Exclusive Interview: Brian Buccellato Talks Revamping Pulp Hero Black Bat
Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively sat down with Flash co-writer Brian Buccellato to discuss his revision and revamping of this classic hero for a modern comic-buying public.
Cosmic Book News: Brian, why are pulp heroes such a rich area to mine for many writers? How do you see this pulp hero, Black Bat?
Brian Buccellato: I can't pretend to be an expert on why pulp heroes are so often revived and used as inspiration. But I guess it might be the allure of the gritty, heroic, sometimes dark, sometimes unexplainable worlds that they painted. I also think pulp stories are entrenched with the kind of proactive and flawed characters that many are naturally drawn to. I would say that my take on the Black Bat is both of those things ... he is a flawed protagonist who is actively trying to right his past wrongs.
Brian Buccellato: My modernization of the Black Bat and his alter ego, Tony Quinn, is built around his motivations for what he is doing. The original version was pretty straight forward -- do-gooder DA is blinded by his nemesis, then becomes a gun-toting hero who operates outside the law to bring criminals to justice. Writing stories from that perspective didn't interest me, so I had to look for an angle that was something I would want to explore. So I changed Tony to a morally bankrupt defense attorney for the mob, who gets in too deep with his murderous clients as is almost killed. When he is given a second chance on life, he decides to set right all of his previous wrongs. But the challenge for Tony is knowing where to draw the line between justice and revenge.
Brian Buccellato: Yeah, the final design is mine ... but it was only after numerous iterations by some really good artists that we all decided to go with one of my designs. I won't be doing any of the art ... except maybe coloring some covers.
Brian Buccellato: Batman is a classic superhero that operates outside the law to bring bad guys to justice. He has a definite line that he won't cross and is VERY clear in his path. The Black Bat, however, is not sure where those lines are and isn't even against shooting to kill as a means of setting things right. Tony Quinn has a debt that he owes to the world and despite his own moral failings, he is making an effort to pay that debt. Batman does what he does because he doesn't want anyone to go through what he did as a young boy. Sure, they both have capes and masks and use bat imagery ... but that's where the similarities end.
Brian Buccellato: Oliver Snate is the crime boss that literally CUT OUT Tony's Quinn's eyes with a pocket knife. He runs the city and is as ruthless a kingpin as you could find. All criminal roads lead to Snate, and that is where the Black Bat is headed. It is absolutely personal for Tony.
Brian Buccellato: It's pretty obvious that the Black Bat was a direct inspiration to Stan the Man, both characters go blind and are lawyers by trade. But those elements are integral to the Black Bat's origin, so I have elected to keep them. I'm sure some people are going to accuse me of ripping of Daredevil, but there's not much I can do about that.
Brian Buccellato: There are no new stories in any genre, really. So it's about the specific ways of dealing with the character and his arc/journey. It's HOW you choose to tell the story and what things you focus on thematically that can make or break it. I think I found a unique take that differs from the more established street level heroes and I hope it will resonate with readers. As far as rising ABOVE the pack ... that's not my concern. I write to the best of my ability and let the chips fall where they may.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Brian Buccellato for his time and wish him luck on this new book, set to debut sometime this year. Thanks also to Nick Barrucci, Dynamite publisher and CEO, who helped make this interview possible.