DC's flagship Batman title returned from hiatus last week, shedding light on a new era for the Dark Knight - one where he's light on cash but heavy on new villains (and classic villains with new looks).
Following up our chat with Batman series writer James Tynion IV earlier this month, Newsarama sat down with series artist Jorge Jiménez to discuss new villains like Miracle Molly, redesigned ones such as the Scarecrow, and the future of the title under their watch.
Newsarama: Jorge, to jump right in, Scarecrow is going to be a big player in your Batman run for 2021 - beginning with his return in last week's Batman #106 sporting a new look.
What went into designing his new look?
Jorge Jiménez: Scarecrow is a special villain; he is obsessed with fear, which makes him similar to Batman. In this case, I wanted to reflect that clearly in the design; the silhouette should be disconcerting, with branches around him and clothes hanging.
I have collected elements from other versions of the Scarecrow such as the injection claws with their fear toxin, and the straw hat, but I have also combined new elements such as a poncho, the new gas mask, spherical eyes, and the wiring system to arrange of different special toxins hidden in his clothes.
Nrama: And what went into coming up for the look for the newest edition to Batman's Rogue Gallery - Miracle Molly?
Jiménez: When I read James's script, she seemed very charismatic to me. Ideas rained down on me, because of the type of work she required to have cybernetic elements, and I also wanted her to look very current as a young woman of today but with a slightly crazy tone.
A mix between a street dancer with a nerdy tone and an athletic touch of an influencer girl, all mixed with a cyberpunk style. What can go wrong?
I know it's hard for us to get the Punchline phenomenon again, but if anyone can, this is Miracle Molly!
Nrama: What's your collaborative process with James like when working on these new characters?
Jiménez: I think James knows my work perfectly, and when he writes characters, he has my lines style in mind. He usually attaches a description of the character along with the references that he considers appropriate to the idea that he has of this and how he can be integrated into my style. So, I read it carefully and look at the references that he considers important. While doing this I give free rein to my imagination, and almost always, the first image that comes to mind is quite similar to the final version that we will have of that character.
It's funny, but I have hardly ever received correction notes from James. I think our minds are well synchronized, and this shows in our characters.
Nrama: What have you enjoyed the most about working on Batman?
Jiménez: Batman, along with Superman, is my favorite childhood hero. For me drawing this series is like a dream come true. I was four or five years old and I was already drawing Batman; I remember myself as a child playing with the action figures while humming the Batman song.
I have worked very hard year after year climbing each rung of the ladder step by step to reach DC's star series. Batman is probably the most beloved fictional character on the entire planet, and this makes me feel the pressure. But it's precisely this challenge that motivates me, and fills me with enthusiasm. I want the fans of the character to be proud of me, and may this stage be remembered for many years, so I plan to work as hard as necessary to achieve it.
Nrama: Is there a Bat character you'd like to have the chance to draw in the series that you haven't yet?
Jiménez: Practically we are working with all of them more or less, so I'm really happy with this!
Nrama: Your designs for characters like Punchline, the Designer, and Clownhunter have been big hits. Are there any design elements you knew would be well received when working on them?
Jiménez: I think especially Punchline, when I saw the reaction of [Batman group editor] by Ben Abernathy and James upon receiving this design, I clearly understood that I had done something that would rumble louder than I expected. But not even in my best dreams did I imagine the impact so fast and strong that she had, we were all surprised!
Nrama: How has this success affected your approach for future character designs?
Jiménez: I guess you have to accept that no matter how much you put the maximum of affection, sometimes things work and others do not, I think the idea is to stay consistent with my style and trust my ideas, and what has to come, will come!
Thank you very much and I am excited for fans to join us on this new Batman adventure!
Keep appraised of Jiménez's Batman and all of DC's Dark Knight stories with our constantly-updated list of new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections.