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Okay, okay, this interview with Devin Grayson was originally published way back in 1999, but given the attention that last week's Greg Rucka interview received it makes sense to play this one again. Just the work these two writers have done as part of DC's Batman team alone has earned them widespread respect. If you don't know who Devin is, this is your chance to get to know a writer whose significance grows with project. If you are already aware of her work, this is a great opportunity to take a look back and see where she was two years ago and compare it to her work today. Enjoy!
--Your Humble Editor
([email protected])

To say that Devin Grayson is as audacious as she is ingenious is, perhaps, an understatement. A woman in a predominantly male profession, a profession that she knew little about before she began her work for DC, one can't help but be impressed. That's before you actually get a chance to check out her comics!'s Howard Price had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Grayson and brings us this report.
--Your Humble Editor ([email protected])

By Howard Price
"I just started cold-calling the Bat-office," says comic writing ingénue Devin Grayson, "offering to send in my resume, writing samples… it took about two years for them to stop laughing--who IS this little chippie calling up Denny O'Neil and Scott Peterson out of the blue and asking for a job?but eventually Darren Vincenzo gave me a break and let me script "Like Riding a Bike," a ten page story for The Batman Chronicles."

Prior to the 1990's, Devin Grayson had never read a comic book--ever! Hard to believe, considering she's currently in charge of Titans, as well as a few other projects (more about those later), and has finished some rather impressive mini-series like JLA Vs. Titans and Black Widow, not to mention some notable runs on Nightwing and Catwoman.

"I blame television," she says with a smile about her entry into comics writing. It was while channel surfing that Devin ran across a first season episode of the Batman Animated Series. Hey, who says there's nothing good on TV?

"I was working as a project manager in the research division of a large Northern California HMO by day, and taking creative writing classes at UC Berkeley at night, trying to finish my first attempt at a novel," says Devin. "But when I saw that cartoon… I just became immediately fascinated with the characters and their relationships… and to find out more about them, I finally followed them back into their original medium, which, of course, is comics."

Yes, she had contracted that condition known as fanboyus buysomecomicus—or at least a related strain. "It immediately became obsessive," she says. "I had a friend working a comic store in San Francisco at the time, and he hooked me up with all of this amazing material…suddenly I could decode the superhero icons on fanboys' t-shirts… it was like belonging to a secret club.

"And then, as a writer, the only way to really get to know fictional characters is to write them, and I realized that the ones I cared about—Batman and Nightwing and the Titans—they were under copyright to DC Comics, so if I was going to do this, I was going to have to hook up with DC Comics."

Thus, against every rule about breaking into comics, Devin Grayson proved the exception. But with all her projects, is she overloaded? Devin laughs: "I was just admitting to a concerned friend of mine that there's no way to know how much work you can accomplish without just… jumping in, taking everything you can get your hands on, and then looking up one morning to just sort of go, ‘Whoa. Maybe three projects LESS than this?' It has been a very busy summer, but I'm really thriving on it. I generally work well under pressure, and I'm so excited by so much of it."

One would think just writing Titans would be enough of a challenge to keep one busy, coordinating plotlines of characters with their own titles. "The real headache with a team book—or any project with multiple characters," she says, "is that you end up having more than one editor. JLA/Titans, for example; I think there were maybe two editors in all the DCU that didn't get to--by virtue of a character under their editorial command appearing in the seriescomment on and demand changes of the script! That's, you know, what--thirty rewrites?" She jokes that she didn't co-write JLA/Titans, but rather survived it.

Devin must not have reached her ‘maybe three projects less' limit yet, because she still has quite a number of new developments coming soon. "Watch for (a lot, she hints) more work in the Bat books, including a story about Leslie Thompkins' No Man's Land M*A*S*H sector in The Batman Chronicles #18, with artist Dale Eaglesham (who did "Fear of Faith" with me)," she says, "and the second No Man's Land meeting between Batman and Superman (in Shadow Of The Bat #92, also with Dale).

Additionally, Devin has perhaps the most important piece of the NML pie--the grand finale. "Greg Rucka and I just finished co-writing the December conclusion of No Man's Land," she says. "And let me take a second to gush here. I'm a big fan of Mr. Rucka's crime novels and it was a total thrill to do this collaboration with him, especially because I honestly believe that the story rocks!"

But wait… there's more! "I have two creator-owned projects coming out in December," Grayson says. "One is a three-part Prestige format project for Vertigo, called User, about cyber role-playing and how people in trouble sometimes use games (and fictional narratives… story telling) to reconfigure their sense of identity. Sean Phillips is doing the pencils, and John Bolton will be painting the VR scenes, so it's going to be beautiful, as well as being a story close to my heart."

The other project close to Devin's heart is a DC Universe project called Relative Heroes. "It's currently a six-part mini (with an additional story in The Batman Chronicles) that we hope to turn into a regular series, with the insanely talented Yvel Guichet handling the pencils. It's a story about a family of five super-powered teens who, upon learning that their parents have died in a highway pileup, assume that they've had an ‘origin' and begin traveling the DCU in their dad's Winnebago posing as superheroes. People keep trying to figure out what genre it is, but I really feel like it's something new--almost a reverential farce with post-modern psychological-realism undercurrents."

Say what?

She laughs. "Uhm, yeah, puzzle that one out for a while."

Devin hardly ever writes without playing the appropriate music. "I actually dub ‘sound tracks' for every single project I'm writing," she says. "The mood and rhythm and thematic content of what you're listening to should compliment and support what you're writing."

"The music definitely does vary. For instance, a lot of the music I used when writing "Black Widow" had a dark, hard edge… whereas the soundtrack for Relative Heroes is much younger and boppier. And yes, Batman and The Titans demand yet different mixes!"

But reading fiction while writing is definitely out. "I love reading," she says, "but I actually find it distracting to read (fiction) before I start writing. Writing is often a bit of an exercise in mimicry, and it's easy for me to get over-influenced by the voice of whatever author I'm reading. So I generally read nonfiction when I'm right in the middle of a writing project. But when I have some time to myself…I've been reading a lot of Milan Kundera, A.S. Byatt, and James Baldwin.

While she would like to get back to writing her novel in the next year or so, right now comics has her full attention. "Comics are being so good to me," she says, "I'm trying to let myself relax and have that be enough."

Outside of the comics' world, Devin Grayson is a very private person. "I'd so much prefer that readers were wondering about, you know, who Batman is outside of the cowl, or what Superman dreams about when he sleeps, than what I do when I'm not writing. In addition, anything I offer about myself personally can be used to reinterpret my work, and I would much prefer that my work be evaluated on its own terms."

However, was able to squeeze a few details out of her. She picks Gore over Bush. She's seen The Phantom Menace only once ("If you can brave Jar-Jar a second time, you have a higher Midichlorian count than me.").

But would she ever emulate her characters, toss on some spandex and go out in public?

"To quote Brian Augustyn--‘spandex is a cruel mistress,'" she says. "But to be honest, when I was living in San Francisco, I would sometimes squint up at the rooftops and wonder, ‘why not…?' It would be pretty amazing to run around the ‘rooftop express' all night, and if you dropped down from a fire escape to stop a crime, it seems to me you'd have just as good a chance at startling the criminal into fleeing as of getting shot." But, she adds, "the getting shot part doesn't sound very appealing, though, does it?"

What would she call herself? "…um…crazy?"

And finally, the question on everyone's mind: boxers or briefs? Without missing a beat, and in her best Alfred Pennyworth deadpan drawl, she responds:

"With what, Master Bruce?"



For more about Devin Grayson, visit her excellent website at




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