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Tom King explains what a Batman-Catwoman marriage would look like -- and what Mister Miracle is escaping

 (David Finch / DC Entertainment)
(David Finch / DC Entertainment)

Batman proposed to Catwoman recently. You may have heard.

Late in his Sunday morning spotlight panel at Comic-Con, the writer who scripted that moment, Tom King, answered a fan’s question about what that marriage would look like.

“I’m married to the best woman who ever lived, and she guides me through everything,” the now double Eisner Award-winning King said. “She sees how messed up I am, and she loves that part of [me]. And I see how messed up she is, and I love that part of her. Because of that, we can live together and be happy. So I think that’s how it would work.”

Robust applause followed.

It was a rollicking (albeit maybe too early) hour in which King rewarded readers with insights into his work on “Batman,” “The Vision” and the upcoming “Mister Miracle” -- and dropped good-humored f-bombs in equal measure.

King understands that the 10 a.m. Sunday comics creator spotlight panel is for the dedicated readers, those bookish souls who have read even his most obscure work and can appreciate a joke about how Steve Ditko handles things being stolen from him.

He also understands that Saturday night celebrations at Comic-Con International extend close to dawn Sunday, that breakfast may consist of a sugar-and-butter covered pretzel and a Diet Pepsi.

After wondering aloud whether the few people sitting in the very back of the room were Russian agents (King is a former CIA officer), he took a poll of how late people had been up, and found only one attendee who, like him, had been going until at least 4 a.m.

“Were you just sitting around complaining about your editors?” King asked the man to laughs. “Yeah, that’s a comic book party.”

King displayed the two Eisner Awards he had won Friday -- the limited series prize for “The Vision” with artist Gabriel H. Walta at Marvel and the short story honor for his dog story “Good Boy” with artist David Finch in “Batman” Annual No. 1. He spun the balls on the upper parts of the trophies.  

“Can’t spin the Academy Award,” he quipped. “Take that, Meryl Streep."

Detail of "Mister Miracle" cover. (Nick Derington / DC Entertainment)
Detail of "Mister Miracle" cover. (Nick Derington / DC Entertainment)

Turning to “Mister Miracle,” he said the new series will open and close with words the character’s creator, the legendary Jack Kirby, used in the original run, with a new comic in between, “as a sort of tribute to the king of comics and it’s also to show that what the whole series is about is taking these huge, expansive Kirby concepts that he put in that seems like it’s an epic about space, and it’s actually an epic about the human soul.”

For the uninitiated: Mister Miracle, who debuted in 1971 as part of the Kirby-created-written-and-drawn Fourth World at DC Comics, is the son of the chief of the New Gods, Izaya, and was traded in a diplomatic deal to the evil Darkseid in exchange for one of his heirs. On Darkseid’s planet Apokolips, Mister Miracle rebels, falls in love with future wife Big Barda, and escapes. Escaping may be what Mister Miracle does best. (Hey, his other name is Scott Free.)

The new title, which King calls “the best, most ambitious thing I’ve ever written,” is drawn by his “Sheriff of Babylon” collaborator Mitch Gerads and will be out Aug. 9.

King said it is influenced by a string of events that included a panic attack as he was taking over “Batman” after Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s bestselling run, his beloved grandmother’s death on the same day, and how the world has “gone crazy” since: the Patriots’ comeback Super Bowl victory, the Cubs’ World Series win and Donald Trump’s election.

“It’s about the feeling of being trapped and about trying to escape that,” he said. “It’s about a man and a woman. It’s about Scott and Barda, and them trying to find love in the midst of hell…. Mister Miracle is the son of God, but unlike Jesus he wasn’t given to the people, he was given to the devil…. He went to that hell and met the love of his life and he escaped it, but that pain of his childhood is still in him, and it’s the trap he’s trying to escape from…. Plus, there are jokes.”

King has an exclusive contract with DC. Asked what characters he might want to write if he returned to Marvel, he said: “The long, philosophical answer is that I don’t care…. A character is not about what that character is, it’s about what you bring to it and what the fans bring to it and what the passion of the two of us or billion of us together can bring to it. I was assigned ‘The Omega Men.’ I was assigned ‘Vision.’ I was given ‘Mister Miracle.’ You find what’s in it that appeals to you. That’s the long, philosophical answer.

“The short answer?” he continued, “It would be the Fantastic Four.”

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