Doug TenNapel Kickstarter Commish: Batman, Iron West and a Redneck Mantis

February 22, 2013

This is my take on Batman. He’s a delusional billionaire who THINKS HE’S A BAT. A magic bat visits him one night and Bruce Wayne found it to be pliable. He stretches the magic bat over his head and clasps it around his shoulders which became his cowl and cape, his boots and pants. The magic bat has made a moral contract with Bruce so that all bats will help him bend reality so long as he continues to defend Gotham. Why do bats need Bruce to defend Gotham? Because if criminals took over the city they would increase urban crawl and build over their bat-cave that sits just outside the Gotham city limits. (…and yes, the bat clasp talks to him. DC, I’m here to help!)
Robot cowboy outlaw from Iron West:
Finally, here’s Blue the redneck giant, bipedal, mantis from Creature Tech:

10 Responses to “Doug TenNapel Kickstarter Commish: Batman, Iron West and a Redneck Mantis”

  1. John Says:

    I like both your ideas for Batman and Spiderman. I think those would be fun stories to tell for a younger audience. Becoming The Batman by a talking magic bat is much more family friendly than a psychotic killer who murdered Bruce Waynes parents. Honestly, I think it would probably be a hard sell to the adult and young adult audience though.

    • tennapel Says:

      What the big publishers need are broad cross over takes on their big characters. There is zero requirement that something be dark and gritty for adults to like it. I guarantee you that your average copy of Bone is purchased by more adults than your average indie blood bath. These ideas are intended to include the whole family, not water down the material so that it’s dumb enough for kids. There’s a big difference. All of my “kids titles” have doctorate level philosophy at work, with plenty for adults to think about without scarring the young. Broad crossover titles like LOTR, Bone, Adventure Time, Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Up and Shrek exploit the broadest market and make great business sense. If major comic companies want to expand their consistently shrinking leadership, they should stop scaring away the largest slice of any market with the most expendable incomes… families.

  2. Austin Says:

    Hey, I think that Blue may be heading my way!

  3. John Says:

    Batman is probably the most popular superhero in existence at the moment and I think the dark and gritty nature of that character and the villains is what make it so popular. Turn on the news and see whats going on at any given moment. Reality is dark and gritty, thats why so many people relate to Batman and his world. I would love to see a light family friendly Batman story like the one you suggested. I just think your version goes against what the mainstream Batman audience is looking for. Thats why I said I think its a hard sell but I do wish you success with it.

  4. Loving all of your sketches so far – especially love the back-stories. :D

  5. John Says:

    One more point, if you’re even reading this.

    By introducing supert-natural aspects to the origin of Batman you completely alter what separates that character from the heap. What you want to do is change the most important element to the Batman story. If you truly want to see this title published with DC you probably shouldn’t tell them “you’re here to help.” I’m not sure if they’re in need of “help” as far as Batman is concerned.

    Also, the reason why the comic market is shrinking has nothing to do with the content. Competition from other forms of entertainment is far too strong nowadays. Video games allow you to live out a comic book story, how can that compete with reading it, especially with children. Special effects technology has advanced to the point where anything that can be drawn can now be shown on film. that wasn’t a possibility in the 90’s even.

    • tennapel Says:

      Thanks, John, lots to think about there.

      I didn’t mean for this to be an all-encompassing statement on Batman, though that’s probably how it reads, with apologies. When I say, “I’m here to help.” it’s tongue in cheek. Batman has been around a long time and done just fine without me. It’s very easy to come along and relaunch an American icon after all of the hard, rare work has been done to create someone so big in our cultural conscience.

      But I do think comics like Batman and Superman are our modern day myths and fairytales, and in my view, the characters would hold up very well to pump in the storytelling tools of the past. It would be fun to make and fun to read.

      And I don’t accept defeat on the shrinking comic reading space. Everyone thinks something is set in stone until it’s not. Games are dead, until some game defies gravity and captures the audience anew. Comics are dead until some title blows everyone away and expands the readership. The claim of internet distractions etc. can be chalked up to people making excuses for poor performance. The broadest readership is there, I just think the cultural divide between comic creators and the broadest audience has never been wider. Most people love to be rewarded for being separated with their cold hard cash by taking in a compelling, fun story. In general, when a mass media work fails to draw a large audience (including my own work) I tend to blame the content creators, not the audience. That’s just my own take on it.

  6. John Says:

    It could be true that the right comic needs to come along to increase readership. I feel that the comic medium might becoming antiquated though. You could record the greatest song in years but if you were to release it only on cassette tape it may not get noticed or maybe your song is so good people decide to buy tape decks again ( hopefully that analogy made sense ).

    Anyway… I hope you make your versions of Batman and the rest, they do sound like they’d be fun to read and draw.

    • tennapel Says:

      The increase in readership ought to come naturally. There just aren’t enough people who solely buy digital books or solely play video games. If you read LOTR on a Kindle, watch the movie and play the video game, you still probably want a nice hard bound version on the mantle. If we don’t value the comic book enough to buy an “antiquated hard copy” then the book isn’t doing its job. I know of too many in my audience who want to curl up with a real book, even though they own another digital version. I have access to a digital copy of Watchmen, but I own the printed book. If I had to give up one over the other I’d keep the printed copy. When comics makes more Maus, Bone and Watchmen books will enjoy the same sales success of Maus, Bone and Watchmen.

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