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Batman Flies the Coop, Heads to Hong Kong
Doug Moench takes our hero East
By Arnold T. Blumberg
July 10, 2002
Art for BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #27
© DC Comics
Sometimes you just hear some interesting things when wandering the halls of comicdom, and this one was a particularly exciting tidbit we had to share. Doug Moench, one of the great comic book writers, responsible for countless Marvel and DC tales of yore and the creator of Marvel's own dark knight, Moon Knight, is planning to send DC's detective, Batman, where he's never gone before - Hong Kong!
That's right. While Moench is not nearly as active in comics now as he used to be, preferring to focus more on his career as a novelist, he will indeed be crafting some comic book stories to delight old and new fans through the next year or so. For one thing, he will return to Marvel to shape the next chapter in the saga of another former charge of his, the Master of Kung Fu - otherwise known as Shang Chi. But over at the Distinguished Competition - sorry, years of Marvel Zombie training showing through - Moench will be scripting a unique Batman adventure for the end of the year that sees the caped crusader heading to distant shores to find excitement and intrigue follow him no matter where he goes.
"BATMAN: HONG KONG
[is a] 96-page hardcover graphic novel that could be really cool," says Moench.
Any just why is it so unique, apart from the exotic locale?
"It's being drawn by Hong Kong's top artist," says Moench. "Very few people in America are aware of this guy's existence or have seen his work. Every panel is going to be painted. It's not technically going to be co-published in Hong Kong, but part of the deal is [that] it will be translated into Chinese and published in Hong Kong. It's going to be the first time Batman - other than as a movie - has appeared in Hong Kong."
THOR #50 page 7
© 2002 Marvel Comics
The project sure sounds like a history-making project, and certain to be at the top of every Batfan's wish list, which is of course exactly what DC wants.
"Certainly it's intended to be the Christmas gift-buying Batman item, you know," says Moench.
But is the release date certain?
"Who knows?" says Moench. "It could come out late, but they're hoping for early December, I'm sure."
Moench also has some interesting comments regarding the upcoming Hulk feature film. Fans may recall that Moench guided the jade giant through most of his black and white (and color) magazine adventures in the early '80s, but now, he's a bit perplexed to learn that the green goliath may be a completely CGI creation.
"Don't they lose a lot of promotional ability by doing it without having a big muscle guy to go on the talk shows?" says Moench. "They could have an actual guy, and then when they want to do the physically impossible stuff, they morph him into CGI, and just do both."
As we noted earlier, Moench focuses primarily on novel work these days - - and part of the reason he's not so immersed in comics as he once was may have to do with the frustration and personality conflicts he often experienced in the past.
"I did THOR
for a while," says Moench. "The first thing I did when I got the assignment was go into my Norse mythology, and I wrote all of this Asgard stuff. [Jim Shooter, the editor-in-chief] stepped in and said, 'No Asgard!' I said 'What? You want me to do Thor without Asgard or any of the other gods? Are you nuts?' This was how I was always endearing myself to my boss."
Some time later, however, things changed, but only after Moench had left the series.
"When I left THOR
, Walt Simonson came on and did all that wonderful Asgard stuff! I think the editor had changed. [The editor-in-chief] could change rules from one day to the next and contradict them, and I was always pointing that out. That only made him more angry."
Moench found something of a safe haven over at DC.
"Not that there haven't been problems at DC," says Moench. "There'd be problems anywhere, but when I went to DC it was like, 'Oh, thank God.' It was such a relief."
In any event, we're certainly glad Moench is back now. In the near future, we hope to feature an exclusive chat with Moench concerning Moon Knight, perhaps his favorite creation and certainly one of the often forgotten heroes of the Marvel Universe. Stay tuned...