Friday, July 11, 2008

Greg Rucka: Better Know a Blogroll Link, Part 2

Unlike Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka didn't kill off a 67-year-old superhero, but he had Renee Montoya switch teams.

One of my current favorite comic book scriptwriters, novelist-turned-comics author Greg Rucka penned "Crossfire," one of the strongest segments from the new direct-to-DVD animated feature Batman: Gotham Knight. (This anthology film, like many other anthologies, is uneven, but it's an intriguing anime take on Batman. It stars the voice of Batman: The Animated Series' Kevin Conroy--my favorite of the screen Batmans--and it's set in the continuity of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.) "Crossfire" marks the first screen appearance of a Rucka creation, Detective Crispus Allen (voiced by ex-CSI cast member Gary Dourdan), and it centers on Allen's ambivalence about Batman and his vigilante tactics.

Allen's the character on the left who's talking to Lieutenant Gordon in this stylish shot from "Crossfire":

'Shit.' 'What is it, Lieu?' 'Shit. All over my windows! Guano! I just had these windows cleaned last week, Detective!'

The stalwart Gotham City cop, a family man who transferred from the less scummy streets of Metropolis, was one of several characters who functioned as the audience surrogate in Rucka's brilliant but cancelled discontinued-by-the-creators DC Comics title Gotham Central, a Batman spinoff that was told from the point of view of Gotham police detectives. "I like writing stories about how Batman looks to the guy who is working 9 to 5," said Rucka while he promoted Gotham Knight, which devotes two segments to Batman's effect on ordinary citizens like Allen. I was such a Gotham Central fan that I cheered when Allen first appeared on-screen during "Crossfire." (Here's something else that has made me cheer: Rucka has reunited with his former Gotham Central collaborators Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark for the current "Other People's Problems" arc of Daredevil.)

What's Christopher Darden from the O.J. trial doing standing in front of the Batsignal?Allen's Gotham Central partner was Detective Renee Montoya (the female cop on the far right of Lark's cover from Gotham Central #1), who was created by Paul Dini and Mitch Brian for Batman: The Animated Series. Rucka gave the previously one-dimensional Montoya an interesting backstory: she's a lesbian who was disowned by her conservative family, and in later issues of Gotham Central, corruption within the GCPD and difficulties in her private life caused her to hit the bottle. Rucka has an affinity for introverted, world-weary female protagonists who smoke and drink a lot, as evidenced by his Montoya revamp and a couple of his creator-owned projects, the espionage series Queen & Country (another favorite comic of mine) and the Whiteout graphic novels. The latter creator-owned project has spawned an upcoming Kate Beckinsale movie version of the same name (the same movie in which Beckinsale demanded a nude body double because she doesn't like the way her arse looks--WTF?).

In a Las Vegas City Life interview, Rucka explained his attachment to these everyman and everywoman protagonists: "I like writing strong women characters, sure. But it's because I prefer heroes who don't have it easy. With every protagonist, there's always an internal battle going on in addition to the external battle. Sometimes I think the internal battle is more interesting than the outer one."

Kate Beckinsale tries her damnedest to hide her elephant-sized ass.

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