I’ve been hinting around that I had worked on two projects over the last year but haven’t announced them, at the request of the license holder. The other day, I finally talked about the Stone Arch Batman book I wrote in August. Now, I can talk about the one I wrote before that…
Running Press will release Batman Vault, which according to Amazon, has a pub date of November 14. Similar to the DC Vault, written by my pal Martin Pasko, this will give readers a look at the world of Batman and his cultural impact since 1939.
I was first approached about writing this at last April’s New York Comic-Con and quickly whipped out an outline for how I saw doing the book. I was informed that Marty did such a superlative job on the basic history, I needed to avoid the lesson and go for a broader look at the character. My first outline didn’t quite do it for DC; so I quickly did a second outline which they and the publisher liked.
My deadline was mid-August and I wrote through the summer. The fun part was, after picking the brains of some colleagues at the outset, I managed a first draft almost entirely from memory. I then went back, looked up some stuff, and fleshed out a second draft. Once it was polished up, it went off to DC. My editor at the time, Chris Cerasi, told me how much he loved it and how I hit the tone spot on.
Unfortunately, at the time the publisher asked for some changes, Robbie’s health was deteriorating and DC kindly chose not to bother me. Instead, they turned to Matthew K. Manning, no slouch in the research and writing department, to come in and give the manuscript a once over to address the concerns. We now share the by-line and have gotten both our perspectives in place.
The final manuscript was then vetted by the able John Wells and some guy named Waid and was sent off. Meantime, DC began combing its archives for nifty visuals including the items that would be the facsimiles for the “museum-in-a-book” conceit. One of those items is something I only heard about and had never seen before and will be a treat. Also, an editorial shuffle saw the capable Ben Harper step in to ride herd over the book.
In November, I saw a first pass of the designed pages, adding in captions and making suggestions. Over Christmas, I received a set of second pass pages which were even stronger looking. There will be about 35,000 words spread over 192 colorful pages.
I’m told a third pass is forthcoming and then I believe we can lock everything into place and they can begin actually manufacturing the book.
I’m proud of the project despite the complications that arose during the final writing and editing. I do appreciate the sensitivity shown by my friends at DC and the professionalism Matt lent the project.
And remember, it’s never too early to start your Christmas list.