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1. What's the nicest thing any fan has ever done for you? 

Oh, there have been lots of nice gestures on the part of fans, a few of whom have become friends. Part of the fun of going out on conventions is getting to meet some of your readers face to face and seeing how kind and bright they can be. One fan noticed my love of Navajo culture in my Arsenal miniseries and she brought a beautiful Navajo necklace to a con to give to me - I thought that was very special, not just because it was a generous gift, but also because she had taken the time to look at my work and glean from it something of personal value to me. Another fan brings me Diet Pepsi every time I'm at the San Diego Comicon, which may sound silly, but I'm tremendously grateful when my caffeine levels start to drop on the convention floor, and it's sweet that he always remembers. There are also many fans that have sent me wonderful letters, drawings, and stories. Maybe the most touching was from a gay teenage boy who sent me a picture of Joel and Rive from Relative Heroes, smiling at each other and encircled in a little heart. He wasn't sending it to me because he hoped to become a comic artist someday, he sent it to me because the story had really touched him, and he was rooting these characters on. That was very special to me. I still have his letter and the picture.

2. Over the course of your comic book creating career, what do you think was your favorite moment as a writer? Why was this your favorite?

Four come to mind. The first was seeing my first story in print - it was an amazing feeling, and solid evidence of the power of following dreams (not to mention that the art was incredible). The second was finding myself at a convention in New Zealand (and then later Argentina and Spain), because I've always loved traveling but didn't realize it would be a part of this job. Having people in other countries interested enough in your work to fly you over for a visit is extraordinary, and the hosts in all three countries were so enthusiastic and kind. The third was finishing USER, because I could feel that I'd turned a corner in my writing and had pushed myself on to something new. Whether or not it turns out to be successful as an artistic entity, as a creative learning process for me it was extraordinary and I'm very pleased with the outcome. Last but not least, though I honestly would have thought I'd be jaded by now, the recent news that I would be inheriting the Nightwing series after Chuck leaves the title took me all the way back to the thrill of first realizing I was going to be allowed - paid, even - to write for DC Comics. All that same gratitude and excitement and giddy disbelief ("really!? You're not kidding now, are you? You're serious? Ohmigod!.") flooded through me again, both when I first spoke with Bob Schreck and Michael Wright about it on the phone, and then later, in the middle of my first script for it, realizing it was really happening. And that, of course, is because I've wanted to write Nightwing before the book even

3. What is your favorite bit of dialogue that you have penned recently? What was it about the piece that became so special?

Actually, I recently finished up a rap song as a favor  to a friend of mine about the Thing, and it still makes me laugh - not because it's good so much as it
because it's ridiculous. But for a more serious answer.

In the creator-owned Wildstorm project I'm creating with Brian Stelfreeze, Matador, I recently had a bad guy, in the process of trying to explain something to a cop, ask the police officer how much money someone would have to offer him in order to persuade him to risk his life. I was thinking about the scene at that
point from the bad guy's point of view - he's trying to explain how much is at risk, and the cop's answer to the question was really beside the point. But then
when I went back and thought about the scene from the cop's point of view, I realized I had the opportunity to say something about what's so special about the
people who devote their lives to law enforcement. So now the dialog reads:

1 ARMENTERO: How much money would someone have to offer you for you to be willing to risk your LIFE for it?

2 GRANT: Thirty-eight thou and two weeks VACATION,

I showed it to a friend of mine who is generally pretty negative about peace officers, and she sort of nodded and admitted that she never thought about how
little cops and detectives get paid. The line works for the character - it's offered as a small, sarcastic joke and fits in with the rest of the scene, but it also comments on something I felt pleased to have the opportunity to discuss.

4. What prompted you in Gotham Knights # 24 to deal with Bruce Wayne's firearm phobia? What relation was this story to the current Bruce Wayne: Murderer one currently running through the Bat family of titles?

It was a direct tie-in. We (meaning the editors and writers who met to plan out Bruce Wayne: Murderer) realized that to frame Bruce effectively and/or later reveal that he was, in fact, tied to the crime, he would have to be connected to the murder weapon, which it seemed to us would most likely be a gun. So we had to have Bruce Wayne buy a gun. We were taking notes on when what facts needed be brought onstage, and the gun purchase had to happen early, before Bruce Wayne: Murderer was really even up and running. Timing-wise, it fell to me in Gotham Knights. I looked up at everyone at the table and said something like, "but what the hell would make Bruce purchase a gun?" at
which point they all grinned back at me gleefully and said, "that's YOUR problem!" Since I had already been exploring Bruce's psychic "split" in Gotham Knights, that seemed like a reasonable way to bring in the gun purchase. This is a man who's struggling to come to terms with who and what he is, so perhaps buying a gun could be worked into some unforgiving form of self-analysis. My comrades-in-cross-over liked the idea and I went home and wrote it up.

5. I have really enjoyed the way you have portrayed Bruce Wayne and Batman as separate personas. Why did you choose to portray the character in this manner?

Thanks, I'm glad you've been enjoying it. :-)

One of the facets of Batman that has always fascinated me is how much he's had to give up to become what he is. It's not, for him, a matter of having alien superpowers or radioactive genetic enhancements. Bruce worked for what he has and what he is, and you can't become that extraordinary while leading an ordinary life. Indeed, we know from his lore that he didn't - that he almost single-mindedly committed himself to training and study, clearly at the expense of a personal life, and, I feel, also to the detriment of personal development.

Not that it wasn't a fair tradeoff. If this guy, with what he can and does do every night, never bothered to learn better interpersonal skills or push himself towards a greater understanding and appreciation of human intimacy, well, who could blame him? He has, as far as I'm concerned, categorically done enough. But Bruce isn't ever content - he knows now what one can do by setting one's mind and will fully to a task, and since, albeit largely by accident, he's now surrounded by people who care about and depend on him, he's making a commitment to work on some of the life lessons he didn't have time for earlier. And that, I think, puts him face to face with himself.

Maybe you've had the experience of needing to push yourself there's something you don't want to do or don't think you can do, but you have to try, and you push your anxious (and thereby limiting) feelings out of the way and let a part of yourself take over that's brave and committed and unhindered by emotion or fear of consequence. In literature it's sometimes referred to as "squaring your shoulders," or "setting your jaw," or "tightening your belt." Most of us do this once or twice a month, at most. But if you're living with this part in the pilot seat day in and day out for years, what's going to happen to those emotions you're not allowing yourself time to process and express? They get stuck in a kind of time-warp, and that anxiety, instead of being alleviated in the course of day to day events, just grows, until you're more or less stuck with two entirely different aspects of yourself; your way of moving through the world, which doesn't account for much emotion or statement, and your way of being in private, which can't sustain much action or resolve.

I'm borrowing loosely here from Jungian psychoanalysis, but I think even without grounding the argument in psychological theory, what emerges is an image of a man split in two. If the man in question happens to spend half his life dressed up like a bat and the other half simpering over non-alcoholic cocktails at social events, the dichotomy makes very good material for a story.

6. Terry Moore is slated to write Birds of Prey this spring. What do you think Mr. Moore will contribute to the characters and universe of the Bat-family?

Terry's fantastic - a fantastic writer, a fantastic illustrator, and a fantastic person. I'm very excited to get this opportunity to work with him. Like Greg Rucka, I think he's surprisingly in touch with what we might call feminine sensibilities and really enjoys bringing female characters to life. Unlike Rucka (who is also a fantastic writer and a fantastic person, though I'm not sure he can draw), Moore often deals with characters that are outwardly vulnerable as opposed to outwardly tough. I think we can expect to see an emphasis on characterization and a propensity for pushing characters into situations that reveal something about them - both to us, as the readers, and to the characters themselves. Terry and I have already been on the phone giggling like teenagers over the Barbara (Oracle)/Dick (Nightwing) romance, and will definitely try to work together as much as possible to keep that relationship developing. Obviously, there's no way it will be quite as seamless as it's been with Chuck Dixon writing both titles, but we'll do our best.

7. How has writing comic books changed your life? Does it ever seem surreal when you go to conventions or signings?

Conventions are always surreal! ::Laughs::

As for how writing comics has changed my life - really, the greatest gift in all of this has been the ability to make a living doing work I love. Writing comics is still a job - with all the pressures and frustrations and disappointments that that always entails - but I get to spend the greater part of most days alone in front of my computer writing, and that happens to be a process that I love. I've befriended people I otherwise most likely would not have met, traveled to places I'd otherwise most likely still be waiting to see, and learned things about writing I'm sure I wouldn't have learned any other way. But most importantly, I was able to quit a job I was unhappy with and now have a job that I find stimulating, educational, and satisfying. I feel very fortunate and hope to be able to continue in this line of work for quite some time to come.

Thanks for your interest in my work, and best of luck
to your new site!

Be well,