When the hardcover Deluxe Edition of DC's Detective Comics #1000 makes its way to stores next month, it will bring with it a brand-new Batman story by legendary writer Alan Grant and fan-favorite Batman and Nightwing artist Scott McDaniel. Detective Comics #100, which was released in March, is the symbolic marker of 80 years of Batman stories, and while the paperback weighed in at 96 pages already, June's hardcover will bring even more content. Like the Deluxe Edition hardcovers of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 or Action Comics #1000, Detective Comics will feature a gallery of variant covers, some new commentary, and in this case, new stoires from Grant and McDaniel as well as Robert Venditti and Steven Segovia.
The Grant/McDaniel story will center on Anarky, the young antihero co-created by Grant with an eye toward replacing Jason Todd as Robin down the line. Little did Grant know that by the time he had a new Robin candidate appearing in the pages of the Batman titles, group editor Dennis O'Neil had already begun making plans to introduce Tim Drake himself. Still, the dichotomy of the poor and class-conscious Anarky and the wealthy Batman is one that is fun to explore.
"It was great fun doing him again," Grant told ComicBook.com. "I created Anarky because of my own beliefs, my own political beliefs. And, I always thought that when I was 16 years old that's what I would have liked to have done. I would like to put on a costume and gone out and tried to right the world's wrongs. So that's exactly where Anarky came from."
Grant and McDaniel have both worked on dozens (maybe hundreds) of issues of Batman and Batman-related stories during their careers, but had fairly minimal work together. This story was a chance for the two of them to come together and do something special to add to the Bat-legacy.
"As a penciller that has to put the story into motion, so to speak, I really appreciate characters that hit upon a real core reality of the human experience, and I think Anarky is one of them," McDaniel said during the same interview. "I think that at some level rebellion against authority is lurking in nearly every human heart. And I think, probably everyone at some point in their life has really come to deal with that in their own life. Their own experience. Whether it's a frustrated teenager, with circumstances of youth. or as an adult looking at the frustrations and unfairness of life. You know that rebellion against authority and political structure. I just think that's a real common experience, and I think when so many people can tap into it, I think you hit upon something that's meaningful. I think that's what Alan does with his characters."
Besides their years on the Batman titles at DC, both McDaniel and Grant have lived with the characters as fans since they were young. Each of them had slightly different stories about their fandom, with McDaniel crediting much of his love for the character to the '60s TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward -- the latter of whom, apparently, doesn't know just "how close he came to losing that sweet gig," the artist joked.
"When I was a kid, you know, reading comic books, I wanted to be Robin so bad, that I wrote to the TV station that was airing the Adam West/Burt Ward show and I was making my case to take over Burt Ward's position," McDaniel told us. "I was so passionate I even promised to take off my glasses during the action scenes. I mean, it was awesome. But I never got the job."
It may be for the better that McDaniel did not get the gig as Robin -- it could have really changed the way he looked at the character when he drew Nightwing later in life.
"I, like Scott, loved Batman since I was a child. He's always been my favorite character, and to be involved in any way, in the history of Batman is a real privilege," Grant said. "The character of Batman is timeless, and for many other superheroes, I think Batman has been with all of them since he was created in the 1930s, and for me, he's still the top hero. I would rather read a Batman story, then a story about any other hero at all."
The Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition will include tribute art celebrating Batman from popular artists Jason Fabok, Mikel Janin, as well as Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts; a gallery of 32 unique retailer-exclusive variants drawn by some of the biggest names in comics and art, plus the nine decade-themed variant covers from artists such as Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Jim Steranko, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Miller, Tim Sale, Jock and Greg Capullo; and a wraparound cover from the Detective Comics #1000 comic book by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair. Fans can expect the 168-page book to be released to comic shops on June 12 and bookstores on June 18, carrying a price tag of $19.99.
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