The Best Friend of Terry McGinnis: An Interview with Batman Beyond Unlimited writer Adam Beechen Part 1
Adam Beechen is a comic book and television writer. He has written for such shows at “Teen Titans,” “The Batman,” and “Ben 10.” As of late, he has gotten heavier into comic book writing with working on books such as “Robin” and “Countdown to Final Crisis.” Recently, he has been working on the “Batman Beyond” franchise from starting the fire with a mini-series, to a full blown series, and now an oversized digital and print monthly.
Mr. Beechen was nice enough to speak to us about his work.
Tommy Zimmer: To begin, I was curious why DC decided to halt your series that was already selling well and being raved by critics. What made them decide to wait? The New 52? And what was your reaction to that?
Adam Beechen: It was definitely about the New 52. I was told from the start that our series would continue with a hiatus of a few months, because we weren’t going to be a part of the New 52 — being outside the official, canonical mainstream – and DC didn’t want our series to get lost in all the hubbub over new #1’s and such. Vice versa, DC didn’t want anything distracting from the launch of the New 52, even a little, which was understandable. I think the hiatus cost us some story momentum, but I think most of the readers that were with us before stck with us when we came back. I’m not sure how many series have had three launches in an 18-month period, so maybe we set some kind of record.
TZ: Going along those lines, your main artist Ryan Benjamin did not stay on as artist for the new “Unlimited” issues…. Why did he leave?
AB: I think Ryan was ready to move on and focus on his own projects, which are brilliant. Ryan and John Stanisci did incredible work on the series, going back to the Hush Beyond miniseries. I miss working with them and hope to have the opportunity to do so again. Editor Jim Chadwick secured the services of Norm Breyfogle to pick up the artistic reins, and whie I’m sure it hasn’t been easy to fill the shoes of Ryan and John, Norm is a legend among Bat-artists for a very good reason…I don’t think we’ve missed a beat.
TZ: When did you know you were going to be working with Dustin, Derek, Norm, and JT? What excited you about having more writing collaborators?
AB: I kept writing Batman Beyond during our hiatus, because I knew we were coming back in some form or another. When that form was finally revealed to me, that’s when I knew we’d be part of an anthology series for the Beyond Universe. I was thrilled to hear that Dustin, Derek, JT and Howard, among others, would be joining Norm and I between the same covers. Dustin’s been an important creative part of Batman Beyond since the Hush Beyond miniseries, and I’ve been a fan of Derek, JT and Howard for a long, long time. I love that there are multiple stories in the book. Anything that expands the Beyond Universe enrichens the overall stories and characters, and that’s all right with me!
TZ: Will there be any crossovers with you guys working with multiple tales in the same book?
AB: We haven’t planned anything, or even really discussed it, but our characters are bound to cross paths, especially with Batman and Superman in the Justice League.
TZ: Going to the crux of your narrative, you continue (in the mini-series, first series, and now the new series) to focus on the personal life of Terry McGinnis and the issues he has with being a teenager in a society that becomes more complicated as he gets older. What attracts him as a character to you?
AB: He’s very relatable. After all, I was a teenage boy once, way back before there was electricity and stuff. The crossroads, challenges and questions he faces are familiar ones, even if mine didn’t come with costumed maniacs trying to kill me.
TZ: Terry has been going through some issues as of late. His girlfriend has been on and off with him, and he is at the same time having a threat growing against him. I know you have said you wanted to make Dana a bigger part of his life…. How do you think you are doing that?
AB: Well, the chief way has been through the introduction of her brother Doug, for whom you can thank our former editor, Chris Conroy. In addition to setting up as a major villain for Terry, Doug gives us some insight into Dana’s family and the environment she grew up in. Mostly, we’ve tried to make Dana more active than reactive, as she was by breaking up with Terry. Doing that forced Terry to acknowledge how important she is to him, so in that sense, she became a bigger part of his life by stepping back from it.
TZ: How dark will her life get as her family is slowly falling apart somewhat?
AB: Pretty dark! Terry’s, too. And Bruce’s. And Gotham’s.
TZ: The one leading the threat against Terry is Dana’s brother Doug… how will that affect the relationship between Terry and Dana? Will there be permanent ramifications?
AB: You don’t want me to give too much away, I hope, but…it will affect the relationship a great deal, and the ramifications will be very permanent.
TZ: You did a lot of universe building in the miniseries and the first series. I am wondering whether or not any of that continuity will play into future stories you have planned?
AB: Yes. That was a big part of my goal in writing the miniseries – to expand the world the animated series created so beautifully. I want to show more of Gotham, more of the world and universe beyond Gotham, and explore all of the characters that impact Terry’s life.
TZ: Dick Grayson had a big role in both those….. Will he make a return soon?
AB: You bet.
TZ: If so, how will he impact the life of Terry?
AB: What’s happened over the course of the miniseries and our last two monthly series is that Bruce has slowly been pulling the Bat-Family back together around him. He’s not doing it any kind of huggy-kissy way filled with apologies, because that’s not him, but in his subtle way, he’s doing it. He’s forged stronger ties with the GCPD, bringing him more into contact with Barbara, he’s hired Tim Drake, and so on. The only one who hasn’t really come back under the umbrella so far is Dick. He provides Terry with a different perspective on Bruce, one that’s not so forgiving.
TZ: Moving to that, how is Wayne, Incorporated going to be going forward under Tim Drake and Lucius Fox Jr.’s protection? Will that being playing a role as the main story continues?
AB: Sure. There’ll always be stuff going on with Wayne, Incorporated, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see Lucius and Tim.
TZ: Being a big Jason Todd fan myself, I had to wonder: do have any plans for him? With Terry being a street tough kid before he becomes Batman, it seems like a natural fit for those two to have an interaction soon……
AB: No plans for Jason in the immediate future.
Thanks Mr. Beechen!
Stay tuned for part 2 later this week when we discuss more of what’s to come in the lives of Mr. Beechen and his lead character Terry McGinnis!!
Tommy Zimmer is an upcoming writer of short stories, comic books, journalism/media reviews, screenplays, and anything related to writing. On zimmert101.wordpress.com, you can view his latest work, and see what exciting things he is currently doing!!