Comedian and writer Yedoye Travis understands the complexities of heroes. Just read his story in this week’s Legends of the Dark Knight #8 and you’ll see a story involving trauma, choice, and psychology.
His story, which utilizes Batman’s origin and Scarecrow to perfection, also shows how the old can feel new again. Utilizing the tragic deaths that took place in Crime Ally, Travis uses Scarecrow to supply a twist you won’t expect. Not only that, Scarecrow is written in a complex way as he’s smart, self-reflective, and actually pushing Batman in a new way.
In an exclusive interview, I asked Travis about how he got the gig writing this story, the themes of “Healing,” working with artist Nina Vakueva, and more.
AIPT: How did DC Comics tap you for this project?
Yedoye Travis: Dave Wielgozs actually watched some of my YouTube videos (I’ve done a lot of anime commentary for my channel Beyond the Bot and for Crunchyroll) and reached out through a mutual friend–Neel Ghosh, a great comic who I met in college– and he told me he felt like I had a good grasp of story structure and that was kinda it. I feel like we tend to forget that these are regular people behind the scenes cause he definitely approached me like he wasn’t offering to let me write Batman.
AIPT: Your story deals with memory, Batman’s pain of losing his family, and choice. Why were these themes important to capture in your story?
YT: I just think Batman’s trauma is the most human thing about him. Especially in a post-Bernie America where people’s hatred of billionaires is so high while our collective problem-solving ability is so low, I felt like it was important to only capture the parts of Batman that are actually relatable.
AIPT: I enjoyed how you wrote Scarecrow. He’s smart, aware of how to handle Batman, but also aware of his own criminal insanity. How did you come to write Scarecrow in this way?
YT: I think it’s the most natural way to write a character like that. I think he has the potential to be as simultaneously conniving and sympathetic as the Joker, but he gets written off as a petty criminal so often, maybe because the Joker comparisons would get out of hand if he was always written true to character.
I also have a bachelor’s in psychology and I thought of how acutely aware I am of every little fault about myself with absolutely no drive to fix it. So someone who at least briefly made a career practicing psychiatry has to know he’s insane, whether or not he knows what to do about it.
AIPT: You’re also a comedian, can you say if there are any similarities to writing comics as there is to writing humor?
YT: In a world where every dramatic moment in Marvel movies is undercut with a joke, the simple answer is yes, but I think even outside of that, writing things funny is the most natural way to do it. Nothing is ever just funny or just dramatic and thinking that way is just limiting creatively. Jokes are a pretty common defense mechanism, so even if Batman isn’t making little quips like Peter Parker, it just felt right to write my full self into a story about trauma and trauma responses.
AIPT: Nina Vakueva did a great job along with Ivan Plascencia on colors, was there a particular panel that blew you away?
YT: There are a bunch of these, but I think aside from Scarecrow’s entrance with a tray of lemon squares, my favorite is the very last panel. The way they captured exactly what was in my head was really incredible. I cried writing that panel and I cried again reading it.
AIPT: If given the chance, which Batman villain would you like to write next?
YT: I feel like Mr. Freeze has the most potential to get a Christopher Nolan adaptation since his wife is dead. So Mr. Freeze.
AIPT: 2022 is around the corner, might we see you working in comics at DC or elsewhere soon?
YT: That really depends on whether anyone at DC reads this interview but I hope so.
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