Batman, one of the world’s most beloved and enduring pop culture icons, will reach two milestones this year: his 80th anniversary and the 1,000th issue of his debut title “Detective Comics.”
To celebrate, Brave New World Comics planned a release party and artist signing with David Baron, who worked on issue nos. 994 through 1,000 of “Detective Comics.”
Baron started his career as a comic book artist 25 years ago at age 15, after pitching portfolios of his art to different companies at the San Diego Comic Cons for two years. He started out as a colorist, and has worked on prominent titles like “Bloodshot” for Valiant Comics and “Green Arrow” for DC Comics.
“As a such a young kid in the industry, I was able to work for 80 hours a week and I didn’t even care even if I wasn’t getting paid all for all that time because I was surrounded by such great names in comics and I was learning,” Baron said. “Even after having worked in the industry for five years, I still couldn’t enter the Comic Con parties since I wasn’t 21. People and fans of mine thought that the kid on the sidewalk trying to get in must have been David Baron’s son instead of David Baron.”
Though he had worked on “Detective Comics” before, Baron said his most recent work on the title is the most rewarding because he no longer feels entitled to work on a Batman project. Where Baron said he would try to push the envelope with unconventional color schemes as a younger artist, he now feels he has more respect for audience expectation, while staying new and fresh.
“You never really deserve to work on Batman because there are a lot of people who also deserve that honor,” he said. “To come back to Batman after a decade of not working on the character is more meaningful because I now better understand how much he means to other people.”
Andy Liegl, owner of Brave New World, befriended Baron while they both worked for Valiant Comics and wanted to do a signing as soon as he heard Baron was working on Detective Comics.
“David’s art is very attuned to what’s going on in the scene itself and he adapts his style to the narrative and story of the book,” Liegl said. “He is truly an artist and you can tell David’s work by the quality but none of the art styles look the same.”
Along with his “Detective Comics” run, Baron will sign other titles he has worked on like “The Batman Who Laughs,” “Divinity,” and copies of his retailer exclusive cover of “The Life and Death of Toyo Harada,” of which only 175 copies exist for Brave New World customers. The contents of the books are the same but the cover art is exclusive to those copies, much like different printings of prose books.
“The biggest part of the comics hobby is reading the stories, but there’s also the collector and marketing sides to it,” Liegl said. “There’s a love-hate relationship to that part of the hobby, but the exclusive art gets people in the store and reading the books. David and I got really excited about this title as soon as we heard about it and we got Valiant to greenlight it.”
Liegl is excited for the event because it helps highlight the pervasiveness and longevity of comic books and popular culture.
“You hear in the news all the time now that comic shops and the comic book industry is ending, and while that might be true, it’s like that with any business,” he said. “This is only the second time a comic has hit 1,000 issues after ‘Action Comics’ with Superman did it last year, and it’s cool because it reinforces the idea that these characters are timeless and are going to outlive all of us.”
Baron, who lives in San Diego, said he he enjoys the interacting with the active comic book fanbase in Santa Clarita and enjoys visiting Brave New World.
“This event is a part of history 80 years in the making and while people have lined up for pop culture events in the past like ‘Star Wars’ premiers, there is nothing bigger, in my mind, than ‘Detective Comics No. 1,000,’” Baron said. “Comets come more often than this and I want to be a part of this event at Brave New World because it’s such a great store and fanbase. It’s worth the drive.”
David Baron will be signing his work at Brave New World Comics on 22722 Lyons Ave, Ste 2, Santa Clarita from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday.