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David Goyer Explains His Comic Book Origins: How Batman & Blade Led To Da Vinci's Demons

Posted By: Matt McGloin
Thu, 04/04/2013 - 15:37


David Goyer's new TV series, Da Vinci's Demons, premiers this month on Starz which has been compared to Batman as well as Dracula.

Now in a guest-column for Wired, the writer explains how everything came to be, from early on with his first comic book to the Man of Steel and beyond.

Goyer says that growing up, a large influence on his life was one of his first comic books, an issue of Marvel Preview featuring Blade that he shoplifted.

My path to creating the TV show Da Vinci’s Demons began with petty larceny. It was 1975—I was 9—and my meager allowance allowed me to purchase just a single comic book a week. I got around that limit by shoplifting. Shameful, yes, but one of the first items I stole set my entire career in motion. It was an issue of Marvel Preview, a secondary line that showcased characters who were too violent for mainstream comics. The one I swiped featured a vampire hunter named Blade. That first exposure piqued my interest in Dracula; as a child, I even wrote a story in which Batman and Blade teamed up against the bloodsucker.

David Goyer continues with mention of how that led to the devlopment of the Blade movie and into Batman and the new Superman film.

Blade gave birth to the modern comic book film. Back then Marvel had zero interest in exploiting a tertiary character. But the picture got made, and it spawned sequels, action figures, videogames, even a TV series. Its success convinced studios that there was a market not just for iconic creations like Superman but for minor characters too. Years later Christopher Nolan read my Blade script and asked me to help him reimagine Batman—that’s where the electrostatic flocking of the hero’s cape came from. Suddenly the character I most wanted to write was there on a silver platter. Batman Begins became a trilogy and led to my modernizing Superman for Man of Steel.

From there we are told how his latest project, Da Vinci's Demons, came to be, and it started with Batman Annual #18 which featured a story about Leonardno da Vinci.

The year I pitched Blade I also bought a copy of Batman Annual #18, in which a Renaissance-era Batman gets entangled with Leonardo da Vinci and a coup attempt known as the Pazzi Conspiracy. 

Goyer continues with mention that the BBC wanted him to pitch a show about a historical program, but the writer had no interest in the past, with the BBC countering they wanted the Batman Begins version. And that's when everything came together.

I told them I preferred envisioning tomorrows over yesterdays; they countered by saying they wanted the Batman Begins version of yesterday. So I thought. And I recalled that Batman creator Bob Kane had based Batman’s cape on da Vinci’s glider wings. Kismet. Then I remembered my Batman Annual #18 and realized that da Vinci shared other characteristics with Bruce Wayne: Both men had traumatic experiences in caves, both were inventors, both had daddy issues.

Goyer then pitched Da Vinci's Demons with the series getting green lit on Starz. 

And the sixth episode features Dracula.

As I was cleaning out my office while prepping to shoot the series, I found that tattered old Marvel Preview again. I did some research and discovered that Vlad Dracula, the historical antecedent for Dracula, had been alive when our series took place. Full circle. Vlad and da Vinci share an adventure in episode six—just a few weeks before Man of Steel opens in June. Thank my life of juvenile crime.

Da Vinci's Demons premiers April 12th at 10pm ET on Starz.