This is Day 12 of my serialized blog about the Rainblo-Batman Custom Comic entitled “Batman: Born on the Fourth of July”, which I pencilled in the spring of 1994. Each day’s post will include the plot outline, the finished script (when I have it), my roughs, and my pencils. I can’t include images of the pages-as-published as I didn’t receive and have never seen them . If anyone reading this has a copy of the published work, please contact me. If you give or sell me a copy, or send me scans of the published or finished artwork, I will incorporate them into future blog posts.
Today I’m discussing pages 11 through 13 (printed as 13 through 15 in the comic book, I’m assuming).
My page numbering is screwed up because the editor, Daryl Edelman, insisted on inserting two pages in between what would have been pages 7 and 8. These pages were featured in Wednesday’s post.
Here we have three pages of exposition, establishing the main problem Batman will have to spend the remainder of the comic solving: Catwoman and Riddler demand the release of the Joker, and that they intend to hold the Statue of Liberty hostage of the Fourth of July. Riddler, being the Riddler, throws in a clue (a six digit number that looks like a date with hash marks). The sequence ends with a full page of various government functionaries venting about the tense predicament.
On one hand, I was grateful to have 3 easy pages; on the other it’s quite a trick to make this sort of thing interesting.
I had fun with page 13/15. I got to do caricatures of Rudy Giuliani, Mario Cuomo and Bill Clinton. I also got to play around with “eye-read” (i.e., the Western left-to-right, top-to-bottom) manner of scanning the printed page, as opposed to the Eastern right-to-left) in organizing the page composition. Figures, poses and word balloons were contrived to create a zig-zag pattern: from the uppermost left TV set, being turned off by Commissioner Gordon, right to Batman, then left-right-left-right-left across each ensuing character, advancing gradually in depth from long-shot into close-up on the French Ambassador, having a melt-down in the lower-most right.
I am somewhat embarrassed by my depiction of the French Ambassador, but this was the best I could do in those halcyon early ’90’s yeas before I had a computer or any concept of on-line search. Given the paucity of easily obtainable reference, I opted for stereotyped caricature. My apology for any offense.