Artist: Chris Sprouse
Inks/Colors: Karl Story/Guy Major
Published: July 2010
As only Grant Morrison can pen and Chris Sprouse can envision, the first issue of Bruce Wayne's return from "the dead" hits like a rumbling thunder storm. Near the conclusion of Final Crisis, Batman was hurled back in time to the dawn of civilization. It is at this point where The Return of Bruce Wayne kicks off. Essentially, issue # 1 is an action packed cave man yarn staring Batman. I know - Awesome.
So as the title above mentions I recently attended the Fan Expo in Toronto and I had the opportunity to meet Chris Sprouse. He comes across as a real nice guy. I think I may have gotten a small reaction out of him when I said his version of Batman was "a manly man's man." I sincerely meant this as a compliment, because Batman is normally a clothed figure, shrouded in darkness, so it's a interesting change to see him shirtless, but still wearing his leotards. Plus, Chris Sprouse has got the whole alpha male look nailed down. It don't get more manly than his drawing of men. (Again, that's a compliment.)
Our conversation then turned to how the internet is essentially a stomping ground of negativity. He mentioned that some complaints on the internet of his book were that one of the cavemen was blond, and that there was a giant bat thingy in the book. I don't read comic book message boards generally, but I wasn't surprised to hear this. If there is one thing the internet has encouraged, it's complaining. Which is fine in of itself, but due to the sheer quantity, it can be a bit much. So as Sprouse mentioned, he just turns it off and does his thing.
With this in mind, I sometimes wonder if comic creators read comments, reviews, or reactions to their work? I think they would almost have to, considering it's vital to their success to know what is working and not working with their audience; but at the same time, where do they draw the line? I know when I was in elementary school, I used to read and re-read my report card comments. I was obsessed with knowing 'my areas of improvement'. But then one day I just turned off that side of my personality. It wasn't getting me anywhere. In the end it was a relief. I think many comic book creators also feel this sense of relief once they turn off the message boards. No point getting charged up just because some fanboy didn't dig your version of a cave man, even if he is the manliest man of cave mans...
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