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A classic crossover continues this March, with DC launching Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries, a new comic book series teaming the iconic Dark Knight Detective with the gang from the Mystery Machine for 24 digital chapters, to be collected in 12 print issues starting the following month.
This is far from the first time Batman and Scooby-Doo have collaborated on crimefighting, with the two first crossing each others’ pasts in 1972 episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. It’s also not the first time the characters have met in comics, with the most recent occasion taking place in the recently-concluded DC series Scooby-Doo Team-Up; clearly, there’s something to be said about the partnership between one (Bat)man and his dog.
The new series will be written by Ivan Cohen and Sholly Fisch, with art from Dario Brizuela and Randy Elliott — the writers and artists will trade off stories, with Cohen and Brizuela telling the first, Fisch and Elliott the second, and so on — with digital chapters being released on a biweekly schedule, and stories running across two chapters at a time.
The Hollywood Reporter talked to Cohen and Fisch about the new series.
Scooby and the Gang have a history of teaming with Batman, going all the way back to the early ‘70s. Obviously, they share a love of detective work, but what else makes the pairing of the two series so successful that it’s almost half a century old?
Sholly Fisch: The endless supply of Scooby snacks in Batman’s utility belt, of course.
Ivan Cohen: Scooby-Doo, Super Friends! and reruns of the Adam West Batman series all kind of swirled around on TV at the same time in my formative years, so it’s hard for me to imagine why they wouldn’t fit together. But if I had to think about it, they have a lot in common. Colorful outfits, weird bad guys, and super-smart detectives — just to be clear, I’m talking about Batman and Velma — who pal around with, um, let’s say less-brilliant crime-stoppers who slow the mystery-solving down long enough to add suspense.
The series offers a chance for both properties to break out of their traditions: when was the last time we saw the Scooby Gang time travel, or Batman search for ghosts in the Batcave? Bearing that in mind, is it difficult to keep everyone in character, and make sure that fans of the individual series are happy with what they’re reading?
Cohen: In our first conversation after we got this gig, Sholly and I bonded over shared memories of a collection called Batman From the ’30s to the ’70s. It was a hardcover that reprinted all sorts of different styles of Batman stories: time travel, science-fiction, pulpy action, grotesque villains, all the way to the “realistic” O’Neil and Adams stories… so I think we both see Batman as being recognizable as Batman in whatever the setting.
Scooby-Doo Team-Up was simultaneously the perfect gateway drug for the best of the DC Universe and some of the best Scooby comics ever, so I think readers will love what’s coming in Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries, whether it’s their first time with these characters or their five-hundredth.
Fisch: Despite Ivan’s ‘way-too-generous praise for my work on Scooby-Doo Team-Up — here’s your five bucks, Ivan — I have to agree. After years of working on everything from kid comics like Scooby Team-Up to regular DC Universe stuff like Action Comics, I’ve learned that one of the real keys to it all is to figure out what’s at the core of each character and what makes the character great. If you do that, you can put them into almost any situation — no matter how serious or ridiculous — and still make them seem like themselves.
In that context, it’s also worth noting how important our artists, Dario Brizuela and Franco Riesco, are to making it all work. Dario is brilliant at taking characters from incredibly disparate worlds and making them look like they belong together. I mean, he and Franco are the guys who brought Scooby to Apokolips, or put Scooby and an Alan Moore-inspired Swamp Thing in the same panel back in Scooby-Doo Team-Up… and made it seem natural! I can’t wait to see what they do with some of the stuff we’re throwing at them in Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries.
You’re alternating writing chores on the series; what are the things that you’re both looking forward to most from the series?
Cohen: Reading Sholly’s scripts, even if they sometimes make me do extra rewrites to up my game. Working with incredible Team-Up artist Dario Brizuela again years after we first worked together on a Green Lantern animated series comic. Having the Scooby gang face villains who aren’t always rubber-masked real-estate developers… oh, and writing “Batman smiles” in a script is something some best-selling comics writers have never gotten to do, so I’m milking that for all I can.
Fisch: You mean “writing ‘Batman smiles’” without it sending a chill down anyone’s spine, right? Just checking…
Actually, back when Ivan and I were both writing stories for Teen Titans Go!, some of my story pitches got turned down because they were too close to ideas that Ivan had already submitted. The two of us bring similar sensibilities to these things, and I’ll occasionally kick myself because Ivan thought of something cool before I did. (Would you believe that we both pitched ideas for putting Scooby in the middle of Batman: Year One?) But that just makes it more fun and nudges both of us to push things even further over the top. Giant mechanical dinosaurs, anyone?
As Ivan pointed out, Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries follows the successful — and genuinely wonderful; Ivan was right — Scooby-Doo Team-Up series, which allowed the characters to meet all manner of DC heroes. If the Dark Knight was detained for an issue of the new series, is there a particular DC hero either of you would be eager to see step in, instead?
Fisch: Aw, shucks. Thanks for the kind words about Scooby-Doo Team-Up. You guys are just determined to make me blush, aren’t you?
Scooby-Doo Team-Up was an enormously fun series to write, since it gave me the opportunity to write dozens of characters I’d loved for decades — everyone from the Justice Society and the Marvel Family (or, I guess, the Shazam Family now) to the Inferior Five and Ultra the Multi-Alien. But that’s not to say that I’ve completely filled my wish list. I’d love to write the New Gods and Forever People, for example. Not to mention Super Turtle. But, y’know, I can’t really complain about getting the chance to write Batman every month either.
Cohen: Apart from Mystery, Inc. unmasking Watchmen’s Rorschach, which would be pretty fun, DC’s heroes have pretty much all met Scooby-Doo at one point or another, but Sholly doesn’t get to have all the fun. After sending the Scooby crew into the past of Batman: Year One in the first issue of Mysteries, I have a hankering for some more time-travel, so maybe they could go back to Smallville to meet Superman when he was Superboy? And, you know, if the Legion of Super-Heroes happened to drop in for a visit, well, the more the merrier.
Fisch: Funny you should mention Scooby unmasking Rorschach. Toward the end of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, I finally, finally figured out a way to make a Watchmen-Scooby team-up work — well, sort of — but the series ended before I got the chance to try. Oh well, maybe Batman could start wearing a trenchcoat…
Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries launches digitally March 27, with the first print issue following in April.
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