With Smallville Season 11 now available via digital comics and in printed form, fans have seen Batman finally come to Smallville this season along with Barbara Gordon as Nightwing for a couple of arcs. CBR recently talked to Bryan Miller about an upcoming story arc with Batman & Martian Manhunter that includes previews of Batman with the cowl off.
While “Argo” is the next arc serializing in the book and will be focusing on Clark, Booster Gold and the Legion, you’re also getting to tell a side story with Batman and Martian Manhunter that will eventually be published as its own one-shot. How did that opportunity come about, and why pair up those two for a solo story?
It was an interesting situation to be in because for various reasons we didn’t have John Jones super present in the last couple of years of the series. “Effigy” was one of the stories I had in my pocket during my years on the show, and every once in a while I’d pitch it out there, but it would never work out. I try to not turn anything I’m writing on the book into some stories other people worked on because it’s not fair to the other writers on the show, but “Effigy” was my little darling, but logistically it didn’t work out. I was planning on making it a part of “Season 11” at some point anyway, and when the opportunity came up to start doing these parallel stories on weeks where we had no digital chapter, it seemed like the natural thing would be to revisit John Jones. He was a presence on the show, and the “Smallville” viewer would recognize him. It’s not like we’re introducing some new character that Clark’s never met.
The complication was that we already had a pretty big arc that Superman and Clark are very present in with “Haunted” so we didn’t want to cross the wires and have Superman in two stories scattered across different weeks. But the response to Batman’s introduction in “Detective” was so strong that it was natural to have him on the adventure with John Jones. It was a story that was going to happen regardless, but I think it’s really for the better the way it’s being done. Batman and Jones have a very interesting interplay that’s different from Superman and Batman’s interplay.
People asked for Batman for a long time on the show, and it never worked out. Now that he’s in this series where you have the actors from the other characters in your head while you’re writing, do you have a dream actor for Bruce who you imagine when you write these scripts?
It was tricky. We did that with Hank Henshaw in the “Guardian” arc, and at the outset I talked with Pere Pérez my artist about how I had Matthew Fox in my head. Jack from “Lost” was very much the idea we were going for with Hank Henshaw, and ironically we turned Henshaw into someone very similar to the character Fox played in “Alex Cross.” [Laughs] But for the Batman arc, since it was my first time working with Chris Cross on art I didn’t want to stop him from putting his stamp on the Batman stuff. So we didn’t “cast” an actor for that story, but in my head it’s always Kevin Conroy. I mean, his voice from the Bruce Timm stuff is always Batman to me.
What has been your thoughts about Batman and Nightwing being used in Smallville Season 11?