When Arkham Asylum is no more, where does Gotham keep it's most infamous and dangerous criminals? Writer Gerry Duggan talks about "Arkham Manor," and a new side of Batman in a new and different Wayne Manor.
Charlie Chang: You are writing what is arguably one of the most original and interesting stories happening in the Bat universe right now. What is your favorite thing about writing this book?
Gerry Duggan: My favorite thing is that I am able to play with these characters in a little bit of a different setting and...costume. Meaning they are the characters you know and love and some of them, Batman, in particular has a new mask. So he's had the Matches Malone disguise as an old character and his way of immersing himself in the criminal underworld. Well, he has a character now that will allow him to observe the criminally insane in Gotham. It might be a little overdue but the moment is right because there is a murder mystery now in the new Arkham. We don't know if an inmate is able to kill patients at will or whether it is a staff member. Something is going wrong in the new Arkham Manor. The great thing about the name Arkham is that when you hear it you immediately think, "uh oh, what's gone wrong?" It's an unlucky star-crossed name, the Arkham family has been doing this for the good of Gotham so in that way they are like the Waynes but they're the unlucky Waynes.
CC: Gotham in and of itself is already such a terrible place to live where terrible things happen and it feels like at the epicenter like a constant thread is Arkham (Asylum). When you bring that many bad people into one place, something is bound to go wrong right?
GD: Absolutely, the first issue, you can see in the preview pages that there is a big uproar of "Not in my neighborhood." No one wants a new Arkham in their neighborhood where it's too close to schools and it's definitely no one’s first choice to put Arkham Asylum in Wayne Manor, however, even batman must agree that in a time of crisis it's better to have them all contained in one roof. Far from a populated area. He's willing to make that sacrifice for the betterment of Gotham. Once again, he's willing to lay it all on the line.
CC: If a gang was going to form amongst the inmates and patients of Arkham Manor, who do you think is the obvious choice to be the ringleader?
GD: It depends on who you ask... [laughs] but Dr. Crane, the Scarecrow certainly would consider himself a ringleader. Dr. Jeremiah Arkham is very fond of correcting Dr. Crane saying, "There is only one doctor in this room and it is Dr. Arkham!" There is a fun dynamic inside of the Asylum or Manor when the patients are not with Batman or they don't know they're with Batman. There are some fun group scenes that I hope might hark back to "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" so we've got that going. There are some really nice character stories while we're progressing the murder mystery in the first arc.
CC: I think there's something really exciting about a story that takes place solely in one building. You know that as soon as you open the door this madness is just going to start spewing out.
GD: And it really is trying to seep out. It's breaking the barriers inside the house. It does. It's a crazy that wants to be free.