|Interview with "Ultimate" Scott Beatty!
Scott Beatty is regarded by many as one of the most knowledgeable people in regards to the DCU. He has written Year One stories for Batgirl and Nightwing. He has put together some of the most comprehensive guides for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the JLA. He has even tackled guides on Batman Begins.
But now, Mr. Beatty is being put possibly his biggest challenge yet - creating The DC Action Figure Archive. This is a big undertaking as there are well over 400 Batman figures alone, not including Robin, Joker, or other side characters. We've had a opportunity to talk to Scott about this new venture.
BYTB: First off, I'd like to say thank you for taking a few moments out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. How did the DC Action Figure Archive come about?
S.B.: I first pitched the concept to DC a little over five years ago. As a DC toy fan and freelance writer, I thought it was the perfect way to finally declare my toy collection as a tax write-off. :)
But seriously, for a long time, the sheer number of photographs necessary to do the book justice made the project cost-prohibitive. Advances in digital photography now make the book much easier to produce, especially given the great wealth of DC action figures produced in the last few years alone.
BYTB: You've written a lot of Ultimate Guides, include those on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. Which one was the hardest to research? Which one is your favorite?
S.B.: Batman was my favorite... mostly because the Bat-Characters are so near and
dear to me. Superman next. Wonder Woman was the hardest, mainly because I
had to re-read the last few decades worth of comics and immerse myself in
the character. I had always followed WW, but this kind of book requires
getting really close to the history.
BYTB: By far, you've got to be one of the only people to know so much
about DC, and we know that Batman is a favorite, but which other character
do you enjoy?
S.B.: Nightwing, actually, is my true favorite. Or more appropriately, Dick
Grayson. I've always had a fondness for Captain Comet also. But I'd give my
left kidney to write Manhunter... Paul Kirk, that is. The Aparo cover from
Detective Comics pairing Batman and Manhunter is burned into memory. I read
the last part first and spent all my meager paperboy savings buying the back
issues so that could savor every panel of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's
classic serial. Not long ago, I attended the wedding of a friend who works in
comics and sat across from Walt and Louise Simonson at the reception. Before
the night was over, I surrendered to my inner fanboy and waxed poetic to
Walt about how influential that story was on me.
BYTB: In the new book, what can action figure fans expect? How far back does it go?
S.B.: Essentially, the DC "action figure" history begins with Captain Action in
1966. Mego came next. Then, we move through the '80s and '90s with Super Powers
and the umpteen-million Bat-Figures. Into the 21st century, it's all about
DC Direct and what I label as the current "golden age" of DC toys. Our
attempt is to list every DC action figure from 1966 forward and include as
many "glamour shot" photographs as our budget permits. Every character, at
least, will be photographically represented in the A to Z format.
BYTB: In staying with the new book, are there any figures that will be excluded
S.B.: Not if we can help it. Foreign releases won't be covered in this edition,
nor will fast-food premiums. Otherwise, the sky's the limit.
BYTB: There are hundreds of action figures. Does one call out to you as being the weirdest or the most ridiculous?
S.B.: Strangely, not really. Even with the gazillion Batman variants, each one
wasn't too far from the core concept of the Dark Knight... even Arctic
Waffle Iron Nano-Batman. He's my favorite. :)
BYTB: Okay, so we have The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, Batman Begins: The Visual Guide, and now, The DC Action Figure Archive. When is The DC Toy Archive coming?
S.B.: Good God, Man! A book based on every licensed Bat-Product would likely kill
me after The DC Comics Action Figure Archive! I mean, Bat-Cereal, Bat-Peanut
But it would be a lot of fun. Y'never know...
BYTB: In looking at The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, the book seems to have everything. But why isn't there a note about Linda Page? She was Bruce's
S.B.: You just said it. Second love. Nobody talks about their second love. It's
first love, love of your life, and the one that got away. If Linda comes
back into Batman's life, then she'll get her initials carved into the
Batcave wall. Until then, she's dead to him.
BYTB: Other than The DC Action Figure Archive, what else can we expect from you?
S.B.: I've got a two-issue arc on JSA: Classified beginning this November.
Superstar Rags Morales and I are teaming up for a Doctor Mid-Nite thriller.
The good Doctor investigates the black market trade in stolen metahuman body
Also that month I've written an issue of The Batman Strikes! Catwoman takes
center stage in a heist yarn. I'm also finishing up a second TBS! tale
featuring Joker's gang of supervillains.
BYTB: Is there anything else you'd like the fans to know?
S.B.: Just that if you like my books, tell DC! Tell them that you want Jason Todd: Year One.
Seriously. Chuck Dixon and I are all ready to go.
BYTB: Thanks, Scott. We look forward to the new book!
S.B.: Thanks, guys! I appreciate the press!
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