Last month DC Comics announced that a new Batman rival will be making their way in November’s Batman #102-103. Now writer James Tynion IV has revealed how Ghost-Maker, the new Batman pseudo-villain, came about.
Tynion IV revealed in an episode of his Empire Of The Tiny Onion newsletter that Ghost-Maker was created because he wanted to give Batman a Shonen manga story that Bruce Wayne had a rival character like Goku and Vegeta, Deku and Bakugo. Tells the story where Bruce travels the world and trains to be the world’s greatest crime-fighter. That when he decided to introduce Ghost-Maker.
I remember, a few years back, right when I had first gotten wind of the creation of the Middle Grade and YA lines that DC Comics was developing… I approached the editor in charge of the program with an idea. I wanted to do a book with the energy of a Shonen Manga, that told the story of Bruce Wayne travelling the world and training to be the world’s greatest crime-fighter… I don’t think I ever wrote up a pitch document, but I do remember laying out the core cast in a notebook. There was a cowardly thief style character, a young woman who may or may not have escaped from Themyscira, but the character that had really instigated the whole idea was Bruce’s Rival. The key to that idea was to create a Zuko to Bruce’s Aang. The Gary Oak to his Ash Ketchum. The Draco Malfoy to his Harry Potter.
Originally, when I outlined 2020, I wasn’t going to introduce Clownhunter until after the end of Joker War. But the response to Punchline was so strong that I realized that the best math for making people excited about a new character was to introduce them in the arc before the arc where they take center stage. So I moved the intro of Clownhunter up into Joker War, where he’s currently winning over the hearts and minds of the readers of Batman. And then I realized that I needed to bring in another character into the last story of 2020… And my mind started going back to The Rival.
I’ll be blunt. My initial ideas for that character were pretty basic. The rough concept I had played around with in the Shonen series pitch was that young Bruce was a bit of a scamp, more of a Robin type character, so his rival would be the more serious type. But that dynamic wouldn’t work in the present. He needed to be something more. He needed to be a fascinating inverted mirror to Batman… And he needed some flair. And a name.
And then Jorge Jimenez took all of that and worked some magic, putting together what I think is one of the absolute coolest new Superhero designs I’ve seen in the last few years.
Ghost-Maker has a brief cameo appearance at the end of Batman #100, and then enters the story in earnest in Batman #102. I hope you all love him as much as I do… We might already have something we’re building in secret with the character… Ben Abernathy and I have been having a tremendous amount of fun pairing these new characters with some very exciting artists. We have a Punchline one-shot coming, written by myself and Sam Johns, with art by the phenomenal Mirka Andolfo… We have a big Clownhunter story in Batman: Joker War Zone but the incomparable James Stokoe… And now we have another exciting new character in Ghost-Maker, and I have art in my inbox that’s making me lose my mind. But I probably shouldn’t bring that up just yet…
Batman #102-103, by James Tynion IV, Carlo Pagulayan and Danny Miki, go on sale in November from DC.