Supermegafest 2016: Interview with Graham Nolan

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The weekend of April 9th – April 11th in Marlborough, MA I had the fortunate opportunity to speak candidly with many of the creative giants in the comic book and entertainment industry. I am proud to say that I personally got the chance to sit down with one of these men who I have looked up to in particular and is solely responsible for one of the most prized comics I possess in my personal collection: Batman #497 (1993)

It’s not every day you get to sit down and mix words with the man who broke the Batman. However I did just that. Without further ado, I give you Mr. Graham Nolan.

GP: First off I just have to ask. What was it like to be one of the people, who got to draw and create Bane: The man who would break the Batman?

Graham Nolan: Well first off when we did it, we never expected it to be as popular as it was. I mean you hope anytime you do something that it will be received well. You always hope from a creative stand point that anything you do will be the next big thing. You can’t plan on it, so it was a job to do and you do it the best you can. You hope for the best and with the case of Bane, it caught on and became something pretty great.

GP: So to follow up, does Bane’s popularity surprise you, and were you expecting it to have such longstanding fanfare?

GN: Well that’s an interesting question for sure. It sort of took on a life of its own when they started putting Bane in the Arkham franchise video games. That sort of put Bane in the forefront and introduced Bane to a whole new generation. He was big when he came out for Knightfall and then he sort of tapered off a bit. So when the Arkham games came out, from that point on it was like a steamroller. So that was great because he started to appeal to this newer, younger generation. I enjoy seeing that.

GP: Certainly. Also I’d have to say when Tom Hardy played him in The Dark Knight Rises, that was a big part of making the character focal, because you saw him on the big screen as well as the books and graphic novels. That has to give you a sense of pride that this character you created is in major motion pictures now. Bane is something you are so well known for.

GN: Sure, sure. I mean I would have been happier if they made it more like our Bane, instead of taking all the liberties they did but y’ know, that’s how it turned out.

GP: I’d have to agree. There is just something about the original Bane’s design that is so striking. I love the Lucha mask and the hulking physique. I enjoy the cerebral approach to him even more, no knock to Tom Hardy or Christopher Nolan. I just prefer the original Bane.

(Holds up Batman #497) For that fact, this is probably one of my favorite issues of Batman. I love it because it shows Batman at his weakest. Up till that point we’ve never seen him so humbled. What’s cool is that he’s humbled by a guy who’s not only his physical superior but also at that point his mental superior as well. This came at a time where you didn’t have that all the time.

GN: Well that was the whole purpose. The purpose of creating Bane, was to break Batman. We had to create him because there was nobody in his rogues gallery that was able to do it. There was nobody who was both super strong and super smart. I mean there was one of each but with Bane we had it all. So that’s what we needed to do for Batman to get broken.

GP: Well it worked out phenomenally. To another point. Do you have a favorite comic book or issue you’ve ever worked on?

GN: You mean that is Bane related?

GP: No it can be any of the ones you’ve worked on.

GN: I have a couple projects that I’ve worked on, which would be in my top tier. Vengeance of Bane would be one. Joker: Devil’s Advocate the graphic novel would be another and Superman: The Odyssey would be one as well. Let’s see, Monsters Island and Joe Frankenstein. Those would be them.

GP: So outside of your work on comics, do you have any hobbies or passions?

GN: I like fishing.

GP: Oh yeah?

GN: Yeah.

GP: Plan on doing any fishing while you’re here in New England?

GN: Oh no, it’s too cold. I like warm weather fishing.

GP: Ok, I can understand that. Last but not least, what does getting to be part of Comic Con mean to you?

GN: Oh it’s great! It’s an opportunity to meet the fans and get feedback. I also get to meet the people who help put food on my table. It’s a chance to meet people that are so passionate. I mean all of us who work in comics, love comics. So to be able to get to share the same passion on a grand level it’s just really satisfying.

GP: Well this was on my bucket list. I have to say it’s humbling to meet you. One of my all time favorite creators.

GN: (laughs) Oh wow. Well hey man, it was nice to meet you and great talking with you too.

*On a professional note, he was such a great person to converse with. He has a lot of passion for what he does and his level of work shows it. On a personal note, for me this was a joy. I got to meet the man who is responsible for visually bringing to life one of my favorite tales starring my absolute favorite character of all time. If you get to a Con and see this man, I highly suggest you take the time to introduce yourself. He’s a fan just like us. Only cooler.

Oh yes he did sign my original comic of Batman #497 that I’ve had for over 20 years. Now thanks to him, I will have it many years more.

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