At this year's San Diego Comic Con, Moviepilot sat down with DC comic book artist Lee Bermejo, whose long body of work includes art and writing credits on titles such as Batman: Noël, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, Before Watchmen: Rorschach, and Joker. Bermejo sat down to discuss his hopes for upcoming superhero movies, his pick for a live-action Batman, and a "shift" in comics fandom that's really been here the whole time.
Note: When you're sitting next to one of your favorite comic creators of all time, it's pretty easy to fall directly into stunned jibberish -- but the interview developed into something really insightful, so while the artistic flair may be lost on this article, the bare-bones transcript is an incredible read.
After stepping outside the near-freezing exhibit hall and finding a decent spot on a staircase that overlooked the bay, we got right into talking about Batman.
Moviepilot: You've got something of a long body of work with DC and Batman - if you could pick one storyline to bring to the big screen, what would it be?
Lee Bermejo: I don’t know... that’s tricky. I feel like that changes over the years for me. Like, before the Christopher Nolan movies came out, I had just finished a book called Lex Luthor: Man of Steel that had Batman in it. Then I was starting a graphic novel called “The Joker” and this was right after Batman Begins. I was into this sort of gritty urban, super realistic take on Batman... Now I feel like that’s been done. Chris did that and did it very well.
So, now I've got to admit; I’m pretty excited to see what Snyder does. He seems to be really doing The Dark Knight Returns Batman, it seems to be – I don’t want to say comic booky – but you can tell that he isn’t going to that Christopher Nolan extreme with the realism. It seems like he’s not as interested in that kind of stuff. So hopefully we’ll see some big superhero iconography on the screen. Which I still don’t feel like they’ve done with Batman. All of the movies have been fairly stylized, kind of heavy and clunky and gothic. The Nolan movies, I thought were amazing... But there wasn’t that iconic Batman stuff in the movies. There’s this kind of mythic side to the character that they’ve never done. So I kind of hope to see that.
MP: So who would be your dream Batman? What actor would you cast?
LB: I think Idris Elba would be good. I think he’s great in everything. I don’t care about the race or anything like that. I think he’s a super powerful presence on screen. I’d like to see him play everything, actually! It’d be cool to see Idris Elba play Batman.
MP: Do you see a different shift of reaction to your work now that there is a more public platform for more women? What kind of reactions have you seen?
LB: It’s been surprising to me to see the female audience for Joker. There’s really no strong female character in the book. It’s indicative of this side of comics that I think has always been there. It’s always been such a boys club and it’s nice to see some of that stuff really boil to the surface.
MP: Comic book movies are booming! Do you think that comic book movies are impacting the comic industry?
LB: Yeah, all of these movies are coming out like Guardians of the Galaxy[Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073)and everyone’s saying it’s really good – but are we seeing actual book sales as a result of that? Are people being introduced to comics that they weren’t buying before? And I think that you can’t deny the fact that if you have something like Guardians of the Galaxy which was, until two years ago - maybe even a year ago - was a totally obscure Marvel comic book – if you have people who go see that movie and are curious, how can there not be some spill over?
Like, my parents couldn’t be further removed from the whole comic thing. My father is a doctor and even to this day he’s like, “How are your animations coming?"
The other week I’m visiting my folks and my dad’s like, “Yeah, so Comic-Con’s coming up. I hear Robert Downey, Jr. is going to be there.”
People now, like my dad, who doesn’t know shit [about comics] now knows about what goes on at Comic-Con. He knows that Robert Downey, Jr. is Iron Man; he’s never even seen an Iron Man comic in his life. People are now aware of these things because they’ve seen some of these movies. It’s reaching audiences that, you know, you can’t deny the fact that a movie called “Guardians of the Galaxy” comes out and is a huge success, wow; we’re living in a pretty golden age of visibility in terms of comic book properties and what we do.