It’s the Gotham Tribune Batapalooza! And we kick it off in grand fashion, rightchere: This is the comic that just had to happen! We talk to writer Sholly Fisch about one of this week’s — nay, this year’s — biggest Batman events!
I can’t imagine any Batfan worth his Batsalt hasn’t seen the “classic” Scooby-Doo Meets Batman episodes of the early ’70s Saturday morning cartoon, “The New Scooby-Doo Movies.” Even if you’re not a certain age, the miracle of home video makes these hokey artifacts eminently accessible. So when I saw that DC was going back to that well, I thought, “Snyder who?” and marked down the release date. Which is Wednesday.
Naturally, I wanted to talk to Sholly Fisch. And, boy was he game. And so was DC, which provided these EXCLUSIVE preview pages (1-3 have been out there. But 4-6 are ours! All ours! Because we care about you and want you to see them!):
Dan: Was this your pitch or did it come to you? This a one-shot story, multipart?
Sholly: A little of both, actually. At first, Scooby-Doo editor Kristy Quinn asked me for pitches for a Scooby-Doo Meets Batman one-shot, so I sent in about a half-dozen ideas, figuring they’d pick the one they liked best. What I didn’t expect was that, when the Powers That Be saw how many ideas I had, they’d decide to expand it into a six-issue series – or that they’d later expand it beyond six issues, and beyond Batman, into an ongoing series, Scooby-Doo Team-Up. If only all my assignments could turn out this way…
So now, Scooby-Doo Team-Up is an ongoing bimonthly that starts with a few issues teaming Scooby with Batman and Robin, and then branches out into … well, that would be telling.
What’s the basic story?
Well, for one thing, it turns out that, all these years, the Joker has really just been a greedy real estate developer who’s trying to scare Gothamites out of their rent-controlled apartments, and …
No, no, no. Really, I’ve written the first three issues so far, and they all feature some of Batman’s more monstrous and magical friends and foes. In the first one, Batman, Robin, and the gang in the Mystery Machine join forces to take on Man-Bat – or do they? The second issue features the first-ever meeting of Scooby-Doo and Ace the Bat-Hound, as the Canine Crusaders chase down the Scarecrow. And things go completely gonzo-over-the-top insane in the third issue when the mischievous, magical imp Bat-Mite comes to town – and Scooby gets a Fifth-Dimensional “biggest fan” of his own!
After that, we’ll start to branch out beyond the Bat-family, and maybe even beyond the DC Universe too. I can’t say too much about those team-ups yet, because the approvals are still being worked out, so let’s just say there are more than a few surprises waiting in the wings.
As a kid, I watched the show and when Batman and Robin were on, it was like a special occasion. Certainly better than Don Knotts. Did you grow up with the episodes or watch them later on video?
Hey, don’t put down Don Knotts. “The Ghost and Mister Chicken?” “The Incredible Mister Limpet?” The man was brilliant! But anyway…
I was the right age for Scooby-Doo when it premiered, but I never got to see it at the time because it was only on Saturday mornings, and since I’m a religious Jew, I couldn’t watch TV on Saturdays. And, because there wasn’t any such thing as home video in those days, I didn’t get to watch it for years, until the series finally hit syndication and started airing at other times during the week.
Of course, the fact that I couldn’t watch Scooby as a kid is pretty ironic, considering just how many dozens of Scooby-Doo stories I’d wind up writing when I grew up. On the other hand, though, I was addicted to the Adam West “Batman” TV show as a kid, and look how that turned out for me.
C’mon, Robin should totally ask out Daphne, right? Guy’s got a thing for redheads …
Ha! Could be, but she’d probably just wind up pulling off his mask. Force of habit, and all that.
How hard did you have to fight to keep the old outfits? I swear, I never thought I’d see Robin in shorty pants and pixie boots ever again.
Actually, I was pushing to team up Scooby with Frank Miller’s Dark Knight…
Truth is, Warner Brothers decided that we should use the classic version of Batman and Robin, to sync up with their first meetings on TV, back in the ‘70s. Our artist, Dario Brizuela, is great at adapting to a wide range of art styles, so he’s captured the classic looks of both Scooby and Batman really well.
While WB made the call about the look of the characters, though, I didn’t need a lot of persuading to go with the classic look. Anyone who’s read my run on The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold can probably tell that I’ve got a huge soft spot for the old Silver Age stories. And you’ll see nods to all that throughout Scooby-Doo Team-Up too, from guest stars like Ace and Bat-Mite through things like the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City and maybe an occasional “Holy…” And, yes, you might even see a touch of Dark Knight too…
I see that Man-Bat is the villain. Please tell me he says, “Skree! You meddling — Skree! — kids!” Because that really has to happen.
If only I had thought of it in time! Oh, well. But I think the word “meddling” does appear in every issue so far.
Did you watch the “Batman: Brave and the Bold” episode that satirized the old Scooby-Doo Meets Batman cartoons? The best part is when they intentionally messed up, to mimic the old cartoons. Like, Robin’s logo would be on the wrong side in some frames, or the colors in Batman’s logo would be transposed. Did you do that here?
Oh, I loved that episode! In fact, I re-watched it while I was writing the first issue of this series.
There aren’t any miscolored necks or anything in our series – at least not on purpose – but there are plenty of in-jokes that should get a chuckle from longtime Batman and Scooby fans alike.
Was this a fun assignment, or what?
For me? Absolutely! Now, I just hope it is for everyone else too.