Michael Metcalf talks about the BLACK BAT

Black Bat is a pulp hero that is part Batman, part Daredevil and part Shadow all rolled in one. Recently Moonstone Books has brought back the Black Bat and Michael Metcalf is handling the art. Michael stopped by First Comics News to talk to us about the Black Bat and his return.

First Comics News: How did you get involved with the Black Bat?

Michael Metcalf: I met the magical Mike Bullock in 2007 and we worked on a couple of children’s books together. Mike B knew that I was interested in doing some projects that were more grown up and gritty, so he mentioned the Black Bat and Death Angel projects to me. He has some wild plans for the characters that really drew me in.

1st: Who is the Black Bat?

M2: The Black Bat is a controversial pulp character originated in the 1930s and 40s. He’s a dark, aggressive hero with a fractured mind. He’s smart, he’s violent and he’s packing pistols.

1st: Visually do you try to make him look like the old pulps, or did you update his look?

M2: He’s still got the mask and the cape from the pulp covers, but you’ll see some new defensive, offensive and stylistic elements. The mask is scratched and scarred and has no eye holes. The cape has sharp spines near the hands that can fold back toward the elbows. In future issues you can expect to learn more about the costume but in the first issue you’ll definitely learn that the Black bat is not afraid to get blood on it.

1st: The story is set in the Moonstone pulp universe, what time period is that?

M2: No exact year or time period is specified. Some of the styles and technologies have a 1940s/1950s vibe, though.

1st: What type of reference materials do you use?

M2: I use lots of photos of blood soaked vigilantes beating the snot out of criminals! They aren’t as easy to find as you might think.

1st: What makes the Black Bat unique?

M2: He’s just a regular guy with a law degree, facial scarring, a dead man’s eyes and multiple personalities. He can “see” in the dark. He has a tendency to break bones, jab handguns into open head wounds and litter alleyways with the bodies of dead crooks.

1st: The story is in Black, White and Red. Why use 3 colors instead of 4 colors?

M2: The Black Bat is a character that has a very intense mindset. We hope the black/white/red color scheme helps convey the light, darkness and violence that permeate the stories. The three colors also symbolize the three aspects of the Black Bat’s fractured psyche.

1st: As a period piece is it more or less violent then a modern Batman or Daredevil comic?

M2: This book may be more violent than many mainstream comics, though the body count will vary from issue to issue. Our lead character is not inclined to send criminals to jail. He’s all about punishing the guilty in a VERY permanent manner.

1st: Carol, Silk and Rockwell are the Black Bat’s crew, what do they bring to the story?

M2: Carol appears briefly in the first issue. I think as the series progresses, you’ll see Carol’s character develop in several ways. She’s a love interest and a source of strength to Quinn/Black Bat. She’s a link to his sanity and humanity. Silk and Rockwell will figure more prominently in future issues as Quinn’s street connections.

1st: What are the elements are needed to tell a good Black Bat story?

M2: Action and emotion! Mike B always provides me with heaps of good script visuals …car wrecks, oozing chest wounds, crooks getting their noggins blown open… I just hope that my art compliments the story. I drew most of the panels dark and harsh like Quinn’s view of the city, and I drew the flashbacks lighter and brighter. I tried to deliver an exciting variety of poses and facial expressions and I tried to make the violence look good n’ painful.

1st: For fans that may be put off by the term pulp, what is so cool about the Black Bat that they shouldn’t miss the first issue of Black Bat Doubleshot?

M2: It’s packed with BANG BANG SNAP YARRGH GLOOSH CRUNCH AAIIEEE! Come get some!

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