So what’s in store for DC Comics’ flagship title? We asked the duo to shed some light on what fans can expect from their collaboration.

“Obviously, this is a happily surreal and exciting turn-of-events for my career,” Layman told THE SOURCE. “Not only is this my first work within the DC Universe, but I get to work on one of DC’s undisputedly coolest and highest-profile characters. I’m going to take a look at the role of criminal organizations within Gotham City, hopefully from a perspective that does not get considered very often (if at all). From the symbiotic relationship a master criminal must have with Gotham in order to survive, to the lowly, often faceless criminal underling hoping to rise up the ranks. All that, plus Batman’s gonna play with a bunch of crazy new toys and kick all kinds of butt.”

“First, I want to express how thankful I am to have this opportunity. I am humbled that DC Comics would entrust me with one of their greatest titles,” continued Fabok. “To work on a Batman title has been the number one goal that I set for my career and I am honored to have this opportunity to make my dream become a reality. I’m really hoping to deliver a dark, epic Batman with hints of the art deco stylings of the old animated series and the more modern take seen in recent incarnations. I am hoping to let my influences gush out onto the page and create something that is familiar, classic and yet my own. As for working with John Layman, I couldn’t be more excited. John is a great visual storyteller and he packs every page with meaningful panels that bring the story forward and add incredible depth. Together we hope to deliver a quality Batman tale, filled with mystery, twists, turns, shockers and most of all, fun!”

Comments

  1. Puts Detective on pull-list for first time in over 20 years of collecting.

    I am going to read the shit out of this!

    I like seeing accomplished indie writers taking on some main-stream books. Good gateway for new readers either way.

  2. Time to hand-sell those CHEW trade paperbacks, retailers.

  3. I don’t care much for “Chew,” but I’m impressed with the buzz around Layman, so I think I have to give this a shot.

  4. Blacaucasian says:

    Just throwing this out there, but it’s become more increasingly clear to me that the model of how to and how not to edit comics is no more clear than in DC’s own offices. Since he got to DC, Mike Marts has seemed to handle talent and the editing of his books amazingly. The talent, from Grant Morrison to Tony Daniel to Scott Snyder has all seemingly been allowed to do their own thing without stepping on each other toes. Crossovers, at least from what other creators have said, have been inclusive if you want to but by no means necessary. Even the continuity hiccups with Batman Inc are going to seem small down the line, when you have a full collected Grant Morrison Batman epic to release as an absolute, as opposed to the few fanboy continuity cops who aren’t able to stray from continuity in place of a complete story. In the last month he’s brought in Becky Cloonan for art on an annual and a fill in Batman issue (which I would argue, a huge part of listening to talent like Scott Snyder, is listening to him when he wants to work with someone as talented as Becky and making it happen) and hiring someone like Layman for Detective which is a genius stroke and someone who I feel is going to hit it out of the park. What could have been a disaster between Snyder and Capullo ended up into them both turning in career defining work. Even the hiccup on Batwoman seemed to be better handled then any of the other creative issues on the books throughout the relaunch.

    All this and it seems to me, most importantly, hes being left alone by the powers that be because most everything he’s done seems to be working sales-wise and critically for the most part.

    Contrast that with (I believe) Matt Idelson in the Superman office, who so far has seeming alienated a super talent like Brian Wood away from DC with the whole pitch fiasco (mind you – with the non-disclosures this is purely speculation on my part); alienated George Perez from Superman due to a major lack of communication. Lack of vision has been a huge complaint from people on these books aside from what Lobdell is doing with his Superboy and other books. There’s been very little to no real new talent that I’ve noticed on these books, and they already, in my own opinion, aside from Action, feel like a very stale and not forward looking way to tell stories with these characters.

    I don’t know…just an observation. And I know everyone manages differently. But it seems there’s a lot of editors at DC who could learn a lot about the way to publish a book from how Marts is running his ship over there.

  5. @Blacaucasian

    No idea if any of that is true, but Rich should just hire you to write speculation for Bleeding Cool based on those few paragraphs alone.

    Based solely on results, it seems plausible to me. And it sounds like Marts “gets” the Archie Goodwin model of editing monthlies.

  6. They landed Layman as the other top Image writers already work for Marvel.

    :D

    Oh wait, BKV doesn’t. Never mind.

  7. blacaucasian says:

    “No idea if any of that is true, but Rich should just hire you to write speculation for Bleeding Cool based on those few paragraphs alone.”

    I prefer analysis, but if Rich (or anyone for that matter) wants to pay me to write anything comics related, you can call it whatever you want and I’d be more than happy to indulge.

  8. Suzene says:

    Always good to see an awesome writer land a high-profile gig. I’d say it’s a shame that Mr. Guillory couldn’t go with, but that would be a lie — I like him on Chew way too much. ;)

  9. Dennis V. says:

    Very, very, VERY interesting! I’m looking forward to Layman on Detective!

  10. James says:

    ” …. fan-favorite artist Jason Fabok”

    Really? fan favorite? I hadn’t even heard of him before a year ago.

    Layman writing Tec is a huge pro – but Fabok and having Penguin feature is a con (for me at least). So I’m still up in the air if I’ll pick it up….

  11. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says:

    Blacaucasian wrote “hiring someone like Layman for Detective which is a genius stroke”

    I’m not up to date on John Layman’s workbut I would hardly contend that his
    being hired by DC is anything genius. Editors have been hiring indie guys
    with some buzz and a willingness to do capes for over ten years now. Jason Arron and Jeff Lemire are some of the latest examples and there’s plenty for them to pick and choose from. Hungry, (literally in some cases] creators witha proven track record are exactly what Marvel and DC are looking for.

    Blacaucasian wrote “Contrast that with (I believe) Matt Idelson in the Superman office, who so far has seeming alienated a super talent like Brian Wood away from DC with the whole pitch fiasco (mind you – with the non-disclosures this is purely speculation on my part); alienated George Perez”

    Pushing Brian Wood away was probably not a good move, but if I am interpeting Brian Wood’s Modus operandi, he doesn’t compromise the quality of his work for a paycheck, He’s an indie guy at heart.
    The Superman comics from what I’ve seen are uniform in their mediocrity and are playing it very safe. Brian Wood was just not a good fit for those kind expectations. He’s not interested in being a cog in the corporate machine.

    Speaking of cogs in the corporate machine, George Perez wasn’t knocking anything out of the park with his most recent work. Can’t say I’m sad to see him go.

    The Superman comics seem to suffer from a combination of editorial/corporate expectations, and the ability of creators and readers to connect with a character like Superman.

    Blacaucasian wrote “There’s been very little to no real new talent that I’ve noticed on these books, and they already, in my own opinion, aside from Action, feel like a very stale and not forward looking way to tell stories with these characters.” On the other hand, anyone with any serious talent is not going to settle for doing mediocre work on corporate franchises for DC for long when they can get more pay and recognition elsewhere.

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